4TB HDD Problems. Not sure what to do, please help.

Aniu88

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Normally I don't post myself I usually find what I need via other's threads so I'm sorry if any of this is in the wrong place or improperly formatted. I've never done this before really.

So here's the story:

I recently bought a 4TB internal WD Black HDD from amazon.com for my Windows 7 x64 bit system. Though apparently it's more complicated than other drives. So I plug it into the system via the psu & sata cables as usual, no issues. I boot the computer everything goes fine, drivers install etc. Then I noticed it doesn't show up in windows explorer. So I go to google, find out it has to be initialized, no biggie. I pull up disk management and find that it shows it in the bottom as unallocated but it's only showing 1677 gb. This is strange to me so I investigate further. Almost ever post I saw says it needs to be in gpt partitions for you to be able to access the full 4TB. So I follow the directions, right click in the DM and change it to GPT. Literally, nothing happens/changes, still 1677gb. Soooo, I investigate again, everything keeps saying GPT should fix it. So I keep looking FINALLY find one that says to check what the BIOS says, when I check that BIOS says it's 1.8TB drive, though AHCI wasn't enabled. So I enable it hoping it changes something, it doesn't seem to do anything. When it boots, still says 1677gb. One forum post says if the BIOS sees it as less than capacity the BIOS is too dated to recognize past 2TB so I check for BIOS updates praying that it will fix it but according to HP my BIOS are up to date cause it found no updates for my system.

NOTE: I don't mind doing multiple partitions. I "intended" to make this the boot drive but with all the complications I'd settle for it simply working at full capacity. So partitions are fine I just can't get the SYSTEM to see the full 4TB soooo....

So here's my questions:

1) Is there anything else I can do to get it to recognize the full 4TB or because the BIOS won't see it is it going to stay that way as I'm beginning to think?

2) Were I to send the internal drive back to amazon & purchase a 4TB EXTERNAL, like this one: amazon 4TB External. Would this be able to work at the full capacity or am I going to run into the same problem due to the BIOS?

As I've said, I've done a TON of reading in forums but no one has seemed to post this specific situation only similar ones so I felt the only way to get a direct answer would be to write my own. So I'd appreciate ANY and all help or advice anyone can give. Thanks.

 

DonQuixoteMC

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First off, I'm just going to focus on the BIOS question (since it would be more convenient to get an upgrade than a new device). Try looking up BIOS updates without using HP, so figure out your mobo's make and model and try to find a BIOS upgrade for it. Also, once you find it, make sure it actually can support 4 TB HDDs.

Second, I think you would be able to use the external hard drive method, should the first option fail. You're kind of circumventing the motherboard's SATA slots, so you shouldn't run into the same problem. Though don't bet the farm on it, this is mainly conjecture. I've never tried it myself.

I hope that helps!

DonQuixoteMC

 

Aniu88

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Thanks for the reply, I thought about that, I was just leery of trying it since on HP's site they say NOT to use BIOS updates from anyone BUT them so I wasn't sure if that would cause problems. They mentioned something like it might cause some of the HP stuff not to be seen or something if you didn't use theirs.

As to the external, so am I understanding correctly in thinking that the problem is with the SATA controller on the motherboard that has the capacity cap? And by using the USB it has some different way of doing it that lets it get around it?
 

FireWire2

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It seems your SATA port is 32bit LBA, therefore it can only see 2TB.

You need a add-in card that has 48bit LBA to see the whole 4TB


2nd though. check your BIOS, make sure you have the latest BIOS. it may fix the issue


 

DonQuixoteMC

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Yeah, you've got the gist of it. This is basically what I see happening: your motherboard's HDD controller cannot handle more than 2 TB of space, a BIOS upgrade might fix this. However, a USB connected external HDD should be unaffected by this limitation because it connects to your motherboard in a way that circumvents your motherboard's HDD controller.

 

Aniu88

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Ok, so I checked using CPU-Z to find out what motherboard and such I have. It's saying a MSI 2A9C model. The BIOS says:
Brand: American Megatrends Inc. (AMI)
Version: 6.12
Date: 07/12/2010

So I tried going to MSI's website which had me download THEIR live update software that pretty much says the same thing only it says there's no update for the BIOS. I tried googling it myself just to confirm but couldn't really find any good sites that looked credible to confirm there's no update. So it SEEEMS like the BIOS option is a bust.

I guess I'm ok with that I just wanted to make EXTRA sure that an external wouldn't have the same problem as the internal since the problem was with the BIOS. But as FireWire2 said above, if the problem is really with the SATA controller and not the BIOS/Motherboard overall, I suppose the USB thing would handle it differently. I just didn't want to go through the process of returning the internal, buying the external, only to run into the same issue.
 

Aniu88

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Hmmm, I didn't know there were "add-in" cards for that. Do you mean a PCI-Express type of card or something else? Also, off hand any idea what that might cost? Aka, I'm wondering if it would just be cheaper to send the internal back and get an external.
 

