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Old 11-26-2005, 03:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 137gb barrier

How to break the 137gb barrier Warning! this is a lengthy read!


Written by H4x3r and Nitestick


Index:

I. What causes the barrier

II. Solutions to the barrier
a. Windows 98
b. Windows 2k & XP
c. Other Solutions

III. How to slipstream SP2 into a Windows Xp install disk

a. Links





I. What causes the barrier?.... The previous standard for IDE/ATA interface uses 28-bit addressing which cannot recognize more than 137.4 GB of storage. To overcome this capacity barrier, larger hard drives have adopted a 48-bit addressing system which must be used in newer computer systems with updated controller chips/cards, BIOS codes, and operating system service packs.


Certain operating system utilities such as scandisk and defrag do not work properly with hard disks more than 137gb.

To avoid problems, partition your hard disks with 137gb or less.
If you still desire more than 137gb in a partition your hard disk must have the latest service packs and BIOS updates along with a 48bit controller card (if it isn't built into your motherboard. Newer motherboards needn't worry.)

32GB barrier:

If your BIOS was released before June 1999 your system may stall with drives larger than 32GB. The only solution is to update your BIOS.

Most hard disk manufactuers provide a partition CD which allows users to low-level format hard disks and create paritions if desired. This may be a work-around to those who do not have or do not want the latest service packs. You must have an integrated controller that supports 48bit lba or buy a controller card that supports 48bit lba.



II. Solutions to the barrier

IIa. Windows 98

Windows 98SE on a PCI Controller Card:

Controller cards support ATA interface disc drives through their own onboard BIOS and Windows device drivers. Since the drives are supported by drivers that emulate the SCSI driver approach, the native Windows 137GB ATA limitation does not apply since those drivers are not in use.

If your disc drives are recognized by the controller BIOS when the system is first powered on but later the drives are not seen by Windows then the device drivers for the controller card need to be installed. See your controller card documentation for direction.

lso, the native Windows 98SE ScanDisk and Defrag utilities are limited to smaller partition sizes and may not function on partitions greater than 127GB. There are no fixes available from Microsoft for this limitation. Third-party software may be available to defrag and monitor larger FAT32 file systems. Seagate recommends creating partitions of a size that can be managed by the native Windows 98SE ScanDisk and Defrag utilities.

Microsoft has issued updates that relate specifically to ATA (IDE) interface disc drives and Windows 98SE limitations and recommends that you keep the OS updated with the latest drivers. For more information, see the following Microsoft articles:
Q273017 - "Windows IDE Hard Drive Cache package"
Q263044 - "Fdisk Does Not Recognize Full Size of Hard Disks Larger than 64 GB"
Q184006 - "Limitations of FAT32 File System" (regarding the ScanDisk tool).


IIb. Windows 2k & XP

W2K and XP users must have the latest service packs installed to access more than 137GB.

Enabling 48bit LBA for:
Windows 2K
Windows XP



IIc. Other Solutions

Formatting: extra space beyond 137gb can be formatted as another partition.

Due to BIOS limitations as well as those unique to Windows, partitioning and formatting drives larger than 137 Gigabytes without proper driver or controller support will result in data loss when storing data to the drive beyond the 137 GB Barrier!

Merging Partitions: By using software such as Partition Magic or BootIT NG you may format the remaining space and then merge it with a 127gb partition you have already made. This should be done AFTER installing one of the service packs


III. How to slipstream SP2 into a Windows Xp install disk

Why we might need to do this:

1. To keep from having to install SP2 after we already setup windows.

2. So when we install Windows XP on a hard disk larger than 137gb it will see and be able to and format the partition in NTFS format


Procedure:

Building Directories

The first step is to build a directory structure to hold the files that will be used in the CD creation process. It's a simple structure, requiring nothing more than a few folders. It doesn't matter what names you use for your folders or where you locate them on your hard drive, but most users find drive C the easiest. I created the folders shown below, located on Drive C, and used the XP- prefix for each one so they would all be located together for easy access. Create whatever folders you are comfortable with or use the ones below if you want to copy and paste commands later in the tutorial.

