[clug] Dumb user question: 2+TB disks, MBR & BIOS...

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Tue Jan 1 22:48:44 MST 2013

My apologies if this question has been asked/answered on-list,
especially if by me :-(
My memory isn't what it used to be: once it was reliable.

I read a piece by Seagate that MBR (Master Boot Record) partitioned
disks only have 32-bits for sector size, so for 512by sectors, maxx out
at "2.1TB" (2TiB or 2^41by).

They said:
 - To boot from them, need an EFI/UEFI system. BIOS won't work unless
you 'destroke' the drive.
 - Windows XP will only see the *excess* over 2TiB [wrap-around problem]
 - Vista/Win-7/Win-8 can do Maths on >32-bits!
 - If you want to partition the disk you need to use GPT
   (GUID Partition Table)

 - anyone built any desktop systems with a 3/4TB drive?
 - booted from a large drive? Tips & Tricks?
 - Used 3/4TB drives as (USB) removable Storage?

I guess I'm wondering if modern Desktops and white-box servers support
UEFI, rather than BIOS.

I'm sure I've read that Linux does UEFI. [not sure, but it's the
ultimate glue and generally supports All Known Hardware]

And, IIRC, there was a thread on-list about GPT partitions (suggested
tool gparted?? can't recall) not too long ago.
Think it was mainly "what tool do I use?"


 - If I'm buying a laptop and want to connect a 3-4TB drive via USB or
something, are there any gotchas or prerequisites?

 - If I build/buy a barebones server & want to use >2TB drives, what do
I have to look out for or avoid? [Tips & Tricks]

Or is this all taken care of in modern motherboards, because we've had
>2TB drives for a few years now.

URL's are good answers, don't expect people to reinvent the wheel.
As as some well chosen search terms :-)

But War Stories are always more interesting. Like when the Linux kernel
went from /dev/hd[0-9] to /dev/sd[0-9]... Supporting multiple boots got
'interesting' for a while there.

Thanks in Advance.


Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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