You’d think buying an additional hard drive for a computer running Window swould be easy, right? You buy it, stick it in the computer, and turn it on, then use Windows to format it. If only. I bought a 200 gig hard drive the other day, not knowing that if you buy a hard drive over 137 gigabytes, you are asking for a world of problems. I didn’t need such a big hard drive, but given the low low price of storage these days, I figured I’d plan for the future.

I brought the drive home and installed it in my PC. When I went to configure the drive in the BIOS, it only recognized it as a 137 gigabyte drive. Hello, Google. Turns out my BIOS doesn’t support large drives. I then had two choices, buy a separate hard drive controller or try to find a BIOS update for my motherboard. I wanted to go the BIOS update route, but was deterred by the fact that I have no floppy drive (BIOS updates want you to boot from the floppy into DOS), and by the fact that I didn’t want to screw up my PC. Besides, I thought, a new hard drive controller will be faster.

I order a new controller, wait a couple of days, and it arrives at my door. I install the PCI card, hook up everything, and boot up the computer. The controller’s BIOS says no drives are installed, and then hangs. Computer won’t start. I leave the controller in and unplug the drive — computer starts fine. Could my brand new hard drive be broken? Back to Google. I discover that the problem is that I need to disable the MIDI port on my motherboard in the BIOS. Seriously. That’s my problem. Curse a bit, disable the port not believing that it will help anything, plug everything back in, restart.

Lo and behold the controller detects my drive properly. Now all I have to do is use the Drive Manager in Windows to format the drive and I’m all set. I go to the Drive Manager, and it says that the new unformatted hard drive is 128 gigs, the exact problem I was having with the BIOS originally. Well, Windows XP was supposed to start supporting large hard drives with SP1. I have SP2 installed. No dice. Damn, I hate computers.

Update: It’s always a relief to know that I can blame Microsoft for my problems. I booted up the computer using a Knoppix CD, and fdisk -l indicated that the computer knows it has a 200 gig hard drive installed. Windows is the problem.