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Setting up a LBA 3.5 hdd

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September 11, 2009 10:51:10 AM

I purchased this 3.5 IDE 120 gb 7200 rpm hdd from Craigslist a while back & have tried to set it up in two of my machines (Desktop Dell & Emachine) & can't seem to get it to format using my WXP PRO cd.
Is there a special way to format & partition one of these drives?

I did not know it was a LBA drive till I recieved it.I thought there was something wrong with it so I sent it back for a refund & they sent me another one & still could not get it to work. The bios in both machines recognized it but when loading the OS it would hang during the first phase loading the recommended drivers.
Not really familiar with sort of drives & its sitting in a drawer just waiting to be installed.
I'm familiar with setting up a regular IDE drive.
Thanks for any support.
David

More about : setting lba hdd

a b G Storage
September 11, 2009 12:42:03 PM

Use the manufacturers partioning tools.
Download the software or burn a CD and run it.
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a b G Storage
September 11, 2009 1:04:54 PM

The motherboard may have a bad controller, the cable may be defective.
Try a different port and cable.
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a c 348 G Storage
September 11, 2009 4:09:09 PM

There is nothing special about an "LBA Drive" - that probably simply indicates an IDE drive about 8-10 years old.

As drives and sizes evolved, the limitations caused by the original "Cylinder, Head, Sector" system of access led to a new system called Logical Block Addressing or LBA. In it, a disk location is specified simply by one number sent to the disk, and the disk unit itself has a controller that translates that into the CHS co-ordinates required. To use this, the OS, the disk controller on the mobo, and the hard disk all have to "support LBA".

But by the end of the 1990's another limit was looming. The original LBA system used a 28-bit binary number for this LBA. With a standard Sector size on a hard disk of 512 bytes, this imposed a limit of 128 GB of addressable capacity, and disks were headed higher. So a modification was agreed to - make the LBA address a 48-bit binary number, and the addressable capacity gets into the petabyte region which we won't reach very soon. Again, this requires the OS, the mobo controller, and the HDD unit all to have "48-bit LBA support" - note that this is not just plain "LBA Support". On the OS side, the original version of Win XP did not have this, but it was added in SP1 and all subsequent versions. On the mobo controller side, some mobo's from the mid- to late-90's could have BIOS upgrades downloaded and "burned into" their BIOS chips to add the requisite controller functions, but some could not. On the HDD hardware side, makers started including this, of course, in all drives over 128 GB. Moreover, this change happened before SATA came out, so ALL SATA controllers and HDD's have it.

In OP's case with an older 120 GB IDE drive, even 48-bit LBA support is not necessary because of drive size, and the new system is backwards-compatible so old drives always work on new systems. So the drive size and "LBA" label is not the issue. What might be?

Any drive needs two steps of preparation before Windows can use it. It first needs to have at least one Partition established on it. This writes to the start of the disk a Partition Table that has details of exactly what space on the disk is allocated to its Partitions, and where that space is. It also writes some other info to help with the basics of the boot process. In all future uses, each Partition is treated by the OS as a separate drive with its own letter name. Once that is done, each Partition created needs to be Formatted, which establishes a set of files to track the allocation of disk sectors to individual files - this is the File System on that drive.

A brand new empty disk will need these operations done, bearing in mind the OS that will use the disk because some details restrict which OS can use which Partition. What OP has, almost for sure, is a used disk that has one or more Partitions already on it, even if their data contents have been erased. It appears OP does not want any prior information or structures on this disk, so what should be done as you try to install WXP Pro at the very beginning is to use the menu options to delete all previous Partitions on this disk so it is empty. Then proceed to create the new Partition (use all of the disk space), etc - all the stuff that Win Install will do.

If that does not work, there are two other possibilities. One is that the Partition already in place is odd enough that Win Install can't get rid of it. In that case, evongugg's suggestion to use software tools from the disk manufacturer's website to clean off the disk is a good one. Alternatively there are 3rd-part software tools and freeware for these tasks, too.

