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Confirmed - 3TB HDD USB Drive on WinXP 32bit

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#1
Comos

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Hi everyone,

as I started a discussion about an issue when running a 3TB HDD on WinXP 32bit in a USB 3.5" drive enclousure, link: http://www.msfn.org/...over-usb-issue/
today ,I can confirm, that a external USB HDD from WD, currently 3TB My Book Essential does have full capacity support on Win XP 32bit. (maybe in Win Y2K also)
Today I have bought it and have 3TB in full armor :thumbup

Seems that the additional WD HW logic takes care of the rest and the related links were speaking the truth:

http://social.techne...2-356e2b231f2e/
http://community.wdc...ons/td-p/234694

message to Den (Dencorso)

The light has been kindled ! :thumbup


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#2
allen2

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How is it formated (exfat, NTFS) if there is only one partition ?

#3
Comos

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How is it formated (exfat, NTFS) if there is only one partition ?


One partition, NTFS

#4
dencorso

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message to Den (Dencorso)

The light has been kindled ! :thumbup

It sure does!!! :thumbup

BTW, since you're the 1st to get it, for the time being, *do* *not* reformat nor repartition it.
I'd sure like to look at its first 8kiB, starting from LBA0. Would you kindly get a copy of that with an hexeditor, zip and attach the resulting binary image? TIA. :angel

#5
Comos

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message to Den (Dencorso)

The light has been kindled ! :thumbup

It sure does!!! :thumbup

BTW, since you're the 1st to get it, for the time being, *do* *not* reformat nor repartition it.
I'd sure like to look at its first 8kiB, starting from LBA0. Would you kindly get a copy of that with an hexeditor, zip and attach the resulting binary image? TIA. :angel


Sure ;)

Attached Files


Edited by Comos, 11 September 2012 - 03:45 PM.


#6
dencorso

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Thanks, Comos, you do rock!
It's actually really 4 kiB sectored, as per the links you gave!!!
Now I've seen the evidence. there no doubt about it!
So, it seems we have the following: the (SATA) HDD is really 4 kiB sectored, but fakes 512 byte sectors, then the enclosure controller takes those fake 512 byte sectors and creates fake 4 kiB sectors, as described in the links you gave or (ain't there always an "or"?) the (SATA) HDD is really 4 kiB sectored, but fakes 512 byte sectors to everybody but to the enclosure controller (because it knows the secret handshake)... and, in either case, the USB interface presents 4 kiB sectors to Win XP (which is happy to accept them... I think this is undocumented behaviour)! Posted Image

#7
Comos

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Thanks, Comos, you do rock!
It's actually really 4 kiB sectored, as per the links you gave!!!
Now I've seen the evidence. there no doubt about it!
So, it seems we have the following: the (SATA) HDD is really 4 kiB sectored, but fakes 512 byte sectors, then the enclosure controller takes those fake 512 byte sectors and creates fake 4 kiB sectors, as described in the links you gave or (ain't there always an "or"?) the (SATA) HDD is really 4 kiB sectored, but fakes 512 byte sectors to everybody but to the enclosure controller (because it knows the secret handshake)... and, in either case, the USB interface presents 4 kiB sectors to Win XP (which is happy to accept them... I think this is undocumented behaviour)! Posted Image


Somebody on that forum mentioned, when you will take out the drive from the enclousure and connect it directly on the sata cable,you won't be able to read anything, it would be raw data.But anyway if I count right it would be possible to upgrade this enclousure up to 16TB HDD drive when those drive will be available.

#8
dencorso

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Yes, of course!
And it may even work as a plain FAT-32 drive, too, if I'm not mistaken (but do not test this idea for the time being, please). :ph34r:
Why, it may even work on 9x/ME, with some luck... :unsure:
Although Paragon NTFS for Win98 would be required for accessing NTFS, of course.
Or Ext2 could be used... there're IFSs for XP and for 9x/ME to use Ext2...

#9
jaclaz

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There is AFAIK/AFAICR no reason that a mass storage device "has" to have 512 bytes sectors, the BPB in the bootsector and the filesystem have a field for that.
Issue is only if this field is actually used or properly used by code (being code either the OS, it's drivers or BIOS or whatever).
JFYI:
http://www.msfn.org/...-sector-drives/

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz, 12 September 2012 - 03:50 AM.


#10
Comos

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Yes, of course!
And it may even work as a plain FAT-32 drive, too, if I'm not mistaken (but do not test this idea for the time being, please). :ph34r:
Why, it may even work on 9x/ME, with some luck... :unsure:
Although Paragon NTFS for Win98 would be required for accessing NTFS, of course.
Or Ext2 could be used... there're IFSs for XP and for 9x/ME to use Ext2...