XP
XP-SP2
XP-BootImage


Copying and Extracting Files

The first step is to insert the Windows XP CD and copy the entire contents into the XP folder or the equivalent folder in your structure.
Before copying the XP CD make sure that the system is set to display all hidden and system files to ensure a complete copy of all files on the CD. The settings to control what files are visible are located in Windows Explorer > Tools > Folder Options > View tab. Make sure [Show hidden files and folders] radio button is selected and [Hide protected operating system files] is unchecked.

The second step is to navigate to where you downloaded the Service Pack 2 file. If you downloaded SP2 from Microsoft it will most likely be named WindowsXP-KB835935-SP2-ENU.exe. Copy the file to the XP-SP2 folder if it wasn't downloaded there initially.
Use the Run dialogue shown below to extract the contents of SP2.

The Run dialogue box is accessed from [Start] [Run]
The command to begin the extraction is: C:\XP-SP2\WindowsXP-KB835935-SP2-ENU.exe -x





The prompt for where to store the extracted files shown above will open. I used the default C:\XP-SP2 but again, you can choose an alternate location if you wish.


Updating The Windows Share

Apply the extracted Service Pack to Windows XP files in the XP folder that were copied in the first step using the [Run] dialogue box.

The Run dialogue box is accessed from [Start] [Run]
The command to apply the Service Pack is: C:\XP-SP2\i386\Update\Update.exe -S:C:\XP



As shown below, Service Pack 2 is being integrated into the Windows installation folder.



Successful completion of the integration process.





Extract the Imaging File

In order to make a slipstreamed CD bootable it's necessary to add an image file during the burning process. You need to extract the file Microsoft Corporation.img and save it to a folder. For my testing I just created a XP-BootImage folder on the C:\ drive. There are a number of ways to perform the extraction but the easiest is to use ISO Buster.

With the Windows XP CD in your CD drive, open ISO Buster. Click on Bootable CD in the left pane then right click Microsoft Corporation.img in the right pane, finally clicking Extract Microsoft Corporation.img file.



Extract the file to the C:\XP-BootImage folder previously created or your equivalent.


Burning the disk

With the preparation out of the way it's time to actually burn the CD. There are a number of different burning or CD creation programs that can be used to accomplish this task. I've included instructions here for Easy CD and DVD Creator 6 by Roxio and another set of instructions for Nero Burning ROM 6-SE. While the terminology and screens may vary depending on your CD burning program choice and version, the principles remain the same and can be easily adapted no matter what burning software is being used. Click on the burning instructions of choice below.


Burning the Windows XP/SP2 Slipstreamed CD Roxio Easy CD and DVD Creator 6

Burning the Windows XP/SP2 Slipstreamed CD
NERO Burning ROM 6-SE


FAQ
Q: Why is it called the 137gb barrier when the drive is shown as 127gb in windows?
A: 137GB refers to the metric number of bytes (as do hard drive manufacturers) in which the prefixes kilo, mega, giga etc are rounded to a multiple of 10. kilo being 1000, mega 1000000 and giga 1000000000. however computers operate in binary so the definition of these prefixes has been changed to fit the difference in numbers. for instance a kilobyte is actually 1024 bytes not 1000 bytes. therefore a megabyte is 1024x1024 and a gigabyte 1024x1024x1024 etc, binary quantities of bytes use an "i" in the suffix eg: MB vs. MiB and GB vs. GiB. so if the number 137,000,000,000 is taken (137gb) and divided by the number of bytes in 1 GiB (1,073,741,824 bytes) the number 127.59 results. hence 137GB=127GiB.

if you would like to add a link to a useful site, please PM either Nitestick or H4x3r
E-mail adresses removed to avoid spamming of our mailboxes. if you PM me i'll still be more than happy to try and help

A BIG THANKS TO H4X3R WHO DID SO MUCH HARD WORK TOWARDS THIS GUIDE
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Old 11-27-2005, 05:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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thanks to whoever stickied this

as soon as exams are over i'll update the first post and add as much info as i can get on the barrier.
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Old 11-27-2005, 11:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Solution:

Due to BIOS limitations as well as those unique to Windows, partitioning and formatting drives larger than 137 Gigabytes without proper driver or controller support will result in data loss when storing data to the drive beyond the 137 GB Barrier.

