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Hard drives with 4kb sector-size are now available

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#1
Guest_wsxedcrfv_*

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For background, see here: http://www.anandtech...doc.aspx?i=3691

Western Digital appears to be shipping a 1tb drive with 4kb sector-size (WD10EARS).

The article gives a bit of info about Windows compatibility - but (naturally) nothing regarding win-9x/me. It does say that XP probably won't be compatible with these drives.

I'm wondering if it's time to start stocking up on drives with 512 bytes/sector before they're no longer available ...

What would be necessary to make win-98 compatible with 4kb sector size?

How does FAT32 allow for 4kb sector size - or does it have to?


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#2
jaclaz

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What would be necessary to make win-98 compatible with 4kb sector size?

How does FAT32 allow for 4kb sector size - or does it have to?


AFAIK, there won't be a problem with Filesystems, the bootsector has a field for Sector size (or "Bytes per Sector"), but rather with a number of OS/apps that "assume" that a sector is 512 bytes.

Offset 0x0B is in FAT12/16/32 and NTFS a two bytes field (thus allowing as much as FFFF/65536 bytes per sector)

Of course it is very probable that a number of things may be bugged simply because they "ignore" this setting, as the 0002/512 has been there since the dawn of PC's.

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#3
Mijzelf

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 I think it will take a long time to fase out the 512 byte sectors. There are no compatible biosses, so you won't be able to boot from a 4k sector disk. The standard 'IBM-compatible' partition table relies on 512b sectors.

Maybe FAT32 is already compatible. I own a 1024 byte sectorsize usb-stick (actually an el-cheapo mp3 player), which is formatted FAT16. W98 has no problems accessing it.

But I couldn't create a partitiontable on it, using linux, while other usb sticks are no problem.

#4
rloew

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Windows 9x VFAT.VXD recognizes 512B, 1KB, 2KB and 4KB Sector sizes. How well it supports them will have to be tested.

I may rewrite my BOOTMAN and High Capacity Disk Patch (HCDP) to simulate 4KB Sectors to find out.

If Windows 9x does not support 4KB Sectors then I will develop a BOOTMAN and HCDP Package that will simulate 512B Sectors.
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#5
herbalist

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Unless I'm missing something here, 98 runs fine on drives formatted with 4KB clusters. When I repartitioned this unit with Partition Magic, I made the partition cluster size 4KB. 98 installed on it normally and runs fine.

#6
jaclaz

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Unless I'm missing something here, 98 runs fine on drives formatted with 4KB clusters. When I repartitioned this unit with Partition Magic, I made the partition cluster size 4KB. 98 installed on it normally and runs fine.


You are not missing anything, you are confusing sector size with cluster size. :w00t:

Which earns you a C- :ph34r:

And one hour in the corner behind the blackboard. ;)

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#7
Joseph_sw

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Of course it is very probable that a number of things may be bugged simply because they "ignore" this setting, as the 0002/512 has been there since the dawn of PC's.

jaclaz

I'm also curious whether IO.SYS really observes that bootsector setting, or simply 'ignores' it.

#8
rloew

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I have done some experimenting using a DDO that simulates a 4KB Logical Sector Hard Drive.

IO.SYS needs patches to increase some buffers to handle the larger Sectors and to recognize the Sector Length field in the Boot Sector's BPB.
I was able to manually setup a FAT16 partition on the Drive and use it. SCANDISK and CHKDSK appear to work properly.

Windows was unable to use it. Even before the GUI was loaded, I could see that it had miscomputed the FAT offset. Creating a FAT header at the miscomputed address did not help either.

It appears that it would be simpler for me to create a DDO that simulates a 512B Logical Sector Hard Drive when the 4KB Sector Hard Drives become generally available. I already have tools to minimize misaligned reads and writes.

Edited by rloew, 14 January 2010 - 07:25 PM.

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#9
rloew

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Completed DOS research.

