BIOS hard drive size limitations


D

DJW

BIOS hard drive size limitations

I have a Compaq Presario desktop machine I bought in Jan 1999 so it
must have been produced in 1998. It came with an IDE 4 GB hard drive
and windows 98 on it. I recently install a new (old) 10 GB hard drive
(Western Digital) as the primary and a Quantum Fireball 10 BG as the
slave with the jumpers set to cable select as the manual said to do
with IDE internal drives. I did a clean install of a new version (for
this computer) of 98 Second edition this time. The Hard drives show as
having 9.3 of useable space.
I have read a lot about computers produced up to and including the
year1998. I have read that BOISs can not handle certain sizes of hard
drives. I have found numerous size limits for hard drives and am not
sure if I need to heed any of theses limits. And why the different
limits I assumed that after 1998 they opened a much larger limit to
anticipate future hard drives. Y2K was one limit but did not realize
that hard drive size was another. The sizes of limits I have seemed to
run across are as follows: 504MB, 2.1GB, 8.4GB, 8.6GB and 32GB. Of
course the latter does not concern me.
The simple question is if I already see the full size of the 10GB
drives as 9.3GB do I need worry of future problems? When trying to
write to the drives in excess of any of the above size limits like on
the 9.3GB of usable space when I pass 8.4 or 8.6GB will I have possible
problems such as write errors? So far the primary is holding 2.65 GB
and the slave has 762MB on it. I did find what Compaq is calling a ROM
Update (file name sp12234.exe). Am I wrong in thinking that this is a
BIOS update too? But this file I can find no explanation as to why I
would need it and what problems it addresses in relation to the older
ROM setting that came in the computer at the 1998 production. Compaq
(HP) suggests that I upgrade using the file but things seem to be
working alright I like to leave well enough alone especially when it
comes to Microsoft (windows) and its wonderful line of products (that
is sarcasm, I also use a Mac from time to time). Thinking out loud here
but when looking for help on the web it seems so much more is available
for windows than the Mac OSs. Could it be that the windows (IBM
compatible PCs) user base is so much larger or is it that windows is
what should I say .... more complicated even though both machines do
just about the same things in the end!
And what about Dynamic Drive Overlays software (setting) or the size
limiting jumper on the drives? Is that something I need to know about
and use in
 
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P

Paul

DJW said:
BIOS hard drive size limitations

I have a Compaq Presario desktop machine I bought in Jan 1999 so it
must have been produced in 1998. It came with an IDE 4 GB hard drive
and windows 98 on it. I recently install a new (old) 10 GB hard drive
(Western Digital) as the primary and a Quantum Fireball 10 BG as the
slave with the jumpers set to cable select as the manual said to do
with IDE internal drives. I did a clean install of a new version (for
this computer) of 98 Second edition this time. The Hard drives show as
having 9.3 of useable space.
I have read a lot about computers produced up to and including the
year1998. I have read that BOISs can not handle certain sizes of hard
drives. I have found numerous size limits for hard drives and am not
sure if I need to heed any of theses limits. And why the different
limits I assumed that after 1998 they opened a much larger limit to
anticipate future hard drives. Y2K was one limit but did not realize
that hard drive size was another. The sizes of limits I have seemed to
run across are as follows: 504MB, 2.1GB, 8.4GB, 8.6GB and 32GB. Of
course the latter does not concern me.
The simple question is if I already see the full size of the 10GB
drives as 9.3GB do I need worry of future problems? When trying to
write to the drives in excess of any of the above size limits like on
the 9.3GB of usable space when I pass 8.4 or 8.6GB will I have possible
problems such as write errors? So far the primary is holding 2.65 GB
and the slave has 762MB on it. I did find what Compaq is calling a ROM
Update (file name sp12234.exe). Am I wrong in thinking that this is a
BIOS update too? But this file I can find no explanation as to why I
would need it and what problems it addresses in relation to the older
ROM setting that came in the computer at the 1998 production. Compaq
(HP) suggests that I upgrade using the file but things seem to be
working alright I like to leave well enough alone especially when it
comes to Microsoft (windows) and its wonderful line of products (that
is sarcasm, I also use a Mac from time to time). Thinking out loud here
but when looking for help on the web it seems so much more is available
for windows than the Mac OSs. Could it be that the windows (IBM
compatible PCs) user base is so much larger or is it that windows is
what should I say .... more complicated even though both machines do
just about the same things in the end!
And what about Dynamic Drive Overlays software (setting) or the size
limiting jumper on the drives? Is that something I need to know about
and use in

