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500gb IDE Hard Drive, Old Motherboard, 137gb limit, and Windows XP

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July 29, 2010 10:43:55 PM

I'm using Windows XP Home SP2 (I know it's not supported, getting ready to update to SP3 revealed these problems). I knew nothing about hard drives etc. until these problems started so I may be wrong about anything and everything. :) 

My computer is old, built 8 years ago, custom-built (not off-the-shelf). It's been working perfectly until recently, Windows began exhibiting slow startup and shutdown. Microsoft User Profile Hive Cleaner fixed the slow shutdown, but startup is still slow, it lags exactly 3 minutes before loading some services according to Event Viewer. While trying to figure out which specific service among the System Services is causing the startup lag, I found another issue.

I ran Samsung's diagnostic utility on my 5-year-old internal Samsung 120gb SP1213N hard drive (the primary drive). All the tests were "PASS" until the Surface Read Scan, which found two ECC errors right near the beginning of the scan:

Quote:

C:1267 H:1 S:715 Error: ECC Error
C:1268 H:1 S:687 Error: ECC Error
Error: This drive has some defects


Then it said "recommend to do Erase HDD". These are the only errors that were reported.

Question 1 - how serious is this problem? Should I stop using the computer right away to avoid more damage?

I can't afford to buy a new computer so really need to try getting this one fixed if the HD is shot. I looked at buying a new HD to replace this one. My Chaintech Apogee 7VJL motherboard obviously only supports IDE/PATA/ATA/whatever (it's all the same right?). I read about using a SATA PCI controller card to attach a SATA drive, but couldn't find a card that was bootable (it would need to be since I'd be using it as the primary drive).

So then I looked for IDE hard drives. I found this one on Best Buy's website:

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Western+Digital+-+500GB+Int...

(If the link doesn't work just go to bestbuy.com and search for 8188962, it's the Western Digital 500GB EIDE model# WD5000JBRTL).

Amazon.com lists the same item (with a different box) and specifically says it's Ultra-ATA/100 interface.

Question 2 - Will this hard drive work with my motherboard?

I'll post an AIDA32 audit of my motherboard and current HD at the end of this message in case it helps. I figured if the specs for the 500gb drive were not higher than the drive I have now, chances are it would work. According to my motherboard manual, the Embedded Ultra DMA - 133 PCI IDE Controller has these specs:

Quote:

- Supports two IDE ports up to 4 ATAPI devices
- Supports up to PIO Mode 4 up to 16.6MBps, Multi Mode 4 up to 66MBps, Multi Word Mode 5 up to 100MBps and Multi Word Mode 6 up to 133MBps with bus mastering
-Bus Mastering software drivers for common multi-task operating systems


The hard drive I have now is Ulrta-ATA/133, which is higher than the Western Digital one - so, it should be compatible with the Ultra-ATA/100 too, right? Should I be able to just detach the 40-pin 80-wire (that's what it says in the manual anyway) IDE cable and Molex cable and attach them to the new drive to see if it works? If it doesn't, can I plug the IDE and Molex cables back into the old HD and have the system go back to the way it was before (since I'm not changing anything on the current drive)?

Question 3 - What about the 137GB capacity limit? I'm sure my motherboard is too old to support drives larger than 137gb (I can't find a hint in the manual about this). I read that if you just use a larger hard drive eventually Windows will attempt to write to the segments above the limit and possibly corrupt the data, causing the computer to not be able to boot up. I found several threads about this, including this one:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/252202-32-older-lapto...

which state it's possible to create a boot partition of >137gb to install the OS (Windows XP in this case). Am I understanding correctly that if this was done, there shouldn't be any danger of the data loss problems etc. because the BIOS will think the hard drive only has however much space is on the C: partition, which would preclude it from ever attempting to access anything past the end of that partition? (I was thinking to use 120gb, like what I have now) As long as that worked I wouldn't care about the remaining hard disk space. Although, if the message threads are correct that you can then enable 48bit addressing in Windows after the OS is installed and create another partition with the remaining space so Windows can access the rest of the disk, that would be nice. :)  (I'd be updating to SP3, so 48bit addressing in WIndows would be enabled by default right?)

Question 4 - Should I just buy one of these drives and try it and see if it works?

What would be the the worst that could (realistically) happen if I did this, barring my dropping the new drive and ruining it?

As you can see I'm very unfamiliar with these things but I'm trying to learn. I would really appreciate any help anybody can give me! If any more info is needed let me know.

