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Windows 7 cannot see second 4TB GPT HDD on VGC-RA840G VAIO desktop

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  • Desktops
  • Storage
  • Hard Drives
  • Computers
  • VAIO
Last response: in Storage
November 19, 2013 8:26:30 AM

I've had this VAIO VGC-RA840G desktop computer for a long time. It now serves primarily as a backup to my laptop, and I am not particularly concerned that it is slow. I've been using it with a 2 TB Seagate primary HDD running Windows XP. I am no longer using (or plan to use) the media center functions that originally came with the computer.

I decided to upgrade the system to Windows 7 Pro (64 bit), to maximize memory to 4 GB and to add a second HDD (4TB Seagate) to increase storage capacity. I figured that I could always transfer the 4TB drive to another computer if/when I opt to upgrade the entire system. The upgrade went smoothly. The system recognizes 4GB of ram with 3.37 GB as being usable. That's modest in today's world (I have 16 GB on my laptop), but, again, I'm not concerned about speed on this desktop.

My problem is that I am unable to see or access the second HDD from Windows. I'm not trying to boot from this GPT drive. I only want to use it as a secondary data drive. I can see the hard drive in BIOS, but it does not appear in either the device manager or when running disk management. There's nothing viewable to initialize or format when running disk management. When I remove the HHD and attach it via USB using a Startech docking station the drive shows up with all 4TB visible. BTW, my BIOS version is currently 101 05/18/05.

I found the very helpful "sticky thread" in this forum called "If you installed a new disk but the system can't see it"). Step ten says says "On some motherboards, there is more than one controller. Some SATA ports are controlled by the Southbridge, and disks attached to them should always show up in Disk Management. There may be more that are controlled by an additional controller chip on the motherboard. As of January of 2011, that includes any SATA 3 ports. Before the OS can see a drive attached to these ports, you have to load the driver for the controller chip. It was on the CD that came with the motherboard, or you can read your motherboard manual to find out what the controller chip is and download the most current version for whatever OS version you are using. Install that driver and reboot, and the drive will magically appear in the Disk Management pane (once you re-open that pane). You can go back to step five."

OK, so that's sound like my problem, and I found a link at http://esupport.sony.com/US/perl/swu-download.pl?mdl=VG... to install the original shipped version of the Intel® 945G/P Chipset driver for the VGC-RA840G computer motherboard. However, that installation did not "magically" solve the problem. I've run VAIO update a number of times, but there are no additional updates available. I've tried a couple driver diagnostic programs, but none identify a need to update or install a controller chip for the motherboard.

So now I'm at "step eleven" of the sticky thread where it says "If it did not appear in the Disk Management pane, sorry. Leave this checklist and post a question with details on the motherboard, drive, OS, and anything else you may have tried. One of our wonderful members will help you."

Thanks, in advance, for any advice that you can provide.

More about : windows 4tb gpt hdd vgc ra840g vaio desktop

a b G Storage
November 19, 2013 8:45:02 AM

Most older motherboards cannot support more than 2TB HDDs. UEFI is required to run them and since it is an old desktop it almost certainly does not have an EFI interface.
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a b G Storage
November 19, 2013 8:45:24 AM

Was this drive ever from an external unit?

The first 64 sectors to first MB of the drive will differ slightly if it was ever an external HDD and that's enough to throw Disk Management off the scent.

PS: IMHO you win most interesting problem tonight / this morning (3:44 AM where I am, studying Double IT Diploma).
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November 19, 2013 8:57:10 AM

Blaise170 said:
Most older motherboards cannot support more than 2TB HDDs. UEFI is required to run them and since it is an old desktop it almost certainly does not have an EFI interface.


From what I've read (and please correct me if I'm wrong) UEFI BIOS is only required if I wanted to boot from the drive. Since I only want to access this as a second non-booting data drive the UEFI element should not come into plan.
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a b G Storage
November 19, 2013 8:59:01 AM

Baertracks said:

From what I've read (and please correct me if I'm wrong) UEFI BIOS is only required if I wanted to boot from the drive. Since I only want to access this as a second non-booting data drive the UEFI element should not come into plan.


