Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by Stephen Sloa » Mon, 22 Mar 1999 04:00:00



I would like to install Linux on my older 486. Currently I only have a 200
MB hard drive available. If I install a larger hard drive the BIOS won't be
able to recognize it. Under DOS there are utilities such as Drive Manager
that load a device driver that overcomes this problem. Are there any such
utilites for Linux. I am using Red Hat 5.2.

TIA

SS

 
 
 

Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by Internet Real Esta » Tue, 23 Mar 1999 04:00:00


Quote:> I would like to install Linux on my older 486. Currently I only have a 200
> MB hard drive available. If I install a larger hard drive the BIOS won't be
> able to recognize it. Under DOS there are utilities such as Drive Manager
> that load a device driver that overcomes this problem. Are there any such
> utilites for Linux. I am using Red Hat 5.2.

I just added a Western Digital 8.4 gig to a 486/66. It came with a program
called "EZ-Bios", which enables Linux to see the whole HD.

Edward

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Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by Markus Wand » Tue, 23 Mar 1999 04:00:00


I don't know if this is the right way to do it, but I got a 3GB disk going
on a 1992 vintage 486 machine by leaving the original 200MB disk in and
making the 3GB disk the "secondary" disk.  The master boot record, LILO,
/boot partition are all on the 200MB disk that the BIOS can see, and after
the kernel boots who cares about the BIOS (i.e. root=/dev/hdbx and off she
goes.)  Worked for me.  May depend on the particulars of BIOS and disk.
Linux was plain RH5.2.  No DOS/Win software got anywhere near the box.

Markus

 
 
 

Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by Andries Brouw » Fri, 26 Mar 1999 04:00:00


: I would like to install Linux on my older 486. Currently I only have a 200
: MB hard drive available. If I install a larger hard drive the BIOS won't be
: able to recognize it. Under DOS there are utilities such as Drive Manager
: that load a device driver that overcomes this problem. Are there any such
: utilites for Linux. I am using Red Hat 5.2.

There are no such utilities and you don't need them.
Linux 2.0.34 on an old 486 is quite happy with a 20 GB disk.

[Since Linux does not use the BIOS it doesnt matter at all
if the BIOS cannot handle the disk. It is easiest if you do
not even mention the disk in the BIOS setup and boot from
another disk. On the other hand, if you boot from it, you may
have to mention it in the BIOS setup. If the setup is set to
Normal (no translation), then still all is OK, but if you set
the BIOS to LBA or so it will invent a translation that may
confuse the kernel into thinking that the disk is 8.4 GB only.
If it is in fact larger, and you cannot avoid a BIOS translation,
then use 2.2.3 or use explicit boot parameters to override the
BIOS idea of the geometry.]

 
 
 

Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by Andries Brouw » Fri, 26 Mar 1999 04:00:00



::  I would like to install Linux on my older 486. Currently I only have a 200
::  MB hard drive available. If I install a larger hard drive the BIOS won't be
::  able to recognize it. Under DOS there are utilities such as Drive Manager
::  that load a device driver that overcomes this problem. Are there any such
::  utilites for Linux. I am using Red Hat 5.2.

: I just added a Western Digital 8.4 gig to a 486/66. It came with a program
: called "EZ-Bios", which enables Linux to see the whole HD.

It does not help Linux in the least.
It only causes minor troubles.
Since 1.3.28 or so Linux can survive a disk afflicted with EZ-Drive,
but that does not mean that it is a good idea to install it.
Use only if required for DOS/Windows.

 
 
 

Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by Curt Stege » Fri, 26 Mar 1999 04:00:00


I have NEVER had any problems installing Linux (or any UNIX) on a large hard
drive with an old BIOS. About 5 or 6 years ago, I installed Linux on an old PB
486 DX33 with a BIOS date of 1990!!! The drive was a 1.2 G at the time. Since
then, a 6G drive was put on and Lunix found it with no problem.

In short, the only time you have to worry about drive size/BIOS is when playing
with DOS/Winbloat..


> I would like to install Linux on my older 486. Currently I only have a 200
> MB hard drive available. If I install a larger hard drive the BIOS won't be
> able to recognize it. Under DOS there are utilities such as Drive Manager
> that load a device driver that overcomes this problem. Are there any such
> utilites for Linux. I am using Red Hat 5.2.

> TIA

> SS

 
 
 

Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by Harold Da » Sat, 27 Mar 1999 04:00:00



>: I just added a Western Digital 8.4 gig to a 486/66. It came with a
program
>: called "EZ-Bios", which enables Linux to see the whole HD.

>It does not help Linux in the least.
>It only causes minor troubles.
>Since 1.3.28 or so Linux can survive a disk afflicted with EZ-Drive,
>but that does not mean that it is a good idea to install it.
>Use only if required for DOS/Windows.

What minor troubles? if you would be so kind. I just set up this same thing.
I need to dual boot to Dos/Windows so for that I need the EZ-Bios stuff.
What kind of problems can I look forward to in Linux?

TIA.
Harold

 
 
 

Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by phe » Tue, 30 Mar 1999 04:00:00


Quote:>I have NEVER had any problems installing Linux (or any UNIX) on a large hard
>drive with an old BIOS.

