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HDD Size Not Recognized Correctly

Posted on 2003-11-25
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have an old Packard Bell Force 3570 that I'm trying to configure to do basic routing, filtering, and logging of our network traffic.  The machine is very old (5+yrs) and thus has a tiny hard drive (1GB).  I've decided to upgrade the drive to something a little bit larger (4.3GB) to store more information in our logs.  (Additionally, I suspect the other HDD of causing kernel panics on more than one occasion, but that's another issue entirely.)  So I got this new WD drive (WDC 24300), pop it into the computer, and boot into Linux to partition it so that I can start copying the data over.  I then notice that it only recognizes the drive as being ~400MB.  I figure that can't be right, so I reboot and go into the BIOS.  The C/H/S settings are all messed up, so I change them to what the drive says (Cy: 8192, H: 15, SPT: 63), and boot into linux again.  The drive is still being recognized incorrectly, so in fdisk I change the settings to what I believe to be correct again.  I partition it just fine, it calls ioctl () and syncs up the disks without complaint.  When I reboot the machine, the troubles begin.  I get the following errors:

hdb: read_intr: status=0x59 { DriveReady SeekComplete DataRequest Error }
hdb: read_intr: error=0x10 { SectorIDNotFound}, CHS=8886/5/38, sector=2
ide0(?): unexpected interrupt, status=0xd0, count=5
ide0: reset: success
hdb: read_intr: status=0x59 { DriveReady SeekComplete DataRequest Error }
hdb: read_intr: error=0x10 { SectorIDNotFound}, CHS=8886/5/38, sector=2
end_request: I/O error, dev 03:43 (hdb), sector 2

and others like it repeating.  My first thought was that the BIOS was too old to handle a drive this size, since 4.3GB = 4311.9MB ~= 4.5 billion bytes > 2^32 bytes, and, since it's a P100 processor, it's obviously 32-bit architecture, but it may not be advanced enough to recognize more than 2^32 bytes..  However, this is where my knowledge of hardware compatibility gets shaky: shouldn't it be able to access the lower 2^32 bytes?  Should I give it some different drive geometry settings to allow it to do so?  What should those settings be?  How can I boot back into linux to adjust the settings there (or do I need to get it done from some outside utility?)  Basically, what it all boils down to: how can I get this ancient machine to recognize at least most of my new drive without risk of failure?
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Question by:Artine
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by:chicagoan
ID: 9822694
Either a BIOS upgrade from the manufacturer or an add in ATAPI controller with an onboard bios would be needed to address this hard drive. The latter is a lot more likely fix.

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by:chicagoan
ID: 9822706
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dbrunton earned 250 total points
ID: 9822866
Its not the 32 bit architecture that's the problem.  It s the BIOS.

A BIOS of that era may not go past recognising 4 Gb disks in size.  As chicagoan says see if you can find a BIOS update for that machine.

But seeing it's Linux, Linux doesn't need to use the BIOS to identify the hard disk geometry.

You can feed it the disk parameters on setup.  See here

http://www.ibiblio.org/mdw/HOWTO/BootPrompt-HOWTO-7.html
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by:chicagoan
ID: 9822900
and if the atapi chipset only supports 28-bit addressing ?
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by:dbrunton
ID: 9822961
He's in dippy doo da.

Its a Packard Bell which could mean anything but most likely cheapness.

I remember a salesman trying to sell my Aunt one once.  I almost swore at him.
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by:chicagoan
ID: 9823058
hold it - that's a 4 gig drive... geez read the post ! I saw WDC2xxx and was thinking 200GB!
so it's the infamous 2.1 GB barrier!
the controller would work - but it's overkill
dbrunton's link oughta work as it's bypassing the bios...
if the 1 gig drive worked, 2 gig drives should work as well.




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by:AlbertaBeef
ID: 9823140
WD24300 is definitely a 4.3GB drive.

Western Digital EZ-Drive (an old copy) will install an overlay that should work fine too.  Most likely even there new data lifeguard tools will do it.  (At least WD claims it still works with all WD.... drives)

You can get the .zip version http://support.wdc.com/download/dlg/dlgsetup11_dos.zip
or the .exe version http://support.wdc.com/download/dlg/dlg11_dos.exe
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by:AlbertaBeef
ID: 9823146
Oh yeah, and Packard Bell's were NASTY.  In the store I managed they were constantly brought in for repairs (we didn't sell them) and our guys all agreed they were just problematic.

Although, on the bright side, with that big heavy base they were hard to tip over ;-)

My two-bits worth:  Use a real PC for your network monitoring, spray paint the PB orange and use it as a pylon. ;-)
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by:Artine
ID: 9825650
Okay, I got it working; thanks a lot for all of the great ideas!

What finally did it in the end was a) moving the drive over to the first IDE channel (who knew that could be an issue?) and b) using the boot params as prescribed by dbrunton.

AlbertaBeef: I think your idea is absolutely marvelous, and if I had orange spraypaint and I weren't learning so much from this little project, I'd do it and send you a photograph of the submerged machine :-)


Thanks again for all the help; most of the ideas seemed very promising, it just happened to work with the first one I tried.
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