Windows XP: Access external hard via eSata

Hi,
the PC in question is a Desktop, Pentium IV 3 Ghz processor, IBM Socket 478 matx board (model no. PIV-S 478) with two internal SATA connectors. Windows XP Home, always kept up to date, is installed.

I have an external hard drive that used to connect to via USB. However, when moving large files, I'd like to take advantage of the eSata's higher performance.
The external case of the drive (ICY DOCK MB559US-1S) comes with an eSata Bracket, which kind of converts an internal SATA connector to an eSATA one.

First, I tried hot plugging in the drive. Windows didn't notice, wasn't recognized at all.
Then I rebooted the machine, the drive was recognized by BIOS and so in Windows. However, its content was not accessible. Instead, I was offered to format it. Furthermore, it is only displayed with 128MB capacity even though it is a 750 GB Samsung drive.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to use the drive like in USB mode, with hot plugging and so on. Furthermore I don't want to have to format it (since there's data on it), I want to be able to exploit its full capacity and other PCs without eSATA connector should still be able to access its content via USB.

Can anybody help me out?
What do I have to take care of?

Best,
Rob
LVL 3
robofixAsked:
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locdangCommented:
I suspect that your motherboard's SATA ports are not in fact eSATA ports.

SATA ports will only detect attached devices on start-up, only eSATA ports have the ability to be hot swapped. This being said though it does not explain the reason why you are unable to view the disk as a regular hard drive after a full start-up.

The only reason I can think of is the hard drive isnt being detected properly by the motherboards BIOS and as such its not registering the correct number of Cylinders... although it has been a very long time since I have seen that happen.

Perhaps someone else here may be able to shed more light on the incorrect capacity however formatting the drive will only format that 128mb and will not give you back the drives full capacity so don't be tempted!

Hope this helps.
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MightySWCommented:
Agree, update the bike to see the larger drives.  P IV mobos had a lot of issues with HD'S over 137.  

Also update the chipset.  You should be able to look at the chips on the motherboard to determine what to download.

HTH
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robofixAuthor Commented:
@mightysw:
thanks so far. what chips on the Mobo should i be looking for exactly?
Can you briefly describe how I can recognize them?
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MightySWCommented:
Depends on the board.  They might say via or Intel on them.  If so then just lookup the corresponding number that is also on them.  They are usually flat, square and brown or black and lie near the processor and are about the size of a Scrabble tile.  Do not uncover the processor.

Once you have the model of the mobo then you can pretty much find anything about it on the internet along with many drivers.  

I would suspect that in your case it is the BIOS that needs to be updated.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Windows XP Pro had an issue seeing drives larger than 137GB and this was corrected in SP1..... I'm not sure if this remained an issue with XP HOME...
Once you know the manufacturer and model of your motherboard you should update the BIOS and the Chipset drivers. If your XP Home is up to date with SP3, this should address the issue with the size. Your motherboard is not that old if it has SATA on it.
Regarding the Hot Swap, I agree with locdang ... you probably have SATA and not eSata....
Bits ...
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MightySWCommented:
LOL, yes on the size limitations.  

Blonde moment
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... SATA ports will only detect attached devices on start-up, only eSATA ports have the ability to be hot swapped ..."
"... Regarding the Hot Swap, I agree with locdang ... you probably have SATA and not eSata.... "

==>  NO !!   There is NO electrical difference between "SATA" and "eSATA" -- it's simply a difference in the connectors.    Using an eSATA bracket connected to an internal SATA port converts that into an eSATA connection.     The difference is that hot-swap is only supported by SATA-2, and then only if the interface is running in AHCI mode ... NOT if it's in IDE mode.     Given the vintage of your board, I suspect it only has a SATA-I controller, so there's nothing you can do to make it hot-swap.

As for the capacity issue -- clearly this is a 28-bit logical block addressing issue.   The original release of XP only supports 28-bits for the logical block address, which limits a disk to 128GB/137GB (128GB in "computer-ese"; 137GB in "disk-drive-maker-ese").    If you simply update to SP1 or later (I'd simply upgrade to SP3) it will fully support 48-bit LBA addressing, and you'll "see" the full capacity of the drive.    If you've already applied the service packs and are still just seeing 128GB, then it's possible your BIOS is indeed limited to 28-bit addressing ... but that's very unlikely with a board that has a SATA controller.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Update your Windows to Windows XP SP3 or move to Windows 7. That will resolve the problem automatically.
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nobusCommented:
you can also use a pci to esata card : http://www.cooldrives.com/sata-cards.html
this would resolve all problems
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robofixAuthor Commented:
I checked the service pack of my Windows XP home, and Service Pack 3 is already is installed. As mentioned above, I keep the machine up to date with Windows Update.

