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Help on Advanced Format

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July 25, 2011 9:42:41 PM

Hello,
I have a WD Caviar Blue 1 T.B. HDD Model 10EALX.
Will Windows 7 Pro. be able to do an advanced format, or is a additional download program needed?
Any other feed backl on this particular HDD would be appreciated.

More about : advanced format

a b G Storage
July 25, 2011 10:02:05 PM

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/982018


That is an update improving compatibility with Windows 7 and advanced format, I would read through that article and install the update prior to doing anything. From my understanding of advanced format is that it is actually on the physical layer, changing from a standard block size of 512bytes to 4k. For optimal performance you would want the NTFS block size to match since you have to read/write in 4k blocks on the physical layer anyway.

In short I would install the patch and format the drive using a 4k allocation size.



Does anyone else have additional information? This seems to be a relatively new fix from Microsoft...
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a c 415 G Storage
July 26, 2011 2:12:08 AM

The patch lets NTFS work with drives that have 4K sectors, but I'd be very surprised if it makes any performance difference.

First of all the existing 4K-sector drives actually tell Windows that they have 512-byte sectors so as to maintain backward compatibility with unpatched and older systems. The drive's firmware converts requests from Windows on the fly into it's own internal sector mapping - so the patch is not needed in order to use "advanced format" drives.

Secondly, NTFS uses a 4K-byte or larger cluster size with all drives that size whether they're advanced format or not. Whether NTFS requests a read of eight 512-byte sectors or one 4K-byte sector isn't going to make any real difference.

In fact, IMHO installing the patch is probably a bad idea for most people because an NTFS volume created with "real" 4K sectors will not work with unpatched systems or previous versions of Windows. This will spell trouble if you ever try to move the drive to another system or reinstall Windows on it. Until "real" 4K sector support becomes more ubiquitous I'd suggest letting the drive's 512-byte emulation do the work.

The most important thing to get right with advanced format drives is to make sure that partitions are created on multiples of 4K sector boundaries. Failure to do this will hurt performance, especially write performance. All versions of Windows 7, patched or unpatched, do this correctly. So as long as you partition the drive with any version of Windows 7 the drive should work just fine.
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July 26, 2011 6:42:52 AM

Thanks for the reply,seems to me you have covered all aspects relating to this type of drive. I had got to the stage of thinking about returning the drive as it is still in a sealed bag and I have not seen any favourable reports relating to using this feature as of yet.The other concern I had was would this drive run normally if I did not use the Advanced Format and treated it like previous drives I have installed.
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a c 415 G Storage
July 26, 2011 7:29:53 AM

I've been using an advanced format drive with Windows 7 for well over a year now. It works fine, I didn't have to do anything special to make it work, and it operates just like any other drive. It didn't require any patches, either.

I wouldn't return the drive, just go ahead and use it. With Windows 7 it will work just fine. It works fine with older operating systems, too - just be sure that you partition and format it using Windows 7 so that the file system is properly aligned. That's really the only thing you have to worry about.
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July 26, 2011 11:20:50 AM

Great thank you, I will follow your advice.
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July 27, 2011 5:47:38 AM

tokencode said:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/982018


That is an update improving compatibility with Windows 7 and advanced format, I would read through that article and install the update prior to doing anything. From my understanding of advanced format is that it is actually on the physical layer, changing from a standard block size of 512bytes to 4k. For optimal performance you would want the NTFS block size to match since you have to read/write in 4k blocks on the physical layer anyway.

In short I would install the patch and format the drive using a 4k allocation size.



Does anyone else have additional information? This seems to be a relatively new fix from Microsoft...


Thank you for taking the time to reply,from all accounts Advanced Formating still has a long way to go to sell itself.
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July 27, 2011 5:51:55 AM

Best answer selected by Jayrae.
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July 27, 2011 6:21:45 AM

jayrae said:
Thank you for taking the time to reply,from all accounts Advanced Formating still has a long way to go to sell itself.


Pretty much all future hard drives are going to have 4k sectors, so you won't have much choice soon. As long as you're using a recent OS it shouldn't have any significant impact.
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