Large Hard Drive install problems

Rick Stevens rstevens at
Tue Jun 7 20:31:37 UTC 2005

Mugleston, Brad wrote:
> I was given a PII computer - generic brand, can't read who made the board w/o pulling the computer apart.  I'm going to use it as a file server for my house and I've got a 160G hard drive to put in it.  It only recognizes 8G of the drive.  Do I need a special card for this drive or am I doing something wrong during the FC2 install? Maybe a bios upgrade?
> If its a driver card what information do I need to have to get the right one?  It's a 160G ATA 100 drive.  Slow but cheep.
> If it's bios - I haven't upgraded a bios for a long time will I need to install windows to do this (I don't remember seeing a bios upgrade for Linux but again that was awhile ago).

Well, gee.  PIIs are pretty long in the tooth.  It may be that it won't
grock anything bigger than 8GB.

First, see if the BIOS supports LBA mode.  If it does, then set it and
see if it recognizes the drive properly.  If it doesn't, then see if
there's a "user specified" setting where you can put in the cylinders,
heads and sectors.  Remember that old BIOS' often couldn't handle >8GB
because of the way they stored the CHS values.  You should calculate
the number of blocks on the drive (cylinders * heads * sectors), then
bugger the CHS values you feed the BIOS.  Most often the BIOS is limited
to 1024 cylinders so you have to tell it 255 heads, then divide the
total number of blocks by 261120 (1024 * 255), and use that value for
the sector count.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Good luck.
- Rick Stevens, Senior Systems Engineer     rstevens at -
- VitalStream, Inc.              -
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-         If this is the first day of the rest of my life...         -
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