NASLite Network Attached Storage

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:50 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 633
Location: California
Hello all:

I experienced a frustrating problem with HDD capacity and wanted to share my experience and its solution. This applies to a Western Digital HDD, but a similar issue may exist with other brands. I am a sohisticated computer user and I build my own systems. This fact makes my frustration (and the eventual solution) even more surprising. Read on … if I got you interested …

Started using NASLite on a Compaq Presario 5900Z (AMD Athlon K6 700MHz) originally purchased in the year 2000 with 256MB RAM and a (Compaq customized) Maxtor 10GB drive. WORKS Great.

I then upgraded to a 120GB Western Digital HDD I had previously used as a backup drive for another (newer) computer in the house. That’s when the capacity trouble started. I followed all of the instructions and helpful hints on this forum. I re-configured the drive several times. Of course I eventually realized that it must be the BIOS on the Compaq motherboard limiting me to 33GB. And of course NASLite reported max LBA of 234,441,648, native 66,055,248 (33820 MB). No matter what I tried in BIOS (set HDD to “None”, “Large Disk Access Mode = Other” (not DOS), “Reset Configuration Data”, etc.) I could not get more than 33GB out of it. I chalked it up to the proprietary nature of Compaq motherboards and their customizing of the Phoenix BIOS (and which is not flashable to a newer version). I also tried using PowerQuest Partition Magic (“PQPM”) to format it to a larger size with the “Linux Ext 2” file system. No luck.

After I had used the 120GB HDD (or the first 33GB it was apparently limited to) with NASLite for a while I decided to run some more tests. I put the 120GB into a “modern” computer with no BIOS capacity limitations. And to my surprise its BIOS also limited me to 33GB. In Win XP it only showed 33GB. I tried reformatting using PQPM. I even downloaded and used Western Digital’s Diagnostics Tool to ZERO the drive (low-level format). I know about the 32GB Limit Jumper some drives have – not set on this drive. I was totally baffled.

I then searched thru Western Digital’s Knowledge Base and found the solution. Apparently what had happened is at some point ( I can’t trace back to pinpoint it exactly ) the drive was set to a 33GB maximum by one of the configurations I applied or by the Compaq BIOS itself or by NASLite (because of the BIOS limit ?). I did not purposely limit it to 33GB myself whether with WD DataLife Tools or otherwise, and I tried everything to eliminate the limit, but was unsuccessful until I found http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1157

I downloaded the Western Digital DOS tool from http://support.wdc.com/download/?cxml=n&pid=999&swid=23 to create a boot floppy, booted the “modern” computer from it, then reset the size per the instructions from WD and SUCCESS ! I had my 120GB capacity back. I booted from the floppy, used NASLite to configure the drive and voila(!) I had a 120GB HDD ready for use. I copied 10GB worth of MP3 files onto it from a Win XP system and was happily listening to my music a short while later.

So … now all of you who have been reading up to this point and are following along in this mystery story … you wondered what I wondered: If I now put the drive back into the old Compaq, and in BIOS set the HDD to “None” … what would I get ? A 120GB HDD ? A 33GB HDD ? Or HDD corruption ?

Upon first time in BIOS the HDD was showing 65,535 MB. I set the HDD to “None”, booted NASLite and was able to see the entire 120GB ! And my music files played just fine. Since the HDD is not filled near the 65GB BIOS limit yet, I can’t report on corruption at this point, but I don’t expect any with the HDD set to “None” and other forum users’ experience not having reported any on these “older” systems.

I do not know why the HDD was initially limited to 33GB (rather than the 65GB now showing) before setting it to “None”. Maybe Tony can solve that mystery for us.

Whatever it was that created the limit on the HDD when using it in the first place on the “old” Compaq … it is now solved. Because I can not trace the exact event that caused the problem I am going to be careful what I do with the Compaq BIOS settings before I ever reconfigure the HDD again. BUT BE AWARE … THERE IS APPARENTLY ANOTHER WAY A HDD CAN BE INADVERTENTLY IS SIZE LIMITED … as I discovered.

I hope this helps someone.

Thank you Tony for a great product !


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