Here's what AIDA32 says about my current hard drive:

Quote:
ATA Device Properties
Model ID SAMSUNG SP1213N
Serial Number [snip]
Revision TL100-30
Parameters 232632 cylinders, 16 heads, 63 sectors per track, 554 bytes per sector
LBA Sectors 234493056
Buffer 8 MB (Dual Ported, Read Ahead)
Multiple Sectors 16
ECC Bytes 4
Max. PIO Transfer Mode PIO 4
Max. UDMA Transfer Mode UDMA 5 (ATA-100)
Active UDMA Transfer Mode UDMA 5 (ATA-100)
Unformatted Capacity 123891 MB

ATA Device Features
SMART Supported
Security Mode Supported
Power Management Supported
Advanced Power Management Not Supported
Write Cache Supported
Host Protected Area Supported
Power-Up In Standby Not Supported
Automatic Acoustic Management Supported
48-bit LBA Supported
Device Configuration Overlay Supported

ATA Device Physical Info
Manufacturer Samsung
Hard Disk Family SpinPoint P80
Form Factor 3.5"
Formatted Capacity 120 GB
Disks 2
Recording Surfaces 3
Physical Dimensions 146.05 x 101.6 x 25.4 mm
Max. Weight 635 g
Average Rotational Latency 4.17 ms
Rotational Speed 7200 RPM
Max. Internal Data Rate 741 Mbit/s
Average Seek 8.9 ms
Track-To-Track Seek 0.8 ms
Full Seek 18 ms
Interface Ultra-ATA/133
Buffer-to-Host Data Rate 133 MB/s
Buffer Size 8 MB
Spin-Up Time 7 sec

ATA Device Manufacturer
Company Name Samsung
Product Information http://www.samsung.com/Products/HardDiskDrive/index.htm



And the motherboard:

Quote:
Motherboard Properties
Motherboard ID 06/20/2002-VT8366-8233/5-JL6LVC0CC-00
Motherboard Name Chaintech 7VJL APOGEE

Front Side Bus Properties
Bus Type DEC Alpha EV6
Bus Width 64-bit
Real Clock 133 MHz (DDR)
Effective Clock 267 MHz
Bandwidth 2133 MB/s

Memory Bus Properties
Bus Type DDR SDRAM
Bus Width 64-bit
Real Clock 167 MHz (DDR)
Effective Clock 333 MHz
Bandwidth 2667 MB/s

Chipset Bus Properties
Bus Type VIA V-Link
Bus Width 8-bit
Real Clock 67 MHz (QDR)
Effective Clock 267 MHz
Bandwidth 267 MB/s

Motherboard Physical Info
CPU Sockets/Slots 1
Expansion Slots 6 PCI, 1 AGP
RAM Slots 3 DIMM
Integrated Devices Audio, LAN
Form Factor ATX
Motherboard Size 230 mm x 300 mm
Motherboard Chipset KT333

Motherboard Manufacturer
Company Name Chaintech Computer Co Ltd.
Product Information http://www.chaintech.com.tw/tw/eng/product_main.asp#MP13
BIOS Download http://www.chaintech.com.tw/tw/eng/Downloa...ate.asp?DCSNo=4

More about : 500gb ide hard drive motherboard 137gb limit windows

a b G Storage
July 29, 2010 11:32:58 PM

Have you tried running checkdisk? It'll want you to reboot. Checkdisk also has some repair ability as well, but it won't be able to fix a damaged sector, only mark it as unusable. Possible scenarios: you may have to reformat and reinstall XP, or replace the HDD, but give checkdisk a try. Do u know how to get to it?

The HDD is probably failing due to age...but try checkdisk first b4 spending any money.

And here are some IDE drives available other than at best buy...unless ur only looking locally.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
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July 29, 2010 11:39:58 PM

mikey5802 said:
Have you tried running checkdisk? It'll want you to reboot. Checkdisk also has some repair ability as well, but it won't be able to fix a damaged sector, only mark it as unusable. Possible scenarios: you may have to reformat and reinstall XP, or replace the HDD, but give checkdisk a try. Do u know how to get to it?

The HDD is probably failing due to age...but try checkdisk first b4 spending any money.


Yes, I was going to run chkdsk from Repair Console but it's going to take a very long time and I was afraid it might not even finish, in which case I would be in even worse shape (since you can't halt it without possibly causing more damage). I actually don't mind buying a newer hard drive as long as it works.

I'm mainly wondering if the WD 500gb drive will work with my motherboard if I plug it in, and if there's any danger in trying.

