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Windows 98se won't detect HDD

By peetree ·
This question was sent to Maxtor, the mfgr. of my HDD.
I recently purchased a 120GB HDD from Newegg.

I'm currently running 98SE on an old temporary 4GB HDD as my Primary Master. The BIOS detects the 120GB HDD as a Primary Slave (as I want to be - for now). However my OS doesn't see it. I run System Information, Norton System Works is installed, and it shows, but it is listed as 114.50GB?

Before long (ASAP) I'm going to Clean install XP on the 120GB HDD, with XP and dual boot to 98SE; both being on separate partitions.

However, I first have to get 98SE to recognize the 120GB HDD. I have dowloaded Maxblast III to my desktop. My floppy drive is toast and I wish to copy the Maxblast software to a bootable CDR. Is this possible?

I am going to make the 120GB as my Primary Master and save the 4GB for emergencies.

This my be too much info. As it stands, I put my CD-ROM as the first boot item and the 120GB as the second. Then I made the CD-ROM the Primary Master and the Secondary Master as the 120GB. I then put the XP disk in the CD-ROM, shut down and rebooted. It didn't do anything.

If you have any answers to my dilema, please inform me. Thank you.

Colin P. King

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by TheChas In reply to Windows 98se won't detect ...

1. 114Gb sounds about right.

The difference is that the drive manufactures use decimal bytes, and ALL computers use binary bytes. Were 1024 bytes = 1K byte.

2. Windows will NOT recognize ANY drive that has NOT been partitioned.
You need to run fdisk and partition the drive. Then, Windows 98 will see the drive and allow you to format and transfer files to the drive.

3. If your BIOS recognizes the full capacity of the hard drive, you do NOT need MAX Blast or any other disk utilities.
You can create or download a bootable CD.
Check out the links at

4. Your problem with the XP boot attempt is that Windows needs a hard drive to be the primary Master drive.
You do not need to locate the CD drive as the primary master in order to boot from it.

Set the 120GB drive as Primary Master. Set the jumpers for a single drive. (Or master with slave if you want to have the 4GB drive in place.)

Connect the CD-ROM drive as secondary master or slave.

Boot and enter BIOS setup.
Make sure that under boot device or boot sequence, CD-ROM is before IDE or Hard drive.

Save and Exit BIOS setup.

You should now be able to boot from the XP CD.

As part of setup, XP will partition and format your drive.
I suggest 2 things:

Unless you need to access the drive from Windows 98, format the drive as a NTFS volume.

Read the article on Partition planning at


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by TheChas In reply to

For links to tutorials and information about fdisk, check out


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by TheChas In reply to

For a dual-boot system, it is "best" practice to install the oldest version of Windows first.

For Windows 98, the drive needs to be partitioned AND formatted before you can install Windows.

You should be able to boot from the Windows 98 CD and run fdisk.

If you want W98 on a logical drive, and not the C: drive, create both partitions and at least the first logical drive.
Exit fdisk and re-boot.
Format at least the C: and W98 target drives.
Then run setup and install W98.

When you install XP, I would boot into W98 and then insert the XP disk. You will be guided through the options to set up a dual boot system.

Keep in mind that Windows 98 CANNOT read files in a NTFS volume.
If you wish to share files between XP and W98, you must format these drives as FAT32 volumes.
On the flip side, you can 'hide' files from W98 by storing them on a NTFS volume.


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by peetree In reply to

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by ftdn In reply to Windows 98se won't detect ...

You need to set the Bios HD detection as "Auto" and in most any configuration when boot, the bios will detect and find the boot instruction from any available boot record. You can leave the HD config as is and boot with the windows xp CD in the cdrom, while installing it'll give you the option where to install the windows XP, partition and format it.

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by peetree In reply to Windows 98se won't detect ...

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