FireWire2

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I would go for SATA if you need speed.
USB3.0 can not compare to SATAII actual transfer rate, because there is latency built-in in the conversion
You can use SATAIII card http://www.amazon.com/eSATA-configurable-support-Multiplier-Windows/dp/B00DJ9SM9A
Configure it as 1x eSATA and 1x SATA
It use AHCI protocol, therefore it's a plug and play.
But if you need to use with Port Multiplier (see up to 10 drives), then load this drivers:
http://www.station-drivers.com/download/asmedia/asmedia_106x_2.0.4.0(www.station-drivers.com).exe

Otherwise you don't need to install the drivers
 

Aniu88

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Ok, I don't really want to spend any more than I did. Speed isn't a big issue. I intended to use this as a boot drive but doesn't look that'll happen. So I have another drive I'll use as the boot so this one will just turn into my main storage device. With that in mind I'm not too worried about speed especially since the external is cheaper. My MAIN concern was whether or not I'd run into the same issue with the external as the internal. If not I'll probably go with that one then.
 

FireWire2

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If speed is not a issue, then use USB2.0 HDD. I do not know on other brand but Seagate ext USB works
Also don't even think to use 4TB as your boot disk, you MB wont support that
 

Aniu88

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Right, I know I can't use it as a boot with my MB now. That's why I've changed my situation and am going to use a different drive for a boot, this will just be for storage. I did find a USB 3.0 external that's a 4TB by WD which is here I've heard that WD's externals are formatted with like 3 partitions of 1TB with their 3TB drives so I assume that the 4 would just have 4 partitions or maybe 2 @ 2TB, but would still work through USB instead of the SATA as you said, right?
 

FireWire2

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For your storage, do you need it to be portable? If not, it may be worth to look at adding a PCIE SATA/eSATA to your system. Here are benefits
1_ take advantage of SATAIII ==> Fast
2_ Optimize for use SSD as OS (60GB~80G) <== this is the BEST upgrade on ANY computer
3_ take advantage of 6Gb bus eSATA

Otherwise you are fine with USB2.0.

WD's externals are formatted with like 3 partitions of 1TB with their 3TB drives
I'm not sure, but I'm certain it will works with your system
 

Aniu88

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It won't be portable, I have a desktop setup so this is mainly for storage space as I've maxed out most of my other drives & need to expand my storage space.

Oh and the situation has changed a bit. It turns out I can't return the drive to the seller, well I could but I'd only get half of the purchase which isn't really worth it considering I'd just have to go buy another external drive. So now I'm focused on trying to get this to work by turning into an external or finding some work around for the BIOS. I'm not exactly holding my breath for the latter lol.

I also took a look at my MB & found I don't have an empty PCI port, x1, x16, nothing, all full lol. So I don't think I'll be able to use the above add in card to use the SATA.

Now, one question I thought of is, is it the fact that this drive uses SATA III or at least can that is why the SATA controller can't use the whole drive on the MB or is that just to identify transfer speed and the SATA controller is a different problem?

Next, I found these two enclosures, both use USB 3.0 (which I want as it's faster than 2.0). This one says it has been tested with 4TB drives and works. This one doesn't say what size drive it can use but it does say it's compatible with SATA III. This is why I was asking about SATA III above. I'm not sure which one would work better. As I've said I'm trying to keep cost to a minimum but still get access to the full 4TB and use a USB 3.0 connection for speed as I have another one that uses 3.0 & I love it. I like the idea of the second one mainly because it's cheaper, but I've never dealt with either of these brands & the second one IS from a chinese manufacturer & I'm concerned that if it fits my needs and would work then the price might be too good to be true and it's a cheaply made product that won't work great. So any insight would be appreciated.

Side note, thank you both for all your help thus far, this has been quite a frustrating situation from the expected "get drive, plug in, format, and it works" scenario I was expecting. It's been great to get advice from people more experienced than me with sort of thing so thanks a lot! :)
 

Aniu88

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Ok so, I looked around on the board for a while, the only thing I could find was a couple bar code/serial numbers that I thought might be the MB info. So I took a picture of it here. Based on that info I started googling some stuff and through HP tracked down my PC's model number and found the specs. It listed the MB as a MSI MS-7613. The product info is here. So then I googled that, I could only track down one BIOS update from HP which is here. While this IS an update, I don't see anything under the "fixes" tab that talks about the SATA controller's limit so I'm not sure if this helps or not.
 

Aniu88

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That looks like it & matches the numbers and stuff to the best of my knowledge. Again programs like CPU-Z aren't giving me the same model but it looks right when you actually LOOK at the physical board. But when I boot to BIOS it says the new drive is a 1.8TB instead of 4TB. But if I use WD utility software it does say it's a 4TB. If it SHOULD work but isn't is there something I should/shouldn't have done to enable something to see it or anything? I've never really messed with MB stuff like the BIOS or anything, so this is a bit of new waters for me so I haven't really done any updates or anything, honestly never new I was supposed to.
 

Aniu88

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It's a WD drive. The link you have for WD says they don't support this and I should us Acronis. Should I use THAT one or still use the outdated Lifeguard software? Also, do I have to do everything it's talking about i.e. burn to disk, load through BIOS etc. if this isn't a boot drive or does the software HAVE to be run that way in order to properly partition the drive anyway?
 

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