I'd rather try that than reformatting the current drive - if reformatting doesn't help, I'd end up with a damaged drive with nothing on it. At least as of now I can still use it :??: 

EDIT: Another reason I'm anxious to try the WD drive is that Best Buy is the only physical store I've found where you can go in and buy an EIDE drive, plus they have a 30-day return policy on HDs with no restocking fee even if you open it and try to install things on it. Who knows how much longer they're going to have that thing in stock, since SATA has taken over? :cry: 
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a b G Storage
July 29, 2010 11:46:08 PM


just a sec...i'm re-reading your post.
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a b G Storage
July 29, 2010 11:49:51 PM

Your XP DVD... is SP2 native on the DVD or did u add the SP2 pack separately. I can point u to instructions to slip stream SP3 and create a new bootable DVD with service pack 3 built-in (providing u have a burner, of course).
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July 30, 2010 12:15:53 AM

Sorry I know my OP was really long :ouch:  I tried to make it as short as I could but keep all the info.

mikey5802 said:
Your XP DVD... is SP2 native on the DVD or did u add the SP2 pack separately. I can point u to instructions to slip stream SP3 and create a new bootable DVD with service pack 3 built-in (providing u have a burner, of course).


No, my OEM XP disk that came with my computer is XP Home ("Version 2002") with Service Pack 1. I know you can slipstream with SP2 and SP3 but I was going to ask about that later.

Will I have trouble reinstalling and reactivating Windows XP after putting in a new primary hard drive since I have an OEM disk?? I read hardware changes mean you can't re-use the activation code. :cry: 
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a b G Storage
July 30, 2010 10:45:49 AM

You shouldn't have any trouble re-installing with the OEM SP1 version but I can't remember right off-hand which version will have a problem with the 137 GB limitation. I'll look into that.

OEM versions of the OS are associated to the mobo. If you change that, you may not be able to activate w/o speaking with a Microsoft tech and explaining WHY you're changing your mobo, but even so, your board is so old that the BIOS may not recognize a 500GB HDD. There used to be software that came with drives larger than a certain size that would fix the problem. I'll look into that as well.

Just out of curiosity, could you pls post your hardware specs, mobo, cpu, ram, etc.
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a b G Storage
July 30, 2010 12:15:42 PM

ollix said:
Sorry I know my OP was really long :ouch:  I tried to make it as short as I could but keep all the info.



No, my OEM XP disk that came with my computer is XP Home ("Version 2002") with Service Pack 1. I know you can slipstream with SP2 and SP3 but I was going to ask about that later.

Will I have trouble reinstalling and reactivating Windows XP after putting in a new primary hard drive since I have an OEM disk?? I read hardware changes mean you can't re-use the activation code. :cry: 


Windows XP SP1 supports drives >137GB, however, your mobo must support it as well. You can slipstream SP 2, instruction here:

http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/windowsxp_sp2_slip...

And if you're going to slipstream SP2, you may as well slipstream SP3. Instructions are here:

http://www.howtohaven.com/system/slipstream-xp-service-...

Food for thought:

Instead of getting the 500GB IDE drive, you might purchse an SATA HDD and also get a converter to convert IDE to SATA:

You can see that product here (looks like it only supports SATA1 though (150GB/s):

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

-OR-

Look at this one:

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

Bottom line, however, is whether or not your mobo supports HDD's that large. It may, with a BIOS update. Need more info (as previously requesed)

Hope this helps.


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July 30, 2010 1:09:58 PM

Thanks Mikey. I'll try to post that info later today when I have a chance.

I mentioned in my OP that I thought about a sata and controller card but I've decided I would definitely rather get an IDE drive instead.

As for the 137gb limit, I mentioned that in my OP too in Question 3. I'm pretty sure my mobo is definitely too old to access above 137 but with partitioning people have been able to make a <137 partition with Windows on it that the BIOS can see, then partition the rest and make another drive with it that only Windows can see.

Also I'm not going to slipstream, if I install fresh I'll just use the SP1 disk and download SP2 and 3 to update it. However I'l thinking about doing what JohnB suggested in this thread under "Clone Your old EIDE Drive to a new PATA Large Drive"

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/237351-45-boot-large-...

Ghost copy the current HD onto a partition on the new one, then plug it in and hope when the computer boots up it acts the same way it did before, no need to reinstall anything. Then possibly repair Windows and update to sp3. If I do try that and it doesn't work then reformat repartition and fresh install would be my second choice, I'm just afraid I'll never get all my hardware working again if I have to reinstall all the drivers.

Oh yeah I also posted the specs of my mobo in the original post, there's no updated driver for it and they don't support their mobos anymore. :fou: 
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a c 362 G Storage
July 30, 2010 7:48:57 PM

I am still unclear whether you can use safely an HDD over 137 GB on a machine with a BIOS / controller system that lacks 48-bit LBA Support. I know the thread you linked under Item #3 says it worked IF you ensure that the first bootable Partition with the OS installed is NOT over 128 GB, but I'm leery even then.

I checked all the Chaintech stuff I could find and could not see a clear statement that your system has 48-bit LBA support in its IDE system. I also could not find reliable BIOS updates that said they include the feature. So you MIGHT have to proceed assuming it is NOT there, and you should limit yourself to no more than 137 GB (HDD maker's math), or 128 GB (M$ counting system).