My 486DX2-66 with a Western Digital 3.2 GB does not boot with Suse
5.3. It starts uncompressing Linux, then I get the error 'ran out of
input data. system halted.'
So what ? I installed the default configuration, let Linux use the
whole disk. No installation problem. But unable to reboot.

Is there a partitioning problem ?

pher

 
 
 

Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by Charles Sulliva » Tue, 30 Mar 1999 04:00:00


It sounds like the compressed kernel image has either been truncated
or LILO can't read part of it.  Any chance the kernel image is spanning
the 1024 cylinder boundary?


>>I have NEVER had any problems installing Linux (or any UNIX) on a large
hard
>>drive with an old BIOS.

>My 486DX2-66 with a Western Digital 3.2 GB does not boot with Suse
>5.3. It starts uncompressing Linux, then I get the error 'ran out of
>input data. system halted.'
>So what ? I installed the default configuration, let Linux use the
>whole disk. No installation problem. But unable to reboot.

>Is there a partitioning problem ?

>pher

 
 
 

Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by M. Buchenried » Tue, 30 Mar 1999 04:00:00



>>I have NEVER had any problems installing Linux (or any UNIX) on a large hard
>>drive with an old BIOS.

Depends. You'll have to make sure that the kernel image is beyond
the 1023 cyl. barrier.

Quote:>My 486DX2-66 with a Western Digital 3.2 GB does not boot with Suse
>5.3. It starts uncompressing Linux, then I get the error 'ran out of
>input data. system halted.'

See above.

Quote:>So what ? I installed the default configuration, let Linux use the
>whole disk. No installation problem. But unable to reboot.
>Is there a partitioning problem ?

No. This is a BIOS limitation that all PCs do suffer from. Make sure
that you do have a small / partition (or /boot) that is entirely within
the first 1024 cylinders of your HD. Otherwise, the kernel may or may
not be found correctly during startup.

Michael
--

          Lumber Cartel Unit #456 (TINLC) & Official Netscum
    Note: If you want me to send you email, don't munge your address.

 
 
 

Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by Lewis Peri » Tue, 30 Mar 1999 04:00:00




> >>I have NEVER had any problems installing Linux (or any UNIX) on a
> >>large hard drive with an old BIOS.

> Depends. You'll have to make sure that the kernel image is beyond
> the 1023 cyl. barrier.
> [...]

I'm sure you meant to say *within* the 1023 cylinder barrier.  Sorry
to be pedantic, but...

Cheers, Lew

 
 
 

Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by M. Buchenried » Wed, 31 Mar 1999 04:00:00





>> >>I have NEVER had any problems installing Linux (or any UNIX) on a
>> >>large hard drive with an old BIOS.

>> Depends. You'll have to make sure that the kernel image is beyond
>> the 1023 cyl. barrier.
>> [...]
>I'm sure you meant to say *within* the 1023 cylinder barrier.  Sorry
>to be pedantic, but...

Ouch. Right :=)

Michael
--

          Lumber Cartel Unit #456 (TINLC) & Official Netscum
    Note: If you want me to send you email, don't munge your address.

 
 
 

Large Hard Drives With Older BIOS

Post by phe » Wed, 31 Mar 1999 04:00:00


thank you all. I will try to make a small boot partition.
But I thought that letting the install program run with its defaults
would let me avoid this kind of behaviour ! Imagine my first
experience with Linux : I installed it and it did not start !

pher




>>> >>I have NEVER had any problems installing Linux (or any UNIX) on a
>>> >>large hard drive with an old BIOS.

>>> Depends. You'll have to make sure that the kernel image is beyond
>>> the 1023 cyl. barrier.
>>> [...]

>>I'm sure you meant to say *within* the 1023 cylinder barrier.  Sorry
>>to be pedantic, but...

>Ouch. Right :=)

>Michael

 
 
 

1. Can't put Linux on a 486 with older BIOS and large hard drive?

Is it possible that you can't install Linux on a 486 PC with a somewhat
older BIOS and a hard drive larger than 504 MB?

That's what I'm about to conclude after poring over manuals for Linux,
for Partition Magic and for System Commander. I don't think I can put
Linux on my system. If I've misunderstood something, I'd appreciate
someone correcting me.

At first I thought I couldn't do the install because I have 2 separate
physical drives. The first, which is bootable, is smaller, only 360 Mb,
and nearly full. Linux would have to go on the second, non-bootable
drive. According to the System Commander manual, most OSes insist on
being booted from the first physical drive. However, a line in that
manual says Linux is one of only a handful of OSes that does not have to
be installed on the first physical drive. Whew! At least that's not a
problem.

Then came the real stopper. My machine is a 486-66 with an older BIOS,
one which is limited to 504 Mb hard drives. I think that was a typical
limitation until the later pre-Pentium BIOSes. Mine was fine for C:
which has only 360 Mb, but D: has 2.1 Gb. My BIOS can't access anything
that large. So in order to make D: usable, the computer store where I
bought the new drive had to use Drive Manager, a software workaround
that allows older 486 BIOSes like mine to access the larger drive.
Unfortunately, according to the System Commander manual (and a quick
word I had with the computer store), Drive Manager supports only DOS
file systems. If I install a Linux file system on D:, Drive Manager
won't be able to access it.

If all this is true, then it must be a general rule - you can't put
Linux on most x86's with hard drives larger than 504 MB. Can it be true?

David Schreiber
Toronto

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