3TB Hard Drives and older PCs

ie0
ie0 used Ask the Experts™
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I have some older PCs that I want to use with 3TB Hard Drives.
I know they have 2.2TB limitation.
How can I get them to see the 3TB?
They are HP D5100MT
I have Windows XP 32Bit
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Does this help?:

http://www.uefi.org/learning_center/UEFI_MBR_Limits_v2.pdf

You are limited to several partitions of 2.2TB max it would seem.
You can use the 3TB HDD as Data disk by coverting it to GPT disk.

You cannot boot the machine with 3TB disk.
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
What is the make of drive?
Most manufacturer's provide utilities which allow you to see a 3TB drive despite NTFS's  2.2TB limit

HOWEVER the BIOS on the D5100 Mini-Tower may have a limit on the HDD capacity it can support so you may only be able to use them as external storage via a USB enclosure.
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Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
"... I have Windows XP 32Bit ..."   ==>   Then you can't use a 3TB drive.   Only the 64-bit version of XP supports GPT disks, so there's no way to use a 3TB drive in your systems.
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Commented:
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Disk Wizard installs a 3rd party device driver that overlays the BIOS's disk driver to allow using a 3TB drive.    While this will indeed let you use the full capacity of a 3TB drive, it does so with 3 different partitions that are represented as 2 physical drives.    In addition, this makes data recovery VERY difficult if anything ever goes wrong with the drive -- not only because the drive is set up in a non-standard way; but also because any bootable disk management software (i.e. outside of Windows) won't be able to "see" the structure, since the Disk Wizard add-in device driver won't be available to it.

I assume the intent of "use with 3TB drives" is to get a 3TB storage volume => and this technique does NOT do that.

Frankly, the best approach for large storage volumes with XP is to use 2TB drives, and if you need a larger volume, make them dynamic disks and create a spanned volume.

noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
What about this driver: http://www.paragon-software.com/technologies/components/gpt-loader/
If the drive is connected to internal SATA controller then this driver will work and give you access to full 3TB space.
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Same negatives => proprietary drive; not accessible through 3rd party recovery boot disks;  etc.    And it also doesn't allow booting from the > 2TB drives.

It's really very simple:   XP does NOT support these drives.    You CAN use the full capacity via one of these add-in device drivers; but be aware that if the drive ever fails you most likely won't be able to do any data recovery.     Personally, I'd simply stick to 2TB drives that are natively supported by XP, and if you want > 2TB volumes just create spanned volumes using dynamic disks.
ie0

Author

Commented:
Gary, I just called the company that Noxcho pomonted and asked:
"if using your driver, can I pull the drive and put it in a new Win 7 PC and access it without the use of your driver"
Their answer was "Yes"

Do you think this is true?
Retired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Yes, as long as their driver simply adds a layer of GPT support "above" the XP driver architecture (unlike the Disk Wizard driver), which I assume it does based on their answer to your question.     I should have said you  "... won't be able to do any data recovery ON THAT PC."    But clearly if the drive retains a standard GPT structure, you can simply move it to another PC that has native GPT support and access it.

The Paragon driver is the best choice if you want to use a 3TB drive from within XP.   As I noted earlier, it won't let you use a 3TB drive as a boot volume;  but it will let you use all of the space -- and apparently as a single volume (unlike Disk Wizard).    

But anytime you're using an add-in driver, you need to be cautious about using any other disk tools (i.e. XP's built-in Disk Management) to do anything to those volumes.  
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
The driver enabled GPT support on your XP machine. And sure if you connect this drive to Windows 7 machine with native GPT support it will be detected.

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