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Operating System and BIOS Limitations:
Computer operating systems and system BIOSs have separate limitations that are related to
specific drive capacities. The capacity points that can affect how your operating system and system BIOS support your drive are 137GB, 32GB, and 8.4GB. Below is a quick reference chart that you may use as a guide to determine the drive capacity supported by your BIOS.
BIOS Dates prior to May not support drives larger than
Aug 1994 528MB
Feb 1996 2.1GB
Jan 1998 8.4GB
Jun 1999 32GB
A brief description of each limitation appears below:
137GB (128GB binary) Barrier:
On many systems, the IDE/ATA interface uses a 28-bit addressing which cannot
recognize more than 137GB of storage. To overcome this capacity barrier, drives
higher than this capacity have adopted a 48-bit addressing system which can be supported in newer computer systems with updated controller chips, BIOS codes, and operating system
drivers (refer to your system documentation for more details). If your system does not support drives of this size, you have a few options.
Western Digital has included a controller card and drivers in many of our retail packaged drives that are greater than 137GB to address this operating system and BIOS limitation. During installation, drives larger than 137GB must be attached to the controller card and the drivers for your operating system must be loaded properly to avoid the risk of data loss. If you need a controller card, please visit our Online Store.
If the BIOS of your motherboard or controller card supports the drive but Windows does not, see Answer ID 928.
Some BIOSs released before June 1999 stall with drives larger than 32GB. If you are
installing a drive larger than 32GB and your system stalls before floppy or drive boot can take place, you may have a system BIOS that is incompatible with larger drives. The solutions below should be followed only if your system stalls when adding a drive larger than 32GB.
Solution 1 (recommended):
Contact your system or motherboard manufacturer for a BIOS upgrade or use an EIDE controller card.
If you are using Windows 98/ME, use the alternate Jumper Settings and Data Lifeguard Tools 10 to install your drive. For instructions, see Answer ID 567.
If you had setup your drive using the Data Lifeguard Tools 11 option, Set Hard Drive Size and the system BIOS is displaying the size of your drive as less than the full capacity, please see Answer ID 1157
Note: Windows 95 does not properly support drives larger than 32GB without a high probability for data corruption. For more information, see Answer ID 134.
There is an 8.4GB drive limitation on some traditional system BIOSs. To access the full capacity of 8.4GB and larger drives, your system BIOS must support extended BIOS functions, and your operating system must recognize extended BIOS functions. It is difficult to determine if your system BIOS supports 8.4GB or larger drives. Please contact your system or motherboard manufacturer for this information.
The following operating systems support extended BIOS functions.
* Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition
* Windows ME
* Windows NT with Service Pack 4 or later
* Windows 2000
* Windows XP
The following operating systems do not support extended BIOS functions.
* DOS 6.xx and earlier
* Windows 3.1x
* Windows NT
* Novell NetWare
* OS/2 Warp