98SE

RLoew's non-XMS Ramdisk and related Software

110 posts in this topic

On 5/26/2017 at 5:54 PM, rloew said:

I am not aware of any problems with my non-XMS RAMDisk on modern systems. I had no problem using a 29GB RAMDisk with my Z87 Motherboard.

You can PM or E-Mail me or post in the 95/98/ME forum for further discussion.

My Extended MBR and GPT can be combined. Using my Multi-Boot Profile MBR, they can be used even with systems that do no support Hybrid GPT.

Native 4K Drives, unless provided with a Jumper or other option, are probably years away. I don't know about Internal Drives, but many BIOSes cannot recognize 4K USB Drives.

Patched Windows 98SE will boot from these disks as well as Windows 8 and 10, but XP, Vista, and 7 will not.

I found this from an earlier posting to me.  Your non-XMS Ramdrive only had 29GB of 32GB after booting into 98SE DOS?  Where has the loss of 3GB gone to?

On the Z87 have you tested booting up a 98SE DOS disk and did the standard himem.sys inside config.sys load properly?

On the Z170 himem.sys no longer functions so there is no more HMA so you will need a conventional memory Ramdrive program unless you are able to test on a Z170 or want me to test for you.  I think Intel has broken compatibility.  I also noticed Windows XP has a loss of over 1GB of usable OS memory on Skylake.

When you say your Multi-Boot Profile MBR will not boot from XP, Vista, and 7.  What about just the 98SE DOS can it still boot on these drives?  What about the 2000 / XP boot loader can it get to that screen?  And if so what about the Vista / W7 boot loader?

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1 hour ago, 98SE said:

I found this from an earlier posting to me.  Your non-XMS Ramdrive only had 29GB of 32GB after booting into 98SE DOS?  Where has the loss of 3GB gone to?

On the Z87 have you tested booting up a 98SE DOS disk and did the standard himem.sys inside config.sys load properly?

On the Z170 himem.sys no longer functions so there is no more HMA so you will need a conventional memory Ramdrive program unless you are able to test on a Z170 or want me to test for you.  I think Intel has broken compatibility.  I also noticed Windows XP has a loss of over 1GB of usable OS memory on Skylake.

When you say your Multi-Boot Profile MBR will not boot from XP, Vista, and 7.  What about just the 98SE DOS can it still boot on these drives?  What about the 2000 / XP boot loader can it get to that screen?  And if so what about the Vista / W7 boot loader?

You mixed two very different quotes.

The Z87 split the 32GiB of RAM into 3GiB of 32-Bit RAM and 29GiB of 64-Bit RAM. The 64-Bit non-XMS RAMDisk used the 29GiB. I could have added a 32-Bit non-XMS RAMDisk up to 3GiB as well.

Standard HIMEM.SYS works with the Z87. Otherwise I would not have been able to run 98SE.

My non-XMS RAMDisks do not require HIMEM.SYS to work.

I never said my Multi-Boot Profile MBR would not boot XP, Vista or 7. I am running XP from it right now. I said XP, Vista and 7 cannot be Booted from a Native 4KB Hard Drive, with or without my MBR.
My modified DOS and 98SE can be booted from a Native 4KB Hard Drive. Windows 8 and 10 claim to be able to boot and should work with my MBR.

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1 hour ago, rloew said:

You mixed two very different quotes.

The Z87 split the 32GiB of RAM into 3GiB of 32-Bit RAM and 29GiB of 64-Bit RAM. The 64-Bit non-XMS RAMDisk used the 29GiB. I could have added a 32-Bit non-XMS RAMDisk up to 3GiB as well.

Standard HIMEM.SYS works with the Z87. Otherwise I would not have been able to run 98SE.

My non-XMS RAMDisks do not require HIMEM.SYS to work.

I never said my Multi-Boot Profile MBR would not boot XP, Vista or 7. I am running XP from it right now. I said XP, Vista and 7 cannot be Booted from a Native 4KB Hard Drive, with or without my MBR.
My modified DOS and 98SE can be booted from a Native 4KB Hard Drive. Windows 8 and 10 claim to be able to boot and should work with my MBR.

Yes Dual Birds Stone Method. That clears up the 29GB.  So no way to do a straight 32GB or larger Ramdrive sized based on 32-bit?  What about that PAE mode that is used in 2K3 to achieve 64GB?  Is there some DOS equivalent use of getting it up to 64GB in one contiguous segment or a way to bridge the 3GB onto the 29GB seamlessly in case you want to maximize the DOS Ramdrive?

