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Windows 7: 3TB HDD Question

09 Nov 2014   #1
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 
3TB HDD Question

One of my 2TB HDDs has developed some bad sectors.
The most cost effective replacement HDD that my regular supplier sells is 3TB.

My ASRock 880GMH-LE/USB3 motherboard uses BIOS (not EFI).

My HDD setup currently is:
  • 1.5TB (Boot HDD)
  • 2x 2TB (Data HDDs)
I have the following operating systems installed:
  • W7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit)
  • XP Pro SP3 (32 Bit)
  • Linux Mint 17 MATE (64 bit)
I realise that XP may have problems.
I have downloaded a utility from ASRock (3TB+ Unlocker) which is supposed to be able to work around the 32 bit address limitations.
Quote:
The fantastic 3TB+ Unlocker tool offers a tweak-friendly feature, breaking the limitation of 32-bit operation system that could only detect the hard disk within 2048GB. It also allows ASRock motherboards without UEFI Technology to take advantage of the hidden storage space on 3TB and larger HDDs, helping to fully utilize the wasted spaces.
ASRock 3TB+ Unlocker

I'm not opposed to partitioning the 3TB HDD as 1 TB + 2TB if necessary.

Can I install a 3TB HDD as a data disc (not boot disc) without any other issues?





My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
09 Nov 2014   #2
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lehnerus2000 View Post
Can I install a 3TB HDD as a data disc (not boot disc) without any other issues?
To use it as a 3TB drive, you must format it (and possibly partition it) as GPT... not MBR (which is limited to 2TB).

Otherwise, using it as a data disc will be no problem, at least not to Win7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2014   #3
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 
Thanks dsperber

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lehnerus2000 View Post
Can I install a 3TB HDD as a data disc (not boot disc) without any other issues?
To use it as a 3TB drive, you must format it (and possibly partition it) as GPT... not MBR (which is limited to 2TB).

Otherwise, using it as a data disc will be no problem, at least not to Win7.
Thanks.

That was my understanding, but I wanted some opinions from other people to be sure.

I am still confused about MBR vs GPT though.

My Linux Expert friend looked confused when I questioned him about the issue.
He recently installed a 3TB HDD and formatted it as EXT4.
He has not noticed any issues.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

10 Nov 2014   #4
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lehnerus2000 View Post
I am still confused about MBR vs GPT though.
As well described in this article:

"MBR (Master Boot Record) and GPT (GUID Partition Table) are two different ways of storing the partitioning information on a drive. This information includes where partitions start and begin, so your operating system knows which sectors belong to each partition and which partition is bootable. This is why you have to choose MBR or GPT before creating partitions on a drive."

"GPT brings with it many advantages, but MBR is still the most compatible and is still necessary in some cases. This isn’t a Windows-only standard — Mac OS X, Linux, and other operating systems can also use GPT."

"MBR works with disks up to 2 TB in size, but it can’t handle disks with more than 2 TB of space. MBR also only supports up to four primary partitions — if you want more, you have to make one of your primary partitions an “extended partition” and create logical partitions inside it."

"GPT stands for GUID Partition Table. It’s a new standard that’s gradually replacing MBR. This system doesn’t have MBR’s limits. Drives can be much, much larger and size limits will depend on the operating system and its file systems. GPT allows for a nearly unlimited amount of partitions, and the limit here will be your operating system — Windows allows up to 128 partitions on a GPT drive, and you don’t have to create an extended partition."


Quote:
My Linux Expert friend looked confused when I questioned him about the issue.
He recently installed a 3TB HDD and formatted it as EXT4.
He has not noticed any issues.
Apples and oranges. Nothing to do with MBR vs. GPT, which is really a discussion about drive partitioning technique.

EXT4 is a Linux file system used for data storage on a given partition on a drive, like NTFS, FAT32, for Windows, etc., and can exist on drives partitioned with either MBR or GPT.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2014   #5
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

You shouldn't have any issues with the new disk.

I recently replaced a 1.5 TB data backup drive with a 3.0 TB drive. The only change I had to make was to use GPT on the new drive. I still use BIOS and my boot drive is still MBR. I haven't noticed anything unusual at all.

I think that Asus tool you downloaded would allow you to format and use the entire 3.0 TB disc, even if you used MBR--the device driver mounts the capacity above 2.2 TB with another MBR which looks to the system as a second virtual “physical” device. You’d have a 2.2 TB partition and another for the remainder.

If you don’t use that tool, you’d be limited to 2.2 TB on that 3.0 TB drive---regardless of the number of partitions. The alternative is to use GPT.

A system with BIOS cannot boot a GPT disk, which is no problem for you since this is strictly a data disc.

Since this is a data disc, there's no over-riding reason for you to use that Asus download.

I'm speaking only about Win 7. I have no idea if any other OS would bark.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2014   #6
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
"MBR works with disks up to 2 TB in size, but it can’t handle disks with more than 2 TB of space. MBR also only supports up to four primary partitions — if you want more, you have to make one of your primary partitions an “extended partition” and create logical partitions inside it."

"GPT stands for GUID Partition Table. It’s a new standard that’s gradually replacing MBR. This system doesn’t have MBR’s limits. Drives can be much, much larger and size limits will depend on the operating system and its file systems. GPT allows for a nearly unlimited amount of partitions, and the limit here will be your operating system — Windows allows up to 128 partitions on a GPT drive, and you don’t have to create an extended partition."
I am aware of the general blurb.

