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How I fixed my son's new laptop 160GB drive

My son bought a new 160GB SATA drive for his Dell laptop to replace the original 40GB drive. I used a USB adapter to connect the drive to the laptop and used Acronis V11 Home to clone the Dell drive to the new drive.

After it completed the clone, I pulled out the old and installed the new and powered up. The drive started the boot and the Windows XP screen displayed and I thought we were home free! However, it blue-screened shortly after the Windows screen displayed.

I booted to the setup bios and it showed the new drive as 40GB, same as the old. Every tool I tried showed 40GB instead of 160GB and I have a lot of them. Reformatting, zeroing, etc would not bring the drive back to its original state.

After some hours of searching, I finally found a thread which led to the solution. The tool is called HDAT2. The problem seems to be the combination of the Dell laptop (with MediaDirect which uses a Host Protected Area (HPA) of the disk) and Acronis which had apparently problems with this HPA configuration corrupting the drive.

I burned the HDAT2 ISO to a bootable CD and booted it up to a laptop with the new drive connected via the USB adapter. HDAT2 did see the USB drive when the USB ASPI driver was selected during bootup but the option I was looking for (Set Max (HPA)) was not on the main menu like it was for the internal drive. So, I pulled out the old and popped in the new (again) and booted up the HDAT2 CD and this time the Set Max (HPA) menu item displayed for the drive.

I selected this option and it immediatly showed the discrepancy and had the Max Address field already populated with the correct value so all I had to do was type S to Save and that fixed the problem. The new drive now reported its correct size.

I will not use Acronis with this Dell for a disk clone. BTW, Acronis had worked fine for my old Dell when I upgraded its drive.

Note that the thread referenced above discussed a Seagate drive that had issues and a special procedure for dealing with 28 vs 48 bit LBA. My son's drive is a Western Digital and did not have those problems. A simple press of the S key was all that was needed in my case.

Print | posted on Saturday, May 10, 2008 12:00 AM | Filed Under [ Personal ]


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