1.2GB upgrade to ??

By Andonny · 26 replies
Oct 4, 2003
  1. Hi,
    I would like to upgrade a 1.2GB Harddrive to the maximum possible. What is the maximum possible?
    I either replace the existing one or add another one as a second one.
    I have Win98 installed and the main software is a DOS based program and I am running out of space for the data.
    The motherboard is a pentium 166.

    I am looking forward to the recommendation
  2. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Posts: 640

    Well that the motherboard in that wont support more than a certain amount of space without an additional pci ide controller, Just buy a 20Gb Hard Drive, it should be very inexpensive, and from the sounds of the system you'll never run out of room saving word files.....
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    A 20GB drive on a computer that old will most certainly not work.

    The absolute maximum you can expect is 8gb.

    A PCI IDE controller could be a solution, but you'll need PCI slots which your board may or may not have. I have seen a number of systems that old with nothing but ISA slots.
  4. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Not entirely correct, as I had an old mainboard from that era, and after flashing the bios I was able to fit a 40GB hard drive (or larger). However, that is rare and 8GB is most likely the max. To be absolutely certain, we need to know the exact make/model of your mainboard. You can download this free tool if you don't feel like opening your case ...

  5. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

  6. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    umm, most HDD manufacturers offer a utility like Maxtor's MaxBlast which allows you a workaround to the 8GB limit of older boards. I believe it comes at a bit of performance hit, but its better than nothing.
  7. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    NEVER use a software translation program to get access to larger hard drive space than your system supports. I've used these in the past and installing some software can lead to your drive vanishing and taking all your data with it. Very risky. I lost my drive a couple of times by installing a game called Strike Commander. Its impossible to recover data from your drive once this has happened, so I would not recommend using software translation for any large hard drive.
  8. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Once again I see we disagree nic, I have never had a problem using such utilities to get drives to work. Seems like as long as I have been working on computers, I would have seen one of these "vanishing drives". I would very much like to see some documentation backing this up.
  9. Hanto

    Hanto TS Rookie

    Don't have any documentation to offer right now Storm, kinda late here, however I do have 30 years in computers and 20+ with P.C.'s and software translation does EXACTLY what Nic says it does.

    In fact I consider software translation to be the most prevalent virus on the planet, and the single greatest cause of lost data over the last 10 years.

    Course, those are just my thoughts.:blush:

    Keep speaking your mind Nic, some of these folks need extra training and real experience apparently..
  10. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Then why don't you seek extra training "Hanto"?

    Now, let's not go insulting each other. It does no one any good. We ALL need extra training and experience. If you claim to know more than someone else then it is obvious that you know LESS than most.

    Also, I would like to make the point that having ANY kind of certification does not mean anything to any of us here at TS. Most of us are pretty smart and know a lot about what we are doing. You won't get any kind of respect because of any type of certification nor degree here nor among any of the tech community (at least on this planet). If you want to impress us then prove what you say is right instead of making flat points.

    Thought I would get that out. It's among one of the things that needs to be said.
  11. Hanto

    Hanto TS Rookie

    Acid, I'm glad you brought up the subject, thank you.

    I have NO certificates, and I am NOT a programmer, but I'm one heck of a troubleshooter, thank you very much. I learn my trade in the Navy with behemoth computer systems designed to diagnose failures in Avionics equipment, and a person had to be able to tell from the programming language involved how the test was being run, what devices were involved in the stimulation and results of the tests.

    I enjoyed my first P.C. education in 1980 but found it very boring as they were way to dependant to on teaching programming instead of troubleshooting.

    I am now retired, the most comfortable certificate of all, and treat my and anyone else's computers like brothers and sisters, rather then something to be destroyed by software translation.

    Now as far at the ' proof ' is concerned, read the fine print on the software translation softwares, you'll notice that every one of them recommends non-usage of the translation software if at all possible, and I would casually ' bet ' that just a tiny bit of research on the internet would find untold #s of examples of why translation software should not be used under ' any ' circumstances.

    I hope I wouldn't have to do that homework for you or anyone for that matter.

    Thanks again Acid..:)
  12. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    I wasn't implying you had any certificates. That point was directed towards others. Basically anyone who think's a certification means anything. All they are useful for is to make computer illiterate employer's eyes glitter with excitement. It is meant to make more than one point. Mainly, that no matter what you say your experience is, where you have worked, how long you have been doing it. It doesn't really matter because it doesn't mean you know more than anyone else here. In most cases I've found it means the person just *thinks* they do and have a very large head because of it.

    Your welcome here Hanto. I'm not busting your balls, but I am making a point for EVERYONE here to learn from. Not just you. This is directed to everyone that is a member of this forum, or reads it.

