FAT32 - Two TERABYTE Limit
FAT32 has a 2 TB true limit, per everything I read on-line before applying the 50 GB partitions.
MSFT simply didn't write Format for DOS or XP to permit larger FAT32 partitions. Their choice, not a limit of the technology. They'd already invested heavily in NT. Why not use its file structure? Its supposed to be faster, and if you work at Microsoft, you work for the people willing to shell out money for the latest and greatest, not the rest of us.
Other reasons for restricting Format to 32 GB? Don't know. MSFT is a software company. They're publicly traded. Windows98 did have an unusually long life span relative to MSFT support. Hard to sell new software if the old stuff is considered to be "good enough" from the perspectives of many home users. Making it impossible to expand partitions beyond 32 GB, to remain consistent with larger drives in more common use (with 200 GB certainly not that large by today's terabyte standards), might have had some commercial appeal. NTFS was the default under Windows.
The specific error I get is a complaint that HAL.dll in the "windows root" directory is corrupt or not functioning, but only when I make the new, larger hard drive, active as the slave drive. The original hard drive is what makes it possible for me to send this response. The original boots fine as the sole drive on the system.
I am in the weeds, as you put it, but not because of any technical specification that limits FAT32 to 32 GB. (I appreciate your insight, but you might want to check that out for your own benefit.)
I tried to image then install three partitions from my original drive to the the larger drive. On the second partition installation, the one with Windows XP, I got the "HAL.DLL is corrupt or missing" in "Windows root" directory error. I don't know how to get back to the point at which I can have both drives running and ready to accept data again, which is necessary for any new formatting or other activity. I can't seem to get the Windows XP CD to do any more than let me access the troubled, new hard drive when it is installed as the sole master. I just reformatted what comes up with it as the sole master as the D: partition. I left the C: partition, which would have been the Windows 98SE system, alone. I'm wondering re-formatting the c: partition would nuke the "Windows root" directory, and overcome this corrupt DLL file, which I am surprised is even an issue on the slave (new) drive, because Windows XP doesn't load from there. (I was advised of some "partition" management software on the XP CD by a local shop, but they must be thinking of a later version of Windows. There's no partition management software accessible from a CD boot on the Windows XP CD, just an "administrator" access to the Windows directory. Since I was able to format D:, I presume I could format C: again, to erase the root of the new drive, and hopefully eliminate any issues. (I probably should have done it while I had the jumper on the new drive to set it as the slave, but I was hoping that merely re-formatting the D: drive would deal with any Windows XP issues. I don't see how activities that should not have affected the original drive would cause me a problem with the Windows root directory of the original drive, from which I can boot just as before.)
I'm still confused, but thanks for the finger pointing. A reformat of the C: drive using Microsoft's Format (producing an NTFS partition) might eliminate a faulty restoration of the C: data to the new drive's base partition, since I didn't "confirm" the new installation's conformance with the old one, due to time issues, although I suspect there's some XP factor at work that is looking at the system in order to protect XP from being pirated, although I've been advised otherwise by a local PC shop today.
Hopefully someone will provide some more experienced insight.