I recently bought a new 4TB hard drive, to help with storage space on my computer. One of the main reasons I wanted to get an additional hard drive was to move data across from an external hard drive that I bought a couple of years ago. This hard drive was a Verbatim 3TB 3.5″ (Model 47673) external (pictured below)
For reasons unknown, Verbatim created this hard drive as Master Boot Record (MBR) drive. For those that are unaware of MBR’s limitations, it only allows for partitions of up to 2TB. When I first plugged in the hard drive many years ago, I could see two “hard drives” one was 2TB and the other was 1TB. I didn’t think much about it at the time, because I had just bought a 3TB hard drive, and I had 3TB. Further to this point, the filesystem of both hard drives (out of the box) was FAT32. For those unfamiliar with the limitations of FAT32, it only allows files smaller than 4GBs to be stored on it.
The decisions made by Verbatim in production of this external hard drive are extremely questionable. I cannot think of a logical reason, why someone would want to have a 3TB hard drive, that is partitioned as MBT and a file system of FAT32, on such a large drive.
Since the drive was partitioned as MBT it was impossible to have the drive register as a single “disk” on the computer, because MBT limits the drive’s capacity to 2TB. And because the actual drive was 3TB, the tricky achieved to access the additional space was done on the external circuit board that allowed it to be accessed.
I decided to pull out the hard drive from the external casing (see pictures at the end) because I wanted to place the hard drive internally in my computer, because I didn’t want to worry about power and USB connections for my hard drive. Further, I also didn’t want 2 drives to show on my computer when it was only 1 physical hard drive. I wanted to access all 3TB of actual storage in one place. Once plugged into my computer directly, I realised I couldn’t access my 1TB storage from the external that was there before, and this is when I realised the MBR partition that was made on the drive. It became clear that Verbatim had some integrated driver on the external circuit board to allow for access outside of the 2TB range on the MBR partition of the 3TB drive. After some Googling I managed to find a way to re-partition the drive to a GUID Partition Table (GPT) drive.
I had to place the external back in it’s original casing in order for me to access the data from the “hidden” 1TB drive. Once I had copied everything over to my new 4TB drive, I was able to apply the changes mentioned in the Microsoft article here (to change the drive from MBR to GPT). And promptly after that formatted the drive to an NTFS file system so that I could allow storage of files over 4GB.
Finally, I was able to access my 3TB hard drive as one logical drive on my computer.
This is what the inside of the external casing looks like.