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120 gig hardisk appears as 30 gig.

Posted on 2003-03-31
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
My 120 gig hard disk can only be seen as a 30 gig on my pc (xp). I've heard that it might have something to do with my BIOS, but i'm not really sure. Is the problem my motherboard? i've bought 2 different 120 gig hard disks and i get the same problem.
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Question by:medioz
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19 Comments
 
LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:Kyle Schroeder
Kyle Schroeder earned 75 total points
ID: 8240409
Yes, your BIOS doesn't support harddisks greater that 32GB so you only can "see" 32GB of space (~30GB once its formatted).  Most likely, there is no BIOS update to resolve this for such an old machine (Pentium II maybe?).  Your best bet would be to buy a PCI IDE controller card, they are fairly inexpensive (~$30-75 US):
http://www.promise.com/product/product_detail_eng.asp?productId=87&familyId=3
http://www.siig.com/products/ide/features/Ultra_ATA133PCIv2.html

Your other option is to upgrade your motherboard (and CPU most likely) which will probably necessitate new RAM as well as reinstalling your operating system.

-dog*
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 8240412
Quite probably BIOS.  

You don't specify your motherboard.   So we can't really check for you.  Check with the manufacturer's web site and download any BIOS updates for it and install.  These may fix the problem.  
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Expert Comment

by:MHuang
ID: 8240414
Older BIOSes can support only up to 30 gig.  Looks like you got one of those.  Try checking for BIOS updates from the motherboard manufacturer and see if they will support over 30 gig.  If not, you either have to upgrade the motherboard or be content with 30 gigs.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 8240417
Its also possible that your drive has the "Limit 32GB" jumper set by default; review the drive's manual/installation sheet to determine this.  Western Digital and IBM sometimes have this pre-enabled.

-dog*
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Expert Comment

by:Gothmog
ID: 8240461
Hte porblem is most certianly your BIOS my friend you have got an outdated BIOS that means that when your BIOS was released the max hdd capacity it coluld handle was 30gb and no more so it sees your hdd's as 30gb because of that. OK what you do if you wanna do if you want to do it yourself is look inside your case on your motherboard and make note of the make of your m/b and its "name" (usually a number on the side of your m/b) and go to the m/b's site and look for BIOS updates and look for the most recent one yuor m/b's manafacturer released and download that they will probaly have instructions on how to do it but if you are confused or would rather not risk breaking anything go to your nearest pc technician and ask them to fix it for you, it will probaly cost you a few bucks but if the latest BUIOS update supports your hdd then its worth it. BUT if it still doesnt work after the technician did it then it means you ahev to buy a new motherboard and probaly cpu. Ask your local store what they suggest.

Hope you succeed.
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LVL 13

Accepted Solution

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magarity earned 75 total points
ID: 8240587
All of the new large hard drives come with software to allow them to work with computers that do not support drives larger than 32GB.  If you bought a white-box drive that did not come with the software on a floppy, you can download it for free from the manufacturer's website.  Just go to www.<hard drive manufacturer>.com and get it.  If you can't find it, please tell the name here and we can help you get the right link.

The Promise controllers are nice, but not required.  It is up to you whether you want the free program or buy the controller card.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:rjhawkin
ID: 8240801
on the free program vs the card.

the free program is a softwre solution to a hardware problem.

The card is a hardware solution to the hardware problem. Over the long run you will have fewer problems with the card. Especially if you manage to pick up a bootsector virus someplace. Since the software program is software it can be damaged by things writing to the boot sector.

If you want to run other OS's than windows the software can cause differnt problems affecting the addressability of the full space on the drive.

The Promise card on the otherhand needs no special drivers it just intercepts at a hardware level all commands to the drive and performs the addres translation there. before passing them on to the drive. Any software that directly accees the hardware wont even know the difference.

the choice is yours.


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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 8240896
It isn't a harware problem; BIOS is software and this is a shortcoming of this computer's BIOS.  The Promise card does not 'intercept' or 'translate' anything; it is simply a controller just like the built in controller.

