It is now almost impossible to find IDE HDDs and I am considering fitting a SATA HDD via a plugin IDE-SATA adapter to each of my HP Compaq DX2000MT PCs. The latter are currently Windows XP Pro but upgrade tp Windows 7 Pro are planned. The new SATA drive/s will be the primary drive and, from discussions on other technical forums, it has been suggested that booting from such a drive and adapter may not be feasible. The doubt appears to hinge on LBA capability (suggested 48bit) and BIOS version of the existing system, and the drive capacity of the new SATA drive which would almost certainly be more than 137GB. Indeed there may be concern on maximum drive capacity even if I was able to source new IDE drives, the present 40GB capacity of each PC being somewhat inadequate.
I can find no reference to LBA in my PC's user manual and additionally I'd welcome your advice on the the following issues:
Is the installation of SATA drives sensible and are simple IDE-SATA adapters the best way to interface them to the existing IDE motherboards?
Does the existing BIOS support "48-bit LBA", and not just "LBA"?
The existing BIOS version is 1.10 and I'd like to implement later versions, particularly if there's one which will support booting from USB devices. If BIOS upgrades are desirable what version/s do you recommend? An earlier exercise via HP Chat established that the recommended v 2.54 cannot be achieved for Windows 7 Pro (or Windows XP Pro, SP3?). Can you confirm this or advise otherwise?
Assuming that points 1, 2 and 3 have been satisifed, what else, if anything, is required for operation with drives (SATA or IDE) having a capacity of 160GB or greater and what upper limit is there on drive capacity?