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Hi, I'm trying to solve a problem with a new drive set up -

For some reason no matter how many partitions I make on the new 160 gig Maxtor, once windows is finished installing it "locks" the last drive drive in ms-dos compatibility mode and I cannot access the drive normally. Windows reports it as device not functioning and unformatted. Powermax says it's fine, and in safe mode it appears normally and I can access the files. There is no "noide" or "bad_ide" entry in the registry, nor any exclamation marks, or reports of incompatibilities - all partions are normal after every install - except the last partition - ie: if I make 4, F: is locked, or 6 then H: is locked or 3,5,7 and so on... I can see and access all partitions/files/data from dos or safe mode so what is going on here? Why only the last one? And why only in normal windows? I've even copied my setup files to it, installed windows from it and after the first reboot it locks me out. I realize I can just put a "dummy" partition at the end and still access all the rest normally but I'd really like to know what is going on here. Any Clues?

Win98SE (sp21.a)

512 kingst ram


sis chipset

ati radeon7000

soundblaster live 24bit

all updated bios/drivers

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Windows 98 does not support large hard drives. But fortunatly a member of these forums LLXX has created a patch to fix this. Here is the post:


I would read the whole thing to find out any issues you may run into for example even with this patch I believe that scandisk and defrag will still have problems.

Edited by hankjrfan00
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Thanks for pointing me in the right direction hankjrfan00, I read all 13 pages - very confusing at some points with all the extra debates and super-smart-people sub-topics injected. I'm not sure that's exactly my problem as the whole drive size is seen by my bios and by windows - it just doesn't let me access the last drive partition (except in dos). I've evn installed Win2000 Pro with similar results, except 2000 just hides the "locked drive". I got the impression that the 137GB limit was on 98 and prior versions not 2000 and up which suggests I'm having issues of an alternate flavor - even so, I'd still try that patch if I could understand more clearly which one I should use but frankly the extensive version arguments throughout threw off what little understanding I was aquiring from the first part of the thread. Maybe someone who understands it could could give me simpler instruction?

- I have OEM 98SE 4.10.2222 A

- The current ESDI_506 is ver 4.10.2225 (which I assume windows update or the sp1.a altered at some point because there is another marked "old" in the same folder" [that one is 4.10.2222])

My question is, when I install windows on my new hard drive I will have the old ESDI_506, not the one I have right now - so do I update the old one to the one I have now and then update it again to this patched one or am I just putting the patch on the original one? If I just patch the original (as one argument instructs) then apply my sp2.1a will it not negate the 48lba patch? Seems to me it would.

That thread had a complicated argument about leaving the original alone if you had no problems and about bugs and versions and fixes and losing them all if you applied the wrong patch number... and by the end of it the person who made the patch was banned from here... the whole thing makes me nervous.

I will have to google on until one of the trees in the forest has a more definative outline!

ps: Sure would be nice if this patch was part of the sp2.1a because that package is a beauty!

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You may try auto-patcher for Windows 98SE - it includes the 137GB fix as well as the Copy 2GB fix and many others.

To the point, if SP2.1a has upgraded your esdi_506.pdr from 4.10.2222 to 4.10.2225 and you have no problems accesing data below 137GB, then it's safe to use the patched esdi_506.pdr 4.10.2225. However, for safety, backup any important data you may have on that HDD before proceeding with replacing files or installing any package.

Edited by Drugwash
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Hi, I'm trying to solve a problem with a new drive set up -

For some reason no matter how many partitions I make on the new 160 gig Maxtor....

There are Three issues here for FAT32 W98 that needs to be dealt with for large hard drive support which are you need 48-bit LBA Bios support, and then 48-bit LBA Windows Driver support, and then the Partition Size limit that Windows utilities limitation dictates.

