Windows 10: New PC Windows on Single 3TB Hard Drive, Seen as 746GB
New PC Windows on Single 3TB Hard Drive, Seen as 746GB
I recently acquired a second-hand PC that had everything working fine but lacked a hard drive. I bought a 3TB HDD and installed it. Afterwards, I installed Windows 7 (because I had a key for it), and then I upgraded to Windows 10 because I prefer it.
I noticed as early as when I installed Windows 7 that the PC only detected 746GB of my hard drive. After doing some research, it appears that this is a common problem when adding large storage HDDs exceeding 2TB. Unfortunately, most of the solutions involve reformatting the entire HDD since most people add the 3TB HDD as an extra drive. However, since I have installed the OS on this drive, I cannot do that.
I would like some advice with either extending my OS partition to the full 3TB or creating a new partition with the rest of my storage space - whichever is better or more efficient. I have already accessed the Disk Management program built into Windows, and here's an image of what I see:
Note that it started with the 3 main partitions (C, the 1300, and the other 746) before I even tried anything. First I tried creating a simple volume in the 1300, intending to extend it to the other 746, but I was unable to do so (the extend button was grayed out). Afterwards I deleted the volume, and now for some reason it calls that space "free space" instead of "unallocated."
Any instruction as to what is the best course of action would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Does the computer have UEFI firmware instead of legacy bios? If the computer has UEFI firmware then you really need to bite the bullet, wipe the hard drive, and install Windows 10 in UEFI mode which will do away with the 2TB limit that you have now with legacy bios and MBR partitioning on the hard drive.
I had a similar issue when I tried to install a 3TB HDD in W7 (as a data drive).
It turns out that one of the AMD motherboard drivers was causing the issue.
I fixed the problem by removing the AMD driver and reverting to the default W7 driver.
Have a look at this thread on SevenForums (Post #4):
I'm not sure if W10 will boot from a GPT HDD though.
Thanks for the quick response!
I'm not sure about the UEFI stuff - how do I check whether it has UEFI or legacy BIOS?
As for reinstalling Windows 10 - do I have to install Windows 7 and upgrade again, or is there a way to install Windows 10 and not have to show a license key (or use the current one somehow).
Yeah I've seen a bunch of solutions like this - unfortunately, I don't think it applies if the OS is on the 3TB drive.
Thanks for the response though
If it is the Dell Precision T3500 in your system specs then you have a legacy BIOS. Legacy BIOS pretty much limits you to 2TB useable on the boot drive which must be MBR partitioned. Your best bet (and performance boost) would be to get an SSD as the primary drive to run Windows from and move the 3TB hard drive to a secondary storage drive. As the secondary storage drive it can be converted to a GPT partitioned disk and all of the 3TB will become useable. You can partition it however you want - multiple smaller partitions or 1 big 3TB partition. That also provides you with an easy means to keep a backup image of your OS from the primary drive (whether it be an SSD or 2TB or smaller hard drive).
Now that you have done the upgrade once and have a digital entitlement for Windows 10 stored at Microsoft, you can clean install Windows 10 directly by just skipping the product key when it asks for one and it will retrieve that digital entitlement to activate itself.
Hmm that's unfortunate but a SSD does sound nice.
I've never installed an SSD before actually - is it any different from an HDD in terms of installation? Also, do you have any recommendations for an SSD? I was looking for a cheap option since I don't really want to spend too much money on this build. Do either of the following work?
Amazon.com: PNY CS1311 120GB 2.5 Accessories
Amazon.com: Kingston Digital 120GB UV400 SSD C2C 2.5 Accessories
EDIT: These seem to be laptop SSDs actually - just to show my inexperience. Perhaps you have some better suggestions?
There's no real difference in installing an SSD or a hard drive. The SSDs you have selected would be fine for what you want and still faster than a hard drive. I would go with the PNY - faster write speeds. The desktop computer I am posting on right now has a 120GB SSD. All SSDs are laptop size, you want an adapter if you want to install them properly in a desktop:
2.5" to 3.5" adapter
I just noticed I have an extra recovery partition I need to delete....
Oh how silly of me. Thanks for the advice. Just checking though, it doesn't say that the adapter or the SSD comes with screws. Do they, or is there some standard size that I need to get? Thanks!
EDIT: Checked reviews, says it comes with screws, wonderful. Thanks for the help!
The SSD will come with screws. The mounting adapter I linked to doesn't, so you would need the standard desktop hard drive screws - or this adapter with all screws included:
Adapter with screws
When you connect the SSD and before you install Windows on it, go into BIOS setup on the computer and make sure the SATA controller is set to AHCI mode and not IDE mode. Performance will be much faster in AHCI mode. Also, when you are installing Windows onto the SSD, you will want to leave the second hard drive disconnected. Once Windows is installed on the SSD and booting fine, then reconnect the second hard drive. This keeps Windows setup from detecting any boot partitions that might be on the second hard drive and installing the boot files there instead of on the SSD where you want them.
This doesn't make sense. My new Dell 15 XPS (9550) laptop has the BIOS SATA setting set to RAID (not AHCI) and yet it has a single internal OS NVMe PCIe SSD. Any idea why it's not set to AHCI? thanks
Good Day everyone,
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