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Large hard drive (woes ...) I just don't get it .... so, I want to know:

I have always had smaller sized hard drives (like 40, 60, 80 GB).  I've basically had no issues with these drives.  Recently, I've gotten a few larger sized drives (120GB, 200GB, and 250GB).  It seems to me that just about everytime I've had to install one of these large drives that something either is out of sync with the BIOS and/or the software.

First Question:
Can anyone recommend a good URL that I can go to so I can understand why it is that these large drives are either not 'seen' by the OS, will only allow you to create a partition size of 120GB or less ...).  I would really like to be clear as to if installing a drive will require me to do something in the OS, BIOS, use the installation disc that comes with the drive, etc.

Second Question:
I installed a 200GB drive into a system.  It is the 2nd drive in the box.  It is up and running as the secondary slave drive.  I have a 80GB primary master, and I have a DVD-R as the secondary master.  

This time, the OS saw the drive as it is (a 200GB drive).  I am running Windows XP SP2.  I was not able to create a partition on the drive, but yet it installed itslef as a 'dynamic drive'.  Inside of this dynamic drive, I was then able to create what it called a 'dynamic partion'.  I created two of them (100 GB or so a piece).  

At times, when I write files to the second partition of the 'dynamic drive', I will get CRC errors and/or very slow response times.

I would to NOT have this drive as 'dynamic' but rather as a normal drive with two primary partitions ...

I hope this is understandable by the EE community.

Thanks in advance
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pugdog_fan
Asked:
pugdog_fan
1 Solution
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Hi pugdog_fan,
> First Question:
> Can anyone recommend a good URL that I can go to so I can understand
> why it is that these large drives are either not 'seen' by the OS, will
> only allow you to create a partition size of 120GB or less ...).  I
> would really like to be clear as to if installing a drive will require
> me to do something in the OS, BIOS, use the installation disc that
> comes with the drive, etc.

http://www.md4pc.com/questions/58.htm


> Second Question:
> I installed a 200GB drive into a system.  It is the 2nd drive in the
> box.  It is up and running as the secondary slave drive.  I have a 80GB
> primary master, and I have a DVD-R as the secondary master.

> This time, the OS saw the drive as it is (a 200GB drive).  I am running
> Windows XP SP2.  I was not able to create a partition on the drive,
> but yet it installed itslef as a 'dynamic drive'.  Inside of this
> dynamic drive, I was then able to create what it called a 'dynamic
> partion'.  I created two of them (100 GB or so a piece).

> At times, when I write files to the second partition of the 'dynamic
> drive', I will get CRC errors and/or very slow response times.

> I would to NOT have this drive as 'dynamic' but rather as a normal
> drive with two primary partitions ...

If you're getting CRC errors, I'd suggest running a CHKDSK /F on the drive.  You might have to reboot for this to run (chkdsk will tell you).  I would tend to think there's a problem with the drive.  Probably a few bad sectors.  This might be sufficient to get the drive replaced as nowadays, I rarely see drives with detectable bad sectors (was much more common 12 years ago or so).  I once had a new 200 GB (Western Digital drive) dead on arrival.


Cheers!
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WatzmanCommented:
In order to use an IDE drive connected to a motherboard IDE port larger than 137 decimal gigabytes (that's about 127 binary gigabytes), you MUST use what is known as "48-bit logical block addressing (lba)).  There is no option here.  Any attempts to write to such a drive without using 48 bit lba will probably be catastrophic and destroy everything on the entire drive, all partitions, all data (because the very first thing destroyed is the master boot record and the partition table).

In order to support 48-bit LBA, you need support in 4 places:

-In the drive (all ide rives over 120 gigs have it, however)
-In the IDE controller hardware
-In the BIOS software running the drive controller at a low level
-In Windows

The hardware IDE controller either has the support, or it doesn't.  ("hardware IDE controller" means either your motherboard or a PCI IDE controller card).  The manufacturer's web site will tell you.  Most products made since sometime in 2002 probably have it.

The BIOS refers either to the motherboard bios or, in the case of a PCI IDE controller, to it's firmware and drivers.  In some cases, if this support doesn't initially exist, upgrades are available to add this support.

Since most modern motherboards and PCI IDE controllers meet these requirements, that leaves Windows.

Windows 9x does not have this support, and there is no upgrade or solution available from Microsoft.  You can still use Windows 9X if you are VERY sure that it never attempts to access any portion of the drive beyond the first 137 gigabytes (remember, that's decimal gigabytes, but Microsoft uses binary gigabytes, so call the limit 127 rather than 137, and even then leave a few gigs of slack).  Remember, however, the first write to any area beyond this boundary probably destroys the drive's total contents.  Everything.

Windows NT, similarly, has no support for this.

Windows 2000 added support for this in SP3, BUT you need to both install sp3 or later and make a manual registry entry.

Windows XP added the same support in SP1 that 2000 added in sp3.  Again, the manual registry entry in needed in addition to the service pack.  Windows XP SP2 has the support fully built-in (registry entry not needed).

With respect to Windows 9x, NT and versions of 2000 and XP that don't support this, it's important to understand that the limitiation is in the IDE port drivers.  Thus, the limitation only applies if the drive is on a motherboard IDE port.  It does not apply if the drive is connected by any of the following interfaces:  USB, RAID, PCI IDE card, network drive.  However, in these cases, all of which are seen by Windows as non-IDE interfaces, the controller that runs the drive (for example a PCI IDE controller card) may itself suffer from the same limitations.

Your post only referred to "the OS" without getting specific, which makes it hard to be completely helpful in answering your question.  Details on all of this are on the Microsoft web site, do a search on "48-bit LBA" or "137 gigabytes" and you will find lots of specifics for the various MS operating systems.  The issues also exists for Linux, but the specifics are different for each version of Linux.

[Note, as a practical matter, there are no common IDE drives made which are between 120 gigs and 160 gigs in size, so the only time that this comes into play is with drives of 160 gigs or larger.  120 gig drives are well below the threshold at which 48-bit lba is required.]
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_Commented:
If the BIOS support larger than 137gig HD's and you are running W98. you can try this:

This Patch is availavle here for download ( Win98 > 137GB )
http://members.aol.com/rloew1/Programs/Patch137.htm

or try this
http://members.aol.com/rloew1/

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