I've never had any troubles or heard anything but unsubstatianted rumors of troubles with the BIOS translation utilities provided by the manufacturers.  Yes, the cards are great and I recommend them if you want the performance they offer.  But they are not absolutely necessary and you shouldn't jump at shadows.
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Expert Comment

by:somanywindowsquestion
ID: 8242997
what os are you running? are you trying to format fat32 or ntfs?  under xp, you can have problems formatting large capacity drives into fat32.
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Expert Comment

by:mobiusnz
ID: 8244078
To magarity - Yes the promise card DOES Intercept - it has its own bios like a SCSI controller does and so it bipasses the mainboard bios. And I have dealt first hand with someone loosing access to ALL their data due to a virus overwriting the boot sector and mbr of their drive and so rendering the overlay software useless. It was not easy to fix so cost the client 3 hours of my billable time (considerably more than a new controller that will not loose data and will also take advantage of UDMA100 on the drive to give HUGE performance gains). I have little experience as to whether the overlay software has failsafes to protect against this now or has easy recovery tools etc as I choose to Stear well clear of overlay software. Overlay software also makes it difficult to move the drive into another system or Ghost data etc so can cost more technician time at future upgrades.

I would STRONGLY recommend the addin controller as this will be reliable and Boost performance.

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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 8246797
mobiusnz is implying that the Promise controller will protect against virus infection.  I hope everyone realises this completely incorrect.  Maintaining a current virus scanning program and current backups are the proper procedure for protection againt a virus attack.  A properly backed up system is no more or less easy to restore with a controller card or overlay software.  This is therefor NOT RELEVANT to the issue of a controller for extra expense versus the overlay software.  I hope the questioner is bothering to read ALL of my posts where I CLEARLY point out that a controller is great but not required.  My official stance on this is: the overlay sotware works great if you want to get the drive working right away with no extra costs.  The controller is great if you want some performance gains and potential ease of future Ghosting / other utilities.
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Expert Comment

by:mobiusnz
ID: 8248509
I never implied it would protect against virus infection, but it would stop an otherwise harmless virus like Junkie from wiping all your data in one fell swoop. Years ago I also had a case of a friend getting the anthrax virus before anyone had virus def's for it, this overwrote the boot sector and mbr rendering Stacker drive compression software useless (and would have had the same effect on Overlay software). Luckly Stacker was easy enough to make a boot floppy for and we sent the virus to VET in Australia and they wrote us a remover, this pc was used by his mother as an editor for a publisher so downtime would have been costly.

See the following
http://www.morgan-cybersys.com/lcd.html
for one example of someone warning of the issues discussed there are many more out there.

Obviously magarity has never had someone come in white as a ghost because they have lost all their data (or at least access to it). Its all very well telling people to backup, they generally don't learn that until too late.

For a home machine, where the most you loose is time reloading (Which some people enjoy doing) then YES, overlay software is fine and I imagine a lot better today than the early versions. But for the sake of $30 US the drive perfomance will be far higher.

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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:Gothmog
ID: 8298396
Hi Medioz i think you will save us all and yourself included a lot of trouble if you tell us what motherboard you have if you dont know what your motherboards serial number is it is usually in one of 2 places 1. between your pci slots and 2. on the side of your motherboard. We can only do so much with the information you gave us so whenever you have time please give that details to us.

Yours Sincerely
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Expert Comment

by:Gothmog
ID: 8298418
Oh and Margarity and Mobiusnz this is not a chatroom so i think its best if you stop fighting each other or just move it to a chatroom and talk it out because your only going to confuse the questionaire with your quarrels.

No offense.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 8300281
We are having a technical discussion in which there is some disagreement, not a fight.  It is all relevant to the problem at hand and if I hear followup questions from the questioner then I will be happy to clarify anything that might have caused confusion.
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 10046799
Points to dogztar
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