Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Formatting in 128KB and 256KB cluster size

Last response: in Storage
Share
April 6, 2010 4:01:15 PM

Hello ,
Anyone knows how I can format my hard drive(160 GB) to higher than 64KB clusters(128 KB and 256 KB) ? Right now all my partitions except my system partition(unfortunately) use 64KB clusters . I appreciate any help . Thank you

More about : formatting 128kb 256kb cluster size

April 6, 2010 5:00:22 PM

why would you even want such a large cluster size?..

I'm not sure if NTFS even supports those large sizes.
m
0
l
a c 353 G Storage
April 6, 2010 5:57:23 PM

Doing a google search the only reference to 128k and 256 K cluster size was when using NT 4.0.
I reread your post, I' guessing your C drive is =< 8 K cluster size. My first para is why it should be

For you operating system/program partition - 4K cluster size is the best choice. Reason, a large percentage of the files will be =< than 4 K (probably about half will be less than 8K). This means that any file that is 4 K or smalled will still eat up 64 K (ie 500 files @ 4 K or less = 2 Megs while using with 64 K that would be 32 Megs - A big waste with no performance gain.

64K, or larger Cluster size is only recommended for Large file size such as large Jpegs/bitmap pictures and for storing Large video files (ie dot Vob's are typically up to 1 Gig and Blu-ray video files are => 13 gigs. Not sure what the max cluster size is for NTFS. Note, you lose file compression. I'm not sure of the performance gains between a 64K cluster size and say a 128 K cluster size due to the reduction of the file allocation table, might not be that great.

To verify, run a dos prompt. Cd directory to C:\ (ie do a CD.. until you get there) then do a dir *.* /s >filelist.txt.
Load this file into a spread sheet and sort on file size.
Myself, I just wrote a quick program to scan the file and count the number of files less than 4 K, => than 8K but Less than 16K ect
m
0
l
Related resources
April 7, 2010 3:06:17 PM

RetiredChief said:
Doing a google search the only reference to 128k and 256 K cluster size was when using NT 4.0.
I reread your post, I' guessing your C drive is =< 8 K cluster size. My first para is why it should be

For you operating system/program partition - 4K cluster size is the best choice. Reason, a large percentage of the files will be =< than 4 K (probably about half will be less than 8K). This means that any file that is 4 K or smalled will still eat up 64 K (ie 500 files @ 4 K or less = 2 Megs while using with 64 K that would be 32 Megs - A big waste with no performance gain.

64K, or larger Cluster size is only recommended for Large file size such as large Jpegs/bitmap pictures and for storing Large video files (ie dot Vob's are typically up to 1 Gig and Blu-ray video files are => 13 gigs. Not sure what the max cluster size is for NTFS. Note, you lose file compression. I'm not sure of the performance gains between a 64K cluster size and say a 128 K cluster size due to the reduction of the file allocation table, might not be that great.

To verify, run a dos prompt. Cd directory to C:\ (ie do a CD.. until you get there) then do a dir *.* /s >filelist.txt.
Load this file into a spread sheet and sort on file size.
Myself, I just wrote a quick program to scan the file and count the number of files less than 4 K, => than 8K but Less than 16K ect


since I have different partitions for Games , Movies , Files , my Documents etc and even my Programs partition is different from C: . I did an average file size on all these partitions a year ago before formatting with 64K cluster sizes and the lowest average file size was 92K , therefore using a 64K cluster size logical even considerin the space loss .
But I just did a check with format command on command prompt of windows XP with the /A switch and it shows NTFS to be able to use up to 64K clusters . Only FAT and FAT32 can use the 128K and 256K clusters and that too with condition . So right now my problem is how I can format my C partition , which has an average file size of 229K , therefore using a 64K setup very logical . The only way that comes to my mind is to use another hard drive , because if I try to install a temporary windows to D: and then try formatting C: there are still some essential files on C: , like autoexec.bat , therefore the format won't run . So I think I should either use another hard drive OR can I install a temporary windows XP on my USB flash disk and use that to format C: ? Thanks to both of you for your help till now
m
0
l
a c 127 G Storage
April 7, 2010 4:10:24 PM

Like RetiredChief said, you probably shouldn't change the cluster size for your C partition. If you say the average file size is 229KB, then that means you're not using your C drive just for windows; but are storing large files on this drive.

For both performance reasons and clean operation, it is recommended that you store your user files on another partition (D) instead, and keep C free from anything that isn't installed or isn't windows.

The cluster size controls the minimum size of each file; by making that big you force the filesystem to waste alot of space and to seek more often as it has to skip empty data every time.
m
0
l
a c 353 G Storage
April 7, 2010 8:41:56 PM

Sub mesa, His average may be correct, and still only have Operating system + programs.
My calculated avg is like 423 KB, Which is NO wheres near representive. This is for C drive, all my files and data are on orther drives.

For OP
Do not go by "Average" file size as this skewed by large files. What you need to look at is Number of files under a given size vs the number above a given size.

Example 100 4K files and one 1 Meg file yields an average of just over 10 K. Another factor that can skew this is true size vs "Size on disk"

Stats for my system
Nr Files =< 4k ........ 39,441
>4K and =< 8K ...... 10,532
>8K and =< 16K .... 8,049
>16K and =< 32K ... 8,049
>32K ..................... 28,222 (vs 58,022 That are = to or less than 16 K) My mean is 8K or less.

PS I also have break outs for 64 K and 128K and larger
Basic programing still comes in handy (Basic professional still runs under vista)
m
0
l
April 8, 2010 3:11:20 PM

@sub mesa : I've been partitioning my hard drive for different files for years , I have games , movies , files , programs , system and some other partitions . I almost have nothing on my system partition except windows files and some programs that won't let you specify the install path .

@RetiredChief : I did that with windows search tool and specifying the desired size , for example on C: files using at least 5KB in the specify size text box . Here are the results for my system partition :

C : 58000 files

>4KB 23605

>8KB 17818

>16KB 13675

>32KB 10022

>64KB 7066

I think it's still worth trying something above 4KB , even 8KB at least
m
0
l

Best solution

a c 353 G Storage
April 8, 2010 4:08:26 PM

Majidoc
I Assume your reason is for performace. The larger clustor size does decrease the likely hood of file fragmentation of files greater than the cluster size and does decrease the size of the file allocation table. How much this translates to real life performance gain I've not seen much on. Back in the days of MFM and RLL drives it was a big issue. I've seen some comments geared toward Raid0 setups on selecting strip size and cluster size. I think the larger cluster size for your HDD (or partition) containning large file size files would be benificial. On Operating system/Program drive the 4k/8k size would be a good choice - I dought you would "see" (other than in a benchmark program) any performance difference.

On that note, regarding performance, save up and get a SSD for your operating system/programs. Set up one hard drive for "normal" sized files using 4/8K cluster size, and the 2nd HDD with largest cluster size for pictures/video files. Note each HDD can be broken up into logical drives with there own (Your determined ) cluster size.
SSDs are great for operating system/program But very expensive when looking at $$$/Gigabyte (and if money was not an object, a 2nd one for all your "Smaller docs/data files).
Share
April 10, 2010 4:07:59 PM

Best answer selected by majidok.
m
0
l
April 10, 2010 4:10:06 PM

RetiredChief said:
Majidoc
I Assume your reason is for performace. The larger clustor size ...


Thanks for the help everyone specially RetiredChief :) 
m
0
l
!