When system software does not keep pace with increasing disk capacities, it can cause problems. Take Windows Systems Management Server (SMS), a product that allows administrators to manage complex Windows configurations, including software deployment, patch management and related jobs, over a network.
When Microsoft designed SMS, it assumed that no one would use it to manage hard disks with capacities larger than one terabyte (1,000 GB). That was a pretty safe bet at the time, since back then 250 GB was a huge hard disk. Today, you find 250 GB on a middle-of-the-road desktop and a number of companies will soon be offering hard drives with capacities of more than 1 TB. Drives with that much capacity are most popular in large, complex installations. . .the kind of environment SMS was designed for.
However, SMS has a built-in limit. If you try to install an SMS mount point on a disk larger than 1 TB on a Windows Server 2003 system, it may fail. If the disk is larger than 1 TB, the PrimaryVolumeSpaceRemaining property overflows and the sign bit is set to negative.
When SMS attempts to install a mount point on a disk, Windows Server 2003 runs a check on the InstallExecuteSequence table in the Installer package. When it finds PrimaryVolumeSpaceRemaining negative, the check fails and so does the installation.
Microsoft has provided a
Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80 K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last 20 years he has been a freelance writer specializing in issues related to storage and storage management.
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This was first published in February 2006