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Changing HD geometry

Posted on 2008-10-10
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I had a Linux server mainboard fry as well as a replacement, it turned out to be a PSU problem. Anyway, rather then waste any more money on it I acquired a Compaq EVO 600 as a replacement. Before trying to boot up from the original drive, I decided to hookup the Linux drive on the secondary IDE controller and use Partition Magic (v8) to verify everything and do a copy to the primary IDE drive so I would have a backup. When I boot up PM, it tells me the Linux drive geometry is different. It is a Quantum Fireball 30GB HD. The error message seems to be telling me that the EVO BIOS thinks the geometry is 240 sectors rather then the correct 255 sectors (lucky for me PM caught that). The EVO BIOS seems very limited from what I can see (it has a number of cryptic IDE options but none recognizable as geometry like any normal BIOS). How do I tell this stupid BIOS it has the geometry wrong and correct it? Why is it getting it wrong in the first place? TIA.
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Question by:dputnam
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by:_
ID: 22692885
I have an EVO and I feel your pain.

>> tell this stupid BIOS it has the geometry wrong and correct it?

You can't. I least on the EVOs I have come in contact with.   : (

>> Why is it getting it wrong in the first place?

It's a Compaq. It seems they do something 'special' with the way they handle HDs.
Wait until you try to make a bootable backup clone of the drive.
It seems to write it OK, but I have yet to get one to boot.    : ((
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by:dputnam
ID: 22697848
Thanks for the reply. That sucks the big weenie. Is there any tool to get around this, at least temporarily so I can copy the HD?
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_ earned 750 total points
ID: 22700128
Maybe.
I don't like using them, but you can check the Quantum tools page and see if there is a Drive Overlay progeam there.
What this does is 'lie' to the bios about its geometry. Usually used to put big drives into older systems that can't see them.
I doubt if it will work for this, but might be worth a try.
I forgot who bought out Quantum, so you will need to Google for it.

side note:
as soon as I get some time to put together another system, I am taking this EVO out back and shoot it.   ; )
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by:dputnam
ID: 22752218
Well, thanks for trying. Since I just got this EVO I guess I'm stuck with it. I decided to reinstall the OS on the EVO and then connected the old drive to a normal system and write the files I needed to a flash drive. Unfortunately, rather then just booting the old drive, I have to reinstall everything and resolve all the requisite problems that entails but that just means the server will be offline for substantially longer.
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Thank you much.   : )

>>  I decided to reinstall the OS....

That's about all you can do with these things. Unfortunately.    : /
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by:dputnam
ID: 22878484
I need to update this in case someone else has the same problem. After the agony of reinstalling the OS I found out that, at least for this mainboard, the information from coral47 is not quite accurate. There is indeed a way to reconfigure the geometry of an HD. I was fortunate that I kept the original drive as once I discovered this, I was able to boot from it. Anyway, the problem is that the wording of some of the BIOS parameters is very poor. In the storage configuration menu there is an item that says "transfer mode". One would not think to look here but if it is changed to 'User defined", lo and behold, a menu appears that allows modifying the HD geometry. What transfer mode has to do with HD geometry is beyond me but it works. Once I corrected the setting, the original HD booted just fine.
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>> an item that says "transfer mode".

Sweet.  Looking into it.   Thanks.     : )
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