Can't see full 3 TB of new Seagate hard drive

Discussion in 'Asus' started by Rhino, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    As per the subject line, neither Windows nor Seagate Disk Wizard can see the
    full 3 TB of my new 3 TB SATA hard drive. In fact, they can only see 746.50

    I completely my backups and upgraded my OS to XP Pro with SP3 yesterday. I
    found a section on the Seagate website that is dedicated to explaining how
    to make the space beyond 2 TB visible in Windows computers. I clicked the
    link for how to make the full space visible in XP with SP3 and watched the
    video several times.

    I downloaded the latest version of Disk Wizard just yesterday.
    Unfortunately, it is noticeably different than the version in the video and
    I can't find any way to do the same things in the new version as the video
    shows in the old version. I can't see any old versions of Disk Wizard on the
    Seagate site either.

    Has anyone here installed a 3 TB Seagate drive on an XP SP3 system recently
    enough to guide me on how to do the disk setup with this _new_ version of
    Disk Wizard? Or can someone point me to a version of Disk Wizard that is
    closer to the version shown in the video?

    I've got the ASUS-M3A motherboard. It supports SATA II and the new drive is
    a SATA III. I've been told that SATA III is backwards compatible to SATA II
    and that I probably don't need the add-in card that the drive's box mentions
    _might_ be necessary. Can anyone confirm that?

    I didn't get any such add-in card with my drive and I didn't buy one
    separately but it's possible the M3A already has this card in it. (I asked a
    friend to build the computer for me based on some rather vague specs and he
    never told me exactly what he put in this machine.)
    Rhino, Jan 19, 2012
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  2. Rhino

    Paul Guest

    There are two ways to do disks.

    You can use traditional MBR (2.2TB limited by 32 bit sector numbering).

    Or prepare with GPT partitioning. You need GPT.

    The problem with GPT as a means of preparation, is not many OSes can boot
    from a GPT disk. If your new disk is "data-only", then GPT is the answer.
    You can test with GPT, and at least prove you can see the entire disk,
    then flatten and do something else if you don't like it.

    "The MBR partition table restricts partition sizes to a maximum of 2.19 terabytes"

    If an OS had native support for 4K sectors, and the drive exposed the
    native 4K sectors, then the limit would no longer be 2.2TB. But I
    imagine that wouldn't be that easy to arrange, and even if you set
    things up that way, booting some other OS could trash it. You have
    to be careful when mixing stuff like that.

    GPT has a protective MBR installed, to help prevent damage from
    MBR based OSes.


    Disks have traditionally had all sorts of artificial capacity limits.
    The last one was >137GB support on IDE interfaces. The other day,
    I got caught, when I took a Firewire IDE enclosure from the junk
    pile, put a 160GB IDE disk in it, started it up, and had the partition
    corrupted by the 137GB limit on the Firewire chip. I never would
    have suspected the enclosure had a limit, until I discovered it
    the hard way :-( And even the recommended firmware flash, didn't
    fix it.

    Paul, Jan 19, 2012
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  3. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    Are you saying that the techniques that Seagate claims will work for Windows
    XP SP3, involving Disk Wizard, don't actually work at all? I'm not doubting
    your words as you've demonstrated really good knowledge of these issues in
    previous posts but I'm just a little stunned that Seagate could get away
    with telling people on their website that their Disk Wizard approach will do
    the job if it isn't true. I've even seen reviews of their large drives
    claiming that Disk Wizard will do the job. Wouldn't that leave them open to
    lawsuits or charges of consumer fraud that would give Seagate a very black
    eye, something they surely wouldn't want?

    This drive will be "data-only"; I have no need at all to boot from it.
    Something I'm not seeing in the article is how do I set up the drive with
    GPT? I assume I need some kind of program to set up the drive for GPT.
    Where do I find this program?

    Hmm, I just had a look at the references in the Wikipedia article and
    followed the link to the Windows and GPT FAQ. It says the article applies
    only to Windows XP x64 edition.

    I'm running 32-bit Windows XP SP3. According to the Wikipedia article, it
    has "no native support on this architecture and version". Does this mean
    that GPT is not an option for me after all??

    This question in the Q&A suggests that I am out of luck:
    Q.Can the 32-bit version of Windows XP read, write, and boot from GPT disks?
    A.No. The 32-bit version will see only the Protective MBR. The EE partition
    will not be mounted or otherwise exposed to application software.

    Unless I'm misreading this, I'll need to upgrade the OS, at least to XP 64
    bit, if I want to see all of this drive.

