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SATA Drives and XP Pro Capacity Issues

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June 25, 2008 2:51:22 PM

I have read seveal articles about capacity issues and XP and have searched high and low for information from the motherboard manuf. to the hard drive, even here where nothing seems to be quite like my issue. I bought components for a new computer. Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L, Seagate SATA 400 gb hard drive, ASUS DVD/CD drive, Intel Duo Core among other things. I thought everything was going great until I started loaded some higher informational programs and a few movies and all of a sudden ran out of rome on my 400 gig HD. I couldn't believe it, this was the biggest single HD I had ever installed and within days it was full. Then after noticing some more things I see were it, along with a slave ATA HD they both show 127 gb. I know, I have seen all kinds of different scenerios but not this one. GIGABYTE tells me to enable 48 bit LBA but I can assume since I am running SP2 that is taken care of. Seagate tells me to format the unused portition of my HD and make it another HD. I did that and everything seems to be fine. I'm not sure why because now the other portion of the HD is seemingly to show the rest of the HD ariound 370+. I am wondering if there is another way to have the whole amount. The one thing I noticed is the other slave ATA HD only shows 127 gb in the description but it has all the programs origianlly installed which was of course probably close to it's full amount of around 200gb.
June 25, 2008 2:58:13 PM

Might have finally found my own answer. I seen one comment on something similar about copying my XP with a slip stream of SP2 in it. Can someone tell me how this is done?
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a b G Storage
June 25, 2008 3:12:14 PM

You can use Acronis Disk Director or Partition Magic to claim the space without reinstalling after installing the service packs.
June 25, 2008 4:06:34 PM

Use a program like nLite to slipstream SP into an XP install disk.
June 25, 2008 4:29:12 PM

I really don't understand what you're talking about. Maximum volume size is determined by the file system, primarily. XP Pro supports several. Some (FAT) are more restrictive than others (NTFS). NTFS has maximum volume size of 2 TB, IIRC.

So again, what is your problem?
a c 342 G Storage
June 26, 2008 2:30:23 AM

russki said:
I really don't understand what you're talking about. Maximum volume size is determined by the file system, primarily. XP Pro supports several. Some (FAT) are more restrictive than others (NTFS). NTFS has maximum volume size of 2 TB, IIRC.

So again, what is your problem?


I guess you have not heard of this VERY common issue, so here goes. Back over a decade ago they introduced a HDD addressing system called "LBA" for Logical Block addressing that eliminated the old Track... Sector ... Head set of "coordinates". At the time they chose to use 28 binary bits in the address. Both hardware (in the HDD controller and in the HDD itself) and software (in the OS's drivers) had to be set to do things this way. If you work it out, at 512 bytes per sector, using 28 bits to specify which sector, allows a maximum HDD size of 138 Billion bytes. But, if you do like M$ Windows does and define "Giga-" to mean 1024 x 1024 x 1024, then this same disk is called "128 GB".

Recognizing that this was about to be a problem, designers re-defined this system around 2000 to use 48 bits instead of 28. This is called "support for 48-bit LBA". Again, HDD's, HDD controllers, and OS drivers all have to work according to this standard of addressing. I've lost track, but it will allow for HDD's up in the multi-terrabyte range, maybe more. EDIT: see next post below - the limit is now 'way up in the petabyte region. Anyone want to predict when we'll have to fix that limit?

Since about 2000 most new systems have supported this in their HDD controllers, and HDD makers have been doing so, too. On the OS side, Windows 2000 originally did not have it but it was added in one of the Service Packs, I think it was SP4. Windows XP did NOT have it in first release, but added it as of SP1. If you have an older OS version and update it, the new updated version will allow the use of HDD volumes over 138 (or 128, as you choose to count) GB.

The hassle comes when you go to install a Windows. IF your install disk is an older version without 48-bit LBA support, it cannot possibly partition a disk, then format it, for over that size. It may well allow you to make a boot partition that way, and later allow you to create in the remaining unallocated space additional partitions (each similarly limited). Or, if you do the install that way and then immediately update with the Service Packs it will be happy to create new partitions of larger sizes. BUT Windows will NOT allow you to change the size of the BOOT partition!! So you're stuck.

There are four ways to deal, here.
1. Install from old version, live with the 128 GB primary boot partition, install Service Packs, and make new partitions of whatever size in the unallocated space.
2. Make sure you buy a newer version of the OS that has the Service Packs included, so it can make very large partitions from the start.
3. Take your old install disk. Look up on the web (including Microsoft's site) all the details of how to slipstream a new install disk. This is perfectly legal. You basically use your legit old install disk plus all the Service Pack updates and create an image on your HDD of a new install disk with all those upgrades included. Then you burn that to your own new CD to make the revised "slipstream" version of the OS. Use that as the install disk, and voila! You will need instructions and some free software to do this. It's a multi-step process, but do-able if you are careful.
4. Buy some third-party software, like Partition Magic, which WILL allow you to add unallocated space on your HDD to the original boot partition, expanding it to whatever size you need. It is NOT self-limiting the way Windows is.
June 26, 2008 5:44:19 PM

I tried AutoStreamer and it seems it won't recognize my copy I bought from Dell. So it won't work. I tried Paul Thurrot's Super Site and I can't get to extracting my downloaded version of SP2 so I can't seem to get it to work. With AutoStreamer I get to the page where you recognize the CD for Windows XP and it just list my D: drive and when I go to select my downloaded version of SP2 it recognizes it but I can't seem to get the next button on the bottom to light up to go to the next level so I assume it's not recognizing my version of XP.
June 27, 2008 12:26:15 AM

Try GParted, a freeware partition editor. It should enable you to expand your boot partition without losing data. (It boots from a CD-ROM).
June 27, 2008 6:27:42 AM

Or use nLite, to slipsteam service packs into your install. I know it works with the Dell CD's because I have used it to modify what gets installed on my laptop when I reinstall.
June 27, 2008 1:13:58 PM

Paperdoc said:
I guess you have not heard of this VERY common issue, so here goes...


You know, I did forget, plus given the fact that it was posted in today's time, and all the hardware listed is modern (hence supports 48bit LBA), I didn't even think about it. My bad. I know around here it's been impossible to find XP media wihtouth SP2, let alone SP1 (which is when it was introduced in the system), for like six years or so.
July 10, 2008 9:35:32 PM

Don't know if anybody will come back to this but I tried nLite to slipstream and burn a bootable cd and everytime I do it I come up with usbehci.sys error message of either missing or corrupted. Not sure if I'm doing something wrong when I run the process or what?? It starts the install then stops with that error message.
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