No need for Himem.sys for non XMS Ramdrive is good.  But still unsure of its usability on Skylake two generations above yours if normal Himem.sys can't even load.  Why did you say, "Otherwise I would not have been able to run 98SE"?  98 doesn't require himem.sys when booting into the OS or are you needing that for something?

Yes I understood it was in relation to the Native 4K HD.  But I wanted to know could you even get to the 2K, XP, and Vista bootloader menu in your tests on such drives?

If you created a small 2GB FAT16 partition for the 98SE boot partition the bootloader would reside on the C:.

I'm using 8TB drives on XP with no issues.  Next stage will be 16TB.  Max should be 17.6TB MBR for XP.  It may seem like a lot but 140.8TB would have been a better capacity limit.

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Posted (edited)

I could combine the two regions into one RAMDisk if enough customers requested it.
Of course that would leave no room for anything else.
It is not limited to 32GiB. That is the largest RAM I have.
The limit is 63GiB or 1023GiB depending upon Processor. The RAMDisk uses PSE not PAE.

Windows 9x does require HIMEM.SYS or an alternative. It is not needed in CONFIG.SYS as IO.SYS will load it automatically if not specified.

I never tested 2K, XP or Vista with my 4KB emulator. I doubt that they would even Install.
Since the emulator is only for Real Mode, the Sectors would not correspond to those seen in Protected Mode.
I had to add a matching 4K emulator to the Windows 98SE Protected Mode Driver.

I use my own Multi-Boot Profile MBR so I do not need a Boot Loader Partition or anybody's Boot Menu.

Exceeding 16TiB on USB with XP may also be possible by patching the Mass Storage Driver to split the Drive into 16TiB pieces. I have seen a commercial Driver that does this for Internal Data Drives larger than 2TiB.

Edited by rloew
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21 hours ago, rloew said:

I could combine the two regions into one RAMDisk if enough customers requested it.
Of course that would leave no room for anything else.
It is not limited to 32GiB. That is the largest RAM I have.
The limit is 63GiB or 1023GiB depending upon Processor. The RAMDisk uses PSE not PAE.

Windows 9x does require HIMEM.SYS or an alternative. It is not needed in CONFIG.SYS as IO.SYS will load it automatically if not specified.

I never tested 2K, XP or Vista with my 4KB emulator. I doubt that they would even Install.
Since the emulator is only for Real Mode, the Sectors would not correspond to those seen in Protected Mode.
I had to add a matching 4K emulator to the Windows 98SE Protected Mode Driver.

I use my own Multi-Boot Profile MBR so I do not need a Boot Loader Partition or anybody's Boot Menu.

Exceeding 16TiB on USB with XP may also be possible by patching the Mass Storage Driver to split the Drive into 16TiB pieces. I have seen a commercial Driver that does this for Internal Data Drives larger than 2TiB.

What do you mean by the acronymn PSE and DDO in an earlier message?

What do you mean no room for anything else?  I would of course still leave the conventional 640KB area untouched and 384KB HMA region or 1MB - 64GB for 63GB Ramdrive or it wouldn't usable if that's what you meant?  But in low memory system say 1MB or less I can see creating a Ramdrive with just 256KB might be usable of conventional memory say in DOS 2.1 and maybe 3.3 and 5.0.

Yes you should combine the 32-bit/64-bit Ramdrive so it doesn't use waste two separate DOS letters.  Is it possible for it to be a single file that is 32 based but can access the 64bit code when needed for > 4GB instead of two separate Ramdrive files to deal with?

Another idea is have you thought about creating a 98SE patch or command line or Sys file that loads in the Config.sys to automatically assign more than A to Z letters in DOS?

If you have too many partitions I would like to see it go from

A B - floppies

C to Z

then

A1 B1 C1...Z1

A2 B2 C2...Z2

A3 B3 C3...Z3

A10 B10 C10...Z10

You get the idea.

Another one if you have any way of modifying the original FDISK and the Fdisk 2nd version that was patched to 64GB drives however some has a few minor bugs to update it.  I am more of a hard core DOS only partition user.

Partition Size Entry only allows 5 digits for MB size so for too large a drive you can't insert the exact MB for a large partition size.  Digits entry should be increased to 10 digits possible for MB size which should be plenty.

Another issue is verifying integrity after each partition is created causes a lot of waiting.  Option to stop that integrity check to speed up the partitioning process.

These were just a few off the top of my head I have more.  I figure you should have the capability to create such tools or can modify it?

As for your NonXMS Ramdrive was there another type you Ramdrive you create for EMS or conventional memory?