Under Win98SE I can test it.The Paragon's NTFS I have there.

#11
Comos

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Today I plug it on my Win98SE, but I wasn't able to see any content of the drive.When I start the Paragon NTFS, the system once freezed and during my second try it commit to reset.
So maybe a cluster size issue under this tool?

#12
dencorso

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No, I guess it's deeper. RLoew reminded me it's necessary to patch Win 9x/ME for it to be able to tackle 4 kiB sectors...
But do give it a last try: start Paragon 1st, then plug in the USB HDD. If that also fails, then a non-free patch is required.

#13
Comos

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No, I guess it's deeper. RLoew reminded me it's necessary to patch Win 9x/ME for it to be able to tackle 4 kiB sectors...
But do give it a last try: start Paragon 1st, then plug in the USB HDD. If that also fails, then a non-free patch is required.


The Paragon's NTFS has a driver that is started everytime when you boot OS.It is not needed to start the main application evetytime.This is tested with my 1TB WD My Passport Portable.However when pluging the 3T drive, I can see the drive in the system, If I try to access the drive it prompts invalid media or something like this.
So in the first case I opened the main Paragon NTFS aplication, the system freezed during the drive detection.The second try I did when first opening the main aplication,connnect the drive, nothing happened even during the drive refresh.After when I closed the manin apl. and opened it again, the system reset itself hard.
Then I give up :)

#14
dencorso

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I have an External USB 2.0 Seagate Expansion 1500 GB, which works. So we know for sure that unpatched 9x/ME can work with up to 1.5 TB, but not as a single partition. For partitions larger than 1TB or HDDs over 2TB, according to RLoew, patching is needed.

#15
Comos

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I have an External USB 2.0 Seagate Expansion 1500 GB, which works. So we know for sure that unpatched 9x/ME gan work with up to 1.5 TB, but not as a single partition. For partitions larger than 1TB or HDDs over 2TB, according to RLoew, patching is needed.

OKay, good to know.

#16
phaolo

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Hello,

sorry for resurrecting an old thread, but I'm still stuck with WinXp and I'd like another confirmation before buying an external drive (when price will drop a bit):

 

-does the WD My Book 4TB work for XP SP3 32bit at full capacity like the 3TB drive that you have tested?

 

-is the hdisk going to be ready after plugged in, or will I need to install\use some driver\application?

 

-I won't be able to format\defragment\manage the drive, right? What about using programs like syncbackup?

 

-do 4Kb sectors have some catch, like bad performance or some incompatibility?

 

-will I need to reformat the hdisk when I'll finally manage to upgrade to a shiny new 64 bit os?

 

Thanks


Edited by phaolo, 28 July 2013 - 02:48 AM.


#17
phaolo

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Umm..no replies at all?

Please help!



#18
jaclaz

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Umm..no replies at all?
Please help!

Actually the replies are already in the posts and in the linked "original" thread and resources:
http://www.msfn.org/...over-usb-issue/
http://social.techne...rive-size-limit
http://community.wd....ons/td-p/234694

Basically there is a limit around 2 Tb in Windows XP, but the WD works around it doing a sort of "translation".
As a matter of fact there is not a limit in "size", there is a limit in "number of sectors".
http://blogs.technet...ws-storage.aspx
A "normal" hard disk has 512 bytes sized sectors, those family of WD drives either have or fake to have 4,096(4 Kb) bytes sectors, consequently the limit is "shifted" towards 4,096/512=8*2=16 Tb.

No, you shouldn't have problems of *any* kind with an XP 32 bit, no you don't need any special driver, and no you can re-partition/reformat/defrag the disk alright, of course you don't need to re-format if you switch to a 64 bit OS.
The only possibles issues (but "general" i.e. not related to the HUGE size of the disk) could be with particular partitioning schemes/alignments, see:
http://www.msfn.org/...-sector-drives/

The utter foolishness of having a single (NTFS or any other filesystem) volume 4 Tb in size will not be particularly highlighted as I hold it to be a self-evident truth :w00t: :ph34r: while that of having  a single 4 Tb sized disk is more subtle, and while still self evident does need a few words of warning.

 

Do you really think that *now* you *need* 4 Tb of storage?

Or maybe what you actually need *now* is 1 or 2 Tb or less?

How long does it take to produce 2 Tb along the *whatever* intended usage you plan?

If anything more than a few weeks, buy a coupe smaller disk drive today, and buy another couple smaller ones when you will need them.

