|Sooner or later, you'll find yourself saying "Ya' know, 2,199,023,255,552 bytes (also known as 2TB) of data on
one hard drive is just not enough for me - I need more, lots more."
Well, first the good news --- hard disk drive prices are running below $100 per Terabyte, and if you REALLY have a lot of data even the 16TB network attached storage (NAS) drives with "data center class" drives are coming in about that price per Terabyte.
Network Attached Storage (NAS) drives and enclosures
use RAID to provide data redundancy and error checking, and to provide a very large storage capacity.
Now the not so good news --- you need to move on from Windows XP (Microsoft will be dropping support for Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in April, 2014 so you have a year to prepare). Windows XP didn't expect to "last" as long as it did, and expected to be replaced before the time that hardware manufactures hit the 2TB limit
of the MBR (Master Boot Record) format drives.
Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and OS X are all capable of using the "Advanced Format" disks that trade in the 512 byte blocks for 4,096 byte (4KB) blocks as well as the GPT (GUID Partition Table) format that breaks through the 2.1TB limit. This change allows for much greater storage on a single hard drive.
One other gotcha that you may not be aware of, and which we found out the hard way - some of the external adapters for hard disk drives ALSO have a limit. So here at the store we wasted several
hours troubleshooting a 3TB drive when it was really the SATA/USB adapter that was the issue. "Never assume."
USB drive adapters (or their drivers) could have drive size limitations. If you are having problems detecting a large
capacity drive attached to an adapter or drive enclosure, don't assume it's defective hardware. Double check supported hardware on the manufacturer's site or look to see if a new device driver is available. Don't forget, your operating system must be able to support the drive capacity as well!
Can't part with XP until next year? Most of the disk manufactures supply software that help XP over the 2.1TB limit but if you're putting all of those "eggs" into one large hard disk drive "basket" you'd be wise to look at newer operating systems that come on newer, faster hardware, running in 64-bit more which allows you to also break past the 3GB of main memory (RAM) for increased
In summary, the hardware and software have to be in synch with each other to support the larger capacity drives. Most recently we saw with the 137GB limit, before that it was the 32GB limit, and if you go further back there was not only a 2GB limit but --- brace yourself --- a 32KB limit to what a hard disk drive could hold.
Got questions? Our Sales Associates in the Build Your Own PC in each Micro Center can make sure you get the hardware, software, and information you need to do the things you want to do.
For more assistance contact Technical Support here.