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"20GB Hard drive only shows 8GB"

By nerdy ·
I have a Windows 98 PC that I put a 20GB hard drive in, but it only shows 8GB.. Any ideas of what I did wrong or how I can fix it??


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by dmiles In reply to "20GB Hard drive only sho ...

The Limitation could be cleared by updating the Bios,flashing the bios by going to the manufacturers web site,you can view the bios version by pausing the startup screen

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by TheChas In reply to "20GB Hard drive only sho ...

You have an older motherboard that has an 8GB hard drive detection limit.

You have 3 options to make use of the full 20GB of the new drive.

1. Download and install an updated BIOS from the motherboard / system manufacture.
Do NOT flash the BIOS unless the update specifically states that it increases hard drive detection limits.
Also, do NOT flash the BIOS unless you are positive that it is the correct BIOS for the motherboard you have.

If you do flash the BIOS, follow ALL procedures and precautions in the instructions from the motherboard manufacture.

2. Use the drive installation utility from the drive manufactures web site.
Nearly every hard drive manufacture has a utility that you can download that includes a BIOS overlay program that "tricks" the BIOS on the motherboard into using the full capacity of the drive.

Usually, these programs work so long as you do not move the drive to a different computer.
They do make it harder to recover from a hard drive crash.

3. (My recommendation) Install a PCI IDE controller card.
Not only will the controller card recognize the full capacity of the new hard drive, it will access the drive faster than an older motherboard will.


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by sleepin'dawg In reply to "20GB Hard drive only sho ...

RTFM. Make sure all the dip switches are properly set, then and only then, do you check the bios and make sure your's is up to date. Before flashing make sure all your files are backed up.

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by Blackcurrant In reply to "20GB Hard drive only sho ...


The Chaz is likely to be right, but one other thing you can check is the size of the partition on the drive. Did you get the drive second hand?

It's possible (though unlikely), that the drive contains one partition which only uses 8GB of hard drive space - the rest of the drive may be unallocated. If The Chaz's suggestion does not work, boot to DOS and run FDISK. This will give you the option of examining the drive partition(s), and you can force the drive to include all your 20GB in one partition (though you will lose any data if you do this). If this is indeed the case, and you do not want to lose any data, use a partition resizer such as Partition Magic.

Good luck

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by nerdy In reply to

Partitioned the drive before installing Operating system!

Thanks though

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by chanmkr In reply to "20GB Hard drive only sho ...

What type your machine has
if it is a pentium one or primary type of pentium two check for mother board bios updates

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by Walkerxp92 In reply to "20GB Hard drive only sho ...

First option -
Do you have a pc that has 2000 or better on it. If so Take that hard drive and plug it in to one of those as a slave. Boot up and go to computer management / disk management and check your partitions, delete all the partitions that show up and reformat the drive in FAT32 or FAT (you need FAT becuase 98 doesn't recognise NTFS). The plug the drive back in the other machine and set up 98 on it again, also check your jumper settings on the drive itself sometimes there are different settings to support larger drive settings.

Second Option -
Get your 98 Start up flopy and boot up from the floppy, when you get prompt type in fdisk and go through the steps of deleting all partitions that are set up. once you have them all deleted set up a new partition and make sure you enable large disk support. Then folow the steps and format the drive and give it another shot.

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by georgian3000 In reply to "20GB Hard drive only sho ...

you might have formatted the HDD with is how ucan cheak. boot the system from a bootable floopy of fdisk and cheak the free space or the size of the HDD,or do u have unix,linex installed in your sys,if so that the problem,
see if its a new partition i am sure that there must be no valuable data if so take a backup and reformatte or run fdisk and this time make sure its fat32 ok u can make a bootable floopy from start-run-controlpanel-addremove prg-make a bootable floopy. and do cheak that fdisk file is present in it.
or may be u have a very old version of bios and yes you can always take your HDD to your friends place who has got a new pc and do this and fix back the HDD to u'r computer.while u do the fdisk plz read very carfuly all the steps.that will solve 90% of the issue.

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by youssifm In reply to "20GB Hard drive only sho ...

may be it sounds silly, but just put it and fdsik with percentage instead of size, under windows it will be 20gb, but in bios it will be 8gb

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by swgoldwire2546 In reply to "20GB Hard drive only sho ...

Upgrade the BIOS on the motherboard so that the 8.4 gigabyte limit is raised.


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