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CNET Membership newsletter September 3, 2004 

The 5 that matter

Dear CNET members:
As most of you are probably aware, computer hardware problems can be a pain in the rear to solve. And in case of Michael's computer being unable to correctly detect the capacity of his new hard drive, the problem could be caused by a variety of reasons, ranging from a BIOS issue to a FAT32 file system limitation. Therefore, we can't get a solid solution without getting more details from him. So while this week's winning answer by Joe M. and all of the honorable mentions may provide Michael with better insight into his troubles, if you are reading this, Michael, I hope you will join us in this discussion and give us more specifics so that all of our supportive members can give you a helping hand. This newsletter is all about helping each other out, so please join in. Thanks for all the great submissions, everyone, and I await your participation.

1I just replaced my 40GB hard drive with a new 80GB one. But now my computer shows the drive at less than half of its capacity. I am running Windows Me with a 1.4GHz P4. What is wrong here?

--Submitted by: Michael M.

(WARNING: Many of this week's suggestions include flashing the computer's BIOS. It is best to leave this task to a qualified computer technician or follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter. Flashing the BIOS is serious task and if done incorrectly, can render your system completely useless. So be warned!)

Your answer may be very simple, or it may not be, depending on what's causing the problem. I'm thinking it's this first answer here--because you said you have a 40GB drive running fine, which means your system is likely OK with larger drives. But if it doesn't work, try the other solutions. And please, please upgrade your operating system, not the problem in this case but still a good idea. :)

Some drives have jumper settings that allow them to be compatible with older BIOSs that wouldn't recognize drives less than 32GB drives at all (or would recognize them incorrectly) and that when set tell the drive to pretend to be only 32GB. You can fix that by changing the jumper settings. Check your drive manufacturer's Web site or do a Google search with the name of your drive (model #) and "32 GB" and/or "Jumper," to find the exact settings. This is the easiest thing to check. (A jumper, for those who aren't familiar with the term, is a little plastic piece that you can put between two pins that allows you to select certain settings that must be made at a hardware level. All modern hard drives have one--for Master or Slave, when in use with two or more drives--and some have more than one.) This is the most likely solution, especially since you were running a 40GB drive before.

Second, your BIOS may be recognizing it incorrectly. This is less likely, since you had the 40GB drive before, but not impossible (some BIOSs recognize some but not all drives properly, and some have issues with drives less than 64GB). This is a little harder to fix but... Read more

--Submitted by Joe M .

(Please click here for the honorable mentions.)

For Joe's efforts, we’re sending him his choice of any Learning CD.

Check out next week's question:

I have a lot of things listed in Windows start-up through Msconfig. Is there a way to safely delete things other than going to Web sites and going through the long, agonizing search process? What would you recommend?

--Submitted by: Nikki K.

We feature a new question every Friday. If you have the answer, e-mail us at If we choose your response, you'll get a free CD. Click here for Q&A submission guidelines and check out our previous Q&As here.

Best regards and enjoy!

Lee Koo
CNET Community
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1 Destructive new virus hosed hard drives, or is it a Dell issue?
When you run into a serious problem with your computer, how do you know what is to blame for it? In this case, a member has come face-to-face with a computer system dilemma and doesn't know if it's a hardware issue or a virus that has rendered the system inoperable. The member started posting with a full-on scenario, almost like a blog, to show exactly what he has gone through so far. So if you have any suggestions or sound advice, please bring it to the table. More from the Computer help forum

1 Installing an old hard drive as a slave drive--is it a good idea?
This maybe a trivial question to some, but to many newcomers to the computing world it may not be. So do you have an opinion about this? While it may sound like a good idea, this member thought it would be best to ask the community to see if there are reasons he may not want to do this. So please chime in with your two cents and give this member the best possible advice. We're all listening. More from the Computer Newbies forum

1 Porn pops up when Internet Explorer connects
You've installed the pop-up blockers and the spy-blocking utilities, yet you are still hammered with not just any old pop-ups, but porn ones. This can be frustrating especially when your computers are used by the entire family, so what gives? If you're a pop-up guru and can give this member a helping hand to remedy her situation, please help. And if you find yourself in this or a similar predicament, give this discussion a read; hopefully you'll also find a solution in there for yourself. More from the Virus and Security Alerts forum

Windows instant toolbar for all drives
How to run Error Checking/Chkdsk on Windows 2000/XP
How to keep my computer from accessing my floppy drive during boot-up?

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