My standard test for disk drives, is to make multiple copies of large
files on the disk until the disk is full. If there is going to be
an incompatibility, you'll trip across it soon enough. When all copies
have been made to the disk, you can verify the copies with a checksum
program (I've used MD5SUM, but there are others), and see if all copies
have the same checksum. That will give the hardware a good workout.
(I use a 1GB sized file for the test, copied from one of my other computers,
via the network. Then make a bunch of local copies.)

To handle larger disks, you can buy a PCI IDE controller. Or a PCI
SATA controller. One advantage of the PCI IDE controller, is it
will support the faster transfer rates offered by modern disk
drives. This is an example of a controller you could plug in.
I use one of these on my 440BX chipset machine.

PROMISE ULTRA133TX2 PCI IDE Controller Card - Retail ($43)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16816102027

For today's upper limits on storage, read a document like this.
Page 17 (item #8), is for using IDE drives on Win98, with a
PCI IDE card. Still not bulletproof, but promising.

http://www.seagate.com/support/kb/disc/tp/137gb.pdf

HTH,
Paul
 
F

fwibbler

DJW said:
BIOS hard drive size limitations
[snipped scary piece of text with no paragraphs!]

Hard drives always format to a smaller size than they are advertised to.
Thus the 9.xGB you are seeing is quite normal.

Also, since your machines BIOS sees these drives and boots with them is a
fairly good confirmation that it does not have the 8.4GB limit (the 8.6GB
limit does not exist afaik) and it should take drives at least as large as
32GB.

Hope this helps.
Cheers!
 
S

Shep©

And what about Dynamic Drive Overlays software (setting) or the size
limiting jumper on the drives? Is that something I need to know about
and use in

You probably won't need one depending on the size of drive you
fit.With your system I would suspect the next limit you hit would be
the 127 gig BIOS barrier although there is an easily fixable FAT32
barrier in win98/SE at 64meg(download and re-partition with the Fdisk
from WinME)

or Super Fdisk(free),
http://www.sofotex.com/Super-Fdisk-download_L19989.html

As for drive sizes.Hard drive makers round up to a false size when
they advertize,
http://www.personal-computer-tutor.com/abc3/v30/vic30.htm



HTH :)
 
P

Patty

I have a Compaq Presario desktop machine I bought in Jan 1999 so it
must have been produced in 1998. It came with an IDE 4 GB hard drive
and windows 98 on it. I recently install a new (old) 10 GB hard drive
(Western Digital) as the primary and a Quantum Fireball 10 BG as the
slave with the jumpers set to cable select as the manual said to do
with IDE internal drives. I did a clean install of a new version (for
this computer) of 98 Second edition this time. The Hard drives show as
having 9.3 of useable space.

This is normal. It has to do with the way that manufacturers label their
hard drives. They use the decimal system and consider 1KB to be 1,000
bytes. However, this is not truly accurate. 1KB is really 1,024 bytes in
the binary system. When you do the math up to GB, you find the
discrepancy. So, a manufacturer labeled 10GB hard drive is in reality
9.3GB using the binary system rather than the decimal system. And, we all
know computers use binary rather than decimal.

Someone with better math skills than I may be able to explain this in more
detail.

Patty
 
R

Rod Speed

Shep© said:
You probably won't need one depending on the size of drive you
fit.With your system I would suspect the next limit you hit would be
the 127 gig BIOS barrier although there is an easily fixable FAT32
barrier in win98/SE at 64meg(download and re-partition with the Fdisk
from WinME)

or Super Fdisk(free),
http://www.sofotex.com/Super-Fdisk-download_L19989.html
As for drive sizes.Hard drive makers round
up to a false size when they advertize,

No they dont, they use the SI standard decimal GBs.

