what size hard drive can I use windows xp and

April 19, 2011 at 06:26:14
Specs: Windows XP, CPU 2.6 GHz, 504 MB RAM
I am trying to install a 320 GB hard drive on my Compaq Presario S4200NX. It has
BIOS version 3.1. It will not read the new hard drive. Is there a limit to the size of the hard drive I can install with BIOS 3.1

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April 19, 2011 at 09:45:06
I don't about your BIOS limitations but I have used software from the hard drive manufacturer to get the right size on my one terabyte drive. My hard drive is a Seagate and the software is called Discwizard. Maybe your drive has similar downloads.

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April 19, 2011 at 10:19:06
Your S4200NX model is recent enough that there is probably no limit to the size of hard drive that the bios can detect.

(If there were a bios limit, the drive is still detected if it's been connected and jumpered properly - in that case with your newer than made in 2000 bios all drives larger than 137gb manufacturer's size are detected as 128gb in size in the mboards bios.)

Your original hard drive was probably 120gb manufacturer's size and was IDE (a.k.a. EIDE; PATA).

I'm assuming the new 320gb one is IDE (EIDE; PATA) .

The mboard's bios Setup must recognize the hard drive.

The bios should be set to Auto detect drives by the Auto or LBA method, or similar, for all drive connections.

If the bios doesn't recognize the hard drive, either you do not have the drive jumpered correctly on the back of the drive, or you have a problem with the IDE data cable.

S4200NX Desktop PC
Installing or Replacing a Hard Drive

It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittent, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

80 wire data cables must have the proper end connector connected to the mboard IDE header - usually that's blue, but in any case it's the one farther from the middle connector on a 3 connector data cable.

Some IDE hard drives, e.g. many Western Digital models, have two ways the drive can be designated as (jumpered as) Master - e.g. Master, single, or similar, for when the drive is by itself on an IDE data cable, and Master, with Slave, or similar, for when the drive is on a data cable with another IDE hard or optical (CD or DVD) drive.
That setting must be correct for the situation.

New hard drives DO NOT have any data on them.

They are not recognized by the operating system (as one or more drive letters in My Computer or Windows Explorer in XP) until they have had at least one partition made on them and formatted that the operating system recognizes.

If this 320 gb drive is going to be your second drive, you can go to Disk Management in Windows and partition and format at least one partition on the hard drive.
(Control Panel -Classic view - Administrative Tools - Computer Management - Disk Management)

If the 320gb drive is your only drive you have connected,

- new hard drives are NOT bootable until they have had at least one partition made on them and formatted that the operating system recognizes and an operating system has been installed on at least one partition.

If you boot the computer from an XP CD, after the initial files have loaded and you have continued onto Setup, it will find the hard drive and you will need to make at least one partition on it and format it.Then you continue on with Setup. The drive will be bootable after Setup has finished.The bios will boot from the hard drive if the Boot Order or similar settings in the bios are correct (if you have more than one hard drive connected you may need to change a setting in that or another bios setting to get it to boot from the correct hard drive).

The XP CD must have SP1 or later updates integrated into it in order for it to be able to recognize drivers larger than 137gb manufacturer's size (= 128gb binary in the bios and in Windows( as their full size). (if it doesn't all drives larger than 137gb manufacturer's size are detected as 128gb in size by Setup)

Regular Microsoft XP CDs have SP2 or SP3 printed on them if they have those updates included. All the regular Microsoft XP CDs that have SP1 updates included that I've seen DO NOT have SP1 printed on the CD, but the volume labels - the labels you see for the CD in Windows - for CDs with SP1 updates included are different from those with no SP updates at all - you can search using that volume label to determine whether it has SP1 updates or not.

XP re-installation CDs that come with brand name computers usually have SP2 or SP3 printed on them if they have those updates and they may have SP1 printed on them if they include those.

If your XP CD has no SP updates at all, you can make yourself a "slipstreamed" CD (preferably a CD-R) that has had the SP3 updates integrated into the original contents of your CD, and use that to install Windows by booting from it, along with using the original Product Key.

When you have only one hard drive...

Windows Setup defaults to making only one partition on a hard drive (or, a brand name software installation usually has only one visible - in Windows itself - partition on the single hard drive) .
The problem with that is if you ever need to re-load Windows (or the original brand name software installation) from scratch, you lose everything on the partition Windows was installed on, and when you have only one (visible) partition on the hard drive, that's everything on the drive - unless you copy the data you don't want to lose to elsewhere BEFORE you install Windows from scratch (most people don't bother, and lose all their data) .

If you're installing XP from a regular CD, it's recommended you make at least TWO partitions on the drive.
How to make more than one partition on a hard drive, when you're installing Windows on a blank hard drive, or when you are deleting the existing partition(s) on a hard drive before you run Setup .....
See Response 3:

If your XP CD does not have SP3 updates included.....

See Response 6
starting at
"If your XP CD does not have SP3 updates included, the best time to load them is right after you have installed Windows from scratch...."

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April 22, 2011 at 15:46:20
Awesome response. I did get the drive to read as a slave and was able to partition and format it. Thank you for all the information.

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April 23, 2011 at 07:01:51
Thanks for the Thank you.

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