As for testing you still have not tested it on Z170 and higher chipsets?  Do you have some handicapped version for me to test out you can cap it to 5GB or put some timer based expiration if you need to which I am fine with.  I just want to make sure it can use the HMA and report back if it can use that region since you only have Z87 which from what you said has no problem loading himem.sys whereas my boot disks cannot load himem.sys so there must be an issue and perhaps a special mod is necessary.  Also I can test the joining of the two memory segments (32bit+64bit) as one contiguous Ramdrive is possible with your program.  Let me know.

P.S.

Have you tested or is it required to patch Windows 3.1 to work on a system with too much memory?  I'm not sure if there was an inherent max memory limit for Windows 3.1 similar to 98.  Does your original 98 memory patch also work on 95?  Does 98 Lite function with it?

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A lot of questions.

>What do you mean by the acronymn PSE and DDO in an earlier message?

Page Size Extensions. An alternative to PAE.
Disk Drive Overlay. A MBR based TSR.

>What do you mean no room for anything else?  I would of course still leave the conventional 640KB area untouched and 384KB HMA region or 1MB - 64GB for 63GB Ramdrive or it wouldn't usable if that's what you meant?

No room for Windows unless you back off somewhat.

>But in low memory system say 1MB or less I can see creating a Ramdrive with just 256KB might be usable of conventional memory say in DOS 2.1 and maybe 3.3 and 5.0.

As written, the RAMDisk does not use the first 1MiB.

>Yes you should combine the 32-bit/64-bit Ramdrive so it doesn't use waste two separate DOS letters.

Not enough demand so far.

>Is it possible for it to be a single file that is 32 based but can access the 64bit code when needed for > 4GB instead of two separate Ramdrive files to deal with?

I would think you would want to use 64-Bit RAM first before allocating 32-Bit RAM.
I would probably add another argument so that the 32-Bit and 64-Bit allocations can be specified by the user.

>Another idea is have you thought about creating a 98SE patch or command line or Sys file that loads in the Config.sys to automatically assign more than A to Z letters in DOS?
>If you have too many partitions I would like to see it go from
>A B - floppies
>C to Z
>then
>A1 B1 C1...Z1
>A2 B2 C2...Z2
>A3 B3 C3...Z3
>A10 B10 C10...Z10
>You get the idea.

Not feasible.

>Another one if you have any way of modifying the original FDISK and the Fdisk 2nd version that was patched to 64GB drives however some has a few minor bugs to update it.  I am more of a hard core DOS only partition user.
Partition Size Entry only allows 5 digits for MB size so for too large a drive you can't insert the exact MB for a large partition size.  Digits entry should be increased to 10 digits possible for MB size which should be plenty.
Another issue is verifying integrity after each partition is created causes a lot of waiting.  Option to stop that integrity check to speed up the partitioning process.
These were just a few off the top of my head I have more.  I figure you should have the capability to create such tools or can modify it?

RFDISK can do all of this. It supports 512TiB. With my Terabyte Plus Package, DOS can support 128TiB Partitions, 3PiB in total.

>As for your NonXMS Ramdrive was there another type you Ramdrive you create for EMS or conventional memory?

No. XMS RAMDrives already exist but they eat up system resources in Windows 9x so they are limited to a few hundred Megabytes. Conventional Memory RAMDisks would be just about useless.

>As for testing you still have not tested it on Z170 and higher chipsets?  Do you have some handicapped version for me to test out you can cap it to 5GB or put some timer based expiration if you need to which I am fine with.
>I just want to make sure it can use the HMA and report back if it can use that region since you only have Z87 which from what you said has no problem loading himem.sys whereas my boot disks cannot load himem.sys
>so there must be an issue and perhaps a special mod is necessary.

They do not use HMA. My RAMDisks come with their own Memory Manager HIMEMEX. You still need HIMEM or HIMEMX for HMA or Windows 9x.

>Also I can test the joining of the two memory segments (32bit+64bit) as one contiguous Ramdrive is possible with your program.  Let me know.

If I write a merged RAMDisk I can easily verify operation.

>Have you tested or is it required to patch Windows 3.1 to work on a system with too much memory?  I'm not sure if there was an inherent max memory limit for Windows 3.1 similar to 98.

Not as far as I know. I have a Patch for the FAT32  bug.

>Does your original 98 memory patch also work on 95?

Yes.

>Does 98 Lite function with it?

It should.

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1 hour ago, rloew said:

No. XMS RAMDrives already exist but they eat up system resources in Windows 9x so they are limited to a few hundred Megabytes. Conventional Memory RAMDisks would be just about useless.

