This item is from the Yet Another Enhanced IDE/Fast-ATA/ATA-2 FAQ, by John Wehman and Peter den Haan with numerous contributions by others. (v1.92).
Many BIOSes dated before 1996 contain bugs making them incompatible with drives of more than 4096 cylinders, which works out to be about 2GB in size. Some BIOSes have similar problems at the 8192 cylinder boundary (4GB). The effects may range from not being able to use the full capacity to a crashing BIOS during bootup or upon detecting the drive.
Possible solutions include
o a flash BIOS update, if you've got a flash BIOS and your board manufacturer makes a fixed BIOS image available;
o non-flash BIOS ROM ugrade;
o a software disk manager like using OnTrack Disk Manager or EZDrive;
o if the BIOS allows a user definable drive type, manually setting the cylinder count to 4095 (8191). This means you can use no more than the first 2GB (4GB) of the drive.
In the last case, you can use the remaining capacity of the disk to give Linux a test drive.