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View Full Version : Hard Drives and Partitions in a DOS Machine



NayusDante
07-27-2010, 05:59 PM
I'm eventually going to switch my retro rig from Windows 95 to pure DOS. The problem is that it currently has an 80gb drive that I managed to get 95 to work on. I had to put DOS 7 on it and install everything a funny way, but it uses the whole drive.

I want to use DOS 6.22, or 6.0, because my school's MSDN Academic Alliance page had them. What's the largest physical drive that I can use, and what's the best way to partition it? I would really like to rip CD-based games to HDD, but it's not absolutely necessary.

Gapporin
07-27-2010, 06:26 PM
If I remember right, the biggest partition you can use with DOS is 2 GB. I'm not sure if there are limits to how many partitions you can have, but 80 GB seems like overkill. Given with the way this is set up, ripping CD-based games to HD seems unproductive, given the fact that only 5-10 will fit on a partition.

I'm thinking that alternative DOS shells like 4DOS or FreeDOS or DrDOS may offer more flexibility with assigning partitions but I don't know for a fact (plus, you said that you wanted to stick with 6.22).

Jorpho
07-27-2010, 11:15 PM
pure DOSUgh.

The great reference for hard drive size restrictions is http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_drives/hard_drive_size_barriers.htm . I thought there was some other problem, but it would seem that if that 80 GB drive works in your computer, you could in theory create a whole bunch of 2 GB FAT16 partitions and use a fair chunk of the drive - but I reckon drive letters alone would start being a problem before you got very far.


I'm thinking that alternative DOS shells like 4DOS or FreeDOS or DrDOS may offer more flexibility with assigning partitions but I don't know for a fact (plus, you said that you wanted to stick with 6.22).4DOS is a shell; FreeDOS and DrDOS are full DOS replacements. However, I believe you can use the drfat32 driver from DR-DOS with MS-DOS 6.22 to access FAT32 partitions.

You'll also want SHSUCDHD (http://adoxa.110mb.com/shsucdx/index.html) for your CD images, by the way, unless that's not "pure" enough for you.

Ze_ro
07-31-2010, 10:31 PM
The 2GB limit is part of FAT16, the default file system used by MS-DOS. Switching to FAT32 is likely going to be trouble... Judging from this page (http://www.cn-dos.net/msdos71/dosfat32.htm), your best bet seems to be with running MS-DOS 7.1, which has been hacked apart to run separately from Win9x by enthusiasts... whether that sounds like a good idea is up to you. Even if you do that, there's a chance you might hit some other limitations before you can access the full size of your drive (there will almost certainly be issues with drives over 127.5GB, but there might be other issues even before that).

At the moment, I'm using two 1GB drives, and it's been more than enough space... though I'm thinking of replacing them both with a 4GB compact flash card with two partitions. Of course, neither option would work all that well with your idea of having a bunch of ISO's sitting around to use.

--Zero