They do not use HMA. My RAMDisks come with their own Memory Manager HIMEMEX. You still need HIMEM or HIMEMX for HMA or Windows 9x.

>Have you tested or is it required to patch Windows 3.1 to work on a system with too much memory?  I'm not sure if there was an inherent max memory limit for Windows 3.1 similar to 98.

Not as far as I know. I have a Patch for the FAT32  bug.

What is the maximum specific size of your XMS Ramdrive you can create which you state will not interfere with Windows 9X functionality?

Do you have a handicapped or suggested alternate Ramdrive that uses the same or similar method as yours that I should test that would confirm it would work on Skylake?

Glad to know Win 3.1 still has no issues even with 32GB memory on board.  I will have to dig for those disks for a possible test.  Which FAT32 bug are you referring to?

Thanks for earlier answers.

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I never released a XMS RAMDisk. I stopped development when I found the problem. In any case XMS RAMDisks are already available.

I could prepare a simple test program that would verify compatibility with your system.

Windows 3.1 trashes the Current Directory pointer in DOS when using FAT32 leaving you in an invalid Directory on exit.

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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, rloew said:

I never released a XMS RAMDisk. I stopped development when I found the problem. In any case XMS RAMDisks are already available.

I could prepare a simple test program that would verify compatibility with your system.

Windows 3.1 trashes the Current Directory pointer in DOS when using FAT32 leaving you in an invalid Directory on exit.

Problem meaning Demo XMS Ramdisk being hacked?

Sure I can try your little test program out for XMS compatibility on Z170 and report back.  This is the first chipset I noticed himem.sys would not load on pure DOS.  I just want to confirm on your Z87 MB did can you use a bootable 98SE floppy and load himem.sys properly in just the config.sys without any HMA area errors?

Regarding XMS Ramdisk patch - I'm not trying to rip you or anyhow off so I understand your demo version of that has to be kept tight.  But as for alternate XMS Ramdisk < 2GB testing is there a particular one you think which would simulate the same XMS Ramdisk compatibility as yours on a smaller scale?

Have you thought about using your Ramdrive to load 98SE into it and then run off the Ramdrive entirely?

Once inside Windows 98, does the XMS Ramdrive created in DOS appear inside 98 without any issues?

Follow up, have you considered creating a versatile GUI version of it strictly for 95/98/ME usage so you can create multiple Ramdrives of different sizes that can be dynamically removed and added without rebooting rather than creating them before loading into Win 9x/ME?

So no patch for Win 3.1 installed on or using FAT32 partitions?  I normally used Win 3.1 on a 2GB FAT 16 back then so I never noticed this FAT32 bug.  So if Win 3.1 was installed and run on the FAT16 partition and you also had other  FAT32 partitions as D: E: F: et cetera on the same drive did you notice any issues exiting Win 3.1 back to DOS?

While in 3.1 and using Explorer to browse the hard drive does the FAT16 partition show up only while the FAT32 partitions are missing or are the FAT32 partitions identified but look like corrupted characters and cannot be accessed?

Thanks R. Loew

Edited by 98SE
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I run Windows 98SE on the Z87. This requires HIMEM.SYS to work. There is no Floppy Drive so I can't run the scenario you describe. It does work with a Bootable CD.

All of the alternate RAMDisks I know use XMS. I don't know of any that are non-XMS.

Combined with my Drive Letter Swapper, I can run Windows from the RAMDisk. I use it to test experimental setups.

The only issue with my RAMDisk in Windows 98SE is that it is not safe to put the Swap File on it.

A Windows version of the RAMDisk would be an entirely different design.

I haven't tested the Windows 3.1 bug installed on a FAT16 Partition. It may be related to using DOS 7.1. While running Windows everything is fine. Only the Current Directory is affected on exit.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, rloew said:

I run Windows 98SE on the Z87. This requires HIMEM.SYS to work. There is no Floppy Drive so I can't run the scenario you describe. It does work with a Bootable CD.

All of the alternate RAMDisks I know use XMS. I don't know of any that are non-XMS.

Combined with my Drive Letter Swapper, I can run Windows from the RAMDisk. I use it to test experimental setups.

The only issue with my RAMDisk in Windows 98SE is that it is not safe to put the Swap File on it.

A Windows version of the RAMDisk would be an entirely different design.

I haven't tested the Windows 3.1 bug installed on a FAT16 Partition. It may be related to using DOS 7.1. While running Windows everything is fine. Only the Current Directory is affected on exit.