First on the list is that of course your Bios needs to have 48-bit LBA support to start with, secondly after that you need to have Windows drivers with 48-bit LBA support so that they both can utilize HD's total size over 137/128 GB ..and you can do that in a few ways: one is by using the unofficial updated esdi_506.pdr windows driver giving 48-bit LBA support; or use Mr Lowe's High Capacity Disk Patch program which is similar, or another is if you have an older supported Intel chipset to be able to install its IAA software then that will do it; or the best of all ways is to use a 48-bit LBA PCI Controller Card for its numerous advantages and benefits over the other ways - but no matter which of these ways you choose, the third issue is that you Still have W98's windows stock utilities limitations that dictate that the Hard Drive must be partitioned as such - which is W98 must not see any one partition throughout the hard drive that's over 128 GB.

I wrote 137/128 that way above because you need to be aware there is Decimal GB and Binary GB's - and many people use the figure of under 137 GB but realize that's meant in Decimal GB - but since Windows displays in Binary then naturally it's much better said and certainly must be done as under 128 Binary GB because of it, and that it's stock scandisk/defrag utilities use its figures as well. ...iow, when you open your My Computer folder to see what your partition sizes show - it must not show any one partition over 128GB (or problems like what happened in your case, and/or with data placed there gets corrupted when scandisk auto/manually runs or when defrag is used)

I also always suggest that the Primary OS FAT32 partitions to be made under 8 GB not only for the best 4k cluster size efficiency but it's so much easier and faster to defrag, and make backup partition images, and other common tasks too; you don't need anymore than 8 GB anyway for the OS FAT32 partition, and you would store all unnecessary non-os files on the larger Storage partition. You take all Non-OS (Logical) partitions and make all those larger according to your HD's size divvy up - but always all must be under 128 GB. I like to make them an even 121GB.

The Promise (P) ATA ULTRA133 TX2 is one of the best CC on the market for this issue imo&experience, and I've used them for years with exceptional results.

...Here's some good reading in its manual for this particular CC. (pdf format)

right click and save target on this link:



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Cheers for answers/suggestions everyone :thumbup

As it happens I read myself into the wee hours of security and decided the worst thing that could happen is I'd have to erase and reformat for the 26th time this week :wacko:

I took a shot and put the 2225 patch on my current harddrive this morning before your replies :o

After a reboot the locked drive was no more, and the "dos* compatibility warning" was gone. I still couldn't see the partitions when I booted into 2000, but I know why now so thanks for that!

I had in fact landed on 48bitlba earlier this week while combating my drive problem - a googled answer to one of the 50 questions I asked linked me to the Rud-Loew patch but after reading that all the demo would do is let me access 145gb of the 160gb drive until I bought it... well, frankly, I thought bull. I'd seen so much fixing and tweaking on mdgx's page that I was sure somewhere it had to have been sorted out, I just wasn't asking the right questions-or in the right way. What is obvious terminology/phraseology to Tech-Olympians still escapes those of us who "love the water but can't swim that deep!" (and truly understanding it is like being able to hold your breath for 9 minutes :lol:)

Had I known what block addressing was and how it related to my problem I surely would have found the patch on mdgx's site since I've used a lot from there in the past few years to customize my pc somewhat.

Anyway, since this forum has provided my solution and I have no data at risk yet I would be happy to run the auto-patcher for win98se beta or any others that might be of help for those folks doing the hard stuff - let me know and I'll hold off committing to the new WooHoo! drive for a few more days :)

Thanx again everyone

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Whatever packages you'd test, I'm sure their authors would appreciate the feedback, in order to fix bugs and improve quality. So if you're willing to take your new HDD to a test drive, feel free to do so. Trying out every possible combination of packages, updates, patchers and whatnot should help you choose the final, best combination suitable for your environment.

One more thing related to large partitions would be replacing the original Win98SE scandisk and defrag with their WinME counterparts. This would improve their operation and get over some issues with partition size. You can find both utilities bundled in one single package called scanfrag.exe, at MDGx' site or included with Auto-Patcher for Windows 98SE.

Good luck!

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