    Though I promise you. An attitude like that will get you nowhere quick here. Please realize that you only have 2+ posts. Most of us have over 500+, lots have over 1500. That in no way means what we do or don't know, but when you get an attitude with someone that has 1500 posts and is respected here at TS and you only have 2. It doesn't do well for you.

    Storm just wanted someone to show him some proof. He wasn't saying "your wrong!". If there is actually danger in using the software then he wants to know about it. Any good tech. wants proof of such things. That way you learn and next time you know.
  13. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    No need for everyone to get their panties all in a wad here. All I wanted was something documenting the claims that this is so dangerous. I am fully aware of compatibility issues and other problems that some people experience, but everything I have read seems to indicate this is the exception and not the rule. Nic is claiming otherwise. My experience has never been negative using these utilities.
    You are entitled to your opinion, and free to disagree with my recommendation. but the tactics of trying to discredit my personal experience is quite disrespectful.
  14. Hanto

    Hanto TS Rookie

    It's obvious that any and all experienced responses should be welcome here.
    Huge numbers of posts similar to what I've seen already do not necessarily warrent respect, incredulity maybe, but not respect. So if you're grading me by #s of posts, forget it. I have much more important things to do, like fixing HDs corrupted by software translations, and Acid, that is not always easy. My technical experience is such that I won't return a HD to manufacturer for something like a problem created by MaxBlast or other software translation, but ONLY after I can determine that there IS a REAL physical problem with the HD. And since software translations only rarely lead to real physical problems but do lead to tremendous losses in time and wasted effort, there is extreme just cause in not leading a newbie down the golden path of more problems. And that my friend is my reason for jumping into this conversation, not to see someone ( anyone ) lead onto the path to further problems.
  15. Hanto

    Hanto TS Rookie

    Storm, I learned a long time ago, that there are NO compatibility problems, however there many programming issues and design issues especially in the early days.

    The problems with software translations is ' not ' a compatibility problem, it is a pure and simple programming problem created by the use of additional software to ' translate ' the hardware structures of larger drives into a format understandable by the older computer's limited bios.

    And anyone who trusts programming to solve their issues is neither a troubleshooter or very experienced in most computer details.

    Now I'm not trying to get your panties in a wad, my intention is only ' one ', to see that the person who started this subject gets the best advice possible.

    I would hope that would not create an issue for anyone.

    Thank you, all of you. I am done...
  16. Hanto

    Hanto TS Rookie

    Andonny, the Pentium 166 you mention is the processor, not the motherboard, you need to state the make and model and even possibly the motherboard revision # before anyone here can categorically state what you can and cannot do with your present system. And that is assuming we can still find the manufacturer of your motherboard somewhere on the web. In many cases, especially with the older, cheaper motherboards, this can be a very forlorn search.

    The BIN, ( bios identification number ) will get us onto the right manufacturer and generally the right model too, but not necessarily the right motherboard revision #.

    Nic is correct in the assumption that 8 gigs is probably your maximum HD drive size without translation ( which I also do not recommend ) but that 8 gig limit might also require BIOS updating unless you want to jump on the extra cost of investing in an additional adapter card that has the required built-in bios to properly SEE larger hard drives without the use of translation software.
    Assuming you are using a motherboard from a well known and still active company, finding a bios update for your motherboard that will properly recognize 8 gig drives might not be very difficult, and that is the hope we would like to see become truth.

  17. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    I just got up this morning, and found a right little storm in a teacup brewing here :=). Glad its all sorted now, I think, and thanks for taking up the case against software translation programs Hanto. Oh, and welcome to techspot.

    I do realise, that StormBringer was only saying that in his experience he hasn't seen any issues using software translation (which is fair enough, though asking for proof was a bit much, as that implies that I may have been making the story up - some research should be done first, before disputings someone else's personal experience), and as I pointed out, I had personally come across issues that can lead to data loss.

    As we all know, software can never be 100% perfect, and is prone to corruption by untold other effects than can cause it to crash, thus losing the mapping of your drive. In my experience, and on several occassions, I have seen software translation programs cause hard drive partitions to simply vanish, and the data cannot be recovered.

    Whether or not anyone else has seen this doesn't matter, as I already know that it happens and I am simply passing on my experience. Its nice that someone else (Hanto) has seen similar issues and can back up my claims, as no one can argue with the effect now. It really does exist. I too have worked in avionics, doing defect diagnosis, in a past career, and I am also one hell of a troubleshooter.

    I don't have any certifications just yet, but I am working towards a few. I'd also like to point out that in my opinion, certifications do make you more knowledgeable, and better at your job, but on their own, they cannot guarantee that you will be good at your job. That is, in part, down to the individual concerned, and also to their experience. A small number of posts only signifies that you are an unknown quantity, and so others are unable to judge your level of expertise, and may make incorrect assumptions. Nothing more.

