Microsoft Windows volumes are limited to 2.2 TB on BIOS based systems with MBR partioning - Servers



Source

RETAIN Tip:H194882

Symptom

The boot disk on a Microsoft Windows system, whether it is a physical disk or a logical disk on an array, is limited to two (2.2) terabytes (TB) in size.

This is due to the addressing limitations of the Master Boot Record (MBR) partitioning scheme, which the traditional Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) architecture uses to boot.

Non-boot volumes partitioned with MBR are also limited to 2.2 TB in size.

Affected configurations

The system is configured with at least one of the following:

  • Microsoft Windows 2003 Server, any service pack
  • Microsoft Windows 2003 Server for 32-bit Servers, any service pack
  • Microsoft Windows 2003 Server, Datacenter Edition, any service pack
  • Microsoft Windows 2003 Server, EE x64, any service pack
  • Microsoft Windows 2003 Server, x64 Edition, any service pack
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Datacenter 32-bit, any service pack
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Datacenter 64-bit, any service pack
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Enterprise 32-bit, any service pack
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Enterprise 64-bit, any service pack
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Standard 32-bit, any service pack
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Standard 64-bit, any service pack
  • Microsoft Windows XP 32-bit Professional, any service pack
  • Microsoft Windows XP 64-bit Professional, any service pack

This tip is not hardware specific.

This tip is not option specific.

Note: This does not imply that the network operating system will work under all combinations of hardware and software. Please see the compatibility page for more information: http://www.ibm.com/servers/eserver/serverproven/compat/us/

Workaround

Use a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)/GUID Partition Tables (GPT) based system as described in the Details section of this tip.

Additional Information

There is no Fix for this issue; this is a limitation of the architecture.

Systems based on the x86 or x86_64 architecture with a traditional BIOS can only boot to a disk volume partitioned with the MBR partitioning scheme.

This MBR is limited to a 32-bit address structure, which when utilized with a 512 byte sector size, results in an upper limit of 2 TB, i.e. ((2^32)-1)*512.

GPT systems have 64-bit addressing, but can only be used as boot devices by UEFI based systems. It is necessary, therefore, to limit the boot device on a BIOS based system to less than 2 TB.

This issue is discussed in the Microsoft article located at the following URL:

Applicable countries and regions

 


Document id:  MIGR-5079632
Last modified:  2013-02-20
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