I know most of the newer motherboards have a special driver for "unlocking" the use of 2TB+ HDDs. It may not be possible on your motherboard. Just as an example, you can see the unlock driver for my motherboard here: http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/970%20Extreme4/?cat=Downlo...
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November 19, 2013 9:02:21 AM

Tabris DarkPeace said:
Was this drive ever from an external unit?

The first 64 sectors to first MB of the drive will differ slightly if it was ever an external HDD and that's enough to throw Disk Management off the scent.

PS: IMHO you win most interesting problem tonight / this morning (3:44 AM where I am, studying Double IT Diploma).


Thanks for the response. I guess that might possibly be a issue now, but it would not have been the original reason for not seeing the drive. I first installed the HDD as a second internal drive, and only later removed it to test it externally.
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Best solution

November 19, 2013 9:23:44 AM

A quick Google doesn't appear help much with your specific motherboard.

You're quite right in saying that an older/non-UEFI BIOS, while unable to boot, 'might' still be able to use a drive >2TB (e.g. GPT) as a data drive. My own old EX58 motherboard happily talks to my 3TB GPT data drive.

From: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2581408 we see that

"•The latest storage drivers from your storage controller manufacturer must be installed. For example, if your system uses an Intel storage controller that is set to “RAID” mode, make sure that you have the latest applicable drivers from the Intel support site

.•Overall, you should contact your system vendor to determine whether the system supports device sizes of more than 2 TB."

....you might want to check to see if your storage driver/s can be updated.
....a quick email to Sony?

You could also see if a 3rd party add-in card might help.

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November 19, 2013 9:36:26 AM

Blaise170 said:
Baertracks said:

From what I've read (and please correct me if I'm wrong) UEFI BIOS is only required if I wanted to boot from the drive. Since I only want to access this as a second non-booting data drive the UEFI element should not come into plan.


I know most of the newer motherboards have a special driver for "unlocking" the use of 2TB+ HDDs. It may not be possible on your motherboard. Just as an example, you can see the unlock driver for my motherboard here: http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/970%20Extreme4/?cat=Downlo...


Thanks for the response. So, if I understand correctly this sort of gets back to the issue (as recommended in "step ten") that I need a driver to "unlock" the motherboard chip. But you are saying that in this case the motherboard chip may be so antiquated that even when activated that it would not be not capable of reading a 4TB drive. In that case would it not view some (2TB) of the drive? Might partitioning the 4TB into two sections help? Has anyone tried something like that?
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November 19, 2013 9:44:37 AM

Give it a try (partition into 2 or 3) using your Startech docking station, then re-connect.....something that's easy and quick to try.
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November 19, 2013 6:34:27 PM

Jim90 said:
Give it a try (partition into 2 or 3) using your Startech docking station, then re-connect.....something that's easy and quick to try.


So, I put the 4TB HDD in the Startech docking station and I partitioned it into two MBR drives. I did not initialize those drives as I thought that that step should be done using "disk management" in order to recognize them as internal drives. Unfortunately, neither of the new drives/partitions showed up when I ran "disk management".

I keep coming back to the "sticky thread step ten" statement that in some systems, "Before the OS can see a drive attached to these ports, you have to load the driver for the controller chip." That "feels" like what the problem is here, but I can't seem to find the "magical" driver to make that happen.

Suggestions?
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a c 459 G Storage
November 19, 2013 7:01:43 PM

How is the SATA controller configured in BIOS? RAID, AHCI, or IDE compatibility mode?

What does Device Manager's device tree look like?

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November 19, 2013 7:57:26 PM

fzabkar said:
How is the SATA controller configured in BIOS? RAID, AHCI, or IDE compatibility mode?
What does Device Manager's device tree look like?