So according to your saying the BIOS might be outdated.

I've googled around and weren't lucky at finding a website with drivers and BIOS updates for my board. Neither on the Lenovo nor on the IBM site I found it. Maybe someone can help me out here. The board is a

IBM mATX-Mainboard - PIV-S 478- 1xAGP 3xPCI 2xSATA

I bought this board on ebay to replace a defective one. Otherwise I am happy with it, it has integrated graphics, sound...

Next I'll check the chips on the board itself and report back.
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robofixAuthor Commented:
Ok, I took a closer look at the system board:

- One of the important chips has a big aluminium cooler on it (not the processor). I'll check if I can remove it once the machine is off.
- On another chip it says Intel FW82801EB  F504NC65   SL73Z
- I found the IBM's FRU number written on the board, it's 39J7965. According to google, this board was used in several Thinkcentre A50 desktops, see: http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=MIGR-55510
The A50 8174 23K mentioned there has the following drivers and downloads page: http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/product.do?template=/product.do?template=%2Fproductpage%2Flandingpages%2FproductPageLandingPage.vm&sitestyle=lenovo&brandind=11&familyind=121119&machineind=174078&modelind=189937&partnumberind=0&subcategoryind=0&doctypeind=9&doccategoryind=0&operatingsystemind=121210&validate=true   there is a BIOS and a Core Chipset driver. Should I try them?

I must be careful with the BIOS, maybe the machine won't work afterwards since the board is not installed in a Thinkcentre Desktop anymore.
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MightySWCommented:
Yes, the FRU on the mobo should be the number that will lead you to the BIOS revision.  I would be fairly leery about running the chipset driver until you flash the BIOS/firmware.  First determine what firmware you have on your machine and then see if that link has some change revision information for each subsequent version after the one you are currently running that lists the fixes and changes to the board BIOS...  This might be directly with the actual BIOS update in some kind of readme file.

If it is the wrong one then it will not flash.  The floppy utility will tell you that it is incorrect.

***GUT FEELINGS***

Usually, flashing the BIOS, for YOUR system board is a pretty uneventful procedure.  In your case, with too many unknowns, I would go with Nobus' idea and get a card.  

This is just too risky unless you are just trying to get this computer up and running.  

Without further details and absolutes I don't think that it would be wise to continue with the BIOS and chipset solution as this is your production machine, and you said it yourself.  You need to be careful.  

HTH  
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nobusCommented:
i still suggest to use a pci controller card..
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MightySWCommented:
That's what I said bro
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robofixAuthor Commented:
look here for the revision history of the BIOS in question. All changes from the first version on are written here. http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/thinkcentre_bios/2cj925a.txt

I browsed through it and couldn't see any notable changes concerning my problem. Maybe one of you more experienced guys can have a look at the file.
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robofixAuthor Commented:
OK, i checked the BIOS version - I have already the newest one installed anyways (of 21 January 2008). So BIOS update cannot be the solution.

Probably the board is too old to support those SATA2 features, but to make sure, can I look this up somewhere in the Windows control panel (device manager or similar), or can I run a test program to really be sure that there problem is hardware and not software related?
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nobusCommented:
you can also use a pci to esata card : http://www.cooldrives.com/sata-cards.html
this would resolve all problems
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MightySWCommented:
Go with the card.  www.newegg.com or what Nobus has illustrated.  

He is pretty much the hardware authority here on EE.

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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
A PCI SATA card will easily solve the 48-bit LBA issue;  but NOT the hot-swap issue, unless you buy a high-end RAID controller.    The inexpensive PCI SATA controller cards do NOT support AHCI, which is required for hot-swap.

But if you don't mind shutting down to swap the drive an external card is indeed the easiest way to resolve the 28/48-bit LBA issue.

Before buying a PCI card, however, answer the following:
(1)  What size are the other drives in this system?
(2)  What size does the BIOS show for the 750GB drive?   (I assume the answer is 128GB)
(3)  Do you have access to another (newer) machine with SATA ports?
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nobusCommented:
>>  He is pretty much the hardware authority here on EE.  <<   No , i'm not.
but Garycase is - listen to him !
 
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MightySWCommented:
You both are!   :)
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