Remember that the bigger a disk drive is, the more probable is that it is "new" (in the sense of largely UNtested) the more "compressed" (please read as written in tinier spaces) are the data on it, the more precise it's mechanical part needs to be, the more sophisticated it's ECC needs to be, it can fail and it will fail (sooner or later).

At the very least, you should always buy storage disks in couples, a "main" one and a "backup" one.

Disaster strikes rarely, but when it does the damage can be much bigger.

And bigger is sometimes not "better".

 

jaclaz



#19
phaolo

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Thank you for all the info jaclaz.

 

Well, the long story is this:

I read about WinXp 32bit limits about 1 year ago and I found a bunch of different uncertain opinions.

For that reason, I opted for only a 2Tb WD drive for storage (the price was also quite good).

Now it's 3/4 full and without a proper copy (scattered messy parts on old small drivers), so I'd really like to buy a single new one for backup+new space.

I'm quite sure I won't get a new pc for the next 1 year, so I'm stuck with XP+external hdisks.. and I'm trying to avoid bad surprises.

 

I'm happy about all the good news you confirmed.

However, are you 100% sure that reformatting or defragmenting the >2Tb drive with Xp is safe?

I obtained a lot of free space by doing it on the 2Tb drive, but I fear that Xp could screw up the WD trick on the big one.



#20
jaclaz

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Well, in theory there are none, but of course with *any* windows and *any* hard disk everything (and the contrary of it) is possible in practice.

 

It ( everything or the contrary of it) may be more probable, less probable or improbable, but still possible. :ph34r:

 

I would rate the possibility that re-formatting or defragmenting it under WIndows XP would cause issue highly improbable, though - as said - I use the same kind of sticks I use for Vista :ph34r: :

http://www.msfn.org/...xp/#entry807225

to NOT touch any hard disk bigger than 500 Gb, so I may be not the best person to ask for advice, my personal advice is to use smaller disks (though for a number of other reasons).

 

jaclaz



#21
phaolo

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everything (and the contrary of it) is possible in practice [...] re-formatting or defragmenting it under WIndows XP would cause issue highly improbable

Bad luck apart, I read (again) that there could be problems with "misaligned partitions" created by an old OS like Xp.

The explanations, however, weren't clear or complete..  :blink:

 

to NOT touch any hard disk bigger than 500 Gb

Why, are all the new >500 Gb drives made with Advanced Format?

I've searched some spec about my old 2Tb WD, but I couldn't find if it's a 512e or a normal 512.

If it's already an AF, then I didn't have any problem messing with it on Xp.

 

 

Another question:

could the 512e emulation be disabled in the future, in order to directly access the 4k drive from a compatible OS (example: Windows 8+) and so avoid all the fuss?


Edited by phaolo, 23 August 2013 - 10:41 AM.


#22
jaclaz

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The issue is not common.

The "standard" that MS itself established until XP/2003 was that a partition had to respect given boundaries, namely Cylinder and Heads, to comply with the oldish CHS method.

Considering how the CHS limit was around 8 Gb, you can well understand how the issue was already common in NT 4.0 times.

Notwithstanding this, 2000 and later systems (up - as said - to XP/2003) default to use this approach when creating partitions, whilst later SO, starting from Vista :ph34r: default to use a "round to 1 Mbyte" (usually)  alignment.

 

This should in theory be of NO relevance whatsoever, but the Disk Management in XP does a lot of things that shouldn't really do (more generally a lot of MS apps do a lot of things that they either shouldn't be done or that are done in a sort of "hidden" and often completely UNlike documented way). 

 

In order to make a partition (primary) active the ONLY thing needed is to write hex 80 in the appropriate field in the partition table and make sure that all other partitions have NOT that same field set to 80 (if it is, then it needs to be set to hex 00).

It sounds simple enough, but unfortunately the Disk Management does a lot of (completely unneeded calculations) and when it finds on the disk Logical Volumes inside Extended partition NOT aligned to CH values (like the one that normally Vista :ph34r: amd any later OS would create) it "panics" and botches the partition tables in the EPBR's.

Now, any normal program when it finds something "queer" or that cannot deal with correctly should throw an error or ask the user for confirmation, whilst Disk Management, when you try to change the active status of a partition will simply and silently break the EPBR chain in the Extended partition.

 

The most detailed explanation/story on this bug is here:

http://reboot.pro/to...itioning-issue/

 

(link already provided on the already mentioned topic http://www.msfn.org/...-sector-drives/ )

 

If you have specific questions/doubts about something in there that you don't understand I will try my best (IF I can) to answer them.

