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Installing my 60GB Hard disk

Installing my 60 GB hard disk in my dual boot desktop (Redhat 7.2 and Windows 98), proved to be quite a project in itself :) If I were using Linux only, I would have not problem. Add hard disk, set BIOS do "Not Installed", and everything works fine. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

System: Celeron 400A, 272 MB RAM, 10GB HDD
Hard disk being added: Western Digital Caviar 60GB, 7200 RPM, Internal EIDE Hard Drive
Mother Board String: 61-0911-001437-00111111-071595-ALi1621-725000-H
BIOS Type: AMI dated: 09/11/1998 S
Chipset: ALi1621
Manufacturer: Hsing Tech ( /
Manufacturer model number: M725 or M729 (I am not sure)

Looks like, the motherboard manufacturer (PCChips) discontinued the motherboard I have and stopped updating BIOS in Sept 1998. Currently the BIOS in my computer cannot recognize hard disks above 30GB.

About my motherboard: Several searches at google, and other search engines, tell me that my mother board is one of 2 models (PCChips M729 or M725), which does not matter, as the manufacturer has discontinued both the motherboards and the latest BIOS updates for both are old !! So, all I have is a reliable BIOS string. About 2 years back, I did update my BIOS, when I brought my 10 GB hard disk. Unfortunately, I did not note any information about the mother board and model while doing that. When I last updated the BIOS, it raised the max had disk capacity to 30 GB.

Linux and BIOS: Linux completely bypasses the BIOS, as far as IDE devices is concerned. Linux use the disk directly, instead of going through the BIOS. I set my BIOS to secondary master (60 GB HDD) "Not Installed" and Redhat 7.1 was still able to detect and use it :) Linux rocks.... The only limitation is that you cannot use space beyond what the BIOS recognizes at the very early stage of booting.

The 60 GB hard disk and BIOS: the BIOS is _not_ able to detect this hard disk. It freezes. However, there is an alternate jumper setting for the hard disk, that makes it detect as 30GB hard disk. Since this Hard disk is a secondary master, and my system does not boot off this hard disk, I can afford to deactivate this device completely at boot time (BIOS).

EZ-BIOS: EZ-BIOS is a utility provided by motherboard manufacturers that fool the OS into thinking that the HDD is 60 GB, when the BIOS is not capable of handling the whole hard disk.

Here is what I did
- set hard disk jumpers to alternate setting where BIOS detects it as a 30GB hard disk
- set BIOS to auto detect
- install EZ-BIOS
- Boot into Redhat, create partitions and verify that all 60 GB is available
- Format ext2 partitions
- Boot into win98, format FAT32 partitions and make sure all 60GB is available
- Boot into Redhat and make sure, I am able to mount all partitions
- Shutdown
- set jumper setting to what they should be, where BIOS *should* detect 60GB
- BIOS detect fails
- reboot
- set BIOS secondary master to "Not Installed"
- Boot into Redhat, make sure all partitions are mountable, and verify 60GB
- Boot into win98 and verify that all win32 partitions are available.

EZ-BIOS install program installs EZ-BIOS on the master (bootable) hard disk as well. This is due to the fact that EZ-BIOS has to be loaded in memory before the MBR. EZ-BIOS did screw up Grub a little bit - Gurb is not able to load the background image. Now I just get the text (ncurses) based menu. I wonder what will happen if I update Grub to MBR...

Well, I finally got everything to work :)