As you say, another way out is to install in a PCI slot a SATA controller and switch to that type of HDD, because all SATA systems have 48-bit LBA included. But that requires two abilities. One is that the SATA controller card have a BIOS extension that allows for booting from one of its attached drives. The other is that the original mobo BIOS has to be designed to allow a PCI card's BIOS to add onto the system, which we do not know in your case. So that's not a reliable option.

There is another way that works just fine. I did this with an older system that had an AMD CPU comparable to a Pentium II and a mobo BIOS that could not be updated with a BIOS revision that added 48-bit LBA Support. So I wanted the largest IDE HDD I could get under 137 GB. The solution was to use a feature in some Seagate drives. I bought a 160 GB IDE unit, like this:

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

Now, the trick is that Seagate's drives have a feature that allows you to manually set the maximum size of one of their drives, using a free utility from Seagate, their Seatools for DOS here:

http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?locale=en-US&name...

Be sure to get the "for DOS" version. There are two of those: one for using a floppy disk if you have it, and one for using an optical disk. In each case you download the appropriate files and make your own bootable disk. Then you must adjust your BIOS Setup to boot from that device, place the diskette or CD-R in the drive, and boot from it. It loads a min-DOS into RAM and lets you run all its tests from a menu, completely independent of any HDD or OS in your system. You MUST be sure to specify that you are operating on the right HDD unit! In the case of the "for DOS" optical versions there are two slightly different files available. One is an .iso file that is an image of what the optical disk must contain. The other is just a .zip file that is smaller and must be un-zipped to yield the .iso file. In both cases you then need a blank CD-R disk and some software able to burn the .iso image to it - something like Nero does the job. That gets you a bootable CD-R to use.

So, why do this, and how? First you install the new Seagate in your machine on an IDE port with its jumpers adjusted appropriately. Boot up and maybe go into BIOS Setup to verify that the drive is recognized at the hardware level and your boot device is set for the place where your Seatools disk is, then Save and Exit to finish booting. In the main menu under Advanced Features you have a tool to Set Capacity. One of these it to manually specify the maximum capacity of the HDD unit. (Another, for recovery later if you need it, is to restore the original full capacity.) You do this by manually entering the maximum number of Logical Blocks this HDD has. Since we are presuming that your system has only the original version of LBA that used 28 binary bits (not 48) to specify this parameter, the maximum value is (2^28 - 1) or 268,435,455. You must enter that number. (Or, maybe you enter the value one bigger, that is 268,435,456.) Now a Logical Block is one sector with 512 bytes' capacity, so the disk capacity becomes 137,438,953,472 bytes - look familiar? When this is done the HDD's controller board itself stores this value and from then on anything that asks about its capacity gets told this, and nothing outside the HDD will ever know anything different. Most importantly, it will not accept any instruction sent to it to access a location higher than that, so those locations NEVER will get used.

Once you do this trick, you have a new IDE drive that is exactly the maximum size an older 28-bit LBA controller can use, and it will never risk errors due to over-writing the wrong location.

Now, with that new HDD set up, how do you get it to take over the role of the boot device called the C: drive? Enter the magic of cloning, and for free, too! Since you have just bought a Seagate HDD (if you followed my thoughts), you also can download from their website a utility package called Disk Wizard available here:

http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?locale=en-US&name...

It is a customized version of Acronis True Image and very good, capable of much more than the cloning we're talking about. So be sure to get its manual and read it. It can be burned to a bootable CD_R, I believe, and run from there, or you can install it on your existing old HDD and run it that way. From its main menu you will find the place where you can clone an old drive to a new one. When you start that, you MUST be sure to specify correctly the SOURCE unit (your old Samsung) and the DESTINATION unit (the new Seagate). Check all the options in this area as you get it set up. In particular, check the size of the Partition it will make on the DESTINATION drive to receive the clone copy. By default it probably will offer to make it the same as your old drive. But more likely you would prefer that it be the entire space available on the Seagate unit (as you have just re-specified). That takes a bit of looking through the menu customization screens. When you have it all set up, let 'er rip!

The cloning process will copy absolutely EVERYTHING from your old HDD to the new one, making it a bootable copy and placing all the critical files where they must be. When it is finished you can shut down, disconnect and remove the old Samsung, and reconnect the new Seagate (with its jumpers adjusted to become the Primary IDE port Master device, probably). Remove the Seatools disk from its drive. Boot into BIOS Setup and readjust the boot sequence if necessary, and in there you should see that Seagate unit as the only HDD present. Save and Exit to boot. It should boot just like it used to (except it should not be delayed for HDD errors) and look the same, except that the C: drive will now be just a bit larger. If it is running smoothly, now is the time to upgrade to SP2 or SP3. I'd certainly recommend up to SP3. Just check a small point here. At one time M$ recommended NOT leaping to SP3 in one step, but going through an SP2 upgrade first. They may no longer recommend that.
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July 30, 2010 8:46:16 PM

Thank you for the input Paperdoc! I actually found instructions for the technique you suggested a little while ago.