 

Why, are all the new >500 Gb drives made with Advanced Format?

 

 

No, it is a matter of data density, information on a 250 Gb platter is already too "dense" for my likings.

A typical 500 Gb 3.5" hard disk will have actually 2 platters 250 Gb each:

http://rml527.blogsp...y-database.html

 

Anything else will have either more platters or higher density platters.

In both cases there are more probabilities of issues, IMHO.

 

 

Another question:

could the 512e emulation be disabled in the future, in order to directly access the 4k drive from a compatible OS (example: Windows 8+) and so avoid all the fuss?

 

I think it depends on the specific model, the "AF" is not a standard and different manufacturers (and even the same manufacturer on the same model) may have made "simple" provisions for dong that (like a "jumper") or complex ones (like a "modified firmware") or none. :unsure:

 

 

 

jaclaz



#23
phaolo

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In order to make a partition (primary) active [...] The most detailed explanation/story on this bug is here [...]

Uhh..ok.. I guess that loong example meant to prove that "Disk Management in XP does a lot of things that shouldn't really do".. right? :blink:

Those problems, anyway, were caused by "using Vista and XP tool on the same disk", a practice I doubt I'll ever do (I'll also skip the evil Vista completely)

 

The issue is not common [...] 2000 and later systems (up - as said - to XP/2003) default to use this approach when creating partitions, whilst later SO, starting from Vista default to use a "round to 1 Mbyte" (usually)  alignment [...] This should in theory be of NO relevance whatsoever

Err.. so you're saying that Xp aligns partitions differently from new OS, but that's not relevant?

Are you sure, can you please check the following links I've found about alignment?

 

4K Sector Hard Drives by Seagate (search "4K aware" to skip to the point):

- http://www.seagate.c...ives-master-ti/

Windows XP  --  Creates primary partition with Alignment 1 condition (unaligned)

Windows Vista-Pre Service Pack 1  --  Large sector aware but creates partitions incorrectly (unaligned)       -->(maybe this caused the error in your example?)
Windows Vista-Service Pack 1 or later  --  Creates partitions with Alignment 0 condition (aligned)
Windows 7  --  Creates partitions with Alignment 0 condition (aligned)

[...] for systems that are still using Windows XP or Windows Vista, pre- Service Pack 1, there is significant risk of reduced performance      -->I've read even 40% elsewere

 

WD align utility:

- http://www.wdc.com/g...id=7&language=1

If you do not change the partitions on a Western Digital USB or Firewire drive, the drive is already optimally aligned.

[...] If you repartition a Western Digital USB or Firewire drive, WD Align should be run to optimally align the partition or partitions.

 

(both links found in this nice page: http://mavmesa.com/w...t-hard-drives/)

 

 

Anything else will have either more platters or higher density platters.

Ah, you're saying that too many or too dense platters = more possible hardware issues.

Anyway, for me a twin drive for backups is enough to solve that fear (ok, unless they both break after 1 week lol)

(P.S: does the 4Tb contain 5 x 800GB platters?)


Edited by phaolo, 23 August 2013 - 02:18 PM.


#24
dencorso

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Anyway, for me a twin drive for backups is enough to solve that fear (ok, unless they both break after 1 week lol)

No, that is bothersome, but still somwhat OK...
Now, if they both break together 1 week after manufacturer warranty ends... icon33.gif

#25
jaclaz

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ON a "normal" 512 bytes sectored disk the difference (talking of modern, fastish disks with NCI and largish cache) is NOT noticeable at all, unless you are going to do a benchmark comparison, which does not on any way represent "real usage".

 

My guess is that on 4 Kb sectored drive the difference may possibly be noticeable, but I won't buy the 40% figures :no:.  Somethign like 4% sounds like a much more "possible" max value (and I still personally doubt that it can be as much as that).

 

On the already given thread there are related references and considerations:

http://reboot.pro/to...-issue/?p=85960

 

and remember that partition alignment only works for NTFS (which is normally "internally" already aligned to 4 Kb), it won't - wiithout special provisions - work for FAT16 and FAT32. I am not familiarwith/haven't looked into exFAT to say if this latter would be affected or not by filesystem misalignement like FAT16 and 32 are.

 

(P.S: does the 4Tb contain 5 x 800GB platters?)

 

Which disk model?

The Seagate ones (still 3.5"):

http://rml527.blogsp...seagate-35.html

are seemingly:

ST4000DM000 4 platters x 1 Gb each

ST4000DX000 5 platters x 800 Gb each

 

jaclaz






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