TELVM

Resurrecting a 1999-Vintage Win98SE Machine

80 posts in this topic

Any help in making this dinosaur function properly will be appreciated :hello: .

In those last years of the XX century when this machine was born I knew little about software, and very little about hardware, so this is gonna be a challenging archaeo-compu-logical exercise for me :) . I'll use this PC initially to play DOS and Win9x games, but later I'd like to add some more serious function, maybe with WinXP on another partition (although I expect people in this forum to convince me to remain in Win98 :lol: ).

The hardware

- Mobo: Tekram P6BX-An (chipset Intel 440BX)

- CPU: Pentium II Deschutes 350MHz/FSB100

- RAM: 768 MB (3x256 SDRAM 133MHz)

- GPU: Riva TNT2 64 32MB AGP

- HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 120GB

- 1x DVD drive

- 1x 3.5" diskette drive

The SO: Windows 98SE (spanish language version)

After many years peacefully sleeping in hibernation, the venerable machine is again alive & looking for trouble :thumbup :

7770509.jpg

And the first problem is ... 32GB HDD limit.

To fully use the 120GB HDD (currently jumpered to 32GB) I understand there are two hurdles in the road:

1) Award BIOS pre-summer '99 bug (32GB)

2) Fdisk.exe limit (64GB)

I've got a fresher v1.08 BIOS version for up to 128GB HDD. I've also got some different versions of the AWDFLASH.EXE utility. The maneouver is explained at the end of the mobo manual, here:

Mobo Tekram P6BX-An MANUAL.pdf

I remember that in those days flashing BIOS was a bit like playing russian roulette :ph34r: , so if anyone more experienced could recommend the fail-safest procedure, which version of AWDFLASH.EXE would be best for this mobo, etc. may be I don't crash jumping the first hurdle :unsure: .

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I remember that in those days flashing BIOS was a bit like playing russian roulette :ph34r: , so if anyone more experienced could recommend the fail-safest procedure, which version of AWDFLASH.EXE would be best for this mobo, etc. may be I don't crash jumping the first hurdle :unsure: .

Not really.

As long as you do it from "pure" DOS and make a backup of previous BIOS, it is not a particularly "error prone" procedure.

OF COURSE doing this - or any similar task - on a system not connected to an UPS, is a bit like playing with russian roulette.

The "real" troubles came with MB's that used a program under Windows to flash the BIOS.

jaclaz

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And the first problem is ... 32GB HDD limit.

To fully use the 120GB HDD (currently jumpered to 32GB) I understand there are two hurdles in the road:

1) Award BIOS pre-summer '99 bug (32GB)

2) Fdisk.exe limit (64GB)

I've got a fresher v1.08 BIOS version for up to 128GB HDD. I've also got some different versions of the AWDFLASH.EXE utility. The maneouver is explained at the end of the mobo manual, here:

Mobo Tekram P6BX-An MANUAL.pdf

I remember that in those days flashing BIOS was a bit like playing russian roulette :ph34r: , so if anyone more experienced could recommend the fail-safest procedure, which version of AWDFLASH.EXE would be best for this mobo, etc. may be I don't crash jumping the first hurdle :unsure: .

I have a Tyan S1590, circa 1998. I flashed the newer BIOS to eliminate the 32GB limit. I later Patched the BIOS to handle more than 128GB and provided a dynamically loaded BIOS for Experimenting.

Flashing BIOSes is still Russian Roulette. The best suggestion is to use an UPS to prevent power issues from interrupting the Flash.

I would save the old BIOS using the AWDFLASH Program before Flashing the new one. Save it on another Computer.

You may want to prepare a Floppy that can Flash the old version automatically. If the new Flash fails, you may be able to redo the Flash using the Floppy but you will see nothing and have no control over the process.

I don't think the AWDFLASH Version is too important as long as it recognizes the BIOS chip and the BIOS software. It may affect the setup of the Floppy mentioned above.

You can always try one and see if it offers to actually do the Flash, at which point you can decline.

The EZ-DRIVE DDO can overcome the 32GB Limit without updating the BIOS. My BOOTMAN DDO can also do this and it supports up to 2TiB.

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Thanks for helping, but first of all there is a surreal problem :wacko: . The dinosaur can't read from USB thumb drives, seems some USB drivers need to be installed previously.

As it is not connected to internet, and no other comp at hand has floppy disk drive, I was planning to feed it files from USB flash drives. Guess the mobo came originally with some CD including USB drivers, but now it is MIA. Perhaps these Intel drivers for 440BX chipset could do the job? I could download them in other comp, burn to a compact disk, and feed the dino from the CD driver.