If anything its the binary GBs often reported by OSs that are 'false'
because there isnt anything intrinsically binary about hard drives,
just memory. You dont see binary Ms used with cpus etc.

Pig ignorant drivel.
 
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R

Rod Speed

Patty said:
DJW wrote
This is normal. It has to do with the way that manufacturers label
their hard drives. They use the decimal system and consider 1KB to
be 1,000 bytes.
Correct.

However, this is not truly accurate.
Wrong.

1KB is really 1,024 bytes in the binary system.

Pity there is nothing intrinsically binary about a hard drive sector count.
When you do the math up to GB, you find the discrepancy.
So, a manufacturer labeled 10GB hard drive is in reality
9.3GB using the binary system rather than the decimal system.
And, we all know computers use binary rather than decimal.

No we dont. In fact only the memory is intrisically binary organised
and the cpu speed, comms speeds, etc etc etc are decimal.

The 1.44MB floppy is actually a weird binary decimal hybrid.
Someone with better math skills than I may be able to explain this in more detail.

The problem isnt with the math skills, its understanding the basics like the fact that
the SI standard GB is decimal and that only memory is binary organised in a PC.
 
A

Al Pilarcik

Patty said:
This is normal. It has to do with the way that manufacturers label
their hard drives. They use the decimal system and consider 1KB to
be 1,000 bytes. However, this is not truly accurate. 1KB is really
1,024 bytes in the binary system. When you do the math up to GB, you
find the discrepancy. So, a manufacturer labeled 10GB hard drive is
in reality
9.3GB using the binary system rather than the decimal system. And,
we all know computers use binary rather than decimal.

Someone with better math skills than I may be able to explain this in
more detail.

Patty


Currently we can divide the advertised size in GB, base10 by 1.073742 to
yield the size in GB base2.

When hard drives reach TB size the factor will be 1.099512, or approximately
10%.
 
C

Charlie

Rod Speed said:
Pity there is nothing intrinsically binary about a hard drive sector
count.

If by "intrinsically binary" you mean a "power of two" then you should also
note there in nothing "intrinsically decimal" about a hard drive sector
count since it isn't necessarilly a "power of ten", which makes your
statement irrelevant.

If you mean something else please explain.
No we dont. In fact only the memory is intrisically binary organised
and the cpu speed, comms speeds, etc etc etc are decimal.

I believe you are wrong here.

Since all numbers can be represented by the binary system cpu speed, comms
speeds, etc etc etc can be represented in any number system commonly used,
decimal, binary, hexadecimal or whatever. If by "intrisically binary" you
mean "power of two" then you have to include bus widths (8 bit, 16 bit, 32
bit, etc.), register sizes, many data types (byte, word, dword, etc.),
processors themselves (there aren't too many 10 bit or 100 bit processors on
the market). I could go on but I'm sure you get what I'm saying.

The point is that either system can represent the values correctly but
computers (at least the kind we're talking about) are digital, meaning they
are essentially a large group of inter-connected switches that can have one
of two states, on or off. This type of system is easy to represent using
binary numbers. Problems come about when we use decimal representations of
binary numbers (like when I used "8 bit" above instead of "10000 bit").
Then we carry it one step farther by re-defining kilo (and mega, etc.) which
traditionally meant 1000 (decimal) to 1024 (decimal) instead of coining a
new word for the 1024 value.


The 1.44MB floppy is actually a weird binary decimal hybrid.

I don't know what you mean by that.
The problem isnt with the math skills, its understanding the basics like
the fact that
the SI standard GB is decimal and that only memory is binary organised in
a PC.


Actually, if there is a problem, its with people calling non-standard things
standard. When you have many ways used to represent the same thing there is
no standard.

Charlie
 
J

John Doe

....
I believe you are wrong here.

Being right doesn't mean much to Rod Speed.
I'm sure you get what I'm saying.

