Installing an OS to volumes larger than 2.2 TB

Post date: Apr 10, 2013 1:22:58 PM

Just some notes from my experience;

BIOS has a limit to the size of drive/volume capacity that you can use.

Currently, if you have BIOS configured conventionally and you try to configure a volume of say 3TB off of your RAID controller, then go to do an install of Server 2012 for instance, you will see your volume broken in to chunks, both chunks will show an overall volume size of 3 TB, however, one will be at 2 TB and the other, the remainder, in this case 1TB.

The 1TB remainder will be unavailable to you however, only the first 2TB will be usable. Even after installing the OS, you can go in to Computer Management and try to manipulate the disks, and the remainder of the volume will show, but will be unavailable.

To get around this inherit problem, manufacturers like Dell have installed a boot loader in to BIOS called UEFI. Unified Extensible Firmware Interface or UEFI has to be enabled within BIOS. Look for it as a boot loader.

Once enabled, you will see BIOS run through the normal series of checks, through its progress bar, but you will notice instead of BIOS in the upper right, it will say UEFI. Make sure to hit F11 or equivalent for boot loader options; When the UEFI boot loader is reached, it will initialize. When it finishes, you will be prompted for how to proceed, either boot from disk, cd, or flash if available.

When you first load up your OS, 2012 or other, you will initially see the volume broken as before, but this time, you will be able to manipulate the volumes, making the first smaller, the second larger, etc. For my test, I set the boot volume at 250GB, and left the rest of the space undefined. Then installed the OS. Once in Server 2012, I expanded the volume from 250GB to 3.0TB, and the operation went flawlessly.