You can use a USB floppy drive since FDC are now missing on modern motherboards so you don't need an internal floppy to boot 98SE.  You can also format a USB stick for 98SE and boot on that and edit the config.sys and add the himem.sys into it and other sys files to load into high memory rather than burning a new CD rom for each 98SE modified boot test.  I've been using this method to partition all my drives in MultiOS setups.  I also noticed another problem on Z170 Skylake.  98SE DOS Format /S and SYS no longer function.  Can you test these 98SE DOS Commands on your Z87 to FORMAT/S and then try a regular FORMAT and use SYS later on a USB flash drive if you have no USB floppy drive?  Z77 has no issues I can confirm.

If you can create a Windows XMS Ramdisk version with GUI that can create multiple Ramdrive(s) that can by dynamically be removed and added without rebooting the the system it would be a huge asset.  It should remember the last Ramdrive settings whenever booting into Windows 9x/ME. If you can make that Ramdrive stable for a swapfile it would be an added benefit.  I would buy that version from you if you can create it and I think others would too.  Any reason why your XMS Ramdrive is not stable for swapfile or is there an alternative Ramdrive program to store the swapfile?  So at the moment you mentioned the 32/64bit contiguous XMS Ramdisk DOS version you are not releasing or did you just mean that a demo version of it would not be released only?

Edited by 98SE
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I stopped using FORMAT years ago. I wrote my own Formatter RFORMAT, which can handle virtually anything including my Extended MBR and Advanced Format Disks.

The Swap File problem occurs when the Boot Hard Drive spins down. This appears to cause a deadlock. If you disable Spin-Down, you can use my RAMDisk with a Swap File.

You are the only one who has asked for a Windows RAMDisk. The DOS RAMDisk suits everyone else just fine.

The merged RAMDisk has not been released because it hasn't been written.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, jaclaz said:

Ok, I have to ask. :w00t:

Is there any reason why on Windows 9x/Me it makes more sense to have a swapfile on ramdisk (when compared with NT and later)? :dubbio:

jaclaz

For the Ramdisk I want a Windows version so I can create different sized Ramdisks on the Fly once inside Windows 9X/ME.  I want to store the large CD/DVD iso to the Windows version of XMS Ramdisk as ISO or actual hard drive directory.  I will copy this ISO from a USB hard drive where all my CD/DVD games will be stored directory to the Ramdrive.  Then I can launch the game without any lag for smoothest performance.  May sound like overkill but that is my reason for doing it if R. Loew ever decides to make a Windows 9X/ME GUI version.  I don't want to always reboot and create those Ramdrives in DOS every time I alter it.  Later I want to use VirtualDrive to store the ISO on the Ramdrive for certain optical disc check games which won't run if I can't find a proper CD patch for them.

Jaclaz, Pagefile for Windows 9X/ME I haven't touched Windows 9X/ME in so long to give you a proper response until more testing to find if no pagefile or what is the best pagefile size for stability or max pagefile size when you have  plenty of memory that can handle it.  But I don't see any reason why you couldn't make a small pagefile like 8MB -> 64MB for any programs back then that will only run with one.  I also don't want the pagefile stored on the HDD/SSD so everything is done off Ramdisk if possible.  But I am greedy so I may use a larger pagefile until max limit possible that Windows 9X/ME can handle safely with stability.  Save the rest of the remaining memory for a very large Windows RamDrive and one tiny Ramdrive letter for B: emulation in case for install disk swap emulation for legacy software.  Also from experience swapfile placed on Ramdrive for Win 3.X/9X/ME/NT+ I think there will always be some strange program that needs a little pagefile so you cannot use No Pagefile for all situations.  The list of programs that have issues with no pagefile enabled I cannot list since I don't know all of them.  Maybe someone else has made a topic on such information?

Edited by 98SE
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2 hours ago, rloew said:

I stopped using FORMAT years ago. I wrote my own Formatter RFORMAT, which can handle virtually anything including my Extended MBR and Advanced Format Disks.

The Swap File problem occurs when the Boot Hard Drive spins down. This appears to cause a deadlock. If you disable Spin-Down, you can use my RAMDisk with a Swap File.

You are the only one who has asked for a Windows RAMDisk. The DOS RAMDisk suits everyone else just fine.

The merged RAMDisk has not been released because it hasn't been written.

You mean when the hard drive goes into standby energy mode?  I always set my 98 Power settings to keep hard disk on all the time.  Won't this solve your Swap File on your XMS DOS Ramdisk issue?

But if you placed the entire 98SE into your Ramdrive and run it won't that also solve not needing a physical hard drive or SSD to wake up or go into spin down mode?

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