A. The Microsoft supplied generic IDE driver (Atapi.sys) may not be fully compatible with drives larger that 8 GB. This issue only affects IDE-based drives 8 GB and larger however Service Pack 4 includes an updated ATAPI.SYS allowing access to disks greater than 8GB.

Windows 2000 will support (bootable) partitions larger than 8GB provided the booting controllers BIOS supports EXT INT-13 BIOS calls.

The system board BIOS must support and recognize drives larger than 8 GB before Windows NT can access the entire drive. You can verify this ability by entering into the BIOS or contacting your system board manufacturer. To use the SP4 ATAPI.EXE under NT 4.0 perform the following:

  1. Download the updated Atapi.sys from Microsoft's FTP server, ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/bussys/winnt/winnt-unsup-ed/fixes/nt40/atapi/ATAPI.EXE and copy the file to a blank floppy disk.
  2. Run Atapi.exe on the diskette and the new Atapi.sys file will be extracted to the diskette. Label the disk "ATAPI Service Pack 4 IDE Driver." or something along those lines
  3. Boot from the three setup disks supplied with Windows NT Server as per normal.
  4. When asked if you would like setup to detect your mass storage devices, press S so that detection is skipped and you specify a mass storage device.
  5. When setup list devices found, which should list none, press S again and insert the Microsoft ATAPI Service Pack 4 IDE Driver disk and press ENTER twice. After setup reads the disk and list the Microsoft ATAPI Service Pack 4 IDE driver, press ENTER to accept the driver.
  6. Setup will now list Microsoft ATAPI Service Pack 4 IDE Driver as an installed driver. If you have additional drivers for other mass storage devices, press S, if not, press ENTER to continue through setup.
  7. Setup should continue as per normal but it may prompt you to insert the disk labeled "Microsoft ATAPI Service Pack 4 IDE Driver Support Disk" at the copy phase after you have chosen or formatted a partition on a hard drive.

If you are using Microsoft Small Business Server 4.0 or 4.0a, follow these instructions:

  1. Download the updated ATAPI.SYS from Microsoft's FTP server ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/bussys/winnt/winnt-unsup-ed/fixes/nt40/atapi/ATAPI.EXE and copy the file to a blank floppy disk.
  2. Run Atapi.exe on the disk and the new Atapi.sys file will be extracted to the disk. Label the diskette "ATAPI Service Pack 4 IDE Driver."
  3. Copy an updated file to Small Business Server (SBS) disk 2. To do this, rename the file Winnt.sif to Winnt.bak on disk 2. Then copy the Winnt.sif from the I386 folder on SBS CD 1 to SBS disk 2.
  4. Boot from the modified SBS setup disks.
  5. When the computer is booting off of disk 1 and the message "Setup is inspecting your hardware configuration..." is displayed, press F6 on the keyboard. NOTE: This is at a black screen and no visible indicators occur when you press F6.
  6. When prompted, insert the modified disk 2 into the computer. The next screen that appears will prompt you to specify a mass storage drivers. To do that, press the S key and then arrow down to the listing of OTHER.
  7. Insert the Microsoft ATAPI Service Pack 4 IDE Driver disk and press ENTER twice.
  8. After setup reads the disk and list the Microsoft ATAPI Service Pack 4 IDE driver, press ENTER to accept the driver.
  9. Setup will now list "Microsoft ATAPI Service Pack 4 IDE Driver" as a installed driver. If you have any more drivers for other mass storage devices, press S; if not, press ENTER to continue through setup. NOTE: Because we are using a modified version of Winnt.sif, you will be prompted to insert disks 2 and 3 several times.
  10. Make sure you format or convert the partition to NTFS as SBS requires it.
  11. Setup should continue through normally but it will prompt you to insert the disk labeled "Microsoft ATAPI Service Pack 4 IDE Driver Support Disk" at the copy phase after you have chosen or formatted a partition on a hard drive.

Running ATAPI.EXE creates the files below:

  • atapi.sys
  • Disk1
  • oemsetup.inf
  • readme.txt
  • txtsetup.oem

The NT 4.0 SP4 atapi.sys file is neither necessary nor supported for Windows Terminal Server Edition. If you try to use it, you may get a message to the effect that you don't have the necessary component installed. As long as you stick to the 2GB/8GB install limits, this extension is not necessary.

Apparently, Microsoft refuses to support booting NT from any partition bigger than 8 GB for SCSI. The newer Adaptec 2940U2W cards are set up so that NT cannot be booted if the partition is larger than 8 GB, but unfortunately the older Adaptec cards still allow this largely undocumented "mistake" to occur.

Do not use Partition Magic prior to version 3.03 on a big disk; it doesn't understand the new INT 13 extensions and it can destroy your hard drive.

NOTE:  I've been informed that with the "ASUS P3B" Motherboard-series you can't use this solution, it simply won't boot with IDE from that motherboard-series.