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I have an old computer which I still use for off-site backups and tests. I recently installed two new 1.5 TB hard disk drives, and found that the motherboard cannot support HDDs of this size. For example, if I test a hard drive with HD Tune, it runs ok the first 1 TB, but then, marks that the disk is corrupted. Scanning the same drive on a computer with a normal motherboard works fine.

I partitioned the hard drives by keeping the last 600 GB free, so Windows runs fine. The problem is that if I want to test some cool stuff, like software RAID1 through Disk Management, it tries to use the end of the disk, and fails.

Is it possible to do something to "emulate" a smaller hard disk for Windows 2008? In other words, is it possible to force Windows to behave like the disk was 1 TB instead of 1.5 TB?

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migrated from Jul 17 '10 at 21:49

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

Do you have a bios setting "plug and play aware os"? if so set it to enable if it is not, this may help windows software to work with the drives properly. This setting allows the OS to detect and make settings changes for the hardware, rather than using the bios settings, which will be wrong for that size drive(s). – Moab Jul 18 '10 at 4:38
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Have you considered just using a partitioning tool to create a partition in that space of a type that Windows can't use? Windows would see the space as allocated but not usable by it so wouldn't read or try putting anything there. Not sure offhand if the Microsoft tools can create non-compatible partitions, but parted on a linux boot disk could do it. To prevent future confusion ("what is this partition and is anything important there?") maybe make it an actual ext2/3 partition that's empty or with a small note but easily readable in another computer if necessary.

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Thank you for suggestion. I will try this to see if it works. – MainMa Jul 17 '10 at 3:36

You could also buy a dedicated controller card that can handle them big ole drives for not too much money these days . . .

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Or a new motherboard for just 50 US$. – MainMa Jul 17 '10 at 3:35
@MainMa - that depends. Server motherboards can be much more expensive, so if it is server hardware, that might not be practical. Also, computers from big OEMs like Dell and HP don't always follow the standards for sizes, ports, etc. especially in an old computer. Good suggestion, but may not be practical in all situations. – nhinkle Jul 17 '10 at 22:05

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