Windows 137GB Capacity Barrier

By | January 1, 2007

Just to save anyone else
the headache I went through trying to work out what was going on with this when
I tried to install a 160Gb SATA drive in my home PC.
I had seen this problem a few times at work but found a way around it, i.e.
what happens is you connect a SATA drive (or IDE for that matter ) that is
larger than 137Gb, lets say 160Gb for example, and no matter what you do when
you go to install Windows XP it shows up as a 137Gb drive with a free space of
131,073mb and allowing you to only create a partition of 131,069mb and no
matter what you do this is all you can do. 

OK, first thing to realize is that
this is a Windows limitation, specifically Windows XP as was first released
with no service packs. For a really good explanation of this see here


So, what to do. The easiest
way around this is to install a version of XP that already has at LEAST service
pack one applied to it, using XP service pack one or two will show the correct
drive size and this problem has been fixed. If you are trying to install from
an original release CD then you will always have the problem above. In that
case you would have to find an SP1 or SP2 CD or try to update your CD to SP2, I
found a few ways to do that on the internet fairly easily.

If you cannot do that and
you are stuck with your original XP CD there is another way around this. This
is for SATA drives only, but it depends on your BIOS, if you are stuck a really
shitty one like in my ASUS P5L 1394 then you are up the creek without a paddle.
Most motherboards by default will make SATA drives appear as PATA drives drives
to the O/S but any half decent motherboard will allow you to have the SATA
drives run as drives connected to the SATA controller but not emulating PATA /
ATAPI drives (mine does not) If you can do this, and create a driver floppy for
the SATA controller, the start the Windows install CD and press F6 at the
start, add drives for your controller and you will get around the above
limitation, I have used this method with both Intel and Uli SATA controllers.

You will also strike this
problem if you add a large drive to a system running XP with no service packs
applied, you can still create and use the drive but with a max partition size
of 130Mb, and beware though, if you update to SP1 or 2 you are going to have
problems, update before adding the drive.

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