Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Installing Windows Vista/Windows 7 on a hard drive with 512 bytes/physical sector and non-aligned partitions

Last response: in Storage
Share
February 7, 2014 11:25:43 AM

Hi,

I have a Pentium 4 system with 2.40 GHz CPU, Intel D865GBF board, 1 GB RAM and an 80 GB PATA/IDE hard drive.

The hard-drive has the old "512 bytes/physical sector" format.

Current partitions:
C: - 02 GB - FAT32 - Primary partition. Boots to Windows 98 DOS prompt.
D: - 16 GB - NTFS - Extended partition; Logical drive 1. Windows XP SP3 (OS partition)
E: - 16 GB - NTFS - Extended partition; Logical drive 2. DATA1 (data partition)
F: - 40 GB - NTFS - Extended partition; Logical drive 3. DATA2 (data partition)

The above partitions were created using Windows XP Disk Management tool. So, they are not aligned to 4K boundary (partition starting offset is 32,256 bytes according to MSINFO32.EXE).

I wish to install Windows 7 on the 16 GB (DATA1) partition (E drive).

Question 1> Do I need to align the partitions first before installing Windows 7 on this drive?

Question 2> Suppose I do align all the partitions. Will there be any improvement in hard-drive performance (in Windows 7) because of aligned partitions?

I know that aligned partitions are a must on the new Advanced Format drives that have 4 Kbytes physical sectors. What I am trying to understand is: Does Windows 7 REQUIRE the partitions on ANY hard-drive (512 bytes/sector OR 4096 bytes/sector) to be aligned on the 4K boundary? Because I have read in forums that partitioning drives from within Windows 7 ALWAYS creates aligned partitions..... irrespective or whether the drive has 512 bytes/sector or 4096 bytes/sector. This has created a doubt in my mind that Windows 7 (and Windows Vista as well) requires all partitions to be aligned.

Clarification on this would be much appreciated.


I wish to replace the 80 GB PATA hard-drive with a WD Blue 500 GB SATA-3 (6.0 Gbps) drive (model WD5000AAKX). AFAIK, the WD5000AAKX is not an Advanced Format drive. I will be using the same partitioning scheme as above on the new drive as well. What should be my strategy with the WD5000AAKX drive with regard to aligned partitions? Will I need aligned partitions on the WD5000AAKX? I will be installing Windows XP and Windows 7 (dual boot) on the new drive also.


Thank you.

Best solution

a b G Storage
a b $ Windows 7
February 7, 2014 11:33:59 AM

The alignment only matters or has an effect on Advanced Format drives. Windows will run just fine on a hard drive with 512 byte sectors.

Casey
Share
February 8, 2014 11:53:06 PM

cklaubur said:
The alignment only matters or has an effect on Advanced Format drives. Windows will run just fine on a hard drive with 512 byte sectors.

Casey


Hi Casey

Good to know that Windows 7 will work on a hard drive with 512 byte sectors without requiring aligned partitions. I was doubtful about poor hard-drive performance in Windows 7 on a non-AF drive with non-aligned partitions.

Thanks for clearing that up.
m
0
l
Related resources
!