1815884,10,121166 said:
I am still unclear whether you can use safely an HDD over 137 GB on a machine with a BIOS / controller system that lacks 48-bit LBA Support. I know the thread you linked under Item #3 says it worked IF you ensure that the first bootable Partition with the OS installed is NOT over 128 GB, but I'm leery even then.


That's understandable, but what exactly makes you leery about it? One thing that I read is that if you partition the drive like that, then partition the rest of it so you can use it in Windows, if something happens and Windows or something else on the C: drive becomes corrupt due to overwriting at least you can be sure that the data in the second partition won't be corrupted, and you can reinstall Windows on the c: partition.

Also, although I know it doesn't technically apply since I have Windows XP, there's a Microsoft document for Windows 2000 that specifically says to use the <137gb partiiton / add second partition in Windows method to get around the 137gb BIOS limit.

Quote:

I checked all the Chaintech stuff I could find and could not see a clear statement that your system has 48-bit LBA support in its IDE system. I also could not find reliable BIOS updates that said they include the feature. So you MIGHT have to proceed assuming it is NOT there, and you should limit yourself to no more than 137 GB (HDD maker's math), or 128 GB (M$ counting system).


Ah, you see what I went through trying to find info about my mobo!! :lol:  Apparently it was bigtime when it came out, then is disappeared off the face of the earth. Is there any way that I can check to see if it does ssupport >137gb drives?

Quote:

As you say, another way out is to install in a PCI slot a SATA controller and switch to that type of HDD, because all SATA systems have 48-bit LBA included. But that requires two abilities. One is that the SATA controller card have a BIOS extension that allows for booting from one of its attached drives. The other is that the original mobo BIOS has to be designed to allow a PCI card's BIOS to add onto the system, which we do not know in your case. So that's not a reliable option.


Thank you!! This is exactly what I was worried about but so far no one I have asked has mentioned this issue. People say to just get a cheap PCI SATA card not understanding that if it doesn't have onboard BIOS you can't boot from it. :na:  I'd rather get an IDE since I know my mobo can boot from that.

About the Seagate setting maximum drive size thing - like I said, I actually found that info right before reading your message, so I'm glad to see you reiterate it. I understand how that would reduce the possibility of a problem.

What I'm confused about though, isn't setting a <137gb partition on the Western Digital drive almost the same thing? If I was to set a 120gb partition on the WD 500gb drive and leave the rest unallocated, wouldn't that essentially be the same as limiting the HD to 120gb? If the rest was unallocated, doesn't that mean nothing would be able to access it? I know XP would be able to see more than 120 (as unallocated space) but not be able to access it, and the BIOS would see 137 of it (so 17gb of the unallocated space?), but does the BIOS ever write to the hard drive? (I'm a noob) If the BIOS can write to the hard drive I can see how it could cause a problem if it tried to write to the unallocated space, but would that even happen? How about if I set the partition to 137gb to match the BIOS exactly?

Truthfully I'd rather get the 500gb drive for $15 more than the 160 from NewEgg (and again, Best Buy has a 30 day return policy with no restocking fee and I can pick the drive up in a store in person, not so with a site like NewEgg). Eventually when this computer is finally done for, I can install the 500gb in a new comp or an external drive and have 340gb more space, right?

BTW I really appreciate your input and if you think the method described in the other thread could potentially be dangerous, let me know. I've read numerous other threads where people have said this should work fine, but of course I can't find any official documentation of the technique (other than that Windows 2000 document). Is there a chance using the 500gb drive could cause permanent damage to other parts of my computer?

Quote:

Now, with that new HDD set up, how do you get it to take over the role of the boot device called the C: drive? Enter the magic of cloning, and for free, too!


Yes, that's what I was planning to do, except using Easeus Disk Copy like in the directions here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/237351-45-boot-large-...

One question I have is, if something doesn't go right and when I try to install the new drive after ghosting the old one to it it doesn't boot up, can I plug the old HD back in and have it continue to work the way it does now?

Also, if it IS able to boot from the new drive and I use it for a while (maybe weeks), install and/or remove programs, use it normally, update from Windows XP SP2 to SP3 etc, but eventually something goes wrong with it and it can't boot up, in that case would I also be able to plug the old HD back in and have it go back to working the way it does right now, sort of like a hardware "System Restore"?

And another thing, if the new drive did get screwed up and needed a fresh install of Windows, would I be able to ghost the old hard drive back onto the first partition the way i did it originally? If I did it with the 500GB drive could that cause problems, or can you reformat just one partition of a drive?

