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SATA Drives go from 400GB to 128GB upon Restarting Backup Worstation

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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
I have a Athena Power BP-SAC2131B HD Backplane (3 Bay) installed into a XP Pro SP2 Workstation that I use to capture our servers backup Acronis images nightly.  Recently, after restarting one of my WD400YR SATA drives became unreadable.  When I attempted to access the drive, it asked me if I wanted to format the drive. Using Disk Management, the drive now shows that it's 128GB and is unformatted.  There is another 500GB WD SATA drive also in the Athena Backplane that did retain it's integrity after restarting where the other didn't.   Since I don't have endless amounts of hard drives lying around, I'm going to safely eject all drives withing the Athena Power Backplace before restarting going forward.  

Can anyone tell me how this problem can be avoided, or why it's happening all of a sudden?
Also, is there any way to turn the WD400YR back into a 400GB drive?
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Gary CaseRetired
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Top Expert 2009

Commented:
128GB is the 28-bit logical block addressing limit ... so it would seem that SOMETHING that accessed the drive did so without using 48-bit addressing.   Even on systems without 48-bit addressing support in the BIOS, XP (except the original version) can format drives above 128GB using 48-bit addressing, since the XP drivers override the BIOS.   BUt if any utility accesses the drive through the BIOS, it can easily "trash" the drive and end up limiting it to 128GB.

A full wipe of the drive using a utility like DBAN should let you reformat it to full capacity.
[http://www.dban.org/ ]

The next question, of course, is what caused this.   Is the drive connected to a different controller than the other drives in the backplane?   Did you use any 3rd party utility to access/format the drive?

Author

Commented:
Hi garycase,

I don't know what would have accessed the drive without 48-bit addressing. Really the only thing this workstation does is acronis backups. My Motherboard is ASUS P5LD2  
It's worked flawlessly for about a year, never any issue restarting...then all of a sudden it's ruining my drives!

Yes, 2 of the 3 hard drives in the backplane are on one NVIDIA nForce4 Serial ATA Controller , and the 3rd in the backplane and the internal C drive are on the other identical controller.

One thing I have noticed is that sometimes Windows won't allow me to safely remove these drives when absolutely nothing is accessing them.  I've set the drives to not index. Also the recycle bin is set to configure drives independently with Remove Files Immediately checked on all but C.  

I haven't used any 3rd party utility to format my drives.  Only windows disk management.
Thanks for the DBAN link!  so glad I purchased Drive Scrubber ;)

John

Gary CaseRetired
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Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Does the BIOS show the correct size for all the drives?

Author

Commented:
Yes.  Bios did show correctly. However, since I'm afraid of zapping further drives, I'm not starting the computer with any of my backup drives plugged in to the backplane.
Also,  I was unable to recover the drive with DBAN. It gave up immediately.  Something about errors detected.  
Retired
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Commented:
The drive may very well have simply failed. Time for a nice new 1TB (or larger) drive :-)

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Author

Commented:
Yep... that was it.  The drive did fail and is fortunately under warranty. The Backup workstation has been successfully restarted without other drives failing.  Thanks.
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