Windows XP doesn't recognize the correct size of any hard drive on Cyrix MediaGXM based laptop

I would have never thought Windows XP would run on on a 266Mhz Cyrix Mediagxm based laptop. It runs slow but it does work. But the laptop gives a weird problem with Windows XP when it runs , it will only recognize the first 8GB of any hard drive. It doesn't matter if its a real IDE hard drive, using CF card on a adapter, or using a IDE to SD card adapter , this issue happens. Its also weird that DOS, windows 95/98 will recognize any capacity just fine.

This laptop does support more than 8GB since it does support LBA which is optionally enabled in the BIOS , and I do have the option always enabled. I do know 8GB is the original limit for CHS but don't think this has nothing to do with this since CHS was eventually updated to support up to about 128GB, and it does use LBA which does support 128GB.

I haven't figured out what causes this problem. Maybe someone on this forum would know what causes this, and can help me a way to bypass this problem.

Comments

  • After installing XP on a drive larger than 8GB, will XP let you create additional partitions in the space above 8GB?

    If not, then there is something really odd going on. I used to run in to that limitation on NT 4 all the time, and even NT 4 would let me create more partitions - but the primary partition would be limited to 8gb otherwise it would risk the boot loader not being able to load the kernel.

    You should also sanity test DOS and Win9x, especially DOS, to make sure it REALLY is seeing the entire drive, and not just creating a partition that will fall down when you fill it up.

  • @SomeGuy said:
    After installing XP on a drive larger than 8GB, will XP let you create additional partitions in the space above 8GB?

    If not, then there is something really odd going on. I used to run in to that limitation on NT 4 all the time, and even NT 4 would let me create more partitions - but the primary partition would be limited to 8gb otherwise it would risk the boot loader not being able to load the kernel.

    You should also sanity test DOS and Win9x, especially DOS, to make sure it REALLY is seeing the entire drive, and not just creating a partition that will fall down when you fill it up.

    There must be something very odd going on then. When booted into Windows XP , it only sees the hard drive as a 8GB drive, will not allow you to add any partition. Also if the hard drive is already formatted more than 8GB in Fat32, NTFS , Windows XP installer says its corrupted and needs to be reformatted.

    There is another odd thing though , If I take the hard drive once windows XP gets installed to it and does the 8GB partition , plug it into a USB adapter or put it into a real computer using IDE, any computer will say its corrupted and needs reformatted. This problem doesn't happen with windows 9x, since it recognizes the entire hard drive size, it formats it fine and is readable on other computers through USB, plugged into a real computer with IDE.

    I'm guessing Windows XP has some issue with the hard drive controller in this laptop. I am sure the hard drive controller doesn't have a 8GB limit even if the BIOS recognizes larger hard drives, since this laptop came with a 16GB hard drive. I am still going to test this theory though, maybe it does have 8GB hard drive limit.

  • I would check and see if there is a better Windows XP mass storage driver available for your hardware and slipstream it to see if there is an effect.

  • @yourepicfailure said:
    I would check and see if there is a better Windows XP mass storage driver available for your hardware and slipstream it to see if there is an effect.

    Windows xp already has the drivers for the MediaGX chipset, so it has the correct drivers for the chipset, its IDE controller etc.

  • Yes, however those may not be the latest, and better working drivers.

  • edited February 18

    @yourepicfailure said:
    Yes, however those may not be the latest, and better working drivers.

    MediaGx processors and chipsets were discontinued before Windows XP even came out, I think MediaGX was discontinued 1999 to 2000. I am guessing Windows XP comes with the very last drivers for this platform. MediaGX processors where never designed to be used with Windows XP anyway , so it is some compatibility issue.

  • A 266Mhz Cyrix should use bog standard IDE. I really don't see why it is being limited. If XP boots at all, then it has little to do with the CPU, and probably not much to do with the chipset.

    Anyway, a couple of random thoughts: Are you using the original XP release or one with SP 3 slip-streamed in ? Might be worth trying one over the other. If this were a desktop machine I'd say just throw a PCI SATA card in in. I have heard of some people using drive overlays (like Ontrack's) to get around BIOS issues even on NT/2000/XP even though that only assists the real-mode boot loader code. But again, I would expect you to see the entire drive even if the first partition is limited.

  • @SomeGuy said:
    A 266Mhz Cyrix should use bog standard IDE. I really don't see why it is being limited. If XP boots at all, then it has little to do with the CPU, and probably not much to do with the chipset.

    ....

    I have tried both an original Windows XP SP0 disk and a SP3 disk it does the exact same thing on both.

    I have tried using Ontrack Disk manager , it won't allow me to install it. It gives a message saying the bios can recognize the entire disk and ontrack is not needed. So have any way to force Ontrack to install? I do believe Ontrack might fix this problem.

  • What about Windows 2000 or 2003?

  • If you are sure the drive is really bigger than 8gb and it is still not letting you create a partition, and thinks you have the entire space, then something really, really weird is going on. I'd suggest probing the IDE drive with various IDE diagnostic tools. "idtheide.zip" comes to mind, "ided05.zip" might also be useful, perhaps "hdsdos.zip". Sorry, I don't have current download links for those.

  • @SomeGuy said:
    If you are sure the drive is really bigger than 8gb and it is still not letting you create a partition, and thinks you have the entire space, then something really, really weird is going on. I'd suggest probing the IDE drive with various IDE diagnostic tools. "idtheide.zip" comes to mind, "ided05.zip" might also be useful, perhaps "hdsdos.zip". Sorry, I don't have current download links for those.

    in windows 98 SE I did a read and write test and it was successful it can read / write the entire size of the hard drive, so I know 100% there isn't a 8GB hard drive limit. So there is something odd going on with Windows XP. I am trying to still figure out how to get Ontrack disk manager to install , since it gives me a error message saying its not needed and won't install.

  • Arag, you did mention 9x could recognize any capacity. Well that points back to the driver XP is using. Check device manager and see if has perhaps chosen some chipset specific IDE driver. I'm trying to think if there were any registry settings that might limit the XP ide driver, but the only one I can think of is LBA48 (>127MB) releated. You might try the UniATA driver http://alter.org.ua/soft/win/uni_ata/ . That is really meant for NT but is compatible with XP (and used by ReactOS).

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