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Re: Large hard drive NTFS vs FAT32

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James D. Andrews wrote:
> "James D. Andrews" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:hoqvo1$j7m$(E-Mail Removed)...
>> I'm coming across so much conflicting information out there with more
>> details than I need. I'm not looking for NTFS vs. FAT32 pros & cons.
>> Simply put: What is the maximum HDD size FAT32 can handle? If I get a
>> 500GB-1TB drive, must I use NTFS?
>> (Win XP)
>> Thanks
>> --- news:// - complaints: Removed) ---

> The answer I was looking for (Thanks, Paul for a good link) was 127.5Gb.
> I'm looking at a 160Gb Hard Drive only showing 127Gb. It's FAT32. I figured
> FAT 32 limitations were the problem, but my searches kept coming up with
> conflicting or confusing information.
> Unfortunately, I don't have a spare HDD around (of adequate size) to do a
> full backup before converting. My own HDD is near capacity so I can't use
> mine. Hmmm. I'll figure something out.

If you're having a problem creating a partition (doesn't matter what file
system) of larger than 128/137 GB, that is a "48 bit LBA" problem. That
won't be fixed by the fat32formatter program. Seagate wrote a document
about the change, and an archived copy is available here.

I had a problem like that, with my Win2K install. It wasn't using the
latest Service Pack, and it refused to put a partition larger than the
128/137GB limit on a 160GB disk. Once I patched the Win2K OS to SP4, I could use
the whole disk.

That is more likely to be seen on an IDE drive, with some older hardware.

There are motherboards, before 2003, that aren't ready for 48 bit LBA (i.e. booting).

To get around the problem, a PCI IDE card may help. The ones for sale now, are
likely compatible with ATA/ATAPI 6 or later, and suitable for larger disks. See
the table near the bottom of this page, for details of when 48bit LBA hit
the standards. By buying an IDE card with Ultra133 interfaces (an ATA/ATAPI 7
feature), that helps ensure the card covers 48 bit LBA as well.

The mechanics of 28 bit LBA versus 48 bit LBA, is shown in a proposal for it here.
The registers are "double pumped", and by writing two sets of numbers to
the registers (keeping the first set in temporary storage), they're able to
use the original sized register space, but with more room for larger
addresses. For things like controller cards, with pseudo-SCSI software
interfaces, that software interface hides the details, and makes it possible
to support larger disks, without any additional effort from the user. On
hardware that uses a default OS driver for the disk interface, that is where
Service Packs come in.

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