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Proper "large" IDE HDD support is two-piece:

  1. Detection
  2. Runtime support

Detection means that BIOS reports the correct size of the HDD. AWARD BIOS older than 6/1999 screw up with >32GB drives.

Runtime support means that the BIOS must offer additional runtime services to access what's behind the 8 GB border (1024x63x255x512 bytes, to be exact). That's usually called "Int13 extensions", and by far not every BIOS that detects any drive size has these.

That's why you see 20 GB in BIOS and only 8GB in your operating system.

Required reading:

You have three options in this case:

  1. Get a BIOS upgrade.  Might not help, especially in older systems. You can get help in our hard disk forum.
  2. Purchase an add-on EIDE controller card.
  3. Use Drive Overlay software like EZBios or Ontrack.  You can download this from the HDD manufacturer's home page.

Go back to our BIOS FAQ.

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(Examples: how to update your BIOS, how to identify your motherboard)