Anything is possible (and that would prove it).

Obviously you haven't tried communicating with him before. Please
don't take his forthcoming insulting reply as an indication of
USENET in general.

If he weren't pathological about insulting others here on USENET, he
would receive more intelligent replies to his frequent oftentimes
ignorant posts and that would make replies to him about as fun as
replies to w_tom (so, there's room for improvement).

But thanks for giving it a go.
 
R

Rod Speed

If by "intrinsically binary" you mean a "power of two"
Yes.

then you should also note there in nothing "intrinsically decimal" about a hard drive sector count
since it isn't necessarilly a "power of ten",

Irrelevant when decimal GBs are what is used by all
hard drive manufacturers and its the SI standard as well.
which makes your statement irrelevant.

Nope, not when decimal GBs are what is used by all
hard drive manufacturers and its the SI standard as well.
If you mean something else please explain.

Just did.
I believe you are wrong here.

More fool you.
Since all numbers can be represented by the binary system cpu speed,
comms speeds, etc etc etc can be represented in any number system
commonly used, decimal, binary, hexadecimal or whatever.

Yes, but in fact we use the decimal system unless there is a good reason not to.

And there isnt a good reason not to with the
cpu speed, comms speeds and hard drive sizes.
If by "intrisically binary" you mean "power of two"
Yes.

then you have to include bus widths (8 bit, 16 bit, 32 bit, etc.), register sizes, many data types
(byte, word, dword, etc.),

Yes, we do use bytes which are themselves binary when appropriate.

That is not the case with the cpu speed or comms speeds.
processors themselves (there aren't too many 10 bit or 100 bit processors on the market).

Irrelevant to how the SPEED of the cpu is stated.
I could go on but I'm sure you get what I'm saying.

Yes, and that you havent managed to grasp that decimal
should be used when there isnt a good reason not to.
The point is that either system can represent the values correctly

Irrelevant when it makes sense to use decimal values unless
there is a good reason not to. There is with memory, but not
with cpu speeds, comms speeds, hard drive sizes, etc etc etc.
but computers (at least the kind we're talking about) are digital,
meaning they are essentially a large group of inter-connected
switches that can have one of two states, on or off.

Irrelevant to cpu speeds, comms speeds, hard drive sizes, etc etc etc.
This type of system is easy to represent using binary numbers.

Wrong with cpu speeds, comms speeds, hard drive sizes, etc etc etc.
Problems come about when we use decimal representations of binary numbers (like when I used "8
bit" above instead of "10000 bit"). Then we carry it one step farther by re-defining kilo (and
mega, etc.) which traditionally meant 1000 (decimal) to 1024 (decimal) instead of
coining a new word for the 1024 value.

And there isnt a good reason to use the binary multipliers
with cpu speeds, comms speeds, hard drive sizes, etc etc etc.
I don't know what you mean by that.

Do the maths. Its got 1440 binary Kbyte capacity.
Actually, if there is a problem, its with people calling non-standard things standard. When you
have many ways used to represent the same thing there is no standard.

Pity that the SI standard definition of K, M G etc is decimal.

There are quite separate binary equivalents. Ki, Mi, Gi etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigabyte
 
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C

Charlie

Rod Speed said:
Irrelevant when decimal GBs are what is used by all
hard drive manufacturers and its the SI standard as well.


Nope, not when decimal GBs are what is used by all
hard drive manufacturers and its the SI standard as well.

I'm sorry, Rod, sometimes I don't make my position very clear, please bear
with me. At this point I was taking exception to your statement:

"Pity there is nothing intrinsically binary about a hard drive sector
count."

I was merely pointing out that it was meanless since the word "decimal"
could be substituted for "binary" without changing the truth of the
statement.
Just did.



More fool you.


Yes, but in fact we use the decimal system unless there is a good reason
not to.

And there isnt a good reason not to with the
cpu speed, comms speeds and hard drive sizes.

