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Old 03-30-2009, 11:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default BIOS Does Not Recognize HD Size

I am new to this forum, so please bear with me. I hope someone can give me some advice.

I replaced a 40GB IDE HD in my Dell Inspiron 4150 with a WD 250 GB EIDE drive. My Phoenix Technologies BIOS (version A04) does not recognize HD size except for 6375MB.

At first the drive worked well, but now I only get a black screen and blinking cursor, as if the drive cannot boot. I can get into the BIOS with F2 so that much is working. The drive is recognized but the "Primary Hard Drive" is still 6375 MB. When I swap out the new drive for the old original 40GB one everything works fine. If I connect the new WD drive via USB "enclosure" it works fine as a slave drive so I have not lost any data and can recover anything I need. It is recognized as another drive (E:\). I did not set this drive as a "slave" drive with jumpers, and I can access anything on it IF I an using the original 40GB HD as my internal C:\ drive.

What can I do to get BIOS to recognize the full size of the new 250GB HD? I also have a 160 GB drive and it does the same thing. Are these drives too big for what this "legacy" computer/BIOS/motherboard can handle? What did I do wrong or not do? Can this be made to work, and if so, how?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: BIOS Does Not Recognize HD Size

If it worked and then stopped, it sounds like a failure actually on the new HDD... like it's own internal workings "broke" and it cannot actually pick up the rest of the HDD.

If your old HDD works just fine, then it's not your BIOS or Controller on your mobo. I'd just replace that new HDD (hopefully you kept the receipt!)

One last thing you can try is attaching it to a different machine (or slaving it with your 40 GB as master) and trying to run Disk Management on it.
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: BIOS Does Not Recognize HD Size

Thanks, SparkMonkey Hellion. I will try what you recommend this evening. When I slave it to the old drive, do I set the jumpers on the new drive as " slave"? I have run it the way you recommend without jumper changes and both the 160 GB and the 250 GB work fine with the old 40 GB as the master drive. I will try to run disk management on them. What should I be looking for?

What do you think are the chances of having TWO bad drives, both of which are fairly new?? BTW, I do have the receipts for both of them, with the older one still on its 5-yr. warranty!

Lastly, why does the BIOS read way less than the size of the drive, e.g., the 250 GB showing up as 6375 MB, even smaller than the 40 GB which weighs in at 40010 MB??
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: BIOS Does Not Recognize HD Size

Woah, where did the 160 gb come from? Was this one showing as bad as well? I thought there was only the 40 and the 250???

Anyways, in Disk Management, you should see the size of all drives attached.



This is my C: drive and a thumb drive, but it will look pretty similar. Show me what you get here and I'll tell you what to try next.

Oh and in terms of physical arrangement, "Cable Select" is industry standard now, but honestly I don't monkey around with hardware much, so I can't remember if the first or last one on the ribbon is master by default... my guess would be the last one. You can google it no problem.

PS: to get to Disk Management, Right Click "My Computer" > Manage > Disk Management.
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: BIOS Does Not Recognize HD Size

Thanks for your help thus far. My laptop came with a 40 GB internal hard drive. I swapped it out for a 160 GB drive, a Seagate Ultra IDE/100 (Momentus 5400.3) which after using for a few months, had the above-mentioned symptoms. I bought another drive, a 250 GB drive, (Western Digital Scorpio Blue EIDE , 250 GB) thinking the 160 was "bad." That's where the 250 came from!

How do I "copy" the Computer management window and post it like you did? Then I can show you the data generated.

I have updated the BIOS Phoenix Technologies, version A06) which now reads 137.4 GB for both the 160 and 250. That must be all that BIOS/Motherboard can handle.
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: BIOS Does Not Recognize HD Size

Hmmm... interesting that the BIOS update changed something, yet both HDD's worked at first... how old is the LT? (Sorry if you already said)

Anyways, to get a screenshot hit (Ctrl + PrntScrn) the second button should be at the top right area of your keyboard. Then open up MS Paint and hit (Ctrl + V) and save as a PNG then upload it to photobucket, imageshack, or flickr and drop a link here.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: BIOS Does Not Recognize HD Size

My Dell Inspiron 4150 was manufactured and purchased in December, 2002, direct from Dell. The machine has worked flawlessly for years. The original IBM 40 GB HD is a real trooper, with over 5k hours on it. It is getting noisier and I believe its days are numbered. Newer HDs are much larger for the dollar, quieter, and what I really notice--FASTER at doing their jobs! I just need figure out how to get them to do so reliably.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: BIOS Does Not Recognize HD Size

Doing a quick google didn't reveal any known problems with new HDD's - at least none specifically relevant to missing size.

Yeah, the "noisy" old HDD is about to die - otherwise I'd say just plug in the new one with an external HDD kit.

Honestly, you're probably kickin the dead horse by now - if the BIOS update resuscitated it a little bit, then maybe either the mobo is bad or just can't support the new hardware. You're talking about a 7 year difference in hardware which basically means 3 or more generations of difference in hardware.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: BIOS Does Not Recognize HD Size

what operating system and service pack are you running? My guess would be win xp sp1.

137gb barrier
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: BIOS Does Not Recognize HD Size

I am going from memory here but I believe you are right--it is win xp sp1, and have added sp2 and sp3. Yes, I have just read the articles/posts on the 137 GB barrier. At the moment, though, I simply want to get my internal 40 GB HD replaced with something larger (even if it is only 137 GB), faster, ultimately reliable so I can just use my laptop. So I hope the 40 gig drive holds out until I can boot up with one of the newer drives.
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