    Or make it MBR and be limited to 2.2 TB. That's starting to look like a less
    unattractive option overall if I have to pay for an OS upgrade.....
    Yeah, I can remember other such limits over the years. I don't remember the
    numbers but wasn't there a fairly low limit, like 2 GB or even several
    hundred MB on drives when 800 MB or 10 GB were considered incomprehensibly
    Rhino, Jan 20, 2012
  4. Rhino

    Paul Guest

    Hmmm. Tried a search on the Seagate site, and found this.

    "Support for Disk Drives Beyond 2.2 TeraBytes (TB) and 4K Advanced Format Sectors [218619]"

    "Most legacy systems built before 2011 have a traditional PC BIOS. This type of
    BIOS uses a Master Boot Record (MBR). The MBR Partitions can define a disk drive
    capacity up to 2.2TB. Windows operating systems that boot from an MBR are therefore
    limited to 2.2TB per MBR.

    A 3TB disk drive in a legacy BIOS and Window system will need a DiscWizard device driver
    to access the full capacity of a 3TB disk drive. Two partitions will be necessary because
    of the MBR limitation. The device driver mounts the capacity above 2.2TB with another MBR
    which looks to the system as a second virtual “physical” device."

    Well, that's a mega DDO :) That should be easy to maintain. Nothing could
    possibly go wrong with that!

    So yes, they do actually support the 3TB drive, just with an overlay method
    of some sort (a way of avoiding the issue). It just means that all OSes ever
    to run on the machine, including utilities (e.g. Ghost), have to be similarly
    prepared for this method of operation. If not, you may not be able to see
    the partition placed in the top 800GB area.

    (This is a similar concept, of using a technique to avoid a capacity issue...)

    Your options are, as you suggest, to stay below 2.2TB when preparing the disk
    (leaving the upper ~800GB blank and unallocated). Or give their "dual MBR dual virtual device"
    idea a whirl. Whether this is wise, might depend on how many OSes you boot and

    If this idea had an accepted technical name, we could search for it in Linux
    land, and see if that OS already had a matching solution.

    Paul, Jan 20, 2012
  5. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    I haven't heard the acronym "DDO" before so I'm not sure what it means. From
    the context, I'm guessing you find this approach gimmicky at best....
    That's easy: just Windows XP SP3 for now. Eventually, I'll upgrade to Win 7.
    I used to do multiboot machines back in my OS/2 days but made the switch to
    Windows-only machines some time ago. (Reluctantly, mind you, but buying
    multiple OSes just for the bragging rights of having a multiboot machine
    didn't make the best of sense; I no longer needed the different OSes just to
    do what I needed to do.)
    I'd just like to get this Disk Wizard approach to work - if it CAN work in a
    32 bit Windows XP SP3 environment. I'm still not clear on whether Disk
    Wizard can be coaxed to do what it's supposed to do. The video
    makes it look reasonably easy but I'm darned if I can figure out how to make
    the current version of Disk Wizard do what is required; it looks rather
    different that the version in the video and I can't find the same options.
    Rhino, Jan 20, 2012
  6. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    I was just watching the video
    again, the one I cited which shows how to make XP SP3 see the full 3 TB of
    the drive when I noticed that the version of DiscWizard being installed was
    13. I had downloaded the current version of the program from the Seagate
    site yesterday. It was Version 11 and was substantially different than the
    Version shown in the video so I had just assumed that the video was using an
    older version. But on the umpteenth time through the video just now, I
    noticed that one of the install screens said Version 13.

    I did some nosing around and found a different DiscWizard download page -
    actually, it's a knowledgebase article -
    and this one's got Version 13! I've just downloaded and installed it. I have
    to reboot now. I'll report back after I've had a chance to try Version 13 of
    DiscWizard. Maybe I'll still get this working tonight....
    Rhino, Jan 20, 2012
  7. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    After the reboot, I went into Windows/Administrative Tools/Computer
    Management/Storage/Disk Management and now it is showing me 2 TB of the
    drive: 746.50 GB of free space and 1301.48 GB Unallocated. That's before I
    did _anything_ but INSTALL DiscWizard; I haven't actually touched the disk
    yet WITH DiscWizard. That's what the video said would happen....

    I've been through the video and tried the steps a few times but things don't
    work QUITE the same as the video says. Even though I think I've followed the
    instructions exactly, when I am finished preparing the extended data portion
    of the drive (the space beyond the 2 TB limit) and have closed DiscWizard,
    Windows see this space as "Disk 3 / unknown / 746.51 GB / Not Initialized"
    and puts a "forbidden" icon beside it. The space shows as "unallocated" and
    I cannot create a new partition in it. I've tried making this space a
    primary partition and a logical partition but neither gives the desired
    result. Everything else seems fine, although I haven't tried the "new
    partition" option on the 1301.48 GB of unallocated space that is what
    remains of the first 2 TB of space. (I'm trying to follow the sequence in
    the video in case it's critical that the extended space be formatted first.)

