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looking @ buying 400+GB HD 2 put in older computer....

I'd like to buy a 400GB or 500GB HD soon to install in an older computer. I'm putting a lot of multimedia data (pictures from digital camera, recordings from mp3 player with line-in recording (I need a new one, but that's a topic for another thread), archiving old cassettes, and other things, and I'm getting low on space on the current HD in my dad's computer.

It's an older computer, with a 1.4GHz Athlon CPU, 256MB RAM, PATA ports, Windows 2000. We've been stuck with the 137GB limit for a while now. My dad has a 200GB drive, but it's formatted as 127GB right now, with the other 63GB unformatted.
I also have an 80GB HD and a 250GB HD, both of which are fairly full, and neither of which is currently physically installed. The 250G came with a controller, and for a while I was able to use it (with it split into 2 125G partitions), but I've recently had problems: either I don't have drivers for it (since we reinstalled Windows a year or so ago), I can't boot off drives connected to it, or both (I can't remember).

So what do I need to do, with minimal purchase of extra hardware, to be able to install ALL of the hard drives (the 80GB, 200GB, 250GB, and the new one) in the computer at the same time? Is there some bios update I need to do, or install a newer W2k service pack? (Also, there might not be enough bays available for the drives - is there any concern with just laying one or two in the bottom of the case?)

Also, you may have noticed I mentioned we only have 256MB of RAM. This is a serious bottleneck to the performance of this computer. I'd like to put about 1GB in, but how would I find out what kind to get?

If you need more info (for example, open the case, get some part #s off the mobo, HD controller, etc), let me know what info I need to get so we can figure this out.

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Try... for tools and tips.

However I've found any 1+GHz machine with it's latest BIOS to never have an issue besides the usual limits of the OS you listed. Windows 2000 has the issue and you need to use Linux or XP SP1 to get a boot drive over 127GB. It's not a bios limit...

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thanks, a little more info....

Thanks for the tip. I was recently at that site and it has quite a lot of info.

I was looking in M$'s KB, and found this info about the 137GB limit & w2k. It looks like upgrading to the latest SP might fix that problem. Should I try that? I'm currently running SP4. (Is that the latest already?)

Ok, so I had the computer open this morning to see what's in it....

I have a controller card in there with 2 IDE ports. It's a Promise Ultra100 TX2. One port has a cable hooked up to it, but with nothing on it.
A quick note about that: I have been unable to install Windows (off the CD) onto a hard drive hooked up to the controller. (Windows setup won't detect any drives attached to the controller.) I can BOOT off the controller, but I can't install Windows (2000 or XP) there. Is there something I am doing wrong? (do I need to press F3 or F6 or whatever it is to install a 3rd-party RAID/SCSI driver at the beginning of Windows setup?)

The mobo has "K7T266 Pro2 VER 2.0" stamped on it between a couple PCI slots. Near the RAM it's marked DDR1 DDR2 DDR3 (most likely for the 3 ram slots), and there's something to the left (a chip or something, but looks to me more like a heatsink) that says "MSI DDR" on it (orange color).

So what do I need to do to use the 500GB drive? And also am I correct to assume that to upgrade the ram I need DDR-266 RAM, or would another speed (333, 400, etc) work too?

Also, considering that, do you think if I added more RAM (say to total 1GB or 1.5GB) I could upgrade to Windows XP, considering the other current hardware? I'm planning to hold off on Vista for a while. I just used CNET's upgrade advisor, and our computer can't even handle the Basic edition.

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No it does not fix the issue I noted.

Windows 2000 in any supplied form will create at maximum an 127GB boot and C drive. I will not write this again as the problem as stated will never go away.

After a patch (which is in SP4) the remainder of the drive will become available for other drive partitions.


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would upgrading to XP fix it?

So if I upgrade to XP, would that get me around the 137GB limit?

The comp has the mobo noted in the above post, with a 1.4GHz Athlon CPU. Currently has 256MB of DDR266 RAM, but has 3 slots (1 used) and if I can find some I'm willing to upgrade (I'd prefer to split the cost of the RAM with my dad (and prefer that he buys the OS - it's his computer, but will be my 400GB or 500GB HD that I'm buying and trying to install.))

I've had XP (begin confession: a pirated hacked (so activation not required) :end confession) running on here off another (80GB) HD a couple times, and have had a few driver issues with the onboard sound for example (i.e. sound hasn't been working on the XP install), but I think it's mainly because of user error. (I currently don't have the HD with XP hooked up, and I'd prefer to install a legal version on my dad's 200GB (currently only has a 127GB partition) HD. It now has about 7GB free, and after I get the 500GB (or whatever) HD up and running I'm going to be moving my approx 78GB of data (the vast majority of which is multimedia that I have created in the last year and a half or so) over to the new drive.

So would installing XP fix the issue, if I can't fix it under 2000 (i.e. create a single bootable > 127GB main partition)?

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