Thanks again for posting this information - I'm definitely considering the Seagate method now since it seems to be more secure and is officially documented. (I'd still rather get the 500gb drive though...)
[/quote]
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a c 362 G Storage
August 2, 2010 9:25:14 PM

If you buy a 500 GB HDD from any maker, install it in your machine and create a Primary Partition of no more than 128 GB (M$ counting system) so that it is within the limits of the older 28-bit LBA controllers you have, there will be NO problem using that. You will NOT be using any of the space above that, and that cannot cause trouble. As I said, I am still leery of trying to create and use second, third, and fourth Partitions, all under 128 GB each, on a system like this. I have sought a clear answer about this from a HDD maker's Tech Support guys - we''ll see if they can answer, and I'll report when they do.

Certainly if you do this, at some time in the future if you move the HDD to another machine that does have 48-bit LBA support in its controller systems, you could then begin using the additional space safely for sure. You would then have three options: you could delete the existing Partition (after backing up its data), Create a new Primary Partition using the full HDD space, and restore the data; or, you could just Create one or more new Partitions in the Unallocated space to use as separate "drives"; or, you could use either third-party software or maybe even some built-in tools in modern Windows OS's to Expand the existing Partition to add on all of the Unallocated Space.

As you say, if you're willing to use only 128 GB of a 500 GB unit for now, and hold off using the rest until transplant time, you will have no problem. Then the pricing makes the 500 GB option much better than the 160 GB unit.

As for cloning and re-using the old HDD, you do understand it correctly. The cloning process makes NO changes to the source (old) drive. (I often recommend to people who do this that they immediately disconnect the old unit and remove it as a backup unit.) It is fully functional. You could re-do the cloning process later. Or, you could just re-install it in place of the new drive and you'd be running again. It's just that all changes since the cloning operation would be missing, but you already get that.
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August 2, 2010 11:49:39 PM

Thank you Paperdoc!

1816241,12,121166 said:
If you buy a 500 GB HDD from any maker, install it in your machine and create a Primary Partition of no more than 128 GB (M$ counting system) so that it is within the limits of the older 28-bit LBA controllers you have, there will be NO problem using that. You will NOT be using any of the space above that, and that cannot cause trouble.


Thank you - it seemed to obvious that I thought there had to be something wrong with the idea. lol

Quote:

As I said, I am still leery of trying to create and use second, third, and fourth Partitions, all under 128 GB each, on a system like this. I have sought a clear answer about this from a HDD maker's Tech Support guys - we''ll see if they can answer, and I'll report when they do.


Thank you for doing that! I would definitely like to try to use the rest of the space, at least for exta backup.

Quote:

As you say, if you're willing to use only 128 GB of a 500 GB unit for now, and hold off using the rest until transplant time, you will have no problem. Then the pricing makes the 500 GB option much better than the 160 GB unit.


What do you think would be the dangers in adding more partitions to the disc and seeing if it works in my current system? Would there be a chance of the hard drive/computer physically getting messed up, or harm to the motherbord/BIOS, or would it just be a chance of data corruption on the HD itself? If it's just an issue of data corruption I would probably try it out and see, since I wouldn't put anything on the new HD that wasn't backed up, and if Windows got corrupted somehow, I could just reinstall it, right? And if it didn't work out in the end, is it correct that I can go back in with Windows XP setup disk and re-partition the drive with a single <128gb primary partition, delete the other partitions, reinstall XP, leave the rest of the space permanently unallocated and try it that way?

As to cloning, unfortunately it didn't work. It stopped half way with a "Reading sector failure" error. :(  Rather than trying to fix the HDD errors and attempt cloning again (searching on Google it sounds like that won't help anyway), I'm pretty well decided on a clean XP installation on the new disk and starting from scratch. If it works okay (praying all my hardware is able to work, sound card, ethernet card etc), I can always put the current hd in an external USB enclosure to get what's on it (although all the important data is already backed up to another external drive). If something goes horribly wrong and I can't get some piece of hardware working in the new installation, I can always put the old HD back in temporarily right?

Thanks again!
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August 3, 2010 4:00:10 PM

I got an answer to my question from a major HDD maker. They say clearly that using a large (i.e., over 137 GB) HDD on a system with controller hardware incapable of doing that (i.e., an older system with the original LBA, but NOT 48-bit LBA Support) is wrong and there is no way around that. You cannot attempt to use any of the space above the 137 GB boundary in such a system. The reply I got says, "Do not use the drive on a controller that does not support the full capacity unless you wish to use the drive with that truncated capacity. " By "that truncated capacity", they mean use it ONLY up to the first 137 GB (or 128 GB as Windows counts it) and NO further.

