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I have a venerable but rock solid server running SuSE 10, acting as a webserver, running a relatively few, but significant, websites. The machine has multiple disks ranging from a nearly decade old 80 gig IDE which is the OS disk to a 500GB SATA. Recently I tried to upgrade by adding a 3TB SATA, however SuSE 10's fdisk doesn't recognise it - you can see an error appear when it tries to read that disk. I'm guessing the disk size (or one of the block / cluster counts related to it) is beyond the range of what it can handle.

Long term the machine will be replaced with an all-new server, but in the mean time I've decided to install the 3TB disk in my Windows 7 main home machine and install a smaller new SATA in the server. I already know it will recognise a 500GB disk, but am wondering what the maximum size limit for this OS is? I can get 1TB for only a tenner more than a 500GB, or a 2TB for not a lot more.

Does anyone know what the limits for different OS versions are, or is there any way to easily determine them, both on SuSE and other OSs? Googling seems to return lots of hits about file size limits, or installing SuSE on disks, but not the actual limit a given version will recognise.

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there's also a possibility the bios dosen't see bigger drives, iirc 3tb is the largest size that is bootable by a bios and maybe your bios and rest of the system don't see it. You'd also need to format 4tb disks in gpt I believe, and its another tool for that – Journeyman Geek May 31 '13 at 15:25
@JourneymanGeek That's a good point, hadn't considered the BIOS might also be a factor. The machine was assembled from parts salvaged from systems abandoned by defunct customers of the datacentre where it is hosted, back about 2006 (the 80gb drive had been the extra /data partition in another even older predecessor machine of mine) so the BIOS may well be from the early years of the century. However, ISTR from the POST screen that the system itself does recognise the disk, it's SuSE 10's fdisk (initiated from YaST) that has issues with it. – Pyromancer May 31 '13 at 15:40
@Pyromancer - SuSE 10 supports 3TB your server does not support booting to 3TB because it does not support GPT partitions. – Ramhound May 31 '13 at 15:42
@Ramhound makes a good point, also bear in mind that the distribution version s pretty much irrelevant, what is your fdisk version? Can you partition the drive with gparted instead? – terdon May 31 '13 at 16:16
@Ramhound: fdisk reports itself as fdisk v2.12r – Pyromancer May 31 '13 at 18:26

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