Again I seem to have made myself less than clear. I have not been
advocating the use of any numbering system for cpu speed, comm speed, hard
drive sizes or anything else for that matter. I really don't see how you
came to that conclusion but as I've mentioned I do sometimes have a problem
with stating things clearly.
Yes, we do use bytes which are themselves binary when appropriate.

That is not the case with the cpu speed or comms speeds.

Well, Rod, I don't believe I ever said that cpu speed or comms speeds were
"intrinsically binary". I'm sorry you got that impression. I only said that
they could be represented in any number system.
Irrelevant to how the SPEED of the cpu is stated.

Well of course. They have little to do with each other. Please explain why
you thought I believed otherwise.
Yes, and that you havent managed to grasp that decimal
should be used when there isnt a good reason not to.

I'm really sorry that I haven't been able to explain myself at a level that
you can understand. This is clearly my fault. I can only say to you that I
was not advocating any number system over another. If I had been, I would
advocate using only exact decimal numbers and refrain from using terms like
Mega, Giga, MB, GB, KB, Kb, Kbyte, Mbyte, etc.
Irrelevant when it makes sense to use decimal values unless
there is a good reason not to. There is with memory, but not
with cpu speeds, comms speeds, hard drive sizes, etc etc etc.


Irrelevant to cpu speeds, comms speeds, hard drive sizes, etc etc etc.

My point here was that there is a strong tradition in both hardware and
software of using binary numbers (or more accurately decimal or hexadecimal
equivalents of binary numbers).

What I was refuting was your claim that "In fact only the memory is
intrisically binary organised..." and I was pointing out other things in
the computer are intrinsically binary.
Wrong with cpu speeds, comms speeds, hard drive sizes, etc etc etc.

Honest, Rod, when I wrote:

"computers (at least the kind we're talking about) are digital, meaning they
are essentially a large group of inter-connected switches that can have one
of two states, on or off."

I never envisioned anyone thinking that I was talking about, cpu speeds,
comms speeds, hard drive sizes, etc etc etc.

My bad! I underestimated my ability to confuse.
And there isnt a good reason to use the binary multipliers
with cpu speeds, comms speeds, hard drive sizes, etc etc etc.

Of course not, as I said the problem is with the "now" confusing terminology
of Kilo, Mega, Giga, etc.
Do the maths. Its got 1440 binary Kbyte capacity.

Okay. That seems to verify my position.
Pity that the SI standard definition of K, M G etc is decimal.

I don't know why you pity the SI standard definitions are decimal. It seems
to contradict what you said earlier. I suppose though that you were being
sarcastic. I myself find it a pity that we don't scrap a system that
confuses most people. Would it be so hard for those who manufacture hard
drives, processors, etc. and those who write utilities, operatings systems
and such to express the speeds and sizes in exact numbers without the use of
Kilo, Mega, etc.?
There are quite separate binary equivalents. Ki, Mi, Gi etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigabyte

Yes, I am well aware of the binary equivalents, Ki, Mi, Gi, etc. I am also
aware that they are largely ignored.


Charlie
 
D

DJW

Hi all,
Remember me the original poster. And as I have found in the past all
your threads are educating in the way of helping me understand things
better. I want to thank you all but we have gotten a bit off topic
here. My main question was about older BIOS and how it relates to new
or should I say older ebay hard drive purchases and installation of
said equipment.
Now I really wasn't griping about buying an advertised 10GB drive
only to find it is actually 9.3GB. But as I think about it that .7GB
not there is a lot in relation to what I used to have in the days gone
by when a 20MB HD was big and a 40 to 60MB was huge! As I stated above
I am a Mac user too and am mostly used to old Macs and the installation
of SCSI hard drives. Most of them were closer in size to what was
stated on the drive. I am not sure what it was exactly but I always
knew that after initializing, formatting and perhaps partitioning. Yes
that is the order and what Mac and SCSI call the preparation and order
of things needed to do in order to prepare the HD. That order and
terminology is something I have learned new recently that IDE HDs and
PCs have no initializing and do I remember right here first you
partition then you format? Anyway that space used up right away on a
SCSI HD oh let me call it the table of contents. I know that term is
wrong but the drive needed to save some space for something it would
use during its life of data on and off it. Can I say it is sort of like
a form from the government that always has an area on it that states
"do not write in this area for official use only" is a space I can
not or should not personally access or use directly?
Any way I was really not questioning what size the drive showed or why.
I was more wanting to give an accurate description as close as my
knowledge can be used of PCs. I gave the size after preparation so you
good people out there can have the facts as to what I was seeing.
Thought maybe the size actually used and what was advertised might be a
marker as to if I may encounter a problem with a particular size limit.
All here seams to be working well but then I was not sure as I fill up
the hard drive if then the trouble would develop. So again I ask if
thing seem ok after the partitioning - formatting can I expect that
it will remain ok. Was this limit of size something I would know right
away even before I installed windows 98SE?
 
