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Windows 7: Partitioning a large external HD

29 Feb 2016   #1
Agrippa

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 
Partitioning a large external HD

I'm looking to buy a new external HD for backup and storage and as my past experience is that they never end up being big enough I've decided to go for broke and buy a 4 TB one - I'm surprised how relatively cheap large HDs have become. However, whilst looking at reviews someone mentioned in passing that Win 7 is not really happy with anything above 2 TB and that anything larger should be partitioned. Would anyone agree or disagree with this?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Feb 2016   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

The limit is actually 2.2TB. Just make 2 times 2TB partitions and you will be OK.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Feb 2016   #3
GEWB

Several flavors of Linux (Mint primary) / 32bit XP, Win7 HomeP / 64bit Win7 Pro, Ultimate / 64Win8.1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
The limit is actually 2.2GB. Just make 2 times 2GB partitions and you will be OK.

>> Make that 2.2TB <<

(I can't fix the actual reply post.)


Regards,
GEWB
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Feb 2016   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GEWB View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
The limit is actually 2.2GB. Just make 2 times 2GB partitions and you will be OK.

>> Make that 2.2TB <<

(I can't fix the actual reply post.)


Regards,
GEWB
LOL, Yeah of course. TeraByte not MegaByte.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2016   #5
Agrippa

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 

Many thanks for the replies. So, the two 2 TB partitions would be mandatory, not optional.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2016   #6
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

If the drive is initialized as a GPT disk, you don`t have to make more then 1 partition.

If it`s MBR then yes you have to break it up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2016   #7
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

@Agrippa,

Until Windows XP was supported by Microsoft, most manufacturer's were rolling out Advanced Formatted MBR initialised external drives of more than 2TB to make such large capacity drives compatible with Windows XP.

With Microsoft ending support for Windows XP, they have already stopped advanced formatted MBR drives and the new external drives larger than 2TB are rolling out as GPT initialised drives.

When you buy a new 4TB drive you may get a GPT initialised drive or an AF MBR initialised 4TB drive ( from old stock). Look at the casing carefully. If it is an advanced formatted MBR drive it will carry the AF logo.

Partitioning a large external HD-02-09-2015-10-08-28.jpg

There is absolutely no need to partition an Advanced Formatted external 4TB MBR drive as two 2.2TB. To partition or not is absolutely your discretion as with a GPT initialised 4TB drive.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2016   #8
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Note that the big difference is whether you are MBR or GPT. Those are 2 different worlds.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2016   #9
Agrippa

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 

Thanks for the further replies. My PC (a Dell Inspiron) was bought in 2010 and I'm pretty sure that it is MBR.

Now that I've realised that life could get complicated (and discovered new terms such as GPT) I've started googling and have come across what looks like the MS definitive approach to the subject of large drives at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2581408.

At first all seems well with detailed instructions on how to initialize the drive as GPT. However, if you scroll down almost to the bottom you reach a section entitled "Known Issues/Limitations" which makes it quite clear that there could well be problems, presumably especially with an oldish setup such as mine. It then finishes with the rather depressing statement: "Contact your storage controller manufacturer or OEM to determine what downloadable support is available for single-disk capacities that are greater than 2 TB."

So I seem to have the options:
1) Buy the 4TB HDD and keep my fingers crossed.
2) Get in touch with my OEM supplier (Dell) and see what they have to say.
3) Buy a 2TB HDD then buy another one when the first one is filled. This would be a bit more, but not exorbitantly, expensive. There would also be the need for a second power socket and USB port. On the plus side, a drive failure on one drive would not be so serious.

Any further suggestions would be gratefully received.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2016   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Did you actually try to convert the disk to GPT
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 Partitioning a large external HD




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