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Hard Drive Sizes and BIOS

Old 07-27-04, 01:45 PM
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Hard Drive Sizes and BIOS

I am thinking about adding an internal hard drive for my dell dimension 8100 purchased in sept. of 2001. From my reading on the internet I have read about people having problems with older bios and high capacity drives. Dell only offers one more bios upgrade for my system and that came out a month after my system shipped. What is the largest size hard drive I can safely get way with for my computer? I am looking for some more storage because I recently added a tv tuner and needed some more space. I have been living with 18gb for almost 3 years now and haven't had any problems. I was thinking about adding 60 or 80 gb, possibly 120? Would I be able to get away with that with my bios?

I saw this on the net but haven't found one for my date of purchase.

BIOS Dates prior to May not support drives larger than
Aug 1994 528MB
Feb 1996 2.1GB
Jan 1998 8.4GB
Jun 1999 32GB


Is there anything thing else I should be thinking about for installation other than bios and setting proper jumper settings? Any advice would be much appreciated.


Some system info:

Dell p4 1.8 ghz
512 mb ram
EIDE connection for hard drive
Old 07-27-04, 01:54 PM
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I can't imagine a P4 system not having a BIOS capable of supporting large drives. I think the problems preceded that processor.
Old 07-27-04, 02:07 PM
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if Im not mistaken.. your operating system can overcome your bios size limits anymore.. well, to most extents..

you shouldnt have any problem with any size you buy..
or at least not any problem you cant easily get around





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Old 07-27-04, 05:00 PM
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I have the same model PC as you - a Dell Dimension 8100. Pentium 4 1.5Ghz. I just added a Samsung 160GB hard drive (just last week!). I formatted it as one big NTFS partition in WinXP Pro, and it works just fine. You shouldn't have any problems either.
Old 07-28-04, 02:45 AM
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as twikoff said you should have no problem, XP does seem to end just about all of drive limits. I have a Dell dimension 4100 form 9/2000 and I have a 100gb in it no problem and I have hooked up externals of 250gb to it with no problem. You should have no problem at all.
Old 07-28-04, 03:27 AM
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Originally posted by Joshic
I have the same model PC as you - a Dell Dimension 8100. Pentium 4 1.5Ghz. I just added a Samsung 160GB hard drive (just last week!). I formatted it as one big NTFS partition in WinXP Pro, and it works just fine. You shouldn't have any problems either.
Did you need a controller card?
Old 07-28-04, 07:29 AM
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the onboard ide controller on an 8100 P4 should be more than sufficient
Old 07-28-04, 01:17 PM
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How should I format the drive? FAT32 or NTFS? My current drive is FAT32. Can I have one drive in FAT32 and the other NTFS? I think I have to use FAT32 on my first drive because my XP version is an upgrade. I have to install Windows ME first and then the XP disc. I think ME only uses FAT32 right?
Old 07-28-04, 01:22 PM
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Unless you need to get to the drive in real DOS, not just a DOS window, NTFS is better for a variety of reasons. You can mix drives with different filesystems.

It would actually be a hassle trying to format the drive as FAT32 since you can't do one that large in the OS. That may tell you something.
Old 07-28-04, 03:20 PM
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Originally posted by ten41
Did you need a controller card?
no. I used the IDE controller on the motherboard.
Old 08-02-04, 06:44 PM
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Thanks to everyone who posted.

After reading all the posts in this thread I decided to get a Western Digital 250 gb hard drive. It seems to be working perfectly. I am glad I chose internal over an external drive. Installing it was much easier than I thought. My BIOS automatically detected the drive and windows xp recognized it as well. The software that came with the drive did notice that my system was not completely setup for hard drives over 137 gb, but it asked my if I wanted it to edit the system registry and set it up for me. After that it worked perfectly.

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