What I don't understand is, if Windows only functions with drive letters how can you have a massive number of partitions?
Do you have to create a "folder with a drive letter" and then mount all of the other partitions inside it?

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
Apples and oranges. Nothing to do with MBR vs. GPT, which is really a discussion about drive partitioning technique.

EXT4 is a Linux file system used for data storage on a given partition on a drive, like NTFS, FAT32, for Windows, etc., and can exist on drives partitioned with either MBR or GPT.
Poor phrasing on my part.
I am also aware that EXT is a file system (I use EXT4 for my Linux partitions).

What was confusing was that when I asked how he set up up his 3TB HDD and mentioned GPT, he looked at me like I was speaking gibberish.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
You shouldn't have any issues with the new disk.

I recently replaced a 1.5 TB data backup drive with a 3.0 TB drive. The only change I had to make was to use GPT on the new drive. I still use BIOS and my boot drive is still MBR. I haven't noticed anything unusual at all.

I think that Asus tool you downloaded would allow you to format and use the entire 3.0 TB disc, even if you used MBR--the device driver mounts the capacity above 2.2 TB with another MBR which looks to the system as a second virtual “physical” device. You’d have a 2.2 TB partition and another for the remainder.

If you don’t use that tool, you’d be limited to 2.2 TB on that 3.0 TB drive---regardless of the number of partitions. The alternative is to use GPT.

A system with BIOS cannot boot a GPT disk, which is no problem for you since this is strictly a data disc.

Since this is a data disc, there's no over-riding reason for you to use that Asus download.
I assume (based on the marketing blurb) that the ASRock utility is supposed to enable XP (32 bit) to use the entire disk.

The end result is that you have both posted that using the disc for data should cause no issues.

I didn't want to buy a 3TB (or larger) HDD only to discover it won't run correctly in my system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2014   #7
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lehnerus2000 View Post
What I don't understand is, if Windows only functions with drive letters how can you have a massive number of partitions?
Do you have to create a "folder with a drive letter" and then mount all of the other partitions inside it?
Yes, except that the folder doesn't have a drive letter. It's just a folder. And all the other partitions are mounted inside it.

So you get to all the partitions and their contents not with letters, but simply symbolically as part of a folder structure. Kind of like how you access removable devices (like phones) that connect through MTP and appear in Windows Explorer symbolically, but also without drive letters.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
I am also aware that EXT is a file system (I use EXT4 for my Linux partitions).

What was confusing was that when I asked how he set up up his 3TB HDD and mentioned GPT, he looked at me like I was speaking gibberish.
Well, I would venture to guess that while he might not have realized it (and perhaps didn't do something explicit to create it that way), if he set up his 3TB drive with one 3TB EXT4 partition then that drive had to have been partitioned (perhaps automatically) with GPT, as it had to be in order to support more than 2TB of size.

If you use Partition Wizard (either from the standalone boot CD, or from the installed program running under Windows) to view your hard drives it will be plainly seen from the GUI whether the partitions on a drive are MBR-primary or MBR-logical, or GPT. His 3TB EXT4 partition would have to be GPT. Note that Partition Wizard can do lots of magic things, including converting an MBR-partitioned disk into a GPT-partitioned disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2014   #8
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 
Thanks again

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lehnerus2000 View Post
Do you have to create a "folder with a drive letter" and then mount all of the other partitions inside it?
Yes, except that the folder doesn't have a drive letter. It's just a folder. And all the other partitions are mounted inside it.
I'm not sure what I was trying to say (I need to get more sleep).

I have mounted VHDs in folders on Windows (once for each W8 Preview).

I've had to do it in Linux (fstab) to auto-mount my NTFS partitions during boot up.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
So you get to all the partitions and their contents not with letters, but simply symbolically as part of a folder structure. Kind of like how you access removable devices (like phones) that connect through MTP and appear in Windows Explorer symbolically, but also without drive letters.
I've never tried to connect a phone (or similar device) to Windows.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
Well, I would venture to guess that while he might not have realized it (and perhaps didn't do something explicit to create it that way), if he set up his 3TB drive with one 3TB EXT4 partition then that drive had to have been partitioned (perhaps automatically) with GPT, as it had to be in order to support more than 2TB of size.
I was wondering if the partitioning tool he used, automatically selected GPT because of the HDD/Partition size (he uses Arch Linux).

I use GParted for all of my partitioning (except in VMs).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2014   #9
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lehnerus2000 View Post
I've never tried to connect a phone (or similar device) to Windows.
Just for example, here's my Samsung Galaxy S4 connected via USB cable to my PC. The USB configuration on the phone is set to "connect as media device (MTP)", which means "allows you to transfer files in Windows, or using AndroidFileTransfer on a Mac".



Note that no drive letters are assigned to the phone itself, or its internal storage or SD card storage. It's all accessed symbolically as either source or target for a folder/file data transfer to/from the PC.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2014   #10
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 
Interesting

I notice that the screenshot is showing the "breadcrumb" path information.

If you don't mind me asking, what path information does the Address bar show if you click in it (when your phone is connected)?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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