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.
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.
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.