Win2k and 300GB ATA drives


C

computerguy

I recently bought a 300GB Seagate ATA drive which was on sale for 50% off
($80!!!).

I knew that I would need Win2k SP4 as well as a BIOS upgrade to see the full
capacity. My existing system already had SP4 but not the registry setting
that is needed to "activate Win2k support. My motherboard (Intel 815-based)
did not have the BIOS upgrade but one can download the IAA drivers that fix
this.

So I connected the new drive as a slave (my master C: drive is 12oGB) and
booted up. I upgraded the BIOS and, using the Seagate tools, I was able
format the new drive. During that process the tools detected that the Win2k
registry parameter was not set there and added it. I partitioned the drive
into 3 partitions, 120GB, 120GB and 60GB. Ever since then my system has been
very unstable! Sometimes I see both disks and at other times I lose the new
300GB drive. Sometimes I even lose the second partition on the master drive
(it is a 120GB partitioned into 110Gb and 10GB)!!

I ended up having to back out the registry change and uninstall the BIOS
upgrade as well as reinstalling Win2k to get my system back to normal. Does
anyone have any ideas about what is going on and how to make this
configuration work?

TIA,
-GB
 
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A

Andy

I recently bought a 300GB Seagate ATA drive which was on sale for 50% off
($80!!!).

I knew that I would need Win2k SP4 as well as a BIOS upgrade to see the full
capacity. My existing system already had SP4 but not the registry setting
that is needed to "activate Win2k support. My motherboard (Intel 815-based)
did not have the BIOS upgrade but one can download the IAA drivers that fix
this.

So I connected the new drive as a slave (my master C: drive is 12oGB) and
booted up. I upgraded the BIOS and, using the Seagate tools, I was able
format the new drive. During that process the tools detected that the Win2k
registry parameter was not set there and added it. I partitioned the drive
into 3 partitions, 120GB, 120GB and 60GB. Ever since then my system has been
very unstable! Sometimes I see both disks and at other times I lose the new
300GB drive. Sometimes I even lose the second partition on the master drive
(it is a 120GB partitioned into 110Gb and 10GB)!!

I ended up having to back out the registry change and uninstall the BIOS
upgrade as well as reinstalling Win2k to get my system back to normal. Does
anyone have any ideas about what is going on and how to make this
configuration work?
If the large disk is connected as a slave, then it is not necessary
for the BIOS to see the entire capacity of the disk.
Add EnableBigLba in the registry.
Run Disk Management and check the size of the disk (this should be
done with the disk unpartitioned). If the size is correct, you can
conclude the operating system is properly configured to access large
disks.
Partition and format using Disk Management.
 
C

computerguy

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the answers.

A couple of followups.
-> Can I leave the EnableBigLba registry key there even if I remove all
large drives (>137GB) or do I have to delete the key?
-> I don't understand your first comment: "If the large disk is connected as
a slave, then it is not necessary for the BIOS to see the entire capacity of
the disk" Does this mean that I don't have to add the special driver that
enables BIOS support for large drives?

TIA,
-GB
 
A

Andy

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the answers.

A couple of followups.
-> Can I leave the EnableBigLba registry key there even if I remove all
large drives (>137GB) or do I have to delete the key?
You can leave it in the registry.
-> I don't understand your first comment: "If the large disk is connected as
a slave, then it is not necessary for the BIOS to see the entire capacity of
the disk" Does this mean that I don't have to add the special driver that
enables BIOS support for large drives?
What special driver are you referring to?

You mentioned Intel Application Accelerator in your original post. If
you use that, then that's all you need. You don't need EnableBigLba.

Bottom line is you don't need BIOS support for a slaved large drive.
All you need is EnableBigLba in the registry, and Windows 2000 service
pack 3 or 4 installed to enable Windows 2000 to correctly access
drives larger than 137 GB. If Disk Management shows the correct size
of the unpartitioned disk, then Windows 2000 is properly configured.
 
C

computerguy

Hi Andy,

To answer your question, the special driver to which I was referring was the
Intel Application Accelerator.

Another question, do I need BIOS support (i.e. Intel Application
Accelerator) for a *master* large drive? The procedure that I have in mind
is as follows:
1) install large drive as only drive.
2) use Seagate utility to format and partition drive, say in 270GB and 30GB
partitions. The utility automatically adds the EnableBigLba registry
parameters when it detects a drive > 137GB
3) install Win2k + SP4 + SP4 rollup + all hotfixes

In this scenario, is the EnableBigLBA enough and so I don't need to install
IAA?

TIA,
-GB
 
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A

Andy

Hi Andy,

To answer your question, the special driver to which I was referring was the
Intel Application Accelerator.

Another question, do I need BIOS support (i.e. Intel Application
Accelerator) for a *master* large drive? The procedure that I have in mind
is as follows:
A point of clarification: Intel Application Accelerator or its
functional equivalent of Win2K Service Pack 3 or 4 plus EnableBigLba =
1 in the registry is not BIOS support. They are needed to enable
Windows 2000 to access past the 137 GB point in large disks regardless
of the capability of the BIOS.. In other words, one or the other has
to be installed even if the BIOS supports large disks.

48-bit LBA BIOS capability is an issue when you have to boot from a
large disk, whether it's master or slave. If the BIOS does not support
large disks, then it won't be able to boot Windows from such a disk if
it has to access past 137 GB during the boot process. What this means
is if the BIOS does not support large disks, then the boot partition
should not cross the 137 GB point on the drive. In practice, though,
it is possible to install and boot Windows 2000 on a 250 GB hard disk
because the NTFS MFT is placed at the midpoint of the partition, which
would be at 125 GB, well below the 137 GB.
1) install large drive as only drive.
2) use Seagate utility to format and partition drive, say in 270GB and 30GB
partitions. The utility automatically adds the EnableBigLba registry
parameters when it detects a drive > 137GB
Windows 2000 has to be installed before EnableBigLba can be put in the
registry.
3) install Win2k + SP4 + SP4 rollup + all hotfixes

In this scenario, is the EnableBigLBA enough and so I don't need to install
IAA?
Yes. If you install IAA, it would supplant SP4/EnableBigLba.

Truisms:
1. Windows 2000 setup does not use the BIOS to access hard disks.
Ramification: Windows 2000 setup does not support 48-bit LBA and
therefore cannot be installed in a disk partition that crosses the 137
GB point on a large disk.

2. BIOS is used to boot Windows.
Ramification: If Windows 2000 is cloned to a large disk, then the BIOS
has to support 48-bit LBA.

3. Once Windows 2000 is running the BIOS is not used to access the
hard disks.
Ramification: Don't worry too much about the BIOS. If the BIOS can
boot Windows 2000, it's done its job.
 
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