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Working Windows 7 install on disk larger than 2TB

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March 23, 2011 3:05:10 PM

Just something i stumbled across while i was trying to install windows 7 on a 4tb raid 0 with a crosshair 4 extreme . i built a small array (only 500 GB of my 4TB) installed windows 7 with no issues. when the set up was finished i went back into my raid controller and used the rest of the space (aprox 3.5 Gb) to build a second array using (GPT) thus allowing me to fully use my 4 TB of space
Im not sure if this is a feature of my motherboard or if its even advisable but it worked and is running fast and flawless

If this is not advisable or a death sentence for my drives could some please inform me as i dont want to cause damage

More about : working windows install disk larger 2tb

a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
March 23, 2011 3:19:05 PM

Windows 7 can use GPT-formatted disks just fine - the problem with most motherboards is that the BIOS can't boot from them unless it supports EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface). As long as the boot volume uses an MBR partition table you should be fine - the boot BIOS doesn't have to interact with a non-boot volume so it doesn't care what partitioning scheme it uses.
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March 23, 2011 3:30:40 PM

my main concern is partitioning a raid i have been advised against this in the past and i do not belive my bios is EFI although i could be wrong im going to research that now as my manual doesent seem to have any information on EFI
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
March 23, 2011 3:46:28 PM

The biggest reason to avoid partitioning your RAID set, particularly RAID 0, is that if you loose ANY drive then you've lost ALL of your partitions and you'll have to rebuild and recover your system from scratch.

So the concern is reliability - but other than that there's no reason not to do it. But if the data on those drives is important to you then you'd be well advised to have a good backup and recovery strategy in place.
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March 23, 2011 4:05:38 PM

thats is fair enough i have an image of my os on a drive that is not part of the raid so my consern for the raid dying is minimal
thanks for the help

now seeing as i cant find any info stating that my bios is EFI ( im going to assume its not) is this a trick that only the crosshair 4 extreme (SB850) can pull off or is this somthing that most raid controllers can do to get past the 2 tb limit of windows 7 ?
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
March 23, 2011 11:35:15 PM

> i have an image of my os on a drive that is not part of the raid

As long as you understand that it's not JUST the OS you'll loose, it's EVERYTHING on the data drive as well, since they're all on the same RAID-0 set.

Neither the motherboard nor the RAID controller needs to be EFI compliant as long as the boot volume uses an MBR partition table (which implies that it's not more than 2GB in size). It doesn't matter whether the boot volume is carved out of an even larger RAID set - the BIOS boot code only needs to be able to read the sectors in the boot volume itself.
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March 24, 2011 1:16:32 AM

yes i most defiantly understand the loss would be the full 4tb not just the section carved out for the os array but that is the basically risk of running any raid 0 right
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March 30, 2011 12:10:37 PM

Best answer selected by grahamie.
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