BIOS only detects 14GB of an 80GB drive

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I've been trying to perform a hard-disk upgrade on an old IBM 300GL PC.
  It's an Intel Celeron Machine with a 333Mhz CPU.  In other words its
quite old.

However, I use it as backup storage and because the current 17GB drive
is close to capacity I'm cascading down a larger hard-drive from a newer
machine.  The disk drive I'm trying to add is a Seagate 80GB ATA100 Hard

I was expecting to have problems with BIOS detection, however I was
expecting a 32GB drive limit to appear.  To see only 14ish GB detected
by the bios seemed very strange.

I downloaded the latest bios from IBM's website and flashed the bios to
the latest version (last update in July 2000).  It was a long shot,
considering no mention of drive capacities were mentioned in the readme
change log.  Sure enough, I still have the same 14ish GB of drive space

I'm now a bit stumped as to what I can do.  Seagate's website mentions
two other options:
- Dynamic Drive Overlay (whatever that is)
- Buy a controller card.

Question, would DDO help solve my problem?  If not, are there any other
useful tricks to play or has my trusty 300GL reached the end of its
useful life?


Re: BIOS only detects 14GB of an 80GB drive

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The drive overlay is software (usually provided free by the HD mfg) that
will "trick" the bios
into seeing the whole drive...

However I'm not sure it will work in your case as your first drive does not
have the overlay installed.

The PCI controller may be the best bet.

An alternative would be to put the drive in a newer machine and partition
and format it there...
then put the drive in your  300GL.
Even though the bios will not recognize the drive correctly...your operating
system will

Re: BIOS only detects 14GB of an 80GB drive

I'm glad that you mentioned that the 80 gb drive you're trying to add is
used. The 80 gb drive may have a hidden partition that is not allowing the
bios to see it. Maybe NTFS, instead of FAT so the bios is only seeing 14 gb
instead of the probable 32 gb that you're expecting. The easiest way to get
the drive back to fat is to download the hdd's diagnostic utility which
would allow you to write "0"'s to the whole drive. It's kind of like a low
level format, but not really- I've been told many times. Whether or not to
use a DDO is another matter.
    Many people don't like them because it is software and it writes in the
boot sector. If that area becomes corrupt then your drive won't boot and
you're out of luck to recover your data on the drive. Many folks prefer to
use a controller card that will allow the mb to see the larger hard drive
and so treat it normally. They run from $15 to $30 and from what I've read
are quite dependable. Promise is a good supplier of these cards.
   I've used DDO's before and only once perhaps out of ten drives it was
used on had a drive that went south and I could not get to the data. The
real answer no matter what is to back up your data. Unfortunately many folks
don't and they often come complaining and asking advice how to retrieve it
when the often only possiblity is to go to a data recovery source that
charges hundreds to get it done.
Jan Alter
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Re: BIOS only detects 14GB of an 80GB drive

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that's utter hogwash!
the bios does not in anyway depend on how the drive is partitioned
or what OS is on it

Re: BIOS only detects 14GB of an 80GB drive

On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 23:08:15 +0000, Anthony Dyer

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The bios does not depend on any kind of partitioning as
another poster had suggested.

A Dynamic Drive Overlay or DDO, loads a memory resident
translation *software* that allows the board to use the full
capacity of the drive.  There are various (often
unforseeable) issues with using them and they are best
avoided, particularly for a backup strategy where important
files are to be kept.

A controller card is the best option.  About $15 delivered,
check pricewatch.  Typical type uses Silicon Image 0680
chipset.  Most of them are now called RAID cards but you do
not have to run a RAID, the drive(s) can be used as single
drive spans, not stripes, as normal drives and then they are
also transportable to any other standard controller for file
access, as the single drive spans are not "needing" the
controller card that made them to access them... but of
course any other controller would have to support the drive
size too.  I only mention this "other" controller to cover
worst-case scenarios, the slight possiblity that the system
were to fail (as all do eventually), and fail while still
serving as the file store.

Your system is nowhere near the end of it's useful life.
The next good tweak would be to add a gigabit ethernet card
(if you hadn't already).   With a RAID card and the gigabit
nic, it gives up a little performance to a brand new
fileserver (due to inherant limitation of the gigabit
ethernet on the PCI bus instead of a dedicated bus or
integrated controller on some chipsets if not PCIe), but
overall, it is a desirable combo.  Celeron 333 is relatively
low heat, low power (and so low noise low RPM fan can be
used if not passive heatsink).  There is no need for a much
faster CPU, memory, etc for a (home?) light duty
fileserver... the next bottleneck is as mentioned above, the
lan speed and further the PCI bus as it would effect a
gigabit nic.  Even so, gigabit should be at least 3X faster,
might become bottlenecked by the drives themselves in many

For best long term use you might open the power supply,
clean the dust out (if you hadn't already), and either lube
(if a sleeve bearing fan) or replace the fan.  I have 2GHz+
systems sitting idle and  have a similar system (albeit in a
larger case for more drives) as one of my fileservers and it
does great.  Another nice tweak is to mount the drives in
the 5 1/4" bays, take the front faceplates off and mount a
filter panel over the area.  Case stays clean, more air goes
past the drives, and with the low heat of these older parts,
changing the chassis airflow patterns like this doesn't make
so much difference.

Re: BIOS only detects 14GB of an 80GB drive

I appreciate being corrected ( though it might have been phrased a little
more civily from philo) about the bios not caring what kind of partitioning
the hdd has. I had heard that rationale along the way from someone else with
the exact situation with a drive. No one refuted it, and unfortunately I
have not personally come across that situation in my computer dealings. I'll
be more circumspect in the future.
    What is still puzzling to me is the poster's inability to see the up to
32 gb of the 80 gb drive.  I could see the drive only seeing 2gb or 8 gb
because of bios limitations. But my question is why only 14 gb?

Jan Alter
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Re: BIOS only detects 14GB of an 80GB drive

On Sat, 25 Mar 2006 15:25:09 GMT, "Jan Alter"

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Dont know, perhaps the bios is not set to auto detect the
drive or is buggy in doing so.  Usually the issue with
detection of 14GB on an 80GB drive is not a bios detection
but what the old FDISK detected as it didn't support over
64GB and showed only the difference beyond a multiple of

Re: BIOS only detects 14GB of an 80GB drive

Jan Alter wrote:
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I've done some further experimentation since my initial question.

When I boot up a CD with a partioning utility called Gparted, it
recognises all 80GB of the hard-drive.  However, I do have problems with
that utility (cannot copy partitions across from the old hard drive -
reports an error) and so can only use it to verify that the space can be

In a further experiment, I set the jumper on my hard-drive to "limit
capacity to 32GB".  In this configuration, the bios recognises 33.8GB,
which is a number I have seen before on various pieces of literature.
Gparted still recognises 80GB though, but my linux OS will recognise
32GB in this configuration.

I'm now going to remove the jumper again and configure the drive as a
slave and see if my linux OS will see the whole drive.

Anthony Dyer

Re: BIOS only detects 14GB of an 80GB drive

Anthony Dyer wrote:
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as i said: if the drive is partitioned and formatted on another machine,
your OS will see the whole thing.

If you try to install windows on the drive   fdisk will only see what
the bios sees...
but if you try to install Linux...the installer should see the whole drive

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