Now, why should that be? When any data is to be read or written to an HDD, three critical components are involved. The OS must specify exactly where on the disk it want the data from (or to), and pass that to the controller. The controller must pass that to the HDD, and the HDD must accept it. The controller board on the HDD itself then translates that LBA address into the Cylinder, Head, and Sector co-ordinates it uses to find that location. But in OP's current situation, two of the components (the OS and the HDD) use 48 binary bits to specify that LBA, but the middle component (the mobo's controller) can only handle the lower 28 bits of that number - it simply discards the high 20 bits and never passes them on! As an analogy in decimal number terms, suppose the old controller can only deal with addresses from 0 through 999,999. The OS, not knowing this, requests that the new data be written to location 2,000,003. But the mobo controller can only send to the HDD the address: 000,003! So the data is written to address 000,003, and that is in the middle of the root directory! Big Woops! The data in address 000,003 on the HDD is now corrupted! Yet every component in the system thinks it did nothing wrong. The error will become apparent the next time some application tries to use that corrupted data, but not before.

If you buy a 500 GB HDD and install it in your old system, you should have no problem creating and using a first Partition that is no larger than 137 GB (maker's numbers) or 128 GB (Windows measurement) because ALL the components can deal with those numbers for LBA's. What I EXPECT is that, if you even try to create another Partition above that from the Unallocated Space, you should create a real mess right away because the controller can't deal properly with the HDD. Now, it may be that the creation of the Partition is done entirely by the HDD itself and that can be done. BUT the moment you try to USE that second Partition by writing data to it, the writes actually will be in space already in use by the first Partition, and all that data will be corrupted! It would be interesting to experiment and do that, anticipating that it might fail badly, just to verify what really does happen. The "anticipation" thing means: be very sure you have a backup so you can re-do things and restore cleanly!

I have been confused in the past by posters who claim to have done this kind of thing and got it to work. That is, create several Partitions each under 128 GB on one large HDD in a system that does NOT have full 48-bit LBA support. But that MAY be confused with another scenario: one in which the mobo controller and the HDD both have 48-bit LBA support, and the non-supporting component is the OS. In that case there MIGHT be a way that an OFFSET within one "drive" (Partition) is correctly converted to an absolute address on the HDD, thus avoiding such errors. I just don't know.

From my way of thinking, with OP's situation of a limited mobo controller system, I just would not try to use ANY HDD space above 128 GB. In the future when that unit is moved to another machine there will be no such limit then, and it could be re-organized to make use of its full capacity at that time.

OP, as you expect making a clone FROM your old HDD will not change any of its contents. So yes, you could re-install it and run from it again. Apparently there is one sector with an error on it (or more), but often you don't actually happen to use that so you have not seen it affect your operation. What you certainly CAN do is to run SCANDISK on the drive. That goes through ALL of the drive (so it takes a very long time) looking for errors in reading data. If it finds any it will simply mark that sector never to use again, and substitute a good sector into the file chain. BUT that "good" sector contains random data, NOT what should have been in the damaged and retired sector. So, that particular file is corrupted with bad data in its middle. Unfortunately it can be hard to figure out which file is corrupted, unless you can get SCANDISK to tell you the file name. If you can, what you do then is rename the file to something you'll never use like "badjnk01.fil", then try to find a good copy of that file somewhere else and copy it to the right folder on your HDD.

If you do this process to identify the "bad sectors" within Windows, MAYBE you can make the clone from it, and maybe not. I don't know whether the cloning process relies on the Directory and its associated records to make copies of everything; if it does, the fact that those data structures ONLY point to sectors with no errors (after SCANDISK has "fixed" all errors) might allow the cloning to proceed cleanly. BUT if the cloning software just tries to copy every sector from the Source, then it will still have a problem with any sector that does not read cleanly, unless the cloning tool can be told to ignore such errors and copy it anyway.
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August 3, 2010 11:40:16 PM

Thanks for finding out about that Paperdoc!!

I thought once BIOS passed control over to Windows, Windows handled HD addressing tasks by itself, without BIOS being involved at all, which is often why people say the BIOS limitation doesn't affect using the rest of the drive in Windows as long as Windows is capable of 48-bit addressing.

Keep in mind I'm not familiar with all this stuff though - when you say HDD controller, is that something other than the BIOS? Is it something on the motherboard that Windows actively uses? If that's the case, now I understand why the wrap/rewrite at the beginning thing would happen, your explination was very clear! (Also I have some experience programming the NES [yes Nintendo] which ironically has helped me understand this situation a bit better, I think - I already undersood the "I'll write to 256, but there is no 256 so it's writing to 0 and now Mario's on the other side of the screen" thing. lol)

Although this makes sense, have you seen this Microsoft document for Windows 2000:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/305098

It's not for XP so maybe it doesn't apply at all, but if you look under "If you enable 48-bit LBA ATAPI support by editing the preceding registry key, but your system does not meet the minimum requirements"]/i] (eg the BIOS doesn't suppport 48-bit addressing), it says this:

Quote:

# The operating system must be installed on the first partition that is smaller or equal to 137 GB when the EnableBigLba registry value is enabled but when you do not have a 48-bit LBA compatible BIOS.

