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Can I just waste space when formatting?

bushmechanic

Experienced Member
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Jan 4, 2015
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Location
Carolinas, USA
I've never even tried this before. I'm building a PC with this motherboard:

http://www.bcmcom.com/tech/kr632/KR632.htm

I want to install DOS 6.22. Simple enough.

Obviously, however, I can't just grab a hard drive that is small enough to keep everyone in there happy.

Let's assume I'm not going to install any other operating system on the PC. Let's also assume that I'd like to run only one partition. Let's also assume that I absolutely want to waste that space, and I abhor the idea of using tricks, revisions, or programs to use all of it. Those three factors are concrete in this hypothetical exercise.

If I pick up a 40GB drive, can I just format the it at the DOS limit, deliberately wasting the full capacity of the drive, and call it a day?

I've always tried to squeeze every drop out of every component I use, so I have no idea whether or not I can even do this...
 

Scali

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Dec 13, 2014
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The Netherlands
Assuming there are no other problems (BIOS may not support drives that large), then yes, it should be fine to just create a single partition of 2 GB for DOS.
I have such a partition on my modern systems, and that works fine for DOS/Win9x stuff.

If you have other problems, look for something like EZ-BIOS: http://www.softwaretipsandtricks.com/windowsxp/articles/371/1/ez-bios
It will install into the bootsector, and load some replacement routines for your BIOS, which will fix the usual HDD limits.
 

Grandcheapskate

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With LBA enabled, I believe the DOS limit is 8gb, isn't it?

I believe you should be able to format just the area which DOS can address. Bear in mind that DOS uses a FAT16 system, so in addition to losing all the unaddressable area of the disk you are creating huge sector sizes which will waste even more space, especially if you have small files.

I have EZ-BIOS installed on all my DOS machines with 8gb+ hard drives and have had no issues.

Joe
 

bushmechanic

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
93
Location
Carolinas, USA
Be that way.:p

I'd rather like to have a proper hard drive in the thing.

There's no sense using all this middle-age junk to build a computer unless it's all middle age junk.

It's a bit new for what I want, actually, but it will do. The motherboard is interesting, anyway.
 

barythrin

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Oct 5, 2005
Messages
6,256
Location
Texas
I think you got your answer bit simple answer is yes. You can even make multiple partitions (up to 4) all at 2GB and get a little bit more out of it, and/or you could also multiboot the system with something like OS/2 which can use a lot more space (when patched) and it shouldn't mess up your dos instance either.
 

Grandcheapskate

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Messages
752
Location
New Jersey, USA
I have been reading a bit about the BIOS limitations on IDE drives. It's still not clear to me exactly who can do what. DOS has it's limit of around 8.4GB. However, it seems that older BIOSes may hang during the boot process with drives larger than they can handle.

I have been trying to see how large a drive can be used with EZ-BIOS v9.06 as I cannot find any documentation which tells me. I don't care about the OS right now, I just want to see how large a drive EZ-BIOS can see. Yesterday I tried hooking up a 160GB drive to a 486 (BIOS date 1994) and EZ-BIOS hung. So I would not even be able to do what you want, which is to use only the addressable part of the drive. I can use a drive larger than DOS and the native BIOS can handle as long as EZ-BIOS can handle it. But it seems once I get past both the BIOS and EZ-BIOS limit, the system will hang.

My testing isn't conclusive or complete. But it seems like only with trial and error am I going to figure this out.

Joe
 
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