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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Hard Disk BIOS and Capacity Factors | Hard Disk Size Barriers ]

The Windows 95 Limit (29.8 GiB / 32.0 GB) Barrier

Microsoft officially announced in 1999 that Windows 95 does not support hard disks over 32 GB in size. For that reason, I am including this in my discussion of hard disk capacity barriers. However, I must embarrassingly admit that after many months of trying to determine the reason for this exclusion, I have been unable to find out what it is! So I can't give an explanation for this limit, because I don't know myself. All I know is that Microsoft would not officially announce that Windows 95 could not handle hard disks over 32 GB if it could--at least, I don't think they would, would they? ;^) At any rate, you can read their knowledge base article on the subject here and make up your own mind. Don't expect to find any details there however, or I'd discuss them myself. (If by any chance you do know the reason for this barrier, please let me know, I'd certainly appreciate it.)

All Microsoft says for its description of the limit is "32 GB"; since I don't know the details behind this I don't know the exact number that the capacity limit represents. In the same knowledge base article where Microsoft says Windows 95 won't support drives over 32 GB, they say that Windows 98 (and presumbly, Windows ME) will support drives over 32 GB, but that a patch may be needed due to a bug in Scandisk on drives over 32 GB in size; see here. It may be that this Scandisk problem is the same as the one that caused Microsoft to write off large drives under Windows 95. Microsoft may have just decided it would not bother to patch Windows 95. Alternatively, they could be separate issues. Again, if you have any information on this subject, I'm all ears. :^)

Next: The 65,536 Cylinder (31.5 GiB / 33.8 GB) Barrier

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