If you enable the 48-bit LBA ATAPI support by editing the registry setting, but you lack both a 48-bit LBA compatible BIOS and a hard disk that has a capacity of more than 137 GB, the hard disk continues to function as a standard hard disk with an addressable limit of 137 GB.

# The operating system must be installed on the first partition that is less than or equal to 137 GB and the rest of the hard disk divided into one or more remaining partitions when the EnableBigLba registry value is enabled on a computer without a 48-bit LBA compatible BIOS that has a hard disk with a capacity of more than 137 GB.


Unless I'm reading it wrong, the last part specifically says you can use the rest of the disk in Windows 2000 as long as the startup partition is lss than 137gb and Windows is setup to use 48-bit addressing. It doesn't mention anything about HDD controllers causing a problem. I can't find a document that says this is true in Windows XP, but at least it shows a precedent for doing it like that?

Or am I just reading it wrong?

Quote:

I have been confused in the past by posters who claim to have done this kind of thing and got it to work. That is, create several Partitions each under 128 GB on one large HDD in a system that does NOT have full 48-bit LBA support. But that MAY be confused with another scenario: one in which the mobo controller and the HDD both have 48-bit LBA support, and the non-supporting component is the OS.


Actually I think all the ones I've read have been people who had BIOS with 28-bit addressing limit but Windows with 48-bit support. Also, it wouldn't be necessary to make the other partitions less than the limit if I'm reading the Windows 2000 doc I linked (which seems to be the only official source anyone's been able to find that talks about doing this), it's only necessary to make the first one less than the limit.

But if the thing about the HDD controller is true, could they have a 48-bit HDD controller but a 28-bit BIOS?

BTW, I did install the new HDD (swapped the cables on the old one to the new one) and successfully clean-installed Windows XP on it on a 120GB partition with the rest unaollacted (but haven't activated it yet). Started setting it set up, but I can't get on the internet with my D-Link ethernet port - it says "A network cable is disconnect" even when it's connected. (I posted about that here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/249814-45-ethernet-po... ) But I was able to swap the IDE and Molex cables back to the old drive, which I'm using now to post this message (still works the same as before).
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August 4, 2010 12:40:24 AM

Here's where some confusion can be created about the role of the BIOS. In its basic role, the BIOS does need to support 48-bit LBA just so it can pass those large addresses through from the OS to the HDD controller. If you think of a separate controller card (with its own limited BIOS on-board for its functions) added on via the PCIe bus, for example, that makes it a little easier to see this role of the BIOS. It is still involved in the communication between OS and controller.

However, so many mobo's now include the HDD controller in the southbridge chip on the mobo. In those designs, the mobo BIOS chip ALSO has the code necessary to run the controller functions. So one part of the BIOS passes info to the controller, and another part of the BIOS supplies the code for that operation to communicate with the HDD unit. (And, just to add confusion, the HDD itself also has its own controller card on it with its own BIOS, buffer RAM, and non-volatile RAM, all hidden from the OS.) That is why you see talk of the BIOS' role(s) in all this.

The Win 2000 doc you linked is talking mainly about the fact that 48-bit addressing support was added in its SP3, but by default it was not activated, so you have to edit a Registry setting to get it going. But the part you quoted does lead to confusion. I SUSPECT what they mean is that Win 2K with 48-bit LBA activated will skip over the first BIOS part and communicate directly with the controller. So as long as the controller itself can handle things properly, the inability of the (first part, as I call it above, of the) BIOS to pass the large LBA to the controller is no problem. What it does NOT seem to anticipate is the structure in which (as in common systems now) the controller is part of the mobo and a different section of code in the BIOS also is involved in that operation, where its limits WILL cause a problem.

For your last new problem, you may have run into a problem I created for myself once. I re-installed Win XP on this machine early in its construction and all of a sudden I had no internet access. After a few calls to the ISP's Tech Support guys, I realized (somewhat embarrassed) that in doing the re-install I had failed to run the driver installation disk that came with the mobo. So guess what - all the mobo devices (including the LAN ports) were not working because XP did not have drivers installed for them. You just did a brand new Install of Win XP on the new HDD, but maybe you did not follow that up by installing into the new XP the drivers for all your on-board devices. One would have HOPED that the XP Install disk had and installed default drivers for all those devices on the mobo, but maybe something went wrong on the LAN port driver install. Check in Device Manager and see if you can Update that driver, or even remove it and then reboot to force it to find one and install it again. If necessary, can you get updated drivers for your mobo from its maker's website?
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