Serious help needed here


Aug 8, 2006
Hello there,

I really hope someone can help me out with my problem. I don't know if this is the correct forum, so please forgive me if i posted in the wrong one.

I have a gigabyte kt266A mobo. 3 partitions were made on the 40gb HD (C, D, and E) with Windows 98SE installed on C: (yes, it's an old setup). Later i wanted to add another, bigger HD (160gb) and install XP on it (make it a dual boot system). The second HD was installed on the 2nd IDE channel as a master ( i work with audio so i wanted as quick transfers as possible). I also wanted 8 partitions on that 2nd HD. Programs would only be installed on the first partition of each disc, all the rest of the partitions would only contain audio files to be streamed from disk.
The technician that did the installation did not use Fdisk to create the partitions before he begun the XP installation but instead he created them while installing XP. As a result, when i boot from XP i see things the way i would expect them:

C - 1st partition of HD #1
D - 2nd partition of HD #1
E - 3rd partition of HD #1
F - dvd drive
G - dvd drive
H - 1st partition of HD #2
O - 8th partition of HD #2

But when i boot from win98se i got:

C - 1st partition of HD #1
D - 1st partition of HD #2
E - 2nd partition of HD #1
F - 3rd partition of HD #1
G - 2nd partition of HD #2
H - 3rd partition of HD #2
L - 7th partition of HD #2
M - dvd drive
N - dvd drive

First observation, win98se do not see the 8th partition of the 2nd HD (norton ghost won't, either) maybe because DOS and 98SE reach the size-limit they can read? Can anyone explain that?

Second, everything works fine. Both drives are fat32. Everything works flawlessly... Until now, that i need more space. I can either add a third HD or replace one. Do i need a PCI board to add another HD? In that case, it worries me that it might create a bottleneck since both that HD and the audio card will share the same bus.
I could be wrong, please let me know what you think.

I think it is better if i choose to replace one HD. I have ghost-image backups for the OS partitions, so i would have thought that all i need is replace the 98SE a disk and then restore image. The problem is that (as am told) if i replace the first HD with another one then it will not be a dual boot system anymore, they (technicians) told me that the new first disc will not contain any information about another OS (XP) being on the second HD.

Is that true?

If so, then would the only thing left to do be that i will need to reinstall XP on the 2nd HD?

I wouldn't want to reinstall the XP partition - i've spend too much time tweaking it to get it where it is now
what if, say, I replace the 1st HD, make the same number of partitions on it, then just install win98se on it, then re-install XP (on the first partition of the 2nd disk) and when the istallation is over, i choose to RESTORE BOTH the 98se ghost-image to the 1st (new) HD and the XP ghost image to the 1st partition of the 2nd HD (where it originally was)...????
What then?
Would i end up with everything the way they are now, but with a new HD?
Should't all my programs work the way they work now?
Am i correct in my assumptions or am i simply... wrong?

If i am wrong, then the only other way to avoid re-installations would be to replace the 2nd disk with an even bigger one, make the same number of partitions (do i have to?) and then just load the XP Ghost image. THAT should work, right?

Please let me know what you think. Any (and i mean ANY) kind of advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read all this.
Kind Regards.


Jun 28, 2006
Well, I can shed some light here, but much of what you're asking here can be found on Microsoft's Knowledge base...

First, DOS assigns Win98 drive letters on the primary IDE channel only. (I believe it's primary partition of master (HD1), primary partition of slave (HD2), extended partitions of master, extended partitions of slave). DOS cannot see HDs on the secondary IDE channel, that's why drivers were always necessary back in the DOS-era. (You'll need to find some of those drivers if you want to use Ghost with a drive on the secondary IDE channel). Win98 is responsible for assigning the other drive letters. (I believe you can choose drive letters NOT pre-assigned by DOS/on the primary IDE channel).

To add, Win98 has a 127GB limitation. Microsoft REFUSED to fix this in Win98. (Win2000 and XP gold also had this problem, but M$ fixed it for those OS's). Generally speaking, Win98/ME can see the first 127GB of a drive. Be careful of any partitions that can transcend that boundary--those partitions may look like the full size under Win98--but "drop off" at a specific point--resulting in loss of data! According to Microsoft, some PCI-IDE cards get around this limitation, but I have no idea on how well they work and what risks exist.

So, buying a bigger HD won't accomplish anything--you have to buy ANOTHER HD. Now, if you're concerned with saturating the PCI bus, you might want to buy a PCI-IDE card and use it for your DVD drives. This should work with Win98 and XP (although I'm not sure if the Win98 Emergency Boot Disk will see the DVD drive in that case). If the PCI card gets around the Win98 limitations (BIOS overlay?), then you can put a HD on it.

Before I forget--make sure you have the Win98 fixes to support HDs >64GB before you install anything.

As far as reinstalling XP or Win98--you'll probably have to reinstall XP. I've never been able to use Ghost to get an NTFS partition to work properly on a new hard drive. Win98-FAT32 is a different story. Hell, you could ZIP all the files on your Win98 boot partition, "fdisk /mbr" and "sys c:" and it'll work. My recommendation is to partition the new drive as you choose, install secondary HDs, Ghost 98 onto the primary HD, then install XP.

One other option to consider is USB. I'm not sure but I think it gets around the 127GB limitation in Win98. No PCI bus problem, however expect high data transfer rates...

I wish I could be of more help, but I haven't worked with 98SE in a while...


Aug 8, 2006
Thank you so much for taking the time, you helped me learn new things :wink:

Now it makes sense why the drive lettering is different on each OS. And it makes sense WHY 98se does not see past a certain point. As it is now, 98se will see the 1st HD (40GB) and then will see around 2/3 of the 2nd HD (160 GB). You are right. And this is why Ghost (from DOS) won't see the last partition of the 2nd HD.

I'll give it some thought about the PCI-IDE card for the dvd drives.

Now, about re-installing XP or Win98se:
You say 'never been able to use Ghost to get an NTFS partition to work properly on a new hard drive. Win98-FAT32 is a different story'.
Well, both HD's (XP included) are FAT-32... i did that on purpose so to have access from both OS's... you think it will work then?

To recap, what i wonder if i can do is:

1) Replace the 2nd HD (on the 2nd IDE) with a bigger one.
2) Then install XP and partition the drive during installation, using the same number of partitions the original had (can i use more or bigger ones? will it matter?)
3) Then once XP installation is over, restart and boot from DOS and use Ghost (i have an image of the 1st partition of the XP HD) to restore that image to the 1st partition of the new HD#2.

Shouldn't it work? Shouldn't it be like nothing changed but a bigger disc now? Correct me if i am wrong.