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Windows XP, wrong HDD capacity?

By Tiger2182 ยท 23 replies
Aug 22, 2013
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  1. I currently install new hard drive of 500 gb and I reinstall windows Xp on it but this windows Xp is older version without any service packs. So I did massive updates after it was install but my main drive only shows 127 gb as the space but it should show up to 500 gb. Like I said all the updates and service packs So how do I get my main drive c:\ to show 500 gb?
  2. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,288   +372

    Why don't you go to My Computer & right click your C:Drive & on the resulting menu click Properties & show us a screen shot.
  3. Tiger2182

    Tiger2182 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I've read that without service pack 3 windows doesn't recognize 500 gb but I got all updates along with 3rd service pack and only still shows only 127 GB
  4. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,288   +372

    Where did you read that at?
    If you right click as I suggested, it would look something like this
    Amount of disk space.JPG
    Mine of course shows a TB harddrive.
  5. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,777   +242

    What dose your Bios read for the hard drive? You may need a bios update. In order for windows and the bios to read the correct size of the hard drive.
  6. Tiger2182

    Tiger2182 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks Cobalt006. What's the best to update BIOS?
  7. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,777   +242

    You will need to go to the manufacters web site.If this is a retail computer. If not you will need to find the motherboards web site.
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,512   +2,305

    It sounds like your computer is a very, very old one. Yes? The problem of not reading the full capacity od very large HDDs was common going back 8 or more years ago. Is this the 1st HDD you've tried in this machine of more than maybe 120 to 150GB?

    This was the reason computers circa pre 1995, didn't have HDDs of more than maybe 120GB.

    The problem was, (or in this case could be), the computer does not have 48bit logical block addressing."48bit LBA for short. It's been so long since I've heard about this happening, I'm not sure if the issue is with Windows, the computer's BIOS, or both. There is a fixed absolute limit on HDD capacity in machines without 48bitLBA, of 136GB, give or take.

    Anyway, HDD manufacturers used to supply software to circumvent the problem, without going into BIOS. I actually installed this type of software once, before I realized my 2005 eMachines already had 48bit LBA, plus runs its SATA drives as SATA.

    I've seen 48bit LBA (if I remember correctly) as an option in the BIOS. You'd have to enter BIOS and look around to verify this. Really, just LOOK, until you understand what you are doing.

    Updating the BIOS is a particularly risky operation, and you should avoid it unless absolutely necessary.

    Most necessary BIOS updates nowadays are done to accommodate a new model CPU, in home brew machines.

    Normally they aren't necessary for pre-built machines, as the board / CPU configuration is most likely to never change.

    Investigate your HDD makers website for a possible software workaround, it will be a free download.

    If you just bought this computer new the day before yesterday, please ignore all of the foregoing.:oops:
  9. Tiger2182

    Tiger2182 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I went ahead before I saw your comment captain cranky and I update bios. Now I have blank black screen. Ahhhhhh. Any suggestions?
  10. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,540   +242

    You can now justify the expense of purchasing a new computer. Put the new 500Gb hard drive in a USB caddy and you are all sorted.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,512   +2,305

    I the rare instance that you have a socketed BIOS chip, it can be replaced. 99% of the time they're soldered in, the board is hosed, and you're screwed.

    Given the age of the machine you're describing, I actually wonder if you might find an identical machine at a flea market, either for the board alone, or to load your OS and data.

    But the stone cold truth is, it's likely time for a new one.

    BIOS updates are tricky, and when they fail, it's either because of a power failure, or pilot error. Since the power probably didn't fail, you apparently screwed up. It almost goes without saying, "don't try that again".

    BUT, I'm curious as to whether the new drive is IDE (flat, wide, ribbon connector) or SATA, you haven't told us. There is a small possibility that the BIOS update changed the boot order, and the computer can't find a drive to boot from. If you know the BIOS or boot menu commands, start the machine and enter either one immediately. If you can't get into the BIOS, the machine is definitely hosed.

    Modern Gigabyte boards have a dual BIOS, for this very reason. I've actually seen my boards load the backup, on a couple of occasions.
    A bit abrupt, don't you think? (true nonetheless). The problem you run into is whether or not the TS actually has the money to "justify spending".

