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Q: Bios support for large and regular sized disks ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Bios support for large and regular sized disks
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: vaac-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 05 May 2005 19:54 PDT
Expires: 04 Jun 2005 19:54 PDT
Question ID: 518324
My current BIOS does not seem to support large disks. What do I have
to look for in a new computer to enable large disks? Will such a BIOS
enable using my current less than 10 Gbyte disks? Will I be able to
patition them as I do now? What changes in the FAT and root directory
can I expect?
My current computer is a pentium with windows 98. The BIOS seems to be a megatrend.

Request for Question Clarification by livioflores-ga on 06 May 2005 00:09 PDT

Use Everest to identify your motherboard model and BIOS version and
post that info here in order to help you to find an update if it is
"Lavalys - Enterprise Management Solutions":

Download its free version from here:


Clarification of Question by vaac-ga on 08 May 2005 14:54 PDT
Thanks for your comment. While Everest might come very useful at a
future date, it is probably useles in diagnosing my computer to find
out what bios I have. Also I am not interested in updating since the
computer is so outdated that it needs replacement.

Request for Question Clarification by maniac-ga on 08 May 2005 17:02 PDT
Hello Vaac,

Hmm. It appears that the commenter has misinterpreted the question. It
appears to me that you are interested in purchasing a new computer and
want to
 - use a much larger hard disk
 - use the older < 10 Gbyte disks you currently have (formatted under Windows 98)
 - understand if there are any constraints on the use of both types of disks
Please confirm this rephrasing of your question.

In general, any new system will be able to use both large and small
disks without problems. Is there a particular brand (or a white box)
you are interested in?


Clarification of Question by vaac-ga on 08 May 2005 20:27 PDT
you have rephrased right. But where doed the "white box" come in?

Request for Question Clarification by maniac-ga on 09 May 2005 06:53 PDT
Hello Vaac,

To clarify, the phrase "white box" refers to a computer without a
brand name. For example, if I purchased a system from
I would get a "white box" system. The price is generally less than a
name brand system but may not have the level of support that a name
brand system would.

Subject: Re: Bios support for large and regular sized disks
Answered By: maniac-ga on 09 May 2005 18:17 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Vaac,

I will assume that your new computer will be running Microsoft Windows
XP (or perhaps 2003. If this is incorrect, please make a clarification
request so I can expand the answer to address another OS. I also
assume your new computer has the proper interface (I assume IDE) for
the older disks and is not limited to using serial ATA, described at

With your new computer, the BIOS and operating system will support
both the large disks and the small disks. For a detailed explanation
of the various disk drive limits, see

The first reference is very long and detailed, the second is split
into several sections and includes an explanation of the file systems
(later in the guide) to briefly explain the difference between FAT32
(your current disks) and NTFS (the new large disks) and methods of

There is also a nice summary of FAT32 limits (and some brief
comparisons with NTFS) at;EN-US;Q184006&
which describes the limits of FAT32 volumes and recommends using NTFS
on your larger disks.

In summary, your new computer and operating system should support both
your new and old disks without any problems.  The other suggestion I
should make is to use your new hard disk as the boot volume and the
older disks for data storage only.

Good luck and if any part of this question is incomplete or unclear,
please request a clarification so I can make it right.

vaac-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $3.00
Excellent, but with my limited computer expertise I wuold appreciate
further comments as follow:

I am sorry to have taken so much time to answer you for your excellent
comments. Since both questions are similar I will place the comment on

I have dowloaded and tried to understand urls:

but while some of the information is useful even to me who am not a
computer expert, these sites are more for young peoples who seek to
pursue computer careers. I would therefore appreciate if you could
explain in LAYMAN TERMS what the following items mean:
"Wpcom" "LBA-mode", amd "Blk-mode"and "Plo-mode" 

If this is too complicated maybe you can answer the following: I would
prefer not to use win2000 or higher, except in an arrangement where I
can switch between the higher windows and win 98 or95. The reason is
that I am too old to learn how to handle an  operating system not
based on DOS and might get stuck with problems I cannot handle. Could
you explain to me what can widows 2000 and higher handle, that windows
98 cannot?

Another clarification I would like to get is is about the cdrom.
Before opening the computer to change the jumper and convert it from
sec. slave to master I decided to change the following lines in the
executive.bat of the root directory and in the executive.bat of the
c:\windows\command\ebd directory. The lines:

loadhigh C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\mscdex.exe /d:cd003 /m:10 /e /l:x
LH %ramd%:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:mscd003 /L:%CDROM%  

were changed to:

loadhigh C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\mscdex.exe /d:cd004 /m:10 /e /l:x
LH %ramd%:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:mscd004 /L:%CDROM%   respectively

This caused the cdrom to load consistently (except for the 1-st two
times). Is this an appropriate fix or coincidence?

Also, can I now connect a 3-rd hard disk on the free connection of the
daisy which has the cdrom? If not can you inform me whether the new
computers have a provision whereby more than two hard disks can be
connected? What are the interfaces IED and ATA and do I need both, one
of them and which?

Thank you very much in advance.

Subject: Re: Bios support for large and regular sized disks
From: cvithlani-ga on 05 May 2005 21:11 PDT
depending on the bios and board version, you might be able to flash
your bios to accomidate larger HDs. if not, a new board may be in
order, but then a new cpu is needed, and then new ram. have you tried
installing a third party IDE controller?

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