FAT16 and FAT32 Filesystems can be used, and booted from, on a 4KB per Sector Hard Drive with only a few modifications to IO.SYS.
CHKDSK and SCANDISK appear to work normally. FORMAT does not.
I have upgraded my RFDISK Program and am updating my RFORMAT Program.
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#10
rloew

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With a few modifcations Windows 9X can handle 4KB Sector Hard Drives.

This allows Partitions up to 16TiB.

DOS can handle 16KB Sectors and up to 64TiB Partitions.
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#11
Multibooter

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With a few modifcations Windows 9X can handle 4KB Sector Hard Drives. This allows Partitions up to 16TiB. DOS can handle 16KB Sectors and up to 64TiB Partitions.

Which of the Win98-compatible partition-related software Partition Magic v8.01 Build 1274, Paragon Partition Manager v9.0.4156, Partition Table Doctor v3.5, Acronis Disk Director v10 build 2089 or Ghost v11.0.2 can handle 4kb sector size? System Commander can't according to their docu.

#12
rloew

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With a few modifcations Windows 9X can handle 4KB Sector Hard Drives. This allows Partitions up to 16TiB. DOS can handle 16KB Sectors and up to 64TiB Partitions.

Which of the Win98-compatible partition-related software Partition Magic v8.01 Build 1274, Paragon Partition Manager v9.0.4156, Partition Table Doctor v3.5, Acronis Disk Director v10 build 2089 or Ghost v11.0.2 can handle 4kb sector size? System Commander can't according to their docu.

I doubt that any of them can handle 4KB Logical Sector Drives. I upgraded my RFDISK and RFORMAT to support up to 16KB Logical Sectors.
Fortunately 4KB Logical Sector Drives are not likely to appear for some time.

The so called "Advanced Format" Drives from Western Digital use a 4KB Physical Sector internally but are still 512 Byte Logical Sector Drives.
These drives can be used with any software, but will not perform optimally if not aligned properly. Western Digital's Align Utility, or using the jumper on the Drive, only facilitate alignment. They only work for XP and above.

To use "Advanced Format" Drives with Windows 98 you can use any Partitioner, but will need a customized Formatter. I plan to add an alignment option to my RFORMAT Program to facilitate alignment.
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#13
bpalone

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With a few modifcations Windows 9X can handle 4KB Sector Hard Drives. This allows Partitions up to 16TiB. DOS can handle 16KB Sectors and up to 64TiB Partitions.

Which of the Win98-compatible partition-related software Partition Magic v8.01 Build 1274, Paragon Partition Manager v9.0.4156, Partition Table Doctor v3.5, Acronis Disk Director v10 build 2089 or Ghost v11.0.2 can handle 4kb sector size? System Commander can't according to their docu.

I doubt that any of them can handle 4KB Logical Sector Drives. I upgraded my RFDISK and RFORMAT to support up to 16KB Logical Sectors.
Fortunately 4KB Logical Sector Drives are not likely to appear for some time.

The so called "Advanced Format" Drives from Western Digital use a 4KB Physical Sector internally but are still 512 Byte Logical Sector Drives.
These drives can be used with any software, but will not perform optimally if not aligned properly. Western Digital's Align Utility, or using the jumper on the Drive, only facilitate alignment. They only work for XP and above.

To use "Advanced Format" Drives with Windows 98 you can use any Partitioner, but will need a customized Formatter. I plan to add an alignment option to my RFORMAT Program to facilitate alignment.


I know this is a 98 forum. But, your comment "They only work for XP and above." begs the question... how about 2K? Just wondering, as it is one of my oses, that I intend to keep and use for those instances I need Windows. Maybe, I should start laying up some drives if 2K will have issues. Thanks in advance.

#14
rloew

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With a few modifcations Windows 9X can handle 4KB Sector Hard Drives. This allows Partitions up to 16TiB. DOS can handle 16KB Sectors and up to 64TiB Partitions.

Which of the Win98-compatible partition-related software Partition Magic v8.01 Build 1274, Paragon Partition Manager v9.0.4156, Partition Table Doctor v3.5, Acronis Disk Director v10 build 2089 or Ghost v11.0.2 can handle 4kb sector size? System Commander can't according to their docu.