    Darn!!! I felt like I was finally going to get it to work this time but no
    dice.... They sure don't make this easy for those of us who aren't strong on
    hardware stuff....

    If anyone reading this thread has any idea why I'm not able to prepare that
    extended capacity space despite following the video, I'd love to hear your
    suggestions. If I can just get that one part to work, I'll be home free....

    Perhaps the fact that I'm running 32-bit XP is the fundamental problem? The
    video doesn't say anything about having to run 64-bit but maybe it's
    "implied" somehow....
    Rhino, Jan 20, 2012
  8. Rhino

    Paul Guest

    I doubt it's a 32 bit OS issue. NTFS itself can handle huge storage
    capacity (meaning structures larger than 32 bits may be used to
    manage storage).

    Since you're seeing an "extra virtual drive", I'm guessing the driver
    did install and load. If the driver shows up in Device Manager, perhaps you could
    look for the driver file names, and Google on those file names, for more advice
    (to pick up conversations from other "3TB victims").

    Paul, Jan 20, 2012
  9. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    Problem solved!

    I went to bed last night frustrated that I was seemingly so close to a
    solution but not quite there. I had one faint hope though as I shut down;
    that the shutdown (and the restart this morning) might still make a
    difference. After all, reboots can fix things in Windows even when you think
    they should make no difference. The video does NOT call for you to reboot
    after formatting the extended space so it felt like clutching at straws.

    As soon as I had started up just now, I went into Disk Management and saw
    that the extended space was just fine! It says "746.52 NTFS Healthy
    (Active)". I'm now in the midst of formatting the only remaining unformatted
    space on the drive, the part between the basic 746.50 that Windows could
    always see and the extended area beyond the 2 TB limit.

    When that's finished, I should be able to use all 3 TB of the drive without
    having to upgrade my OS or flash my BIOS or buy an add-in card for the

    I'll post back here to confirm that this all worked when the formatting is
    done and I've had a chance to verify that all partitions are accessible.

    I'm strongly tempted to send Seagate an email suggesting that they make a
    few changes on their website:
    1. Make it clear that large (over 2 TB) hard drives can only be managed with
    DiscWizard 13 and make it clear where that version is.
    2. Put a note with DiscWizard 11 that it WON'T work with large drives.
    3. Update the video voiceover to explain that a reboot is necessary after
    formatting the extended area before Windows will recognize that area as
    4. Clarify that these procedures work for Windows XP SP3 regardless of
    whether the user is using 32-bit or 64-bit.

    If all of that had been clear, this would have been a much less confusing
    Rhino, Jan 20, 2012
  10. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    Just one final post on this thread to confirm that all 3 TB of the drive is
    now visible to me (well, it's actually 2.8 TB but no drives ever give you
    the entire amount of space indicated on the box).

    It's split into three drives, E, F, and G, all formatted to NTSF. The sizes
    are 746 GB, 746 GB, and 1.27 TB. I've been able to write to - and read from
    all three drives without difficulty.

    Bottom line: The DiscWizard approach seems to work, even with my 32-bit XP
    SP3 system, without the need for any add-in card to adapt the 3 TB SATA III
    drive to my SATA II system. I didn't have to mess with the BIOS or upgrade
    the OS to 64-bit. The critical factor was viewing the video at Seagate's
    site - in my case, that was
    - and getting the CORRECT version of DiscWizard (Version 13) from here:
    for working through the steps in the video.

    (This version of DiscWizard,,
    is Version 11 and is NOT appropriate for drives over 2 TB.)

    I hope this helps others who encounter the same issues that I did.

    Thanks to Paul for helping me to figure this out!

    Gotta go; I have lots of data to move to the new drive to free up some space
    on my smaller drives ;-)
    Rhino, Jan 20, 2012
  11. Rhino

    Anssi Saari Guest

    I see you already solved your problem, but Paragon Software sells
    "Paragon GPT Loader" for XP which might fit your needs. It seems like a
    less hacky solution than what Seagate provides with their approach and
    should make the whole disk available in one partition.

    Anssi Saari, Jan 20, 2012
  12. Rhino

    Rhino Guest

    I'll keep that in mind if this solution becomes a problem. Thanks!!
    Rhino, Jan 20, 2012
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