SDHC cards are removable media, comparable to Jaz, zip and plain floppy disks, in sizes currently from 1-32GB. Now is the last moment to buy card readers which have manufacturer-provided Win98 drivers, eventually they will be gone. I don't expect large capacity USB-sticks with manufacturer-provided Win98 drivers to be available in 1-2 years, but SDHC cards for your Win98-compatible card reader will be around for many more years. The media wears out, maybe after writing 10.000 times the capacity of the card/stick.
How to buy an SDHC card reader for Win98
1) The box of the card reader MUST have the logo "SD HC ready", otherwise the reader will probably not work with cards >2GB. SDHC is a different format, it is not SD 1.0 http://en.wikipedia....re_Digital_card The websites usually do not indicate whether a card reader is SDHC ready or not, you have to look at the box in the store.
2) The box should also list Win98SE as system requirement, but this is not reliable: the manufacturer-provided drivers of most SDHC card readers described as for Win98 wouldn't work. It is amazing how many models come in boxes with "Windows 98" printed as system requirement, but then the provided driver doesn't work. When manufacturers started to switch over some time ago to SDHC-compatible chips, they may have put the new chips into the same old enclosures and boxes, which still said "Windows 98". The hama 55310 for example has V1, V2 and V3, each with a different chip inside.
3) An included mini-CD, with the Win98 driver on it, is the best indication that the card reader works under Win98. But careful: one card reader came with a mini-CD, but had only software on it, not a Win98 driver
4) Multi-card or single-card reader? A multi-card reader has several slots and uses up several drive letters (in most cases 4), so you may only want to own one. Single-card readers, on the other hand, use only one drive letter and usually have only one slot. You may want to own several single-card readers, but all different models/makes (exactly: different VID/PID), so that you can use them at the same time, as additional storage media. 32 GB SDHC cards, for example, are still substantially more expensive than 2x16GB SDHC cards, so using 2 single-card readers may save you money. The MSI card reader is a hybrid, it has several slots for different types of cards, but it uses up only a single drive letter, the best solution because drive letters get scarce if you use many partitions and USB mass storage devices.
List of Top Card Readers (SDHC compatible, working manufacturer-provided drivers for Win98SE)
1) MSI StarReader mini II (single-card reader) VID=04CF PID=9920 (Myson Century)
http://global.msi.co...mp;prod_no=1161 , which comes with a very handy USB extension cable and can also accept SIM cards of your mobile phone. It also includes SIM card editing software (under WinXP). It is a single card reader, with 5 slots for different card types. It's sturdy, the big metal ring around it can be removed easily. The MSI Win98 driver on the mini-CD also includes an Adaptec ASPI Installer. Currently my TOP CHOICE as a single-card reader.
2) hama Easy Line 55745 (multi-card reader with built-in USB hub) VID=05E3 PID=070E (Genesys)
Not listed at the hama website.
The Genesys driver of the card reader adds 4 drive letters to My Computer, each one nicely identifyable by specially marked 2-state-icons (card inserted/no card) CF, SM, SD and MS. You easily get around a multiple-drive-letter bug, which occurs only when you use other Genesys-driven USB devices, by plugging them into the built-in hub (the cause of the bug is unclear, it may be a MS Windows bug or a bug of the Genesys driver). Very sturdy construction. The Genesys driver has its own safely-remove-utility in the system tray. The hama 55745 complements the MSI card reader very nicely (SmartMedia, CompactFlash).
3) Wintech CardReader SR-06 (single-card reader)
2 identical-looking models but with different chips inside, VID=05E3 PID=0717 and VID=05E3 PID=0723 (both Genesys)
The Win98 driver from their website didn't work, use the Genesys driver from the Toolbox, with manually updated VID/PID
Pro: sturdy construction; 2-state-icons of Genesys driver. Cons: It does not have a protective enclosure of the inserted SDHC card; the SDHC card is inserted at the side of the reader, instead of at the back and may block the USB connector next to it; you have to manually add 2 lines to the .inf driver file.
Toolbox for SDHC cards
1) Panasonic SD Formatter v188.8.131.52 (for WinXP, does not work under Win98SE)
To restore an elsewhere formatted card to a fast, near-original factory condition, especially after having used other partitioning and formatting software. Can be downloaded from http://panasonic.jp/...tp/sdfv2003.exe The Panasonic Formatter creates a single partition on SD/SDHC cards and formats it, only very few choices possible.
2) Manufacturer-provided Win98 drivers (alphabetically by chip manufacturer):
Myson Century http://download1.msi...mini2_Win98.zip
Realtek Semiconductor http://www.cnsupport...ader/popart.zip
US Best no download location found yet (I wasn't looking), driver is on the mini-CD which came with the multi-card reader hama 55350 with the SN 32822630800 on the box
3) ChipGenius v2.64 (for WinXP, does not work under Win98)
Displays info about USB devices including SD/SDHC card readers, incl. Vendor ID, Product ID, USB serial number. The displayed Vendor ID and Product ID may be used to manually update .INF files of manufacturer-provided drivers. For some card readers it identifies the chip used. Does not tell whether a card reader works with SDHC or just with SD cards. Very handy for documenting your card readers: in contrast to ListUsbDrives v1.7.8, the displayed info can be transferred into your notes with copy & paste. No installation, just double-click on the .exe Download location: http://www.mydigit.c.../chipgenius.rar
4) Reggel's List of card readers http://www.hjreggel....fo-readers.html
For information about chips inside card readers, more reliable than ChipGenius, but use ChipGenius to get the VID/PID. Careful, card readers with the same model number may come with different chips, but then they should also have a different VID/PID.
