Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

BIOS update, EIDE card, or overlay software? (FAQ Hard disk recognition)
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bizzybody
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Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by bizzybody » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:02 am

I have an old Epox EP-BX3 and flashed it with the last version of the BIOS. http://www.motherboards.org/mobot/bios/Epox/EP-BX3/

It's supposed to support up to 65 gig hard drives. Booted with a 98SE floppy, FDISK has no problem with a 40 gig drive but format insists the drive is only 4 gig and scandisk during setup of 95B "fixes" the FAT to cut it down to only 4 gig.

This board when released supported drives up to 32 gig, it NEVER had any of the lower limitations. Looks like Epox screwed something up.

Can the BIOS be fixed? I don't care if 128gig or larger support is added but I'd like it to have a correct fix for up to 65 gig.

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Re: Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by edwin » Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:03 pm

What is the brand/model of the harddisk?
Where did you get the bootdisk from?
Where did you get the 95B setup from?

The bios can already handle the disk, otherwise the machine would not even boot.
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bizzybody
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Re: Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by bizzybody » Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:32 am

Drive is a Seagate ST340015A firmware 3.15 P/N 9Y3001-031 S/N 5LAEWW1L (Searching now to see if there's a firmware update for the drive.)

I got the boot disks from bootdisk.com and allbootdisks.com Doesn't matter which FDISK I've tried, they all work and every FORMAT I've tried will only see the drive as 4 gig.
Windows 95B files are right off an original CD so the scandisk from it can't be a problem.

I've used all this many times before without ever encountering such a problem. It's always been both FDISK and FORMAT would see the same size limit.

Always something new to encounter with computers, even after working with them for over 30 years. I'm going to try connecting the drive to a Win7 box and use AOMEI to change the partitions with Win95 already installed then see what happens with the drive back in the old system.

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Re: Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by edwin » Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:38 am

This one:
09/21/2000-i440BX/ZX-977-2A69KPABC-00
09/20/2000 For i440BX/ZX AGPset
Has in the fix list:
Added compatibility with IDE hard drives up to 65GB
So anything older officially doesn't support the 40GB harddisk. What bios release date you have now?
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bizzybody
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Re: Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by bizzybody » Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:52 am

The last release is what I flashed before doing anything with the board. If a 128 gig patch can be done, and done correctly, that should clear up the issue with the 40 gig, right?

Note that when Epox changed it to go over 32 gig they broke compatibility with some 15 gig drives, which was fixed in a later release. Could be they created a similar error that affects some drives?

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Re: Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by Denniss » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:00 am

Try to remove all partitions with Fdisk and create a new primary partition with 30 GB. Issue stays the same?
Ensure the Master/Slave jumpers on this HDD are correctly set - page 31: http://www.seagate.com/support/disc/man ... 5400pm.pdf

bizzybody
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Re: Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by bizzybody » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:06 am

It did the same thing with a single primary 15 gig partition created with FDISK on 98SE boot disk. FORMAT would only see 4 gig.

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Re: Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by edwin » Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:37 am

It sounds almost like format wants to make a FAT16 partition. You could try to use diskpart from vista/win7/win8 or a gparted bootable cd to blow off all partitions/MBR
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bizzybody
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Re: Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by bizzybody » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:01 pm

I used a 3rd party utility on the drive, on Windows 7 x64, to redo the partitions. Now on the old box I ran scandisk in windows on both partitions then restarted in DOS mode and ran scandisk on both partitions.

No errors reported. I didn't change the BIOS setting from LBA.

So there's still *something* quirky/glitchy somewhere that either caused FDISK to do something not quite right or caused FORMAT to be unable to see partitions properly setup by FDISK.

I could test again by booting with the 98SE disk and trying to format the second partition. If format still sees only 4 gig then it must be the BIOS.

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Re: Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by edwin » Fri Apr 17, 2015 4:16 pm

...in which case we will run this thing through the patch 128GB disk procedure. Another thing to check for is the condition of the capacitors on the board and inside the power supply.

http://www.badcaps.net for more details. It can cause weird stuff like this.
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bizzybody
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Re: Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by bizzybody » Sat Apr 18, 2015 7:52 am

I booted with a 98SE startup floppy and ran FORMAT on the logical drive in the extended partition. It saw the full capacity.

Then I tried another test. I used FDISK to delete that logical drive and extended partition then rebooted. Now FDSISK is only seeing this 40 gig drive as a 32 gig, claiming the primary partition that occupies 50% of the drive is using 62%. Didn't change BIOS settings. Let me go and manually select Large instead of LBA... WTH? It self-altered the detected capacity down to 32 gig?! That's another trick I've never seen, a BIOS altering on its own the drive settings its own auto detect entered. Suspiciously weird that it would cut it to 32 gig, a limit that was supposed to have been fixed in one of the early updates.

Redid the auto detect and it detects it as 40 gig. Going to FDISK etc again. OK, it is *finally* formatting the correct 19+ gig capacity for half the drive. Perhaps because the part of the MBR etc for the primary partition was *not* written by FDISK? I have Win95 all setup and updated so I'm not eager to completely wipe it and start all over just to verify that 98SE FORMAT and 98B's scandisk have some problem with this hard drive and this board and BIOS when 98SE FDISK or Partition Magic (and who knows which other format utilities) are used.

I'd very much appreciate this BIOS getting a fix because it does seem to have some kind of oddities. :) If at some future time I need to replace the hard drive, I might 're-discover' its quirks. Or if the BIOS decides again that the drive should be 32 gig, that could do bad things to data on the 2nd partition.

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Re: Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by edwin » Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:35 pm

oh and check the jumper settings on the disk itself, some allow for limiting the capacity by jumper setting to 32GB to prevent them from locking up bioses that cannot handle 32GB or more...
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Re: Fixing drive size problem in Epox EP-BX3?

Post by bizzybody » Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:44 pm

There's just one jumper on the drive to set it as master. No slave on the primary. This drive doesn't have a 32 gig clip setting.

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