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160GB HDD on XP

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April 20, 2012 7:43:16 AM

my old laptop HDD has died. I have xp disc. I have a spare 160GB hard drive but i know XP doesnt like anything mroe than 137GB.

how do i go about installing xp on thsi new hard drive. can i create a partition during installation and limit C drive to less than 137? i am not at all bothered about using full 160GB capacity. I googled and lot of people seem to be having problems with installation initially working and then after couple of month it starts to create problem.

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April 20, 2012 8:14:52 AM

i am using 320gb on my old machine with xp. No problem. You need to use NTFS format for bigger partition. Yes you can limit C drive during installation like 20gb/40gb as you wish. Limit C drive as you wish, then use spare space for other drive and format them as NTFS. Good Luck
a b G Storage
April 20, 2012 8:43:27 AM

I have done numerous XP installs with all sizes of HDDs. I have never (ever) had any problems at all. The only thing I could think of that may cause a problem would be a file system that doesn't support large formats. As mubin pointed out you should be using NTFS file system, FAT should only be used on USB drives for compatibility reasons with other devices.
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April 20, 2012 8:55:55 AM

Thanks

On a related note, whats the best way to get XP SP3 on the new PC. I have a CD but that's only with XP original. Can i download SP3 as standalone exe and then install it seperately or can i combine XP with SP3 somehow.
April 20, 2012 9:53:26 AM

Before SP1, XP had a limit of approx. 127GB per drive (1KB in drive terms is actually 1,000 bytes and not 1,024, so 128GB makes 137,438,953,472 bytes, and 137,000,000,000 bytes is about 127.6GB). SP1 allows for 48-bit LBAs, thus the ability to use whatever drive size you like (in essence, 262,144GB/256TB).

I had this problem when I had to get a 160GB drive in an emergency (overclocking somehow destroyed my login credentials - that drive became my secondary until it failed a few months later). I always cut my primary drive down so that the system partition isn't taking the whole drive up, thus leaving a two partition drive, but I was unable to use the final 21GB of space until I installed SP1. As I'd already put data onto the second of the two partitions by this point, I needed to create a third partition with the newly recovered space instead of just deleting that second partition and recreating it with the extra 21GB. Had I installed XP slipstreamed with SP1, I wouldn't have had the same issue.
a b G Storage
April 20, 2012 11:41:12 AM

Install from your original CD, then run Automatic updates and you will install all you need in the correct order. You can find a downloadable SP3 file at MS but since its an older XP it would be better to get all you need via automatic update.
a c 289 G Storage
April 20, 2012 12:53:14 PM

If you have a spare computer, and are feeling ambitious, you can "slipstream" with the original CD and a downloaded copy of SP3 to make an SP3 installation disc. I did this so long ago that I can't remember how.

Silverblue is exactly right; the XP service patches allowed much bigger disks than the original XP did.
a c 342 G Storage
April 21, 2012 3:18:38 AM

There is another question to consider here. You do not say whether the HDD you are considering is IDE or SATA. If it is SATA, you have no problem at this stage, so you can skip to my next paragraph. BUT if it is IDE, then you must first find out whether your laptop's IDE system (via the BIOS) has a feature called "48-bit LBA Support". (All SATA systems have this - it's just IDE systems where this can be an issue.) Just "Support for large hard disks" or "LBA Support" is not enough. It must specify the "48-bit LBA" part, or specify that it can support disks over 128 GB. If in doubt, try to contact Tech Support at the laptop manufacturer's place for advice. If you cannot get 48-bit LBA Support established in your laptop's hardware for an IDE drive, then you WILL have to limit yourself to using no more than 128 GB (Windows' way of counting) of that drive.

If you don't plan to slipstream a Service Pack and make a new XP Install disk that way, you can still work with just your original-version XP Install CD. Just follow these steps. You will end up with a fully functional HDD, BUT it will be divided into TWO Partitions, each treated by Windows as a separate "drive".

1. Install the 160 GB HDD unit and proceed with a normal Install of Win XP from your old CD. Near the beginning if necessary, use the menu choices to Delete any old existing Partitions on the drive, then go ahead. The Install process will ask you to confirm the location and size of the Partition it plans to Create on your HDD, and I'm sure it will NOT propose anything over 128 GB. Set the size to whatever you like, not exceeding that limit. Install will create the Partition, Format it, and Install Win XP. Now your system is working fine. At this point there is about 20 GB of Unallocated Space on that HDD (or maybe more if you made your Boot Partition smaller).

2. IF you know you have 48-bit LBA Support on your machine's IDE system, or IF you are using a SATA HDD anyway, you can now prepare to use the rest of your HDD's space. Do NOT try to do this if you don't have that 48-bit LBA Support feature. At this point you need to add that feature to your Win XP OS by installing a Service Pack. You should download and install Service Pack 3 (the latest) BEFORE trying to use the extra space.

