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Resizing Nobbled Hard Disks

When is a 40GB Hard disk not a 40GB disk?... When Compaq have nobbled it. It may seem to be lunacy to turn a 40GB hard disk into a 3.2GB disk - and of course it is. Unfortunately, our topsy-turvy money system rewards the creation of scarcity so it makes 'economic sense':( Computer retailers warranty hard disks and when a disk goes wrong, they often no longer have such a small drive available. Ethical companies would just replace the defective disk with a larger capacity drive, but some encourage people to buy an upgrade by deliberately nobbling large drives to make them behave like smaller, older drives:(...

Destroying functionality is sensible only within the selfish perspective of profit maxmisation; it is undeniably a waste of the world's resources, so we started this project to help users reverse the change made, restoring such hard drives to their original size. Here is a list of capacities, manufacturer codes & model numbers of drives known to be affected, so that users who have a nobbled drive can quickly find this page and learn how to restore the disk size:

Manufacturer's Code Apparent Size Drive Model# Real Size
HP Spare 8G0491 20 GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 8 - 6E040L07 40 GB
HP Spare 20 GB Maxtor NAR61HA0 40 GB
Compaq Spare 192058-001 10 GB Seagate Barracuda V 40 GB
Compaq Spare 192058-001 10 GB Seagate ST320011A 20 GB
Compaq Spare 10 GB Western Digital Protege wd200eb-11cpf0 20 GB
Part Nr. 2F040L0710634 10 GB Maxtor Fireball 3 ATA/133 40 GB
Compaq Spare 192058-001 10 GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 8 20 GB
Compaq Spare 180472-001 10 GB Maxtor D740-6L 20 GB
Compaq Spare 166973-001 6.4 GB Maxtor 2B020H1 20 GB
Compaq Spare 166973-001 6.4 GB Maxtor D740X-6L 40 GB
Compaq Spare 166973-001 6.4 GB Maxtor Fireball 3 20 GB
Compaq Spare 166973-001 6.4 GB Western Digital WD200 20 GB
Compaq Spare 166873-001 3.2 GB Maxtor 2B020H1 20 GB
Compaq Spare 166873-001 3.2 GB Maxtor Fireball 3 40 GB
To detect a nobbled drive, look on the disk for the manufacturer's size. For most modern drives this is written clearly on the top of the hard drive. For older ones, you can calculate it yourself by referring to the number of cylinders, heads and sectors, which should be clearly shown on the disk. Assuming #Heads=16 and #Sectors=63, the size in MB is equal to about half of the number of cylinders. For example, see the CHS value on the right:

Capacity  =  16,824MB/2  =  8.4GB

If your drive seems to have a smaller capacity than it should, check the following points:

# Possible Causes Detection Method Suggested Fix
1 The capacity has been limited ('clipped') by setting the jumpers on the drive. Look for an information panel on the disk, like the one shown: Change the jumpers so they do not limit the size of the drive.
2 The hard drive is not formatted or partitioned correctly. Look at the size given by the BIOS screen during boot up. This matches the hard drive's size, but doesn't match the size reported by the operating system. Check that your operating system and file system can support such large drives (e.g. Fat16 requires partitions are <2GB) In Windows 2000 or newer, use the 'disk management' snap-in to re-partition the disk. In Windows ME or before, use the FDISK command. For other OS's, see below*.
3 The motherboard is too old to support such a large hard drive. Look at the size given by the BIOS screen during boot up. This is less than the hard drive's size, such as 504MB, 528MB, 2.1GB, 7.9GB, 8.4GB or 137GB. Check the manufacturer's site to see whether a flash upgrade to the BIOS is available. Alternatively, try another motherboard if you've got one...
4 The hard drive has been nobbled by a manufacturer. Look at the size given by the BIOS screen during boot up. This is less than the hard drive's size. Check the hard drive for a manufacturer's label. To undo this change, and restore the hard drive to its proper size, it is necessary to issue a "SET MAX ADDRESS" or "SET MAX ADDRESS EXT" command. This can be done without specialist knowledge, by using Lubomir Cabla's freely available program, HDAT2.

Please contact us if this information is of use to you - especially if you can add to the list of affected drives on this page.
The more information we have on this topic, the more other users are likely to benefit from this project.

*For non-windows users, we have received the following advice:

You may use  DiskDruid (Linux),  mkfs  (Unix, Linux), or  Fdisk . Check your HDD size under labels and BIOS records first, then repartition it. Remember to select file system type (e.g. EXT2 or EXT3). In such Unix like OS there is a less danger repartitioning a HDD than in Windows, because of separate partitions for every resource (system - root partition, users -  /usr,  variables -  /var,  personal documents - /home , and so on. NOTE: At least four partitions (/boot  ;  /  ;  /swap  ;  /home) MUST to be in partition table. So, if you create new partition under unpartitioned space, you are not at the risk to destroy your system. By repartitioning HDD do not delete any partitions (even these which you are unable to see in your system (e.g. swap partition), unless you know what you are doing).

AFTER WRITING THE PARTITION TABLE TO HDD THESE CHANGES CANNOT BE UNDONE. Do not forget to format created partition and add it to  /etc/fstab  or  /etc/mtab . Then reboot your machine. If you've correctly described new partition under  fstab  or  mtab , you should now to see it under your directory structure. For further instructions you may consider to run command  man fdisk  or  man mkfs ."

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