Also useful for finding additional card readers which use the same Win98 driver, but have a different VID/PID (so that you can use them at the same time)
5) USB extension cord
A USB extension cord (not a USB connection cable) allows you to have your SDHC card reader in your hands while inserting or removing the tiny but expensive SDHC or micro-SDHC cards. If your SDHC card reader is directly connected to your PC, not via an extension cord, you may have to creep under your desk to insert or remove SDHC cards. Also, the USB connector of your motherboard might get worn out when the card reader gets moved upwards, downwards or sideways while you insert or remove SDHC cards. Then there is the risk of electrostatic damage while fiddling around at a USB port of your precious/irreplaceable Win98 compatible motherboard; the USB port is one of the components of the motherboard which is most susceptible to damage.
6) HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool v2.18 (runs under WinXP, not under Win98SE)
To make an SD/SDHC card bootable. By selecting in this "HP Format Tool" the boot file on a floppy, one can possibly create an SD/SDHC card which boots into the XYZ operating system. I can create only a single partition on SD/SDHC cards and probably does not adhere to the SD Memory Card Specification since it was made for HP flash sticks, so your SDHC card will become much slower. Can be downloaded from http://www.bay-wolf....bmemkeyboot.zip
7) Paragon Partition Manager 9.0 RecoveryCD v8.08 (CD with its own Linux operating system)
Creates the fastest multi-partition SDHC cards in town, if you leave the boot record by Panasonic Formatter in its own partition.
8) Hitachi Filter Driver v3.20 (runs under WinXP, not under Win98SE)
To access, under WinXP, multiple partitions created under Win98 on an SDHC card. On removable media WinXP can access only the first partition, it cannot access data on other partitions. By setting a specific SDHC card reader as "fixed" under WinXP, the Hitachi Filter Driver allows you to access data on other partitions. Can be downloaded from http://www.uwe-siebe...rvr1224_320.zip Good instructions on how to modify the WinXP registry for the Hitachi Filter Driver are on http://www.uwe-siebe...ml#partitioning Once you have entered these lines into the WinXP registry, the so-identified SDHC card reader will always be seen under WinXP as a fixed drive.
9) Hard Disk Drive Low Level Format Tool v2.36 (runs under WinXP, not under Win98SE)
For your privacy. Can be used for low-level formatting of SDHC and flash cards. Wipes SDHC cards including partitions and MBR. After wiping an SDHC card with it, a msg pops up: "Low-level format is done. You will have to create partitions and format this drive." Use the Panasonic SDFormatter, not WinXP for formatting/partitioning. Freeware, can be downloaded from http://hddguru.com/c...el-Format-Tool/
10) Special multi-partition card reader for WinXP
In my own toolbox I have a separate card reader on which I pasted a label "multi-partition card reader WinXP". I have entered the details of this card reader into the WinXP registry (see Hitachi Filter Driver). With this card reader I can access under WinXP the data on all partitions of an SDHC card. This special multi-partition card reader "unhides" under XP data which is visible/accessible under Win98.
11) Disk flusher Sync v2.2 by Mark Russinovich of SysInternals (Win98 and WinXP)
Is a near-substitute of a Safely-Remove-Hardware utility in the System Tray, for removable devices which do not have their own(e.g.the emtec SDHC card readers). Also to make sure that modified data on an SDHC card is safely stored, e.g. in case of frequently hung systems or frequent power failures. Can be downloaded from http://technet.micro...s/bb897438.aspx
ListUsbDrives v1.7.8 (for WinXP, does not work under Win98)
Displays info about an USB SD/SDHC card reader, incl. Vendor ID, Product ID, USB serial number.
Indicates the string to be placed into the registry for making an SDHC card appear fixed under WinXP with the Hitachi Filter Driver v3.20 Download location: http://www.uwe-siebe...stusbdrives.zip
Items removed from the front page can be found here: http://www.msfn.org/...o...st&p=806633
No unique USB serial number
One cannot use 2 USB card readers of the same make and model at the same time since they have the same USB serial number. I could not find a card reader model where each individual reader sold had a different unique USB serial number.
Several SDHC card readers in a USB hub
I wanted to use several card readers at the same time, plugged into a 7-port-USB hub - but this would work only if they were all different models with different USB serial numbers. So this is another reason to buy several Win98-compatible card readers of different makes: to be able to use several card readers at the same time.
When SDHC cards have become cheap and faster, I could imagine using 7 USB card readers connected via a USB hub to Win98, giving a max. of 7*32GB=224GB hi-speed. Because of the requirement to have different Vendor ID/Device ID/USB serial number for simultaneous use, it is essential to get feedback for the list of card readers above with working Win98 drivers.
SDHC card readers and eMule
Software which requires huge directories could use such a group of card readers. eMule, for example, already allows multiple directories/disk drives for its Temporary files. eMule has worked fine with a 2nd \Temp\ directory on a 4GB SDHC card (class 4), connected to an old USB 1.1 port.
Edited by Multibooter, 02 December 2008 - 12:38 PM.