    BTW, I was looking for the IDE socket on my Intel 77 board and, low and behold, it''s not there! Is this true of all current offerings!
  12. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,540   +242

    Captaincranky how could you be so rude as to suggest that the poster may be unable to pay for a new machine?
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,512   +2,305

    Not rude......(wait for it)........P-rude-nT
  14. Blkfx1

    Blkfx1 TS Evangelist Posts: 860   +203

    I don't think he was being rude. If anything, he was being realistic. When someone is using a machine that old. It isn't usually because they have the money to upgrade and chose not to. It's more likely to be that they don't and have to make use of what they have.
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,512   +2,305

    Actually, you're the one being rude, by making the patent assumption he should, or does, have the money.
  16. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    I suspect the problem is that the partition was created with XP prior to SP1. Or was it SP2...? What I would have done is made it a 20-40 gig partition, installed XP. Done the updates to SP3, then used gParted to resize the partition to the full size.

    Or I would have created a slipstreamed XP disk with SP2 or 3 and avoided this problem all together.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,512   +2,305

    The OP states that our TS "reinstalled Windows on a new drive". So, how could have any partition have been created with any version of Windows.

    If he created a 127GB partition upon install, there's no reason to start a thread. Or, the thread would topically be more along the lines of, "I created a 127GB partition when I installed Windows, how do I get rid of it"?

    Windows by default, (as you know), takes whatever HDD it finds, call its "C:/", then formats the entire drive in "NTFS". If this was only going to make a 127GB partition, it would have told you so.

    My eMachines hasn't been updated to SP3, and has had drives up to 640GB installed, and recognized.

    The TS would have had to premeditatedly created a 127GB partition, or the 48 bit LBA issue is what's in play.

    It all may be a bit moot now, due to what seems to be a misadventure in BIOS updating.

    In reading the OP, I came to the conclusion our TS is a novice. (Be that right or wrong). If I'm correct, slipstreaming service packs may be (at least ATM), outside his scope of expertise.

    I don't bother with it myself, but my oldest machine is stock @SP2, and I like read what an update does, and let it out in the wild to see what happens, before I install it.`

    Lastly, let's assume Windows XP (no service pack), is at fault for the drive capacity issue. If Windows is brought up to SP-3 specs, shouldn't at least the "unallocated capacity", show up in computer management?
  18. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,540   +242

    An excellent point there. It's rarely clear at the outset how experienced a poster is. When the BIOS update was proposed I'm sure we were aware this could be sudden death for the computer, particularly when attempted by a complete novice, but no one likes to immediately post, "No! Don't do that." Captaincranky did say so in the middle of a lengthy and diplomatic post by which time it was too late.

    No one has been intensionally rude. I had my tongue in my cheek not sticking out. The really rude folks are long gone from forums and are presumably trolling on sites like Facebook. What I should have said is that the situation is now so bad that it will take a lot of luck or technical expertise to get that machine up and running. Time really to buy another PC - new or used. A technical post mortem is likely to be little comfort to Tiger2182.
  19. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    Actually, I think you are not totally correct. XP prior to whatever SP allowed you to go beyond 127GB just makes a 127GB one if the drive is larger, since the OS doesn't recognize anything larger, it doesn't even know there is more there. If I had a spare large HD and an old computer here I'd test it just for you. I'm sure what actually happens is still around on the internet somewhere, but trying to find behavior of an old program or old OS that has been frequently updated for the past 10+ years is somewhat difficult.

    Edit: So far I've found that SP1 does fix this. It is a 48bit LBA support issue, XP prior to SP1 did not support it officially, a registry 'hack' will fix it but microsoft warns of potential data corruption: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/303013
    I am going to spend a couple more minutes trying to back up what I was saying about what will happen if you try to install it on say... a 250 gig HD. But from my foggy memory, I think formats the entire drive and makes it 137, meaning you actually only have 137 on that drive even if you do upgrade to SP1 - ie you need to wipe the drive of its partitions and start new because you have no unused space to work with.
  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,512   +2,305

    When you get to the part of the XP install that formats the HDD, a dialog comes up that tells you what size partition XP is going to make(*). It also allows you to choose a SMALLER partition size.

    We're both saying the same thing. The drive doesn't know the extra volume is there, and that's the 48LBA issue.

