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Hard disk detected at wrong size?

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November 19, 2003 11:30:22 AM

Hi, I'm building a computer for the first time and I guess I'm more of a retard than I thought.

After putting everything together and running install for windows 2000, it detects my 120gb HD as 30GB (ish)? I hoped this was a weird mistake and continued with the install, only to find that windows sees it as 30gb. Why is this?

Thanks in advance.
November 19, 2003 12:06:43 PM

is it in fat32 format, could be wrong but i think fat32 has a limit of about 30GB, you might want to
1) try having 4x30GB drives
2) try ntfs

Homer: There’s 3 ways to do things, the right way, the wrong way, and the max power way.
Bart: isn’t that the wrong way.
Homer: yea but faster.
November 19, 2003 6:39:29 PM

It was unformatted - when it asked me if I wanted to format it as fat or ntfs it said it was 30gb. I chose ntfs and it still says that...
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November 20, 2003 3:32:41 AM

My recommendation:

First, make sure the disk is detected and identified correctly in the BIOS.

If the disk is not identified correctly, then you have three options. One: Flash the BIOS to the latest version, in the hope that the newer BIOS will add support for larger drives, and/or correct any bugs in the software. If this doesn't work, overlay software from the disk manufacturer can be used to partition and format the drive, so that the correct size can be seen after the initial launch of the POST. But ... this is <i>not</i> a good, practical solution, as unusual problems often occur due to the use of software of this kind. Or, three: A PCI card can be installed that adds IDE slots and support for larger disks.

Considering that you are in the process of building the system, and that the mainboard is new (?), the first suggestion is probably all that is needed, if the BIOS has the disk size and parameters set incorrectly.

Next, partition the disk with a <A HREF="http://www.mirrors.org/archived_software/www.bootdisk.c..." target="_new">Win9x boot disk</A>. If you intend on using FAT32, format the primary DOS partition with the boot disk. If not, and you prefer NTFS, leave the partition unformatted, but in either case, set as active. The other partitions can be formatted from within Windows.

Try hard not to format a partition as FAT32, and then convert it later to NTFS from within Windows. The conversion freezes the cluster size at 512Kb, which can severely affect the drive's I/O performance.

Note: FDISK may appear to incorrectly identify the size of the disk, but that is simply a bug that won't affect the actual size of the partition. The disk would have to be larger than 120GB before problems occur, due to lack of support for 48-bit addressing.

Or ... partition the disk with the Win2K CD. If you choose NTFS, nearly any partition size should be available. If you choose FAT32, the limit will be 32GB. This is <i>not</i> due to limitations with the FAT32 file system, but because a Win2K/WinXP CD cannot create FAT32 partitions larger than 32GB (and the same goes for within the Windows environment.)

And so, if you want FAT32 partitions larger than 32GB, you create them with FDISK. Interestingly enough, partitions larger than 32GB that have already been created with FDISK can be formatted within Windows. It's only the partition creation that is affected by the limitation.

You can remove the current partition with either FDISK, or the Win2K CD. FDISK is probably faster for removal, but the partition will show up as a non-DOS partition, or sometimes as a HTFS partition.

Personally, due the complaint you've already mentioned ... I'd go with using FDISK, just to avoid experiencing the same problem again. But don't add the /s switch to the FORMAT command, as this will transfer system files from the boot floppy to the hard drive. That is something you don't want, as the boot.ini file will add a non-existent version of Win9x to the boot menu, and that will require editing.

Finally, be certain you are using an ATA-66/100/133 cable, and not a standard 40 wire ... and that it is in good condition, or brand new, and plugged in securely.

Toey

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November 20, 2003 9:12:29 AM

Hey, thanks for all your help.

I have determined the following:

The disk is not identified correctly in the BIOS.

The current BIOS date is September 03. To me this rules out the BIOS being the
problem (not too old). I formatted the disk using windows 2000 setup
in NTFS, so it's not the FAT32 issue.

As for the cable issue, the cable was the one that was supplied with the motherboard - brand new motherboard, that cable can't be too old can it?