What do you plan to do with this computer?

Play old DOS and Win9x era games mainly, then perhaps some light internet browsing (mail, forums, wikipedia, stuff like that; no movies or heavy duty).

Edited by TELVM
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Thanks for helping, but first of all there is a surreal problem :wacko: . The dinosaur can't read from USB thumb drives, seems some USB drivers need to be installed previously.

As it is not connected to internet, and no other comp at hand has floppy disk drive, I was planning to feed it files from USB flash drives. Guess the mobo came originally with some CD including USB drivers, but now it is MIA. Perhaps these Intel drivers for 440BX chipset could do the job? I could download them in other comp, burn to a compact disk, and feed the dino from the CD driver.

Unless you have Win98 drivers for your USB Flash drives, you will need to install NUSB to get them working. Windows 98 has native USB 1.1 support for the controllers, but not for storage devices.

NUSB Thread

NUSB 3.3 English (Not the last version, but the links to 3.5 are broken and 3.3 will be fine for your project.)

Here's a link to a Spanish version of NUSB 3.3.

EDIT:

Added link to Spanish version. I don't know where my mind was. :wacko:

Edited by LoneCrusader
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Here's a link to a Spanish version of NUSB 3.3.

Thanks a lot for helping LoneCrusader. However after installing NUSB 3.3 the dino still refuses to recognize any of my thumb flash drives :no: . May the problem be that all the flash drives I try are USB 2.0, and this board can only work with USB 1.0? Could it help somehow formatting the flash drives in FAT16?

On the bright side of life I managed to reflash the Award BIOS without triggering the revolver :lol: , so if it works as advertised the board should now be able to exploit the full 120GB in the HDD.

But now comes the second hurdle: I understand that Win98SE's fdisk.exe is limited to 64GB. Do you recommend using uncle Bill's solution? The HDD is currently jumpered to limit it to 32GB, and Win98SE is installed in a 32GB FAT32 partition in C: .

Can I now just de-jumper the HDD and create a new partition (say E:) with improved fdisk or another tool, on the 'rediscovered' 88 GB?

Or would it be better to re-format completely the HDD and reinstall Win98SE?

By the way, I've captured some images of the BIOS. I haven't the foggiest on how some parameters should be set :lol: , so if you see some absurd or catastrophic setting please advice.

7778493.jpg 7778498.jpg 7778500.jpg 7778505.jpg

7778513.jpg 7778517.jpg 7778521.jpg 7778528.jpg

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First of all: Disable "Antivirus Protection" on the BIOS, at least while you work on the disk. That option prevents one from modifying the sector 1 ( = LBA 0), and causes a lot of grief until it dawns on one it's set.

As for partitioning, I do recommend The Ranish Partition Manager v. 2.44. Notice that it's a program that causes strong emotions: people either love it (as I do) or hate it...

Do a forum search for "Ranish" and set the seach engine to return posts not threads, and you'll see what I mean, and also will find numerous posts about how to use it.

One of those posts is the one I quote below, that summarizes the existing options.

And the limit of Petr's fixed FDISK (based on the FDISK contained in this update: KB263044, which has a numerical display bug) is 512 GB, according to Microsoft (KB280737), and confirmed in the present thread. Suitable alternatives are The Ranish Partition Manager, although it is not adequate to format the partitions it creates, because of defaulting to 16 kiB clusters, or the Free FDISK v. 1.2.1, or Symantec's GDISK (not free), or RLoew's RFDISK (not free).

The Ranish Partition Manager, although it is not adequate to format the partitions it creates, because of defaulting to 16 kiB, still remains the best free partitioning tool. Nowadays, I'm convinced v. 2.44 is the best one to use. However, until recently, the only free formatting tool I knew of that's capable of reformatting using a user defined sectors-per-cluster number, regardless of how the partition was originally formatted, was Ridgecrop's fat32format (which is needs a NT-family OS to work), since the undocumented /Z switch of the MS Format refuses to work. This may have changed, thanks to Udo Kuhnt and his DR-DOS/OpenDOS Enhancement Project!

As an afterthought: I'd give that machine a Pentium III (it's faster and has SSE). Nowadays it's quite inexpensive and you can probably find one that's a pin-to-pin compatible drop-in replacement to your current Pentium II.

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Thanks a lot for helping LoneCrusader. However after installing NUSB 3.3 the dino still refuses to recognize any of my thumb flash drives :no: . May the problem be that all the flash drives I try are USB 2.0, and this board can only work with USB 1.0? Could it help somehow formatting the flash drives in FAT16?

