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Confused about align utility for WD EARS 1.5 TB

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April 23, 2010 2:52:58 PM

So I just purchased a 1.5TB WD EARS HD. I am not technologically savvy enough to understand how to proceed. Here is my situation.

I have a 200 gig hardrive running XP right now. What I would like to do is install this new hard drive, format etc under my original XP and then install windows 7 on the new harddrive while still running XP on the old drive. I do not want to lose any data on my original HD.

I know there is a 7-8 jumper, what does this mean?, option or a WD align utility to download for XP compatibility.

Basically what do I need to do to ensure the drive runs properly. If I install the drive right now and format using my XP and then install windows 7 do I need to run the align utility since I am creating it under XP and when I go to install windows 7 will that create a problem.

If I want to uninstall windows 7 later on will that create problems with the drive?

Alos out of interest I have a radeon HD4850 512 card with 2 gigs of ram, simply compaq athlon processor will this run windows 7 appropriately.

SO CONFUSED. I would appreciate any help.

Thank you so much.
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
April 23, 2010 5:23:38 PM

The issue with WD's "Advanced" hard drives is that since they use 4KByte clusters you end up with very poor performance unless your partitions start on a sector that's an exact multiple of 4KBytes. And the partition manager in XP does NOT do that - it starts partitions 1 sector BEFORE that 4KByte boundary. This means horrible performance under XP.

What the jumper does is to cause the drive firmware to internally add 1 to the sector number so that XP's requests end up falling in the right place. But I strongly recommend that you not use this because it will cause the drive to perform very poorly under Windows 7.

What you should to is to attach the new drive to your system but DO NOT format it under XP! Instead, boot from the Windows 7 installation disk, create the partition for the OS, and install. The Win7 installation CD will create the partition in the right place.

XP will be perfectly capable of reading the new partition. It can read partitions with any alignment, the only issue is that it doesn't CREATE them properly aligned.
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a b $ Windows 7
a b G Storage
April 23, 2010 5:52:31 PM

I agree with sminlal but I would disconect the win xp drive. and then install win 7 on the new drive, then reconnect the xp drive and use your bios to select your OS.
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April 23, 2010 11:51:51 PM

Thank you both so much. So would you agree I should disconnect the xp drive first?
also once I am good to go and I have dual boot with xp and win 7 or vista would I be able to use the new drive in windows xp, this is where the confusion comes from. It seems like I would be okay, I would not have to realign as long as I install windows 7 to the new drive first then it would be usable in both xp and windows 7. Is that right?

also I have read I should not install and run an OS, such as vista or windows 7 on this specific drive as it only runs at 5400 rpm, this means nothing to me so what do you think, would windows 7 or vista run well on this drive or are other people right when they suggest you only use this as a data drive?

also just off topic but would you recommend I run windows vista or 7.

thanks so much for all your help, honestly I called western digital today and they were useless.

thanks again.


sminlal said:
The issue with WD's "Advanced" hard drives is that since they use 4KByte clusters you end up with very poor performance unless your partitions start on a sector that's an exact multiple of 4KBytes. And the partition manager in XP does NOT do that - it starts partitions 1 sector BEFORE that 4KByte boundary. This means horrible performance under XP.

What the jumper does is to cause the drive firmware to internally add 1 to the sector number so that XP's requests end up falling in the right place. But I strongly recommend that you not use this because it will cause the drive to perform very poorly under Windows 7.

What you should to is to attach the new drive to your system but DO NOT format it under XP! Instead, boot from the Windows 7 installation disk, create the partition for the OS, and install. The Win7 installation CD will create the partition in the right place.

XP will be perfectly capable of reading the new partition. It can read partitions with any alignment, the only issue is that it doesn't CREATE them properly aligned.

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a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
April 24, 2010 3:23:37 AM

> So would you agree I should disconnect the xp drive first?

It's really a matter of preference. If you disconnect the XP drive before installing Win7 then each OS will have no knowledge of the other one and the machine will boot straight into whatever drive the BIOS is configured to boot from. If you leave the XP drive connected then when you boot the machine you'll get a boot menu giving you a choice of which OS to boot - this can be set to boot from a particular OS by default after a user-adjustable timeout.

My personal preference is to use the OS boot menu rather than the BIOS configuration just because it's a lot simpler to deal with on a day-to-day basis.


> I would not have to realign as long as I install windows 7 to the new drive first then it would be usable in both xp and windows 7. Is that right?

Yes. As I mentioned above, you need to partition the drive using Windows 7 in order to get the alignment right. Once you've done that, both Windows 7 and XP will be able to access the drive.


> I have read I should not install and run an OS, such as vista or windows 7 on this specific drive as it only runs at 5400 rpm

5400RPM refers to the rotation speed of the platters that hold the data inside the drive. This speed is used by most "green" drives that are designed for low power use. Standard (non-"green") drives usually spin at 7200RPM and will perform a little faster. The OS will install and run perfectly well on a 5400RPM drive - I have personally done it myself and it runs without any issues. It's just a little slower than it would be on a 7200RPM drive.


would you recommend I run windows vista or 7.

I would go with Windows 7 unless you already have a Vista license. I don't generally think there's a huge reason to upgrade to Windows 7 from Vista, but if you're buying a new OS today it makes a lot of sense to go with the latest one. It's basically Vista with a number of tweaks and improvements.
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July 30, 2010 3:33:14 PM

I have a similar question.
I am a novice so forgive me.

I just purchased the same HD caviar green as the OP.

I am running XP 32 bit on a WD caviar blue HD.

I want the caviar green HD to be a secondary HD.
I will not run an OP on it (although I may reconsider this in the future).

Now I would like more than one partition obviously.
But reading the above, it seems it isn't recommended to do anything using XP because of alignment issues.
I may use Windows 7 in the future, but not for a while yet.

Also Looking at the WD website it isn't clear to me what Alignment option I should proceed with.
http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=805...

Should I partition the drive on a computer with Windows 7 and then put it onto my computer?

What should I do?

Thanks a lot.
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October 16, 2010 6:12:53 PM

I am in slightly similar situation.

I am using green HD for storage. I hooked it up in windows 7 and format it. worked fine. Can i use it as a storage in xp without a problem too?
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
October 16, 2010 6:47:15 PM

The key is in what OS you use to CREATE the partitions. It doesn't matter what OS you attach the disk to, only what OS created the partitions. (Note: in WindowSpeak you partition a disk by "creating a volume" in Disk Manager).

If you create the partitions under XP, they will NOT be aligned on the 64KByte boundary and you should use the jumper to improve performance. You need to install the jumper BEFORE you create the partition, and LEAVE it installed. The only reason to remove the jump would be if you DELETE all the partitions and RE-PARTITION the disk using Vista or Windows 7. To merely USE the disk under Vista or Windows 7 you must leave the jumper in place.

If you create the partitions under Vista or Windows 7, then REMOVE the jumper before you create the partitions and LEAVE it off, even if you use the drive with XP. The only reason you'd ever insert the jumper is if you wanted to DELETE all the partitions and RE-PARTITION the drive under XP.
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November 16, 2010 10:44:29 PM

I just want to say thank you! this is what I was looking for past few hours googling like crazy and being more and more confused... :)  Now everything is clear again, thanx!
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