The other possibility is how you are setting your BIOS. This one is easy to check and set, so do this first. Its roots are in the drivers necessary for Windows to handle disk devices. Up to and including all versions of Win XP, Windows had built-in drivers to handle only IDE or PATA disk devices. Anything else - SCSI, RAID, SATA, AHCI - Windows needed external drivers added. This includes the very first use of the disk for installing the OS. So Windows Install has an early screen where it asks if you want to install device drivers and, if you do, you must press F6. Then you must have those drivers on a FLOPPY disk - Install did not know how to use other input devices. Drivers installed this way become a permanent part of this machine's system and it always can use such devices, for the installation and everything else. When people stopped including floppy drives in their machines, this was a problem for SATA drive installers, so the mobo BIOS people offered an alternative. Within the BIOS Setup options for use of SATA ports, you can choose whether the disk on this port will be treated as a native SATA device, an AHCI device, a RAID device, or an emulated IDE (aka PATA) device. The last choice makes an actual SATA drive appear to Windows as an older IDE device it understands, and everything just works. BUT if you want to use a few special features of native SATA or AHCI, or if you're going to use a RAID array, you still have to install drivers from a floppy disk.

Now, for OP's case, I assumed that the drive in question is an IDE drive because of the term "LBA drive". If I was right, then NO drivers need to be installed when Windows asks and offers F6. It already knows how to use IDE drives. Unless, of course, OP really wants to do a RAID system. On the other hand, if this actually is a SATA drive then OP should go into the BIOS Setup screens and set the SATA ports to use IDE or PATA emulation mode, and then Windows still will need no drivers installed.

OK, one last thing to check. IF this is an IDE drive as I assumed, check its jumper settings. Every IDE port and cable can support TWO drives on it (even if the cable only has one connector for a single drive). Thus the drives must have unique identifiers on them to enable this sharing of the port. This is done with physical jumpers on a block of pins on the back of the drive, usually between the 40-pin data connector and the 4-pin power connector. Each IDE port MUST have one Master drive on it, so the first drive MUST have its jumpers set to make it the Master. If there is another option, you MAY have to use either Master with no Slave, or Master with Slave Present (on the same cable). Then the drive should be connected to the END connector on the ribbon cable. IF there is a second drive on the cable, it MUST be set to Slave. Unless there is a Master on an IDE port (and a Slave if present), the port cannot communicate with the drives properly. Note that this Master and Slave setting system has NOTHING to do with which drive is your boot device - that item is set separately in the BIOS Setup screens under Boot Priority.

If all this still does not work, look into faulty mobo port/controller or cables, as evongugg says.
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September 18, 2009 12:58:47 AM

:sweat:  WOW!! I really do thank you for that long tutorial Paperdoc. How long did it take for you to type it?
You said it so good I understood it quite well.
I actually have 2 of these IDE LBA drives.
He let me keep the other one when I told him it was defective.
His bad! My good!
I think i'll try the software approach first after I go int the bios & set everything the way you told me.
I'm in the procees of learning how to tattoo my HP Pavilion desktop which has a 500gb SATA drive & has Vista Home Premium 64 bit already on it.
Course I know it will delete everything when I install the restore cd's & perform the tattoo procedure.
The tattoo procedure is going to be hard & was told I can't do it & has to be sent to a HP affiliate who does that sorta stuff.
I want to learn more about it so I can do it on my other friend's & family's machines.
Cannot login to the HP TechZone site to do the Tattoo/DMI flash utilities.
There are others out there that have the same problem.
You have to work for a computer shop & or a computer store to perform it.
I guess its illegal?
I'll keep trying somehow to do the tattoo.
The restore procedure is a snap & have done it numourous times.
Replacing the motherboard on my HP & its a OEM brand motherboard.
The only differance is the number strings are differant so it has to be tattooed.
Its the very same board that mine is.
Foxconn NAPA GL8E KJ383-69001.
Well! I thank you Paperdoc for that info & that goes for the rest of you too.
Any guidance on the Tattoo procedure is welcome. (Just a few tips is fine)
David :) 
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September 21, 2009 3:32:53 PM

:bounce:  Well! I got one of the LBA IDE drives to install on my EMachine.
It kept one partician active & installed the WXPPRO on the other partician.
I guess there is a problem either in the bio's or cable configuration on the Dell desktop server.
I'll install the other hard drive in the Dell & see if I can see whats wrong.
Thanks for that info guy's. :) 
David
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October 1, 2009 12:50:32 AM

eMachine solved
Dell put on hold for now.
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!