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Windows 7: 6TB HDD, but BIOS won't allow over 2TB

21 Mar 2017   #11
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

I'd install Partition Wizard Free.

Then I'd use it to "convert MBR to GPT".

As was previously stated, MBR partitioning can only support drives and partitions up to 2TB, and a max of 4 "primary" partitions. Or, 3 primary partitions and the fourth used as an "extended partition" inside of which any number of "logical" partitions can be allocated. This approach (using "logical" partitions) is how you used to have to go if you wanted more than four partitions on your drive. Note that you can only boot from a "primary" partition (i.e. the Boot Manager "system reserved" active partition, in an MBR setup). You can't boot from a "logical" partition.

That all goes away if you use GPT partitioning. No more 2TB limit (i.e. you can support drives larger than 2TB, and you can have partitions larger than 2TB). No more four partition limit. There's no such thing as "primary" or "logical" or "active', etc.

You're running Win10. There cannot be any reason why you can't partition your drive using GPT, and arrange as many GPT partitions as you want of any size (use Partition Wizard to do all of this), and have it be your boot drive.

Your 2TB story is because the 6TB drive is currently partitioned as MBR, and only 2TB of it is visible through MBR. It just needs to be converted to GPT with Partition Wizard and your problems are solved.

Note that Win7 also supports GPT partitioning, and booting to a drive partitioned with GPT.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Mar 2017   #12
Escar Frazzle

Windows 10 Home 64-bit
 
 

Welp, looks like the computers getting wiped tonight. Glad I ran the back up last night. Thanks, I expected to be able to get going again, but I didn't plan on my problems to be completely solved. Should I mark as solved, or can I leave this open while I "try" and convert my drive to GPT?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Mar 2017   #13
Mellon Head

Win 7 Pro x64/Win 10 Pro x64 dual boot
 
 

Leave it open while you try to convert in case you have any issues. That way, other members will look in as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Mar 2017   #14
Escar Frazzle

Windows 10 Home 64-bit
 
 

Things aren't going, but I guess I should be thankful that their not going badly. I tried to use MiniTool Partition Wizard to convert my disk from MBR to GPT, but I get an error that says "MiniTool Partition Wizard cannot find EFI boot files from your system." I tried it on my old drive and it did it no problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2017   #15
Escar Frazzle

Windows 10 Home 64-bit
 
 

So after some frustrating time clicking and whatnot I decided that instead of keeping a back up image on my old drive I would just clone it. I hit copy disk and when it asked me to select a target disk it wouldn't let me select my old drive because it was disk 1 and the new one was disk 2, or "The specified disk is source disk." as it put it. I thought that this might be why I ran into an error earlier. So I switched my sata cables around and switched my boot. Now I can clone my disk. This gave me a hunch that this could be part of the problem because MiniTool wasn't happy about it. Turns out it didn't help, but you never know when your gut is right. So I'm back to square one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2017   #16
RoasterMen

Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Did you install Windows using UEFI?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2017   #17
Escar Frazzle

Windows 10 Home 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by RoasterMen View Post
Did you install Windows using UEFI?
I just upgraded to 10 via download. I check my boot menu and it seems that UEFI isn't listed, so I think I'm SOL on this one. I believe I just missed out on UEFI support when I bought my computer in 2010. It's an HP, Model# HPE-210y. I plan on double checking, but if I understand what I've read, it needs to be built in and I don't think it's there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2017   #18
dg1261

Windows 7/8.1/10/XP multiboot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Escar Frazzle View Post
I believe I just missed out on UEFI support when I bought my computer in 2010. It's an HP, Model# HPE-210y.
Okay, now that we have the model number, we can see from HP's site that the only drivers HP provides are for Vista and Win7, and no BIOS updates at all. Although some models released late in the Win7 era did support UEFI, it's not unusual for most Win7 computers to only support BIOS/MBR booting. In this case, given the drivers available and the fact there are no BIOS updates, it seems doubtful HP ever supported UEFI on that model.

Your examination of the BIOS options tends to agree, so the bottom line is you're stuck with MBR booting on that computer. Note that doesn't mean you can't use a GPT disk, it only means you can't boot from one. If you boot from a MBR disk, a secondary data disk can be GPT.

So if it were me, I'd use two disks. Use one of the 2TB disks with MBR partitioning as your OS disk, and the 5TB disk with GPT partitioning as your data disk. If you redirect your user document folders to the 5TB, you should have more than enough room on the 2TB to split it up into as many multibooted OS partitions as you want. Note: a side benefit of redirecting your user documents is that you can make the same documents available to every OS, regardless of which OS you boot.

If you wipe the 5TB and reinitialize it as GPT, you can recreate partitions using the full 5TB. It could even be a single, giant partition if you want. Even the half-witted Disk Management can handle that, though I'd still use Partition Wizard because it's more reliable than Microsoft's tools.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2017   #19
Escar Frazzle

Windows 10 Home 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dg1261 View Post
...... so the bottom line is you're stuck with MBR booting on that computer. Note that doesn't mean you can't use a GPT disk, it only means you can't boot from one. If you boot from a MBR disk, a secondary data disk can be GPT.
This explains why I was able to convert my old drive to GPT. That's better news than I was expecting. This all started with wanting to duel boot Win 10 and Linux, Win 98 for shits and giggles. I suppose now I'll bring in my spare 2TB disk to put what I want to keep on it, change the other 2TB back to MBR and install Win 10 on it. It's too bad I leave for work in 15 minutes. I should have this hammered out during the weekend. I'll probably have quite a few more questions to make sure I do this right. Searching online only helps so much until you need more specific answers. I'm going to leave this open until then, I know every time I google a thread 90% of the time it dies unexpectedly. You guys have been a huge help.

Edit: I'm still confused as to why I can't expand my partition I shrunk. The PC guy here managed, but I suppose that doesn't matter now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2017   #20
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Escar Frazzle View Post
This explains why I was able to convert my old drive to GPT. That's better news than I was expecting. This all started with wanting to duel boot Win 10 and Linux, Win 98 for shits and giggles. I suppose now I'll bring in my spare 2TB disk to put what I want to keep on it, change the other 2TB back to MBR and install Win 10 on it.
Win98 doesn't support GPT partitioning you're now planning on your second drive, so just keep that in mind. But if it is all self-contained on the MBR drive, you will still be able to use it.


Quote:
Edit: I'm still confused as to why I can't expand my partition I shrunk. The PC guy here managed, but I suppose that doesn't matter now.
Don't know what tool you were using to do the shrinkage and attempt the re-expansion, but you're best bet is simply to rely on Partition Wizard for any of these tasks involving resizing, deleting, moving and sliding, creating, converting, copying, combining, converting "primary" to "logical" and vice versa on MBR, converting MBR to GPT, etc.. It can do some pretty remarkable things, and in my experience over the many years I've been using it has been 100% failsafe.
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 6TB HDD, but BIOS won't allow over 2TB




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