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Compatibility help formating 3TB Drives with GPT

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May 1, 2011 6:02:28 PM

I am planning to setup a windows 7 64bit based HTPC, and I have realized that I need more then 2TB of storage, so I am planning to use 2x3TB Hard drives, setup in Raid 1. Right now there are two ways I am thinking of setting it up, either with the 2x3TB drives in Raid 1 directly attached to the HTPC (sata3), or with the 2x3TB drives in a separate NAS drive, so I can make the media more available on the network.

I read the thread here and on the windows 7 forums, and I see that I would need to format the drives as GPT instead of MBR, and I have some questions on how would work with my setup and if it would be compatible. If I put the drives locally in the HTPC, I would just be using them as data drives setup in Raid 1, the OS would still boot from a separate normal MBR hard drive.

It has also been mentioned that you may need a EFI bios, which I understand is very new and few motherboards ship with this type of bios, or can even be upgraded to to it? Is this needed at all for using these drives, if I am not attempting to boot from a GPT drive?

>>>So my main questions are, if I install win 7 normally on a separate MBR hard drive on this AM3 motherboard, and then connect the 3TB drives, should I be able to format them as GPT with no issues, and setup them up in a raid 1? And then if I share them on the network, should other computers be able to access them with no issues?

Also should they work fine in this dlink NAS listed below, and be accessible on the network as normal? Would I need to format them to GPT first in a win 7 computer, or could they maybe be formatted directly in the NAS?

Thanks for any guidance on this, I have never worked with anything bigger than 2TB requiring these GPT partitions before.

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Harddrives: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Potential NAS I might use: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

a c 415 G Storage
May 1, 2011 6:41:05 PM

This Microsoft page has all the info you probably need: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/gg4635...

The long and the short of it is this: if you're using any edition of Windows 7 (32- or 64-bit) then you can access a GPT data drive without any issues. The motherboard does NOT need an EFI BIOS for a data drive.

The issues only arise if you try to use GPT as a boot drive - in that case you need an EFI-compatible motherboard and you need a 64-bit edition of Windows 7.

Adding the NAS into the mix won't change the facts of life for Windows or the host system itself, however there may be issues with GPT within the NAS. I'm not qualified to say one way or the other, but it's something I'd investigate further before proceeding.
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May 3, 2011 10:21:39 AM

So..

When the article goes to the FAQ area, what does it mean when multiple drives are used mixing between MBR and GPT?

Quote:
Q. What about mixing and matching GPT and MBR disks on the same system?

A. GPT and MBR disks can be mixed on systems that support GPT, as described earlier. However, you must be aware of the following restrictions:

Systems that support UEFI require that boot partition must reside on a GPT disk. Other hard disks can be either MBR or GPT.
Both MBR and GPT disks can be present in a single dynamic disk group. Volume sets can span both MBR and GPT disks.


From reading this - I can only USE the 3TB drive IF I have it setup with the boot partition on the 3TB drive.
In my scenario, I have a 120GB SSD as my primary drive and want to use the 3TB as storage.
Does this mean that I can't do this?
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a c 371 G Storage
May 3, 2011 12:00:36 PM

I don't think you read that correctly. It states Systems that support UEFI require that boot partition must reside on a GPT disk. Other hard disks can be either MBR or GPT .

Your motherboard doesn't support UEFI, thus your boot partition can be MBR.
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a c 415 G Storage
May 3, 2011 5:42:53 PM

^+1
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May 3, 2011 11:36:59 PM

Cheers guys.. I did read it wrong - was a late night for me and I'd already spend 2-3 hours on building the whole PC only to find that the 3TB drive worked fine in Win 7 64-bit without having to re-install Win 7 fresh on the SSD to detect it.
I guess that's a risk you take when you try doing things when you're tired!

Installing Win 7 fine on the SSD as per usual with UEFI disabled (I have a Gigabyte G1.Sniper with Hybrid EFI for 2.2TB+ boot support).
Leaving EFI disabled, logged in to windows and formatted the 3TB drive by first converting the entire disk to GPT.

All works perfect.
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October 26, 2011 12:01:59 AM

whitey88x said:
Cheers guys.. I did read it wrong - was a late night for me and I'd already spend 2-3 hours on building the whole PC only to find that the 3TB drive worked fine in Win 7 64-bit without having to re-install Win 7 fresh on the SSD to detect it.
I guess that's a risk you take when you try doing things when you're tired!

Installing Win 7 fine on the SSD as per usual with UEFI disabled (I have a Gigabyte G1.Sniper with Hybrid EFI for 2.2TB+ boot support).
Leaving EFI disabled, logged in to windows and formatted the 3TB drive by first converting the entire disk to GPT.

All works perfect.


I booted from a windows 7 64 bit CD from the bios with a setting that said "....CD DRIVE EFI ENABLED..." and when you boot into Windows 7 64 bit and delete and format all the partitions it properly detected my 3 TB drive. You need to delete and format everything. For whatever reason, inside Windows 7 I could never get the 3 TB drive to convert to GPT because that selection was always greyed out.
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October 26, 2011 12:03:40 AM

What I meant was that if I didn't get windows to detect the 3TB drive properly during installation, I could never get it detected within the operating system at all no matter what I did.
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