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See your Operating System

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management, System Tune-Up Help

I have a 220 GB hard drive but my Operating System can’t see it all. Do I need some other software or something?

If you have an older computer or Windows XP using the FAT32 filing system, and your hard drive is over 32GB, you’ll need to split it into partitions . Even with the newer NTFS (Win NT, 2000, XP) you are limited to 137GB (Partition Magic can make a partition up 160GB, but your filing system still might not see it all). You’ll definitely want to partition it into sizes that can be handled.

If you want to be able to read all of a big hard drive without partitioning it, and you have Windows XP you can download Service Pack 1 which has support for something called “48-bit Logical Block Addressing”. This feature knocks down the NTFS 137 GB barrier on XP.

Windows 2000 uses a different patch ( SP2 ) to enable the 48-bit LBA;en-us;305098

In addition to installing the service pack, you also need to make sure that your BIOS and ATAPI or ATA controller all have support for 48-bit LBA. Update your BIOS —especially if you have an older motherboard —by visiting the manufacturer’s website.

If you’re thinking of buying a hard drive larger than 137GB, take some time to make sure your system can handle it. You may actually be better off with two smaller drives. Think about how long it takes to defragment a little 32GB drive, then imagine 220GB!

~ Chad

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