3. OK, with XP updated to SP3, you reboot and use a Windows built-in tool called Disk Management. I get there by clicking on Start at lower left, then RIGHT-click on My Computer in the mini-menu and choose Manage. In the window that pops up, choose Disk Management. On the right will be two panes, and each of them SCROLLS to let you see all it has. Focus on the LOWER RIGHT pane where you will see several rectangles representing the drive units in your machine. At the left-hand end of each rectangle is some label info like a disk name and type, its total size and a status. To the right of that there are one or more sub-blocks, each representing a Partition on that HDD unit. Within each Partition block there will be more info, like the name you assigned to this Partition, its letter name, the Partition size and File System, and a status. On your 160 GB unit there ought to be a block of 128 GB (or less, depends on what you chose) as your C: drive, and to the right of that a block labelled "Unallocated Space". RIGHT-Click on that and choose to Create a new Partition from that space. This one should be a Primary Partition also, but it does NOT need to be made bootable. You may see also some options for the Format operation. These include the File System to be installed (choose NTFS), and whether to do a Full or Quick Format. Since you are re-using an older HDD, I suggest a Full Format. It will take some time - an hour or more - but it's a good precaution to have the drive tested that way. When the job is done it will have its own new letter name assigned. Back out of Disk Management and reboot to update the Registry. The 160 GB unit will now show up in My Computer as a C: drive of (maybe) 128 GB, and a second "drive" (probably E:, since I suspect your optical drive will be D: ), and you can use both of them.

As I said, do not try to create a Partition from the Unallocated Space unless you have 48-bit LBA Support in the laptop's disk controller and in an updated version of Win XP. Doing that without 48-bit LBA Support and using it can create an odd situation in which attempts to write to it are actually performed on the beginning part of the HDD, instead of the end, thus over-writing and destroying data you need.
April 21, 2012 8:56:46 AM

Thanks a lot for such a detailed reply. i should have mentioned that it is an IDE drive and i have no idea about 48 bit support. But i am not at all fussed about using entire hard drive. I am just restoring an old laptop so my dad can use it. Where i am, i am struggling to find IDE hard drive smaller than 160 GB (and now i may have to go up to 250GB as thats the only drive thats available locally). But even if i can get 40GB usable space out of it, i am happy, let alone getting 128GB.

Thanks
a c 342 G Storage
April 21, 2012 4:12:04 PM

OK, if you are not going to pursue the 48-bit LBA support question and just plan to limit yourself to the 128 GB limit, you can do that on any HDD over that size. The simplest, of course, is just to Create and use a single Partition no more than 128 GB, and ignore the rest of the drive. The ONLY problem with that is if someone else starts looking around later and decides to use the Unallocated Space to Create a second Partition. You would not do that because you understand that it's not safe.

I know that Seagate has a system on their drives that can prevent even that fiddling; I don't know whether others do. But with a Seagate HDD there is a way to tell the drive itself to behave as a smaller unit than it really is. It requires that you download and use a free disk diagnostics utility from their website, SeaTools. (I usually get the "for DOS" version that you burn to a CD - it runs completely by itself from a bootable CD, so you don't even need or use any OS on your machine. But there are other versions, too.)

Within Seatools there is one tool that allows you to set the maximum number of LBA addresses it can use - you must enter a number. The key is to recognize that one disk sector is 512 bytes, and a Gigabyte is 1024 * 1024 * 1024 bytes. So 2*1024 * 1024 sectors will hold 1 GB. For your situation the limit you're trying to follow is from the fact that the old LBA system used 28 binary bits max in its LBA addressing scheme, so the maximum number of LBA addresses (sectors) is 2^28, or 268,435,456. That is the number you enter in Seatools. (That many sectors would hold 137,438,953,472 bytes, which is where the "137 GB" size limit comes from according to the way HDD makers count them. Windows, on the other hand, re-defined "GB" to be 1024*1024*1024 bytes, or 1,073,741,824 bytes, so that "137 GB" number becomes 128 of Windows' version of "GB".) Anyway, once you set the HDD's max LBA number to 268,435,456, the HDD itself always reports to any system that its size is that many sectors (not its true size, whatever that may have been), and nothing can try to use any of its space beyond that. It behaves entirely like a 128 GB (Windows' counting method) HDD, so nobody can try to use the space above that. (As an additional feature, Seatools also will let you re-set this limit to the real size of the HDD at some later date so it can be fully used again, although then you'd have to wipe the HDD clean and re-Partition it.) I used this feature a few years ago on an older desktop machine whose BIOS could not be updated to use 48-bit LBA. I used a Seagate 160 Gb unit and limited it this way with Seatools, and it works perfectly.
a c 289 G Storage
April 22, 2012 12:29:50 PM

Paperdoc - it's been so long since I used an IDE drive that I forgot that. I'll put it in my toolbox now.
Thanks.
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