I doubt that any of them can handle 4KB Logical Sector Drives. I upgraded my RFDISK and RFORMAT to support up to 16KB Logical Sectors.
Fortunately 4KB Logical Sector Drives are not likely to appear for some time.

The so called "Advanced Format" Drives from Western Digital use a 4KB Physical Sector internally but are still 512 Byte Logical Sector Drives.
These drives can be used with any software, but will not perform optimally if not aligned properly. Western Digital's Align Utility, or using the jumper on the Drive, only facilitate alignment. They only work for XP and above.

To use "Advanced Format" Drives with Windows 98 you can use any Partitioner, but will need a customized Formatter. I plan to add an alignment option to my RFORMAT Program to facilitate alignment.


I know this is a 98 forum. But, your comment "They only work for XP and above." begs the question... how about 2K? Just wondering, as it is one of my oses, that I intend to keep and use for those instances I need Windows. Maybe, I should start laying up some drives if 2K will have issues. Thanks in advance.

I don't use 2K so I have no idea. Western Digital does not list 2K in it's compatability list.
As I said, the current Drives only have Sector alignment issues, so a suitable formatter will work. I have already upgraded my RFORMAT Program to properly align Partitions for use with Windows 9X. It may work for 2K as well.

4KB Logical Sector Drivers are not yet available. They will probably break most OSes as well as most BIOSes. So I doubt they will be coming soon.

Edited by rloew, 16 April 2010 - 02:20 AM.

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#15
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Are RFDISK and RFORMAT in a release state? Your profile still points to geocities.

#16
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I know this is a 98 forum. But, your comment "They only work for XP and above." begs the question... how about 2K? Just wondering, as it is one of my oses, that I intend to keep and use for those instances I need Windows. Maybe, I should start laying up some drives if 2K will have issues. Thanks in advance.


I'm glad you brought up the subject of Win 2K with these so-called "advanced format" drives (great comment BTW-I think of them as "so-called" as well). I searched the Internet in vain for a comment or posting concerning Win2K and these drives. Absolutely no mention till your post, even in the 2K forum here.

I find it laughable that WD's press releases (Dec. 2009) on these so-called "advanced" drives calls Windows XP a "legacy OS", when it's right now the most popular O/S in the world! (Granted, 7 will take the lead in a few years but for right now, XP is at the top of the heap).

Since I am a very intentional 2K/98 user, I too am concerned about this very obvious push towards 7, making everything older than Vista a "legacy O/S".

#17
rloew

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Are RFDISK and RFORMAT in a release state? Your profile still points to geocities.

I have corrected my Profile so it points to my Website redirector.

I haven't created Demos, so they are both listed in my Prerelease and Beta Section.

I provide free updates on all Products.
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#18
rloew

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I found the Buffer limitation that limited DOS to 16KB Sectors, My Patched IO.SYS now supports 32KB Logical Sector Devices.
This brings the largest FAT32 Partition to 128TiB, largest FAT16 to 512GiB and largest FAT12 to 32GiB.
With 24 Partitions, DOS can manage 3PiB, while Windows 9X can manage 384TiB.
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#19
Mijzelf

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With 24 Partitions

How is the partition table organized? The original IBM partitiontable is not usable, is it? Is there another way to define a partition on an internal (boot) harddisk?

#20
jaclaz

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With 24 Partitions

How is the partition table organized? The original IBM partitiontable is not usable, is it? Is there another way to define a partition on an internal (boot) harddisk?

Why not? :unsure:
The 24 is given by the 26 letters of the alphabet - A - B (reserved for floppies).
You can have 24 partitions allright normally:
  • 3 Primaries
  • 21 Volumes inside Extended

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#21
rloew

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The 24 Partitions don't have to be on one drive either.
My current prototype DDO is limited to 512TiB, so I would need six drives with four Partitions each to support 3PiB.
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#22
Mijzelf

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With 24 Partitions

How is the partition table organized? The original IBM partitiontable is not usable, is it? Is there another way to define a partition on an internal (boot) harddisk?

Why not? :unsure:

I'm under the impression that the default partition table is depends on a 512 byte sectorsize.

