Breaking the 7.8 gig boot partition limit

Hi!
We´re using a handmade unattended installation of WinNT 4.0, in which we prepartition the drive with linux creating one large FAT partition with the size of the entire drive containing only a 500 meg file system, taking advantage of the effect that the NTFS conversion utility goes on converting until it has reached the end of the partition. When we use our method on larger drives, the conversion utility corrupts the file system.
According to MS, NT only supports system partitions smaller than 7.8 gig. Knowledge base Article ID: Q224526
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q224/5/26.asp?LNG=ENG&SA=ALLKB (line break)
500 points for who can give us a solution for using larger system partitions.
CaptainFutureAsked:
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CaptainFutureAuthor Commented:
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CaptainFutureAuthor Commented:
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CaptainFutureAuthor Commented:
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oldgreyguyCommented:
I read an article  (ms) that proposed the following:

if a large drive in a currently running system is formatted in NTFS, then removed and placed in a system running the same drive controller (ie Adaptec 2490), then the int13 should allow it to be used as a boot disk for NT. I apologise for not having the Q#.

am currently running a NT4 installation on an ASUS P2BS, will add an 18gb Quantum this weekend and try it.

bill
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j2Commented:
7.8gigs is a hard limit in NT.

I cannot understand why anyone would need something bigger. 4gigs is enough fo our terrabyte-class datasilos.
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LermitteCommented:
The 7.8 gig is a hardware limit to NT, but when you upgrade to Windows 2000 you can create a greater boot partition.

Hardware limit NT
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q224/5/26.ASP
Boot partition Windows 2000
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q240/6/72.ASP 

Mario
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bakraniarCommented:
The only way I know to break the 7.8gb limit is by using the Norton Ghost disk cloning utility.  If you perform the install on a smaller drive (i.e. 2-4gb, format NTFS.  You can GHOST (Clone) the drive to the larger drive breaking the barrier.  You will recieve a warning within the Ghost app concerning the 7.8limit.  I have numerous systems running 8 and 13gb single partition NTFS drives.  Have not encountered any problems.  If you are responsible for setting up a large amount of systems, and have standardized on hardware, GHOST or similar disk cloning software is invaluable.  
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j2Commented:
Yes, that works fine, until the day some system files end up above the 1023 cylinder, and you need to use an ERD. Ever tried to use a ERD if parts of the system is on hi-cylinders? If not, i would suggest trying that for some interesting results.But aslong as that doesnt happen, ghost works fine.
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Brain2000Commented:
I wouldn't recommend making the system partition very big to begin with anyways.  Yes, the 7.8 GB limit is hardwired into NT.  Don't go past it.  If you want room, make a second partition.  We have a 4GB system/boot partition, and a 40GB RAID array on the next partition.

If you're having corruption during your "custom" setup, you need to modify your "custom" setup to use one of the files in a service pack.  This article gives a step by step demonstration on how to fix the corruption problem, but it still does not allow you to go past 7.8 GB:

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q197/6/67.ASP
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CaptainFutureAuthor Commented:
Truthfully, there is no need at all for system partitions larger than 7.8 gig.
Consider it an abstract question. Besides, having parts of Your disk unused after unattended install just doesn´t look nice.
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Brain2000Commented:
Ummm... check this out.  I just went to one of my servers and was installing something on it.  As I was installing, I just happened to notice that the boot/system partition for the C: drive is 10GB.  Very interesting I thought to myself.  I recall setting up the hard drive on another Windows NT system w/SP 5 and doing an xcopy from a 4GB drive to a 10GB drive.  I then put the 10GB drive on the server as one partition and it's worked fine ever since.  Of course, xcopy doesn't copy the file/directory permissions set up in NTFS, so they needed to be recreated.  I'm also running the drive from a Promise Ultra 66 IDE controller.  I did this all about a year ago.  I didn't even realize that it was that large.  Should I worry?
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j2Commented:
Brain: as i said, you do not have to worry until

1. NT system boot-critical files gets placed above the barrier (or above the 1023 cylinder for that matter)

2. You have to do a repair of your system

if 1 and 2 should happen to occur at the same time, you MIGHT have reason to worry. Depends on controllers/drivers/lots of other stuff.
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Brain2000Commented:
Well, I do know that particular controller will support hard drives up to 128GB right from bootup.  It has LBA translation and extended int13 built right into the BIOS.

I should be ok....   famous last words.
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j2Commented:
Yes, the problem tho is that the repair tools for NT assumes that everything is fitted below 4gigs of the partition, it also asumes that it is on less then 1023 cylinders.
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Brain2000Commented:
Then all you need to do to break the 7.8 GB barrier is to set up NT how you want on one hard drive (with at least SP3).  Then take that hard drive, along with a blank hard drive to a second NT station and hook them both up as secondary drives.  Format the blank hard drive as one giant partition and mark it as active.  Then do an "xcopy src:\ dest:\ /s /e /h /k" to copy all the files across to the blank drive, then boot off the new hard drive and re-set all your file permissions... and whalla!  You've broken the 7.8GB barrier.  Just don't ever use the NT repair tools.  If you need to repair it, do it from a second NT machine with the large hard drive hooked up as a secondary device.
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jvsteenCommented:
install NT to FAT, convert to NTFS, install SP5, install PartitionMagic, resize the partition.


Joep
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Brain2000Commented:
Ahh yes.  PQ magic will also do the job.  Then you don't have to mangle with the NT permissions either.
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jvsteenCommented:
install NT to FAT, convert to NTFS, install SP5, install PartitionMagic, resize the partition.


Joep
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CaptainFutureAuthor Commented:
Won´t work unattended, as pqmagic is, as far as I´m informed, not scriptable.
Basically a sound idea, though.
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jvsteenCommented:
PM is scriptable as long as You have the pro version.

Joep
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