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Old 12-08-08, 01:22 AM   #1
bigbossman 
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Vista to XP Pro "downgrade" - help, please.

OK, so I bit on a prepackaged Dell 530s for a really low price on Black Friday, figuring I could reformat the drive and load my XP Pro on it. That worked ok, and after loading XP drivers for a few bits of hardware, almost everything is groovy.

Except, the 320GB SATA drive only formatted to 127GB. The BIOS shows it correctly as 320GB, but XP only sees it as 128. I have SP 1 through 3 loaded on, but still no large drive support. I've used my XP install CD on the daughter's computer a year or so ago, and last month when I added a 500GB HD it saw it correctly, so this image should be good.

I called Dell support, and they tell me this model desktop should work well with either XP or Vista, they build them both ways. They ran down the list of necessary drivers I would need to install, and I hit them all so that's not it.

What am I missing - and more importantly, how can I fix it? Do I need to start from scratch?
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Old 12-08-08, 01:25 AM   #2
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http://support.microsoft.com/default...b;en-us;303013

Did you format it NTFS or FAT?
Quick Format or Normal?
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Old 12-08-08, 01:31 AM   #3
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http://support.microsoft.com/default...b;en-us;303013

Did you format it NTFS or FAT?
Quick Format or Normal?
Quick format, NTFS. I have SP 3 loaded.
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Old 12-08-08, 01:37 AM   #4
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Hmmm....

Usually when I have troubles after doing a quick format, I redo everything after doing a normal format. I don't know why, but sometimes that fixes odd problems.

Logically, there's no reason for Windows to be using the 127GB cap. If the HDD were jumpered as such, it would have shown up as a 127GB in Vista, too. I honestly don't know what else to tell you. The XP I'm using on the wife's computer is from a Dell CD (I got a handful of free ones from a project - they were using their own image and own Key), is SP1, and it recognizes my 500GB and my 320GB just fine.

You were right to blow away Vista, btw. I've hated it since it was in Beta, and now I have a computer that has it. It drops the internet connection twice per day (Vista and Panda AV don't play well together) requiring a reboot, and things just generally aren't where they belong. lol
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Old 12-08-08, 01:44 AM   #5
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Logically, there's no reason for Windows to be using the 127GB cap. If the HDD were jumpered as such, it would have shown up as a 127GB in Vista, too.
Well.... I don't know what it looked like in Vista. I booted it once, shut down, and the loaded my XP install disk, reformatted, and loaded XP.

Once bare bones XP was on, I loaded the missing XP drivers from the Dell website, and then started loading updates and service packs.

I guess I'll have to start from scratch.
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Old 12-08-08, 01:46 AM   #6
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Old 12-08-08, 08:43 AM   #7
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Old 12-08-08, 08:45 AM   #8
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But i like Vista... Flawless for over a year now...

However, if you're going with vista, you might as well go full blown ultimate edition with a 64-bit installation. Otherwise, stick with XP.

My only beef with Vista so far is that i can't install Leisure Suit Larry 7. It uses a 16-bit installer. Then again, i haven't tried installing it through DosBox yet.
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Old 12-08-08, 08:47 AM   #9
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Is your XP install CD have SP2 or SP3 slipstreamed in? The original XP CD without SP2 will only do 127GB.

You can work around with Partition Magic or similar software to expand the partition once installed.
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Old 12-08-08, 09:51 AM   #10
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But I like Vista... Flawless for over a year now...
+1

Why downgrade without trying it first? "It looks different" is not the correct answer.
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Old 12-08-08, 11:11 AM   #11
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You need to enable LBA (logical block addressing) in the registry. XP does support HD > 137g but it is not enabled by default.


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Old 12-08-08, 11:24 AM   #12
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+1

Why downgrade without trying it first? "It looks different" is not the correct answer.
Depending on the configuration of the 530s model the OP bought, the capacity to run Vista at anything above the Home Basic version might be slim. I wouldn't run Vista if I couldn't use the Ultimate version with all the excess doo-dads up and functional. (with the exception of my office machine, which runs Vista Business Edition).
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Old 12-08-08, 12:09 PM   #13
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Quick format, NTFS. I have SP 3 loaded.
Getting around the 48-bit LBA issue in WinXP is a two-step process. The first is upgrading the ATAPI.SYS file to 48-bit compatible. SP3 will install this file for you. HOWEVER, you STILL need to edit the registy and turn on the EnableBigLba option. Depending upon which XP CD you installed and how you installed SP3, this option may or may not be turned on. So check that 1st.

Now here's the catch, all these updates occur in SP3-installation AFTER the initial WinXP install. How are you supposed to format the drive to full-capacity BEFORE you install the original WinXP? One way to do this is to make your HD a slave to another XP installation and format it to full capacity first. Then move the drive back to your 530 and run the WinXP install CD (don't format drive again).

Another way is to have a WinXP install CD with SP3 slipstreamed in. That way it installs just once with no SP3 update needed. And it includes the correct ATAPI.SYS file to see the full capacity of the drive during the install process so you can format it to full capacity. If you've got volume-licensing agreement with MS, you can download a WinXP install CD from their website with SP3 built-in. If not, you can use nLite to create a customized WinXP install CD with SP3 built-in. Also a good idea to include all of the hardware drivers specific to that machine as well. You can even build an automatic unattended install CD that go through from beginning to end and creates user-accounts and sets network settings automatically. Just boot from CD, walk away for 30-minutes and your system is ready.
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Old 12-08-08, 07:27 PM   #14
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Could it be a hidden restore partition?
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Old 12-08-08, 09:10 PM   #15
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It's nothing that an Ed Litton respray couldn't fix.
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Old 12-08-08, 11:17 PM   #16
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Everyone -

Thanks for all the helpful advice, the problem has been solved with your assistance. It was an "old XP" distribution copy issue, solved by slipstreaming SP 3 with my distribution copy and making a new, bootable XP installation disk.

I found lots of instructions for doing this via Google, and most all were command line endeavors. However (with a special nod to DannoXYZ), I found a little gem of a freeware program called nLite that provided a GUI to do all the work for me, and then burn the ISO image onto a CD when finished. It booted, started the XP install process, and discovered the drive with the correct sizing.

Yeah!!

All this effort so I could save a $100.
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