I have already done the reverse (split one large hard drive into smaller drives) in the experimental versions of my High Capacity Disk Patch for Hard Drives larger than 2200GB. A matching DOS DDO, similar to my BOOTMAN packages, will be required for DOS support and to pass the protected mode validation precedure in the IOS.VXD and ESDI_506.PDR code.

Wouldn't is be more elegant to increase the sectorsize, instead of splitting the drive? AFAIK the sectorsize doesn't need to be 512 bytes, and since FAT32 creates clusters of at least 4kB, sectors could get this size without any penalty.

More elegant maybe, but it would require a major redesign. A new partition table format would be required making it incompatable with all existing operationg systems.

I own a 1024 byte sectorsize usb-stick (actually an el-cheapo mp3 player), which is formatted FAT16. W98 has no problems accessing it.

But I couldn't create a partitiontable on it, using linux, while other usb sticks are no problem.



#23
rloew

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With 24 Partitions

How is the partition table organized? The original IBM partitiontable is not usable, is it? Is there another way to define a partition on an internal (boot) harddisk?

Why not? :unsure:

I'm under the impression that the default partition table is depends on a 512 byte sectorsize.

A standard Partition Table and Boot Sector Data are 512 Bytes, but the size of the Sector is not important. The rest will just be ignored.

I have already done the reverse (split one large hard drive into smaller drives) in the experimental versions of my High Capacity Disk Patch for Hard Drives larger than 2200GB. A matching DOS DDO, similar to my BOOTMAN packages, will be required for DOS support and to pass the protected mode validation precedure in the IOS.VXD and ESDI_506.PDR code.

Wouldn't is be more elegant to increase the sectorsize, instead of splitting the drive? AFAIK the sectorsize doesn't need to be 512 bytes, and since FAT32 creates clusters of at least 4kB, sectors could get this size without any penalty.

Three years ago I was not as familiar with the internals of IO.SYS and VFAT.VXD. I was not aware that their code could be adapted without a major rewrite.
As it is, several modifications were required to both of them and IOS.VXD as well. This still tops out at 16TiB of course.

More elegant maybe, but it would require a major redesign. A new partition table format would be required making it incompatable with all existing operationg systems.

Subsequently I developed a modified Partition table Format to get past 2TiB, but the caveat above still applies.

I own a 1024 byte sectorsize usb-stick (actually an el-cheapo mp3 player), which is formatted FAT16. W98 has no problems accessing it.

But I couldn't create a partitiontable on it, using linux, while other usb sticks are no problem.


Unmodified VFAT.VXD and the 32-Bit portion of IOS.VXD can handle up to 2KB Sectors, so it is possible that an 1KB Sector USB Device would work.
I would be interested in more details about that MP3 Player. My latest RFDISK Program should be able to Partition it.
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#24
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RLoew, since you've studied IO.SYS possibly more deeply than anyone else here, could you perhaps write a standalone decompressor for Win ME's IO.SYS, please? :angel I was on the verge of doing it myself several times, but never found continuous spare time enough to actually do it. It would be of great help to develop and/or port patches to Win ME's IO.SYS. And would also help settling (in case anything can settle it) an open discussion elsewhere, as well! :D

#25
rloew

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RLoew, since you've studied IO.SYS possibly more deeply than anyone else here, could you perhaps write a standalone decompressor for Win ME's IO.SYS, please? :angel I was on the verge of doing it myself several times, but never found continuous spare time enough to actually do it. It would be of great help to develop and/or port patches to Win ME's IO.SYS. And would also help settling (in case anything can settle it) an open discussion elsewhere, as well! :D

I have been concentrating on the Windows 98 IO.SYS, mainly the Boot sequence and the resident code.
I took a quick look at the ME IO.SYS. It appears to only load the initial 2K block uncompressed. The decompressor should be inside.
IO.SYS loads itself in multiple stages so analysis is difficult. I am still looking at the loading sequence for the Windows 98 Version to see if it can be made bootable with larger sectors and/or 64KB or larger Clusters.
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