Can't boot into win 98 on 486

By professorturf ·

We have an old 486 computer that formerly ran win95 until the 1gb harddrive died (a sector...or part of the harddrive). So, I am pretty sure that it can only recognize 1gb harddrives but want to install a ~6gb harddrive that I have already formatted. I want to install win98 on the hd instead of win95. So, I decided we need to partition it and to start with it, we partitioned it on another computer into 2 drives (a 1gb hd and a ~5gb hd) as a slave. Then, since the cd drive doesn't work due to not having a driver on the 486. We took the setup files from the win98 disk and put it on the harddrive (while connected as a slave on another computer), then accessed these files and ran them through dos on the old 486. Win98 was sucessfully installed, BUT still the same error message keeps showing up where first it says:

PhoenixBIOS(TM) E486 vers. 1.00.19.AMO


"No installable device found"


"Bios not installed"

Other possibly useless info:

Just to clarify, we can see the files on the hardrive though dos by typing "dir" and have installed win98 on the 1gb partitioned part of the total ~6gb hd. However, we CAN NOT see the ~5gb partition (which we expect).

Should I update the BIOS and how do I do that.....


Do I need to partition the WHOLE HD into 1gb or less drives before it will boot correctly (using partition magic) or is it okay to just have one partition that is 1gb and do all installation from that, then partition the rest later? Thanks a ton for your help.

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It is possible BIOS will not even recognize the hardware

by seanferd In reply to Can't boot into win 98 on ...

Did you go into BIOS setup and set it to try and identify the drive?

Are you saying that the system *DOES* boot DOS from the HDD?

Note: If you have DOS installed with the mscdex.exe driver and a generic CD driver that works for your drive, along with the proper entries in autoexec.bat and config.sys, you should be able to install from CD after booting into DOS. You can even do that after booting DOS from a floppy.

The HDD might be able to work with some drive geometry translation software.

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by seanferd In reply to It is possible BIOS will ...

Did you just format the drive? You may need to fdisk it first, format it, (maybe even format /s). The drive must be FAT32, have a primary partition marked as bootable. Check the jumpers to make sure it is set as a master.

It might also be necessary to have a separate drive/controller BIOS installed for that drive, which may not be available at all. (e.g., Adaptec) Are the system and the drive both IDE?

Maybe have a look at this:


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You may have exceeded the drive size limit

by seanferd In reply to Can't boot into win 98 on ...

regardless of partition size, 6GB HDD may be too much.

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When I was running Win98 on a P-133, o/c to 166 ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Can't boot into win 98 on ...

I had 2 HDDs, a 540MB & a 810MB. Somewhere in the back of my mind I recall a limit of 1.2GB (the only way to exceed this limit was to use multiple HDDs).

I reckon this 6GB HDD is at the root of your problem.

(Just imagine thinking overclocking to 166MHz was an achievement !!)

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