F

fwibbler

[snipped again the massive scary post without paragraphs!]
So again I ask if thing seem ok after the
partitioning - formatting can I expect that it will remain ok. Was this
limit of size something I would know right away even before I installed
windows 98SE?
Yes.
If you have installed and are running Windows, then your discs are fine as
far as BIOS support goes.

Cheers!
 
C

Charlie

DJW said:
Hi all,
Remember me the original poster. And as I have found in the past all
your threads are educating in the way of helping me understand things
better. I want to thank you all but we have gotten a bit off topic
here. My main question was about older BIOS and how it relates to new
or should I say older ebay hard drive purchases and installation of
said equipment.

I didn't post an answer to your question because I simply don't know the
answer. I did however think that your question was answered by several
other posters. If I'm wrong about that I apologize for helping the thread
to move off the original topic.

Charlie

<< large amount snipped >>
 
S

spodosaurus

DJW said:
So again I ask if
thing seem ok after the partitioning - formatting can I expect that
it will remain ok. Was this limit of size something I would know right
away even before I installed windows 98SE?


Whenever I acquire a new or second hand hard drive I always download the
manufacturer's drive scanning software and run the comprehensive test to
make sure there are now SMART errors or bad sectors on the drive. If it
passes the comprehensive test, I proceed to partition and format.

Regards,

Ari

--
spammage trappage: remove the underscores to reply
Many people around the world are waiting for a marrow transplant. Please
volunteer to be a marrow donor and literally save someone's life:
http://www.abmdr.org.au/
http://www.marrow.org/
 
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J

John Weiss

DJW said:
Thought maybe the size actually used and what was advertised might be a
marker as to if I may encounter a problem with a particular size limit.
All here seams to be working well but then I was not sure as I fill up
the hard drive if then the trouble would develop. So again I ask if
thing seem ok after the partitioning - formatting can I expect that
it will remain ok. Was this limit of size something I would know right
away even before I installed windows 98SE?

If the BIOS will recognize the HD as its native capacity, you should expect
no inherent problems. Since this appears to be the case here (9.3 GB binary
~ 10 GB decimal almost exactly), it should "remain ok."

A limit you should be aware of is that once a HD gets over about 2/3 full
(that's a "soft" number), some functions such as defragmentation will start
running much more slowly. So if you get to that point, you probably ought
to look for a larger (e.g., 30 GB in your case) HD to replace it.
Formatting to FAT32 instead of FAT16 will delay reaching that point.
 
R

Rod Speed

I'm sorry, Rod, sometimes I don't make my position very clear, please
bear with me. At this point I was taking exception to your statement:
"Pity there is nothing intrinsically binary about a hard drive sector count."

Yes, that was obvious.
I was merely pointing out that it was meanless since the word
"decimal" could be substituted for "binary" without changing the
truth of the statement.

The point is that decimal prefixes are the default thats what
is commonly used. Very occasionally it does make sense to
use binary prefixes instead, most obviously with ram and rom,
but that is not the case with hard drives which dont have any
intrinsic binary organisation of the number of sectors on the drive.
Again I seem to have made myself less than clear.
Nope.

I have not been advocating the use of any numbering system for cpu speed, comm speed, hard drive
sizes or anything else for that matter. I really don't see how you came to that conclusion

I didnt.
but as I've mentioned I do sometimes have a problem with stating things clearly.

