HD Size identified wrong by BIOS

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HD Size identified wrong by BIOS

Postby Omala » 2018-3-08 @ 13:47

I'm in the process of building a retro system with a 1996-area Pentium Pro 180MHz, but the BIOS identifies gets the size of the harddrive wrong.

It correctly identifies the drive as 16383/16/63, but instead of the 14.4GB it says on the label it instead identifies it as a 8GB drive.

I'm not going to miss the space, but i have some trouble booting a system on it. Could this be related to the wrong size or do I need to look elsewhere for the issue? Is this caused by wrong jumper settings?

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Re: HD Size identified wrong by BIOS

Postby Zup » 2018-3-08 @ 13:59

Set up the disk as LBA and use autodetection.
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Re: HD Size identified wrong by BIOS

Postby derSammler » 2018-3-08 @ 14:02

Does the BIOS even support LBA? 8 GB is exactly the limit you get with E-CHS support but no LBA. And it's totally normal the the CHS values are correctly detected anyway. It doesn't mean that the BIOS can handle them.

When using auto-detection, you also often get a list of two or three entries to choose from. If this is the case, select the one that says "LBA" on the right.
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Re: HD Size identified wrong by BIOS

Postby Omala » 2018-3-08 @ 14:11

I'll have a look in a short while. Can it still work if it doesn't support LBA?

Can I change some value to have it just use a lower capacity?
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Re: HD Size identified wrong by BIOS

Postby derSammler » 2018-3-08 @ 14:16

If the BIOS has no LBA support and you just leave it as-is, the drive should work fine as 8 GB. The drive may even have a jumper to limit itself to that capacity. You can also install a disk manager / drive overlay software like EZ Drive or Ontrack to use the full capacity.
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Re: HD Size identified wrong by BIOS

Postby Omala » 2018-3-08 @ 21:59

Now I've tried a few things and the conclusion is that nothing will make it boot from the HD. I've even successfully booted via a tool called "Smart Boot Manager" and successfully booted the harddrive through that, but that means that i need to boot from floppy every time.
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Re: HD Size identified wrong by BIOS

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-3-09 @ 17:21

Older systems had BIOS limitations on hard drive capacity (varies by chipsets as well). My Socket 7 system only recognized up to 32GB, and anymore than that, then it gets detected as a 7.8GB HDD. My Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus does the same thing as well (2.1GB limit instead), but when I updated the BIOS, I got the full storage space up to 7.8GB.
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Re: HD Size identified wrong by BIOS

Postby Omala » 2018-3-10 @ 16:23

bjwil1991 wrote:Older systems had BIOS limitations on hard drive capacity (varies by chipsets as well). My Socket 7 system only recognized up to 32GB, and anymore than that, then it gets detected as a 7.8GB HDD. My Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus does the same thing as well (2.1GB limit instead), but when I updated the BIOS, I got the full storage space up to 7.8GB.


I did look around for a new BIOS version, but seems like this type of OEM (DIGITAL Equipment Corporation) has a very special Phoenix BIOS, and I haven't succeeded in identifying the exact version (I did have a look at Wims BIOS, but only got more confused).

Also, the issue isn't that it doesn't identify the disk - i jumped the disk to 2GB and that works great - the real problem is that it doesn't book from HD, only floppy.
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Re: HD Size identified wrong by BIOS

Postby dionb » 2018-3-10 @ 17:10

Omala wrote:
bjwil1991 wrote:Older systems had BIOS limitations on hard drive capacity (varies by chipsets as well). My Socket 7 system only recognized up to 32GB, and anymore than that, then it gets detected as a 7.8GB HDD. My Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus does the same thing as well (2.1GB limit instead), but when I updated the BIOS, I got the full storage space up to 7.8GB.


I did look around for a new BIOS version, but seems like this type of OEM (DIGITAL Equipment Corporation) has a very special Phoenix BIOS, and I haven't succeeded in identifying the exact version (I did have a look at Wims BIOS, but only got more confused).

Also, the issue isn't that it doesn't identify the disk - i jumped the disk to 2GB and that works great - the real problem is that it doesn't book from HD, only floppy.

DEC - now that's a name you don't hear every day any more. Which board is it exactly?

Note that what was left of DEC was bought by Compaq and then Compaq was bought by HP - and there is still some support (including downloads) for that old stuff buried deep on the HP support sites.
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Re: HD Size identified wrong by BIOS

Postby bakemono » 2018-3-11 @ 06:28

Does the disk have an 8GB partition to match the 8GB size that is detected by the BIOS? Is the partition set active? Did you try FDISK /MBR? And last but not least, after booting from floppy did you use the SYS command to write the correct boot sector?
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Re: HD Size identified wrong by BIOS

Postby eisapc » 2018-3-14 @ 12:45

A Ppro based DEC system sounds like a prioris?
Can you please tell me the detailed system designation?
As I have two Ppro Prioris myself I managed to salvage some software and manuals from the Compaq site while the DEC-stuff was still there.
I will have to dig through my archives, if BIOS update was among these, but I´m sure something is there.
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