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How to Check a Motherboard's BIOS for Large Drive Capacity Support and Remedies
Last updated: 1/4/02

Q.  Why doesn't my motherboard see my new 40 Gbyte (or other large capacity) hard disk drive?

A.  Assuming the drive is properly jumpered and installed, and it, the motherboard and cable are not defective... to check the motherboard Basic Input Output System (BIOS), a program permanently stored in the flash memory on recent motherboards and in read-only memory (ROM) on older motherboards, for a drive capacity problem...

1.  Enter the following parameters in the Standard CMOS Setup:

  • Cylinders = 1025 (try 1024 if that doesn’t work)
  • Heads = 16
  • Sectors = 63
  • Mode = Normal

These parameters yield a drive capacity of 540 MBytes, a capacity that most, if not all BIOS's support.

2. Boot with a Start-up floppy (e.g., Windows 98 and Windows Me) with fdisk.exe on it.

3. At the A:\> prompt type fdisk.  When prompted, enter "Y" for large disk support.  Select the main menu option 4 which displays drive information. The total disk space should be 528 MBytes.

4. If so, the BIOS needs to be up-dated or use a drive overlay, which provides large drive support, such as:

Maxttor's PowerBlast,

Seagate's  DiskWizards or Disk Manager, or

Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Tools or EZ drive,  to install the drive, leaving the above parameters set in the CMOS.

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