The problem wasnt with your stating things clearly, the problem
is that decimal prefixes are the ones that are commonly used,
and while very occasionally it does make sense to use binary
prefixes instead, most obviously with ram and rom, but that
is not the case with hard drives which dont have any intrinsic
binary organisation of the number of sectors on the drive,
cpu speed, comms speeds, etc etc etc.

So decimal prefixes should be used there because that is the SI standard.
Well, Rod, I don't believe I ever said that cpu speed or comms speeds were "intrinsically binary".

I never ever said you did.
I'm sorry you got that impression.

I didnt.
I only said that they could be represented in any number system.

That was always obvious. BUT it is equally obvious that you are
missing the point completely. The decimal prefixes should be used
unless there is a good reason not to, and there is no good reason
not to with hard drive sizes, comms speeds, cpu speeds, etc etc etc.
There is a good reason to use binary prefixes with ram and rom.
Well of course. They have little to do with each other. Please explain why you thought I
believed otherwise.

Nothing to explain, I didnt.
I'm really sorry that I haven't been able to explain myself at a level that you can understand.
This is clearly my fault.

Its always been obvious that you are missing the point completely.
I can only say to you that I was not advocating any number system over another.

No one ever said you did.
If I had been, I would advocate using only exact decimal numbers and
refrain from using terms like Mega, Giga, MB, GB, KB, Kb, Kbyte, Mbyte, etc.

Wrong again. We happen to be discussing binary and decimal PREFIXES.
My point here was that there is a strong tradition in both hardware and software of using binary
numbers

ONLY for SOME things, particularly ram and rom sizes.

NOT for cpu speed, comms speeds, etc etc etc.
(or more accurately decimal or hexadecimal equivalents of binary numbers).

We're discussing PREFIXES.
What I was refuting was your claim that "In fact only the memory is intrisically binary
organised..."

You did nothing of the sort.
and I was pointing out other things in the computer are intrinsically binary.

Pity that hard drive sector counts arent.
Honest, Rod, when I wrote:
"computers (at least the kind we're talking about) are digital,
meaning they are essentially a large group of inter-connected
switches that can have one of two states, on or off."
I never envisioned anyone thinking that I was talking about, cpu speeds, comms speeds, hard drive
sizes, etc etc etc.

No one did think that.
My bad! I underestimated my ability to confuse.

You didnt confuse anyone who has commented.
Of course not, as I said the problem is with the "now" confusing terminology of Kilo, Mega, Giga,
etc.

As I said, there is no good reason to use binary PREFIXES
with hard drives, comms speeds, cpu speeds, etc etc etc.
Okay. That seems to verify my position.

Nope, it doesnt. It is indeed a weird binary/decimal hybrid.
I don't know why you pity the SI standard definitions are decimal.

I dont.
It seems to contradict what you said earlier.

No it doesnt.
I suppose though that you were being sarcastic.
Nope.

I myself find it a pity that we don't scrap a system that confuses most people.

Not even feasible to scrap it.
Would it be so hard for those who manufacture hard drives, processors, etc. and those who write
utilities, operatings systems and such to express the speeds and sizes in exact numbers without
the use of Kilo, Mega, etc.?

The hard drive manufacturers do just that, they ALWAYS
spell out in the fine print that they are using decimal prefixes.

It would be terminally stupid to be exclusively listing
say the HDT725050VLxxxx as 500,107,862,016
bytes or even 500,000,000,000 bytes either.

In spades with detailled folder content lists
in the OS etc were space is at a premium.
Yes, I am well aware of the binary equivalents, Ki, Mi, Gi, etc. I am also aware that they are
largely ignored.

No one is actually stupid enough to adopt what
you would prefer, not use any prefixes at all.
 
R

Rod Speed

DJW said:
Remember me the original poster.

Nar, you have always been, and always will be, completely and utterly irrelevant.
And as I have found in the past all your threads are educating
in the way of helping me understand things better. I want to
thank you all but we have gotten a bit off topic here.