Thanks for the questions. I don't have any mention on the Advanced tab of BIOS (or any other tab) of RAID, SATA, ex-SATA, or HDA controllers. My "onboard device configuration" screen shows:
Onboard LAN controller (enabled)
Onboard LAN Boot Rom (disabled)
Onboard Azalia Controller (enabled)
Onboard 1394 Controller (enabled)
Do I need to update Bios (which is 101 05/18/05)?

The Device Manager section for Disk Drives has not changed:
- Sony UMH-U HS-CF USB Device
- Sony UMH-U HS-MS USB Device
- Sony UMH-U HS-CSD/MMC USB Device
- Sony UMH-U HS-XD USB Device
- ST2000DL003-9VT166
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November 20, 2013 12:21:19 AM

"Do I need to update Bios (which is 101 05/18/05)?"

If there is an update, especially if there is more than one, I would consider updating. There is usually an associated change log that summarises the main changes.

If there is no update and/or no associated controller update then, as your system stands, it may not be able to perform the initialisation step. In this case:
- reconsider using your Startech to perform this step.

No guarantees this will work when reconnected directly but you can very quickly confirm this.

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a c 459 G Storage
November 20, 2013 12:34:52 AM

Instead of looking under Disk Drives, check the storage sections.

Here are some examples:

http://i.stack.imgur.com/rwBVD.png
http://i.imgur.com/J7MUj.jpg
http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/image/serverpage/image-id/...
http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/image/serverpage/image-id/...
http://usefulwindows.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/screen...

According to Sony's support page ...

http://esupport.sony.com/US/p/model-home.pl?mdl=VGCRA84...

... you should probably install the latest version of Intel's Matrix Storage Manager (or equivalent) from Intel's web site. I would also update to the latest 945P chipset driver.

The specifications for your machine indicate that the chipset is Intel's 945P:

https://docs.sony.com/release/specs/VGCRA840G_mksp.pdf

I don't know what your motherboard looks like, but the ICH7 southbridge incorporates an IDE controller. If so, then I would expect to see an IDE controller in Device Manager, unless it has been disabled in BIOS.

Here is an Asus board based on what is probably a similar chipset:
http://www.3dnews.ru/documents/10584/theme.gif
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November 20, 2013 5:25:31 AM

Jim90 said:
"Do I need to update Bios (which is 101 05/18/05)?"

If there is an update, especially if there is more than one, I would consider updating. There is usually an associated change log that summarises the main changes.

If there is no update and/or no associated controller update then, as your system stands, it may not be able to perform the initialisation step. In this case:
- reconsider using your Startech to perform this step.

No guarantees this will work when reconnected directly but you can very quickly confirm this.



I initialized and formatted one of the newly created volumes on the 4TB drive via the docking station. After rebooting, it is still not visible s a drive from Windows, the Device Manager or Disk Management.

I do not see any available BIOS updates for VGC-RA840G from the Sony eSupport webpage.
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November 20, 2013 5:35:29 AM

fzabkar said:
Instead of looking under Disk Drives, check the storage sections.

Here are some examples:

http://i.stack.imgur.com/rwBVD.png
http://i.imgur.com/J7MUj.jpg
http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/image/serverpage/image-id/...
http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/image/serverpage/image-id/...
http://usefulwindows.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/screen...

According to Sony's support page ...

http://esupport.sony.com/US/p/model-home.pl?mdl=VGCRA84...

... you should probably install the latest version of Intel's Matrix Storage Manager (or equivalent) from Intel's web site. I would also update to the latest 945P chipset driver.

The specifications for your machine indicate that the chipset is Intel's 945P:

https://docs.sony.com/release/specs/VGCRA840G_mksp.pdf

I don't know what your motherboard looks like, but the ICH7 southbridge incorporates an IDE controller. If so, then I would expect to see an IDE controller in Device Manager, unless it has been disabled in BIOS.

Here is an Asus board based on what is probably a similar chipset:
http://www.3dnews.ru/documents/10584/theme.gif


Under the storage section of the Device Manager there is "Intel(R) ICH7R/D SATA RAID Controller"

I had previously applied the "matrix" and "chipset" updates just after installing Windows 7.
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