I also read that a capacity limitation jumper being in place will cause the disk to be identified as 32gb. But I formatted the drive with only one
jumper on it, in the 'master' position. So the 'capacity limitation
jumper' was not in place. I bought it online from a reseller, it was
OEM. Is it possible that they had formatted it before with that jumper in place or something and
that's why it was seen as 32gb? Or is the logical solution at this
point that they told me the drive was 120 but sold me a 32gb HD?

Again thanks for your help.
November 21, 2003 12:43:47 AM

First, do you have the disk detection set to Auto?????
Please do that if you don't.

Secondly, often the manufacturer supplies tools.
eg. <A HREF="http://support.wdc.com/download/" target="_new"> WD </A>

The loving are the daring!<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Flinx on 11/20/03 09:47 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
November 21, 2003 4:07:21 PM

Quote:
The disk is not identified correctly in the BIOS.

There's the problem.

The entire capacity of the drive has to be first identified correctly in the BIOS.

Possible reasons:

1.) The BIOS needs flashed. This can happen with brand new mainboards ... not just old ones. I've installed spanking new 'boards that didn't function correctly until the BIOS was updated. That includes the inability to install an operating system, for example.

I recall getting a refund for two Iwill mainboards early last year, just because it became apparent that the company was having unusual difficulties getting a BIOS released that was stable, and I didn't care to wait for months on end before the 'boards could be used. Newer revisions of the 'board, released <i>much</i> later, came with a BIOS that functioned correctly, but I had long moved on by the time that happened.

You are entirely correct ... a BIOS released in September is certainly not "old" ... but there might have been a version released just last week that corrects the issue. It won't hurt to look, right?

Quote:
As for the cable issue, the cable was the one that was supplied with the motherboard - brand new motherboard, that cable can't be too old can it?

That depends. If the cable is a standard <A HREF="http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/if/ide/confCable-c.html" target="_new">40-pin/40-wire</A> (which is often what is sent with a mainboard), then you'll need a new one. If you want the drive to function at ATA-100/133, the cable must be <A HREF="http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/if/ide/confCable80-c.htm..." target="_new">40-pin/80-wire</A>.

If you do have a 80-wire cable, understand that they are delicate, and can be damaged easily. And if the connector has a blue end, that's the connector that goes to the mainboard.

Quote:
I bought it online from a reseller, it was
OEM. Is it possible that they had formatted it before with that jumper in place or something and
that's why it was seen as 32gb? Or is the logical solution at this
point that they told me the drive was 120 but sold me a 32gb HD?

Never in my experience have I received a new EIDE drive, OEM or retail, that was formatted by the seller before shipping. I can't think of any reason for this to occur. If you've got a drive that was previously partitioned and formatted, then the device is used ... not new.

And by the way, the problem here is not the file system (which is created by formatting), but that the 120GB drive has a 30GB partition, and the rest is free space.

If you weren't given an option to partition the drive however you see fit, when first installing Win2K (including removing existing partitions), but that only 30GB was available with a single partition, the problem is almost certainly at the hardware level, whether the BIOS is a mess, the drive is damaged, the mainboard IDE controllers are damaged, the cable is incorrect or damaged ...

Or ...

As you suggested, the drive really isn't 120GB, and you were sent the wrong device.

That's easy enough to ascertain, just by looking at the information labeled on the drive, and searching the data at the manufacturer's website.

If the device isn't 120GB ... send it back. And hurry, because OEM devices don't usually have much of a warranty. Some sites/resellers only allow seven days.

I might buy certain components as OEM, but never hard drives. The possibility of a disk getting damaged during rough shipping and handling is so high, that having a decent return policy is a must. This is one device that really should always be bought retail, preferably with a good three year warranty, so that even if the vendor refuses to replace the part, the manufacturer won't.

Suggestions:

Check the specs on the hard drive at the manufacturer's site. If the drive is 120GB, try to redetect the device within the BIOS. If it doesn't show up correctly, replace the cable, and flash the BIOS. If the BIOS flash doesn't repair the problem ... put the drive in another computer, and see if it is detected correctly. If not, send the drive back, because it may well be damaged.

And check your jumpers again. If the device is the only one on the cable, many drives do not require a jumper at all, which is usually the Master/No Slave position.

Toey

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November 21, 2003 5:39:49 PM

Perhaps I am mistaken, but is there a cap limit on the size of the hard drive, a Jumper? If so, make sure it is not enabled. Other then that, I think everything else has been said

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