Its always worth pointing out the errors in comments made.
My main question was about older BIOS and how it
relates to new or should I say older ebay hard drive
purchases and installation of said equipment.
Now I really wasn't griping about buying an advertised 10GB drive
only to find it is actually 9.3GB. But as I think about it that .7GB
not there is a lot in relation to what I used to have in the days gone
by when a 20MB HD was big and a 40 to 60MB was huge! As I
stated above I am a Mac user too and am mostly used to old Macs
and the installation of SCSI hard drives. Most of them were closer
in size to what was stated on the drive. I am not sure what it was
exactly but I always knew that after initializing, formatting and perhaps
partitioning. Yes that is the order and what Mac and SCSI call the
preparation and order of things needed to do in order to prepare the
HD. That order and terminology is something I have learned new
recently that IDE HDs and PCs have no initializing and do I
remember right here first you partition then you format?

Correct, except that it isnt necessarily a two step process
with a modern PC OS like XP, the formatting is automatic
with the partitioning when its done in Disk Management.
Anyway that space used up right away on a SCSI HD
oh let me call it the table of contents. I know that term
is wrong but the drive needed to save some space for
something it would use during its life of data on and off
it. Can I say it is sort of like a form from the government
that always has an area on it that states "do not write
in this area for official use only" is a space I can
not or should not personally access or use directly?

Correct. Its usually called the directory structures with PCs.
Any way I was really not questioning what size the drive showed or
why. I was more wanting to give an accurate description as close as my
knowledge can be used of PCs. I gave the size after preparation so you
good people out there can have the facts as to what I was seeing.
Thought maybe the size actually used and what was advertised might be
a marker as to if I may encounter a problem with a particular size limit.
All here seams to be working well but then I was not sure as I
fill up the hard drive if then the trouble would develop. So again I
ask if thing seem ok after the partitioning - formatting can I expect
that it will remain ok. Was this limit of size something I would
know right away even before I installed windows 98SE?

Yes.
 
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W

w_tom

If BIOS limited how much of the drive could be seen (and if that
drive was partitioned and formatted on that system), then you need not
worry about strange overwriting. If BIOS did not understand a full 10
Gb, then your drive would be partitioned to that BIOS limitation.

Update a BIOS is to fix a trivial problem that almost nobody sees.
Some get anal about BIOS upgrades. BIOS upgrade would not increase
size of drives supported. The risk of other damage is so great that a
BIOS upgrade should only be done to fix a known and particular problem.
Flashing a new BIOS will not increase drive size. However, another
poster defined how to change BIOS for larger drives (see three
paragraphs down).

Access to drive space is limited first by the BIOS and then by an OS.
Some manufacturers also reserve disk space for their comprehensive
hardware diagnostics. Depending on how you setup that 10 Gb drive,
then another partition with Compaq hardware diagnostics may account for
some of the missing Gbytes.

I don't remember, but I believe Windows 98SE has a size limitation of
only 8 Gb. Of the two Windows families, Win9x only used FAT filesystem
with its so many problems and limitations. For example, loss of power,
in some cases, may cause loss of the file being worked on AND loss of
the saved copy on disk. Windows NT based OSes, properly installed and
even back in the early 90s, use the far superior NTFS filesystem. Even
that file loss problem was eliminated by NTFS. That (what I have
assumed) 8 Gb limitation also would not exist.

As another posted usefully, BIOS limitation is solved by upgrading
with a disk drive controller or a plug-in card that contains a new BIOS
for disk drives. That plug-in BIOS replaces part of BIOS on
motherboard; thereby increasing disk drive partition sizes. But again,
the limitation is defined by two factors - BIOS and OS.

If you fear that BIOS limitations could cause data loss, then get
disk drive manufacturer's comprehensive diagnostics (for free).
Execute diagnostics in all write modes (it will destroy data on that
disk). If BIOS limitations exists, the manufacturer's disk
diagnostic should discover and report that problem. But again, threat
of data loss would not exist if drive was partitioned and formatted by
that same machine (and BIOS).
 

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