In order for you system to recognize more than 137 GB you will need to utilize one of the following recommended solutions:

If you have a motherboard that has a Intel chipset (810, 810E, 810E2, 815, 815, 815E, 815EP, 815P, 820, 820E, 830M, 830MP, 830MG, 840, 845, 850, or 860) please visit Intel's web site and download the Intel Application Accelerator. Intel's Application Accelerator supports the full capacity of drives larger than 137 GB.

If you do not have a motherboard that has a Intel chipset then it is recommended that you purchase an Ultra ATA 133 PCI card that supports 48 bit Logical Block Addressing (LBA). You can purchase the Maxtor Ultra ATA 133 PCI Card, which supports drives that are larger than 137 GB, directly from us or your local distributor.

Of course these solutions are for people who do not have windows XP SP1 or higher
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Old 11-28-2005, 05:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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thanks for the extra info now added in first post
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Old 11-28-2005, 06:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Noobs -

When installing an ultra large hard disk (bigger than 137gb), you must ensure your BIOS and service packs are up to date.

Operating systems and system BIOS have separate limitations that are related to specific hard drive capacities that affect how your hard drive will be supported.

137GB barrier:

The previous standard for IDE/ATA interface uses 28-bit addressing which cannot recognize more than 137.4 GB of storage. To overcome this capacity barrier, larger hard drives have adopted a 48-bit addressing system which must be used in newer computer systems with updated controller chips/cards, BIOS codes, and operating system service packs.

W2K and XP users must have the latest service packs installed to access more than 137GB.

Certain operating system utilities such as scandisk and defrag do not work properly with hard disks more than 137gb.

To avoid problems, partition your hard disks with 137gb or less.
If you still desire more than 137gb in a partition your hard disk must have the latest service packs and BIOS updates along with a 48bit controller card (if it isn't built into your motherboard. Newer motherboards needn't worry.)

32GB barrier:

If your BIOS was released before June 1999 your system may stall with drives larger than 32GB. The only solution is to update your BIOS.


Most hard disk manufactuers provide a partition CD which allows users to low-level format hard disks and create paritions if desired. This may be a work-around to those who do not have or do not want the latest service packs.

SATA drives:

If running SATA with XP, it is NOT recommended to run SATA along with IDE/ATA. (Use one or the other.) XP sometimes gets confused where to look for the OS and normally defaults to IDE/ATA. You must have the appropriate SATA drivers when installing a SATA drive(s) on your system. XP does not default to SATA formatting otherwise.
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Old 11-29-2005, 09:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Why do they call it 137 barrier? Cause the drives usually get limited to 127, not 137.
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Old 11-29-2005, 10:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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i'm probably wrong..but 137gb might be the unformatted barrier..and it's 127 when it's formatted and all the indexing is made on the drive
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Old 11-29-2005, 10:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sooo, does this mean since I'll have a BRAND spankin new Windows XP (with SP2) it shouldn't be a problem? I read the above posts but that was a LOT of info to take in.
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Old 11-29-2005, 10:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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right...you'll be fine
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Old 11-30-2005, 01:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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to the major: because it is 137 metric GB. which is 137,000,000,000 bytes. a true gigabyte (binary gigabyte) is 1024x1024x1024 bytes not 1000x1000x1000 bytes. so if you take the metric number of bytes, 137,000,000,000 and divide it by a binary GB (GiB) which is 1,073,741,824 bytes you get the figure 127GiB.
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