    My argument is speculative. If you format the drive with XP (NO SP), then update to SP2 or SP3, what happens?

    You're saying the update takes away the 136GB(?) limitation. I'm reading now, with the update, 48LBA is functioning. (**)

    So, my question is, "if you go into "Disc Management", shouldn't the extra volume now appear as "unallocated space"? Ostensibly, the computer should now know it's there.

    It absolutely WON'T appear in "My Computer" until you format the remainder of the drive. Win 7 would allow you to remove an existing partition, I don't know if XP will..

    (*) The default "partition" should be what Windows "believes" is the entire volume of the drive.

    (**) I would almost swear I've seen 48LBA in a BIOS dialog, but I suppose I'll have to boot into a couple of my machine's BIOS, to make certain I wasn't hallucinating.

    According to Wikipedia, the size of the logical block addresses, is BIOS dependent! Windows then depends on the BIOS to tell it how big the connected discs are.

    I certainly don't understand the entire text of these 2 pages, but the sentence above is the gist of it:



    Whether or not the Windows registry needs to be hacked as well, you know as much or likely more than I do....:confused:

    And whether a "standard BIOS" can be converted to an, "enhanced BIOS" via update, I have not a clue.
  21. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    Yeah, I figured out we were kind of agreeing a bit after I posted.

    What I'm saying, and without a spare computer here (I have an old P2 350 I can get from my parent's attic, maybe tomorrow...) I can't test it to be sure, but I'm saying that if you let XP virgin install itself to a larger than 120 GB hd, so a 160 or greater (going with common sizes) it will make that entire disk 127GB. So then later if you upgrade to SP1, you are hosed, no new space is there because the entire platter(s) were used to create 127. So the only way to get that back is to wipe everything and start anew. However, if you had choosen to make a 120GB partition and leave the remainder unallocated with XP (no SP) then upgrade to SP1, you will see the remainder of the real size of the disk in Disk Management.

    Edit... I wonder if this is accomplishable in a VM..? Although, for me that point is moot, I don't really have a drive I can dedicate that much space to a VM.
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,512   +2,305

    You make a good point, and also one I hadn't considered.

    However, I don't think the partition size at initial format is going to allow you to gain unallocated space. For the same reason you don't have it in the first size.

    LBA's less than 48 bit, we're designed to format and file at the expected information storage density that was available at the time. (In this we're talking about how far the drive heads are programmed to move to avoid overwriting existing information. The lower the platter density, the further the heads must move).

    Why would the OS suddenly "realize" that it had more drive storage space to work with, and format a at higher density than it would if it were formatting the whole drive?

    This is still a "chicken & the egg" paradigm, but a solved one. The BIOS is the egg, and it comes first. (At least IMHO).

    My salient question is, can a BIOS add the 13-H interrupt request, required to transform a "standard BIOS", to an "enhanced BIOS" with added LBA modes, or is the maximum LBA a fixed hardware property of the BIOS chip itself? (*)

    (*) And yeah, I'll cop to not knowing the answer....:confused:
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,512   +2,305

    Addendum: Your theory supposed that lacking 48LBA, Windows will assume any drive is only 127 GB, and will use the entire platter surface to write the information.

    If that is true, with a 500 GB HDD, Windows will waste space at a 1:4 ratio.

    Any unallocated space left over after 48LBA is implemented will only be 4 times the size of the differential.

    So, if you only format the Windows partition to 117GB leaving 10GB free, it seems to me you should only have 40 GB of free space after 48LBA .

    Arguably, XP will easily install to the size of a DVD or 10GB at most. If any of this speculation id true, then installing Windows to the smallest possible size, would net the greatest gain.

    (If it could even be done this way).
  24. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    Yeah, I'm not sure I'm correct. I intended on grabbing that old P2 this weekend, but that didn't happen. I did wonder, myself, how holding a few gigs short of the 'barrier' was going to allow the larger capacity to still be utilized after SP1. I don't know that it does or doesn't at this point. Where is SimplyRick? He probably remembers how that worked.

    Edit: even if I got that P2, I don't think it would matter. The 'spare' 400GB drive I was going to use is SATA not PATA/IDE. Now the 'can it be done in a VM?' question becomes even more important to testing this.

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