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I sent out a longish response a few minutes ago which explained
the my problem was solved somehow!

One thing I missed explaining in my original post is
the AMI BIOS on the GA-7IXE4 motherboard
has a very spartan set of options.

For the geometry translation of ATA disk, only
On/Off choice was available and according to help message
On means LBA and Off is non-LBA (normail?).
I let LBA on during my trials and errors.

AWARD BIOS would have shown
none/auto/large/lba, etc. for the same choice.

Well, AMI BIOS seems to be pretty minor these days. I have seen it
on my current motherboard as well as onthe low-price end machines from
small vendors, inside VMware's virtual PC environment(!), but
nowhere else. There could be some rough edges still around due to
user base.

I am glad I have been using SCSI disk.
If it had not been for my 2.4.0-test12 on a scsi disk I moved from my
old PC,
I would not have been able to
use linux successfully with Win98 partition on
this motherboard for a couple of weeks.

I guess my motherboard is somewhat exceptional case where BIOSreports a
that didn't match the geometry used by popular OSes.

Again thank you everybody for helpful tips.

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