All of the USB 2.0 flash drives I have encountered are backward-compatible and will work with USB 1.1 hardware & speeds. I suppose some may exist that are not, but I'll have to leave that on the table for others more experienced with such things. :unsure:

What filesystem are you using on your flash drives? If they are NTFS, Windows 9x will not read them without other modifications. FAT32 or FAT16 either one should work fine however.

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NUSB35e :)

MD5: 86073921EBDAB9B75F4F50847E85CEFE CRC32: 6CA5320E

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First of all: Disable "Antivirus Protection" on the BIOS, at least while you work on the disk. That option prevents one from modifying the sector 1 ( = LBA 0), and causes a lot of grief until it dawns on one it's set.

Thanks Dencorso, I disabled that prior to flashing BIOS following advice on the procedure elsewhere in the net. The board now 'can see' the full 120GB in the HDD, I'll try the Ranish utility.

As an afterthought: I'd give that machine a Pentium III (it's faster and has SSE). Nowadays it's quite inexpensive and you can probably find one that's a pin-to-pin compatible drop-in replacement to your current Pentium II.

Now that you mention it, as a matter of fact I started the resurrection with a Coppermine 733/133 ... which unfortunately was mortally wounded when the old & cheap PSU that came with the dino went up in smoke the first time I plugged to the wall :realmad: . Luckily the mobo and the RAM survived the holocaust, but the PIII was KIA :( . I kicked off into jovian orbit the ******* saboteur PSU, installed a decent one, and inserted the nex best vintage CPU at hand.

The Deschutes 350/100 mounts the L2 cache externally at half speed, and lacks SSE, but I'm surprised how decently this old soldier performs . It even overclocks stably to 426/122 without fiddling with the voltage :D .

Better fossils are coming, including a couple slotckets to expand the potential CPU possibilities ;) .

All of the USB 2.0 flash drives I have encountered are backward-compatible and will work with USB 1.1 hardware & speeds. I suppose some may exist that are not, but I'll have to leave that on the table for others more experienced with such things.

None of several 2.0 flash drives I've tried is recognized, so I think the problem, whatever it is, comes from the dino :( .

What filesystem are you using on your flash drives? If they are NTFS, Windows 9x will not read them without other modifications. FAT32 or FAT16 either one should work fine however.

I've tried formatting the flash drives with FAT32 and FAT16 and no joy. I'm aware Win98 can't understand NTFS.

NUSB35e

MD5: 86073921EBDAB9B75F4F50847E85CEFE CRC32: 6CA5320E

My russian is very limited and Google translator refuses that page, could that be USB drivers for Win98?

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Depending on the cost (Slocket+Socket370) you may want to stick with the Slot-1 (if you can find one). There's not that much difference between the Socket and Slot versions.

440BX... eh... not too bad for old chipset. Memory limited usually to 512mb.

CPU-World CUmine

I recently dumped my Slot-1 MoBo's and CPU's (recycled for a song) because the MoBos were OEM. All I have left now is an old HP NetServer Dual 550's (and a single spare), amazingly BIOS allows up to 4x256mb RAM.

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Sure. NUSB35e is the english version of latest version of Maximus Decim's Native USB drivers for Win 98SE.

Another thought: your board is said to have USB 1.0 support. Although any current USB 2.0 pendrive does support USB 1.1 and 1.0, the motherboard may come with some blorked version of USB 1.0 that's too much for the pendrives... and, in any case, is way too slow. Consider adding an add-on PCI USB 2.0 card (preferably one that adds 4 ports), if at all possible.

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By the way, I've captured some images of the BIOS. I haven't the foggiest on how some parameters should be set :lol: , so if you see some absurd or catastrophic setting please advice.

Boot Up Floppy Seek can be Disabled for a quieter boot.

Memory Hole at 15M-16M can be Disabled.

Auto Detect DIMM/PCI Clk should probably be Enabled for stability until you're ready to start tweaking.

Spread Spectrum can be Enabled to reduce radio and television interference.

The -5v supply is reading: -61.93v :blink:

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The -5v supply is reading: -61.93v :blink:

Don't worry! It's just an open -5V. This quote from one thread elsewhere seems appropriate:

Ok update from Opus on the -61V issue:

"Our power supplies don't have -5V. What you see is noise."

Looking back at the Opus 150W manual confirms that there is only +3.3V, +5V, +12V, and -12V. So, the -61V on the -5V seems to be a non-issue...

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