Change disk size

Posted on 2009-04-22
Last Modified: 2013-12-01
Situation is as follows: our company can purchase laptop disks in sizes of no less than 160 gb and soon no less than 250 GB (if we stick to the original manufacturer "Lenovo"). I would like to reduce  the size of the disk that will be identified by the OS,BIOS etc.. so that the users will have less disk space (long story to explain why we want this)
Also please take into consideration that our users are all administrators on their computer and therefore any type of partitioning or hiding of 2nd partiion will not be usefull as they will easly hack it using  XP disk manager.
For this reason I need to fool the disk and bios to thinking the disk is actually smaller then it is.
You can also assume the user will not format the entire drive and reinstall the system so that is not a considiration.
I already tried partition magic and the like but in XP if you are admin you can see and alter/delete/format any disk space.
Question:How do I make the disk/bios/OS identify the disk to be of a different size than it realy is?
Please help
Kind regards
Question by:BozaCern
    LVL 70

    Accepted Solution

    A strange request ... but you can do it in a way that all but the most tech savvy users won't be able to detect/modify ...

    What you need is to create a "Host Protected Area" (HPA).   This is in fact how IBM/Lenovo hides the "Access" partition for the restore functions (I'm not sure if the newer Lenovo's still use a HPA); and how Dell used to hide the MediaDirect partition (they've changed the way they implement this on newer systems).   Most questions I've seen regarding this regard issues that require REMOVING a HPA to resolve ==> but in this case what you need to do is CREATE a HPA.

    A Host Protected Area will make the drive look like whatever size you set in the BIOS;  in Disk Management; etc. ==> so your users will not realize the physical drive is actually larger.  You can create and modify the HPA using this free utility:
    ... You simply use the Set Max Address function to set the apparent drive size to whatever you want it to be.   This size will be seen in the BIOS;  in Disk Management; etc. -- i.e. the rest of the drive will simply not be available.

    A couple of caveats:

    ==>  BEFORE you resize the drive, you should resize the OS partition so it "fits" in the drive's new size.   I do not know exactly what would happen if you didn't do that ... but I suspect the system would simply no longer boot.   There are a variety of good partition managers that will let you resize partitions => I like Boot-It NG, but anything you're comfortable with that can do this function is okay.

    ==>  I do not know what will happen with a Lenovo that already has an HPA if you modify the size information.   It MAY still be able to access the HPA;  or modifying it might render that useless (i.e. the "Access" key would no longer work.   Clearly you want to experiment with your resizing process on a single system that you have a good image of (on an external drive) so you can be sure you have the process well-defined before you start doing this on a large number of systems.   Doing this is VERY simple [Basically you just (a) boot to a partition manager and resize the OS partition; and (b) boot to HDAT and set the new max size] ... but you want to be sure you know exactly what parameters you need to use; and (if you lose the "Access" functionality) you may need to image the system before doing so to provide you with a good recovery option (simply restoring the image).
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    Note: Obviously anyone who knows about Host Protected Areas, and suspects that's what you've done, could use HDAT and remove the HPA (thus making their disk larger). But that's relatively unlikely ... I know many very experienced folks who have never heard of a HPA ... and would have no idea how to remove/modify one. Since this also modifies the size the BIOS reports, it's relatively unlikely the users would even know the disk wasn't that actual size as long as you choose to make it a "normal" disk size [e.g. 40GB, 60GB, 80GB, etc.]

    Author Comment

    Hi Garycase,
    I'm looking into this right now.
    Thank you ofr your response.

    Author Closing Comment

    Hi Gary,
    Thanks you for the help. you are right to comment it is a strange reques.. I have been looking for  solution for this for 2 month (on and off) and even got price quote from a disk recovery company for a solution to this. They asked for a lot of money. we said no. Any way this does the job perfectly and even doesn't interfere with a full disk encryption software installed after the size changes.
    Thanks again.

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    Threat Intelligence Starter Resources

    Integrating threat intelligence can be challenging, and not all companies are ready. These resources can help you build awareness and prepare for defense.

    Storage devices are generally used to save the data or sometime transfer the data from one computer system to another system. However, sometimes user accidentally erased their important data from the Storage devices. Users have to know how data reco…
    I use more than 1 computer in my office for various reasons. Multiple keyboards and mice take up more than just extra space, they make working a little more complicated. Using one mouse and keyboard for all of my computers makes life easier. This co…
    This video Micro Tutorial explains how to clone a hard drive using a commercial software product for Windows systems called Casper from Future Systems Solutions (FSS). Cloning makes an exact, complete copy of one hard disk drive (HDD) onto another d…
    This video teaches viewers how to encrypt an external drive that requires a password to read and edit the drive. All tasks are done in Disk Utility. Plug in the external drive you wish to encrypt: Make sure all previous data on the drive has been …

    760 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    6 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now