250gb 2.5" Hard Disk Drives Show Up as 111gb

Hi there

I’ve recently come into a handful of old 2.5" hard drives from the upgrade of some EPOS systems. Most of the drives work fine, but two of them, both 250gb nominal capacity (a Hitachi HTE543225A7A384, and a TOSHIBA MK2576GSXZ) both show up as 111gb in Windows (7 Ultimate 64-bit).

PassMark DiskCheckup (under the Hidden Areas - HPA/DCO tab) shows that the Max User LBA for these drives is set to about half that of the Max Native LBA and the Max Disk LBA which would explain the discrepancy. However; when I try and use the “Modify HPA/DCO” option to reset the Max User LBA to the Max Native LBA it just comes up with “Error setting new Max User LBA”.

Anybody got any ideas or know of a tool that might help?



Maybe you can try to delete the partitions and reformat the raw diskspace with a bootcd of Easus Partition Master or a similar tool…

I’ve tried using both Easus Partition Master and MiniTool Partition Wizard to delete all partitions and even tried converting back and forward between MBR and GPT to no avail; both programs still read the drives as 111gb. I’m pretty sure it’s a setting in the firmware of the drive, I just need to find a way to update it.

Compatability guides are only useful if your system is on the list.

I don’t think it is a compatability problem, but the guide is there nonetheless.

The drive was tested under Slax Linus by the manufacturer. A live cd. Try that to see how it reads the size of the drive.

Have you done a diagnostic test with the drive using the manufacturer’s own software to check the health?

The S.M.A.R.T. data for the drive is green across the board for both drives and every tool I’ve tried reports that they are in perfect health. I’ve downloaded a Drive Capacity Tool which should do the job, but it won’t run in Windows 7 so I’m looking at an XP Pro install to dual boot my current machine. MMHD should have been able to fix the problem, but it won’t see the drives!

If you were not “across the pond”, I’d say ship one of the drives to me and I’d work out how to do it and send it back to you…

I love SOLVING such technical puzzles.

The work leading up the solution, not so much…

What I’d recommend is first look for ANY Windows XP (OR Vista) installation disc and using a computer WITHOUT any other drive connected, boot from the XP installer disc
and use that to delete the existing partitions and format the drive.

a Windows7 installation disc will invariably create a partition 100mb smaller than specified with an unlettered 99Mb “System Reserved” partition at the front of the drive.

Windows XP, Vista & 7 will allow FOUR primary partitions on a single hard drive, however Vista & 7 will only allow the creation of THREE primary partitions.

XP will actually create FOUR.

What Vista & 7 will do when attempting to create the fourth is to create an “Extended” partition nested inside a “Logical Drive” and I’ve found
these tend to be unstable.

So even after the loss of support for XP there is still a use for having a dedicated
"OLD" computer running XP as a “Formatting station” and keeping an XP installer disc around simply to use as a formatting tool/partition deleter.

I finally fixed this by dual booting my Windows 7 box with XP Pro. I used nLite to integrate AHCI drivers and slipstream SP3 and other security hotfixes and then created an unattended install disk. (WARNING: attempting to include WMP11 or IE8 or any associated updates with the nLite method caused the install to fail).

After a successful install, the Hard Drive Capacity Restore Tool did exactly what it says on the tin. (http://hddguru.com/software/2007.07.20-HDD-Capacity-Restore-Tool/).

I’d still love to know how to fix this from Windows 7, though; there must be a tool out there somewhere that can do the same as hddguru’s baby.