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Hard drive capacity vs BIOS

Last response: in Motherboards
December 29, 2008 7:21:16 PM

Gateway 3040GZ laptop
Phoenix BIOS W320.F07

installed a new Western Digital 250GB EIDE drive. only 127.9 GB or 137 GB, depending on where you look, is recognized by XP. i have tried every partition method available to XP including a clean install of the OS, as well as ubuntu, gparted and others to gain access to the remaining space. I have tried manufacturer tools from WD, Hitachi and most tools on Hirens boot CD.
the only thing i know of left is a BIOS upgrade. Gateway does not have a BIOS upgrade available. i have looked everywhere for one. biosagentplus says it has one, but i don't trust it, especially for $30 upfront. i have read too many reviews of that product to consider it except as a last resort.

i broke the drive into 3 partitions on a desktop machine and when i install it in the laptop i can't even get through a fresh XP install. it goes straight to BSOD. i'm all but convinced that this is a BIOS issue, i just can't seem to find a BIOS update anywhere i trust.
its almost pointless to put the 60GB drive back in and carry the 250GB around with me. there has to be a way to make this work.
im to the point where i need the space on the internal drive and am at a loss as to how to get there.
thoughts, ideas, flames, sandpaper?

thanks in advance
December 29, 2008 7:40:44 PM

You need LBA mode addressing.

Consider buying an inexpensive PCI expansion card e.g. Promise
or StarTech.

Any recent card like that will address all 250GB.

Here's the StarTech model currently available from Newegg:


December 29, 2008 7:44:09 PM

Thanks, but this is a laptop. at one time i did address LBA settings, but i don't remember exactly how i did it.
Related resources
December 29, 2008 7:52:38 PM

Very sorry! Please excuse my oversight.

I now see that you did mention "laptop" in your original post
(I didn't see it the first time I read your post).

LBA mode was invented to overcome the partition limit you are seeing:
the "137GB" is a telltale symptom.

> at one time i did address LBA settings, but i don't remember exactly how i did it.

Didn't you make a BIOS change to enable LBA mode?

December 29, 2008 7:56:59 PM

if lba is enabled already, check for a bios update to allow 48 bit lba.
December 29, 2008 8:19:10 PM

thanks MRFS. i have already updated to that chipset driver some time ago. gateway support now says that the motherboard is limited to 137GB capacity, and they do not have a BIOS upgrade. i always thought that the BIOS set these limits, not the mobo itself.
one of the utilities i used enabled LBA mode, as well as the registry entry. when i access the BIOS screen and get to the HDD config options, the BIOS locks up and all i get is a system beep with every keystroke.

this is really pissing me off.

thanks for your help.
December 29, 2008 8:25:05 PM

ok, missed the part about no bios update avail.. looks like you may be forced to use a drive manager to get full size.. and I hate them more than I hate to eat spinach...
December 29, 2008 8:29:34 PM

... says you have 3 x USB 2.0 ports:

* 1 - IEEE 1394
* 3 - USB 2.0 Ports
* 1 - VGA External Connector
* 1 - RJ45
* 1 - RJ11
* Microphone In
* Headphone / Audio Out

USB 2.0 is capable of 480 Megabits per second
or ~48 Megabytes per second (@ 10 bits per byte
with serial protocol).

An external 2.5" USB enclosure should be able
to address the entire 250GB.

If NOT, then settle for a 120GB 2.5" in an external USB enclosure.

IntelĀ® 855GM is a very old chipset, however.

December 29, 2008 8:37:26 PM

> why wouldn't i like [drive manager software]?

... because they're a pain in the ass, generally!

December 30, 2008 3:21:23 AM

wouldn't that be better than losing half my drive, or carrying around a laptop with an external taped to it?

could you recommend one that will accomplish what i'm after. the one i mentioned above doesn't seem to have the capability.

thanks again for all your help.
December 30, 2008 1:24:11 PM

sorry dude, i was asking for a drive manager recommendation.