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The 2 TB barrier?

Last response: in Windows XP
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January 19, 2011 11:21:47 PM

I'm well aware that by default Windows XP does not understand any hard drives larger than 2 TB. I've heard there are workarounds for this, but that's not exactly what I'm interested in here...

What I'm wondering is, if I were to purchase a 4 TB external drive with RAID capabilities, would I be able to set it up in RAID 1 so that Windows sees it as a single 2 TB drive?

This is one of the drives I had in mind:

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=290

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I contacted Western Digital, and they gave me a rather generic reply saying that it "might" be possible but that I should confirm it with Microsoft.

Well, I'm gonna try asking here first. ;)  Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Having a single mirrored external drive with this much space would really be an end-all, be-all solution for the foreseeable future. I only have one eSata port on my computer, so getting two 1 TB drives like this just wouldn't be as slick.

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January 20, 2011 4:43:23 AM


I see this as more of a BIOS issue than an XP one and one issue will be will your BIOS allow Legacy Support to USB devices. I think there would be problems with the RAID array if any part of it was missing at boottime. Is there a BIOS update available for your system?

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January 20, 2011 5:12:54 AM

Legacy USB boot support is definitely an option in my BIOS; however, I would be connecting the drive via eSATA.

If was going to to just run USB, I could just buy two 2 TB drives set to RAID 1 — but I'd really like to just have one nice, big fast drive. :D 

Would it possibly help to set up the RAID 1 configuration on a newer OS, and then I could go back and connect it to an XP machine (and thus it would believe it's just a 2 TB drive)?
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January 20, 2011 5:34:24 AM

what system you use, XP 32 bit or 64 bit? Windows XP 32 bit does not support GPT drive (larger than 2TB), while if it is XP 64 bit, there is no problem to create RAID 1 with 4TB
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January 20, 2011 7:29:19 AM

I got 32-bit, damn. I pretty much need XP on this machine to run some old hardware/software.

Maybe I really do need to suck it up and get a dual boot going. :) 

Thanks for all the replies.
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January 21, 2011 4:46:57 AM


Yep - dual booting with a decent Linux OS should do the trick. :D 

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