    There is no room for error when working on military equipment, as peoples lives are at risk (and you are held accountable), so it makes you very sharp when troubleshooting, and focuses your mind on the job. I only have around ten years experience in this field, and I used to work in the defense industry (I had several jobs), and not for the military.

    Anyway, its good to have you on board Hanto, and it seems very obvious to me that you are highly experienced and know what you are talking about. Really, I can tell by your well thought out, and well structured responses. Have fun, and I hope you stick around. :cool:

    PS: You'll find that everyone here is very friendly, though its easy to tread on toes at times, but don't let it bother you, as we really do all get along fine, most of the time. :)
  18. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65


    I actually have to agree with Nic on this one. There are some major drawbacks to using these programs. I do not have much experience with breaking the 8GB barrier, but I have done this a few times for 32GB problems and I have found some very quirky behavior. Problems include "invalid partitions" that are no longer recognizable under Windows and once-bootable system partitions rendered unbootable.

    One of the biggest problems is many boards will HANG on post when trying to recognize a drive too large to handle. This makes it impossible to install the disk software at all, sometimes.

    For most people out there though, there's really not much to worry about. The average person should be pretty happy with this kind of utility since it does what it says. :)
  19. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    And the mere installation of some harmless software (e.g. a game) can cause your software translation program to crash and thus lose the mapping to your drive. I've had it happen, and I could even replicate it by repeating the same install. A power outage may also cause this to happen, as can many other effects. These utilities do work, but they are not reliable, and that is the issue here. Only use it if you are willing to take the risk.

    Doesn't that statement discredit my personal experience? Not that I'm fussed, as I do believe that it is good to question others in order to get to the truth. As to the matter of what is an exceptional circumstance, rather than the norm, it would seem to depend a lot on matters that are outwith one's control (e.g. on how you use your PC, and on what software you choose to install). Given that one can lose one's data by unpredictable means, then that is a very risky path to follow.

    Incidentally, I've done a web search for info on data loss when using drive translation utilities, such as MaxBlast. I drew a blank, probably because not many people are using such utilities to provide drive translation, and I only spent about 10 mins searching (enough for me). Problems do exist, but I can only provide my own experience as evidence. Make of that what you will. :)
  20. Th3M1ghtyD8

    Th3M1ghtyD8 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 664

    I have used several makes of translation software (Maxtors Maxblast, and Western Digitals) and have never had any problems on the 10+ machines that I have installed them on. However, I do think they can cause problems, but usually just make existing problems worse. Reliability is obviously not ideal for a server, but on a home machine should be more than adequate.
  21. Hanto

    Hanto TS Rookie

    Nic, both you and Rick should know that no company is going to allow much dis-advertising to reach the internet in this day and age.. It's there, just has to be searched harder for then it used to be.

    However my main reason for this response is not to worry about some GAME install or to justify Rick's statement about translation software being okay for the masses, because in my experience, it is the single worst VIRUS a person will EVER come up against. It does things to the HD and the computer's ability to UNDERSTAND the HD that only extremely dedicated ( to the welfare of the computer ) people would begin to take notice of.

  22. Th3M1ghtyD8

    Th3M1ghtyD8 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 664

    What you mean like hook in to the hard drives MBR & MFT, and redirect logic hard drive calls in LBA mode into a format the BIOS can understand, through the use of paging. :D
  23. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Here's some info on Software Translation (Dynamic Drive Overlays) ...

    [This website also does not recommend using these programs.]

    Resolving BIOS and Drive Size Barriers

  24. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    I spoke my opinion based on my experiences with the software. Personal experience in which I had see no problems. I also stated that there were possible problems, though I felt nic was making too big a deal out of it. Especially in the situation here.

    Even the statements made by Rick and the quote nic posted both agree that in most cases there are none of the "major problems" that can possibly occur. Rick has even recommended these installation utilities on previous occasions, others have as well, no one condemned them as fools and *****s for doing it.

    Just like anything else recommended by any of us here at TS, you have to weigh the options. If you need to get the machine up and running, and if there is no BIOS update that can help, and you don't want to buy a controller card, then this would be another option to consider.
  25. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    And no one is condemning your advice either, as we all know you have a lot of experience with computers and that the quality of your advice is generally very high, and much valued. As long as the user is aware of issues, and accepts them, then that is fine. As to Rick, and others, recommending the use of such software, then it's probably more a case of them mentioning the fact that such software exists, rather than them actually *recommending* it's use.

    I personally have never had a system stable for more than a few days using drive overlay software, so I am not a proponent of it. It is unpredictable, and your data really can be there one minute, and gone the next, simply because you chose to do something innocuous, such as install a new software application, or run windows update. Its all 'hit & miss', and way too risky for me to recommend to anyone.

    We all know how bad it can feel to lose all the data on a hard drive, so I personally would never recommend installing drive overlay software to anyone, though it does do its job, just not reliably.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...