thanks for the advice, the problem was indeed an old version of fdisk, so i took the oppurtunity to do a bit of housekeeping and reformat both my drives, which is why these thanks are belated!
i got a '98 startup disk, set the partitions up fine, then reinstalled the OS (Win 95), but anything over 2 GB still was n't recognized so i've had to settle for 20 2GB logical drives, which is n't a big problem.
BTW did you know that you can only run the version of fdisk that you booted up with? hence the problem with '98 partitioning ok then installing (an old) '95 and being back to square one. (is this correct?)
The DOS utilities that we are still carting around are seriously odd little beasties - their most annoying trick is to announce that your copy of command.com is not compatible with themselves!
p.s. You are of course most welcome - this is what fora like this are for ...
Scouse Git -- email@example.com
"Staring at your screen in horror and disbelief when you open a saved game is one of the fun things of a succession game " - Hueij
"The Great Library has been built!"
"A short cut has to be challenging,
were it not so it would be 'the way'." - Paul Craven
[This message has been edited by Scouse Gits (edited May 20, 2001).]