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Windows 7: Do we still need drive letters...?

16 Jan 2010   #11
valtonray

Windows 7 Ultimate Signature Edition
 
 

i don't know i think WinFS kinda got killed off. i was surprised that it didn't show up in 7 but now it has been so long since we've heard anything about it i think it's become vaporware.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
16 Jan 2010   #12
john wolf

Windows XP & Win NT2000
 
 

NTSF format can only acess 137 gb. Modern drives are much larger and require partitioning into logical drives each having a drive letter. Bear in mind hard drives and other devices require quite a bit of power. You might consider partitioning to gain full capacity of your existing drives and remove some.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2010   #13
Tepid

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by john wolf View Post
NTSF format can only acess 137 gb.
That's not true. Windows 7 supports up to 16TB partitions.

However,, as I understand it,,, there are caveats to this.
For instance, you can not boot a partition larger than 2TB.

Quote from Source

Quote:
The following are a few limitations of NTFS:

File NamesFile names are limited to 255 UTF-16 code words. Certain names are reserved in the volume root directory and cannot be used for files. These are: $MFT, $MFTMirr, $LogFile, $Volume, $AttrDef, . (dot), $Bitmap, $Boot, $BadClus, $Secure, $Upcase, and $Extend;[3] . (dot) and $Extend are both directories; the others are files. The NT kernel limits full paths to 32,767 UTF-16 code words.

Maximum Volume SizeIn theory, the maximum NTFS volume size is 264−1 clusters. However, the maximum NTFS volume size as implemented in Windows XP Professional is 232−1 clusters. For example, using 64 KiB clusters, the maximum NTFS volume size is 256 TiB minus 64 KiB. Using the default cluster size of 4 KiB, the maximum NTFS volume size is 16 TiB minus 4 KiB. (Both of these are vastly higher than the 128 GiB limit lifted in Windows XP SP1.) Because partition tables on master boot record (MBR) disks only support partition sizes up to 2 TiB, dynamic or GPT volumes must be used to create bootable NTFS volumes over 2 TiB.

Maximum File SizeTheoretical: 16 EiB minus 1 KiB (264 − 210 or 18,446,744,073,709,550,592 bytes). Implementation: 16 TiB minus 64 KiB (244 − 216 or 17,592,185,978,880 bytes)
That's the over all simple answer,, but not the full answer
There is a lot more info to this than I ahve time to point out or research and explain.
I suggest searching google or bing on this and GPT (GUID Partition Table).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

16 Jan 2010   #14
logicearth

Windows 10 Pro (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by valtonray View Post
i don't know i think WinFS kinda got killed off. i was surprised that it didn't show up in 7 but now it has been so long since we've heard anything about it i think it's become vaporware.
How does WinFS relate to this? WinFS was not a file system, it sat atop NTFS. It merely was collecting extra data into a database.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2010   #15
Ztruker

Windows 10 Pro X64
 
 

The easiest way to handle this would be to assign each partition based on the drive number.

Drive 0
Partition 1 = 0.1 (0.1:\users for instance)
Partition 2 = 0.2

Drive 1
Partition 1 = 1.1
Partition 2 = 1.2

etc...

This could easily handle 256 (0:256) partitions per drive but can you imagine what the impact would be if the current setup is changed? The hit to the operating system itself would be huge as it would be to all installers and apps that use their own installer.

Backward compatibility would be a nightmare.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2010   #16
Tepid

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

I also forgot to mention.

If you seriously have that many drives? Then you need to start looking at full blown Servers chassis and racks. And creating full blown Raid 6 arrays.

I would add that if you need more than 23 Drive letters, then you are seriously doing something wrong.

And I appologize if that so0unds rude,, it is not meant to be. Just matter of fact.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2010   #17
valtonray

Windows 7 Ultimate Signature Edition
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by logicearth View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by valtonray View Post
i don't know i think WinFS kinda got killed off. i was surprised that it didn't show up in 7 but now it has been so long since we've heard anything about it i think it's become vaporware.
How does WinFS relate to this? WinFS was not a file system, it sat atop NTFS. It merely was collecting extra data into a database.
you know i remember this was a direct response to someone bringing up WinFS but it's possible i had multiple tabs open and posted my response in the wrong one. i remember because as i was writing it i got the idea to look up whatever happened to it and apparently it never was killed off but instead broken up and future versions of smaller ms software projects will have parts of it implemented into them if anyone cares.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jan 2010   #18
zzz2496

Windows7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Tepid View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by john wolf View Post
NTSF format can only acess 137 gb.
That's not true. Windows 7 supports up to 16TB partitions.

However,, as I understand it,,, there are caveats to this.
For instance, you can not boot a partition larger than 2TB.

Quote from Source

Quote:
The following are a few limitations of NTFS:

File NamesFile names are limited to 255 UTF-16 code words. Certain names are reserved in the volume root directory and cannot be used for files. These are: $MFT, $MFTMirr, $LogFile, $Volume, $AttrDef, . (dot), $Bitmap, $Boot, $BadClus, $Secure, $Upcase, and $Extend;[3] . (dot) and $Extend are both directories; the others are files. The NT kernel limits full paths to 32,767 UTF-16 code words.

Maximum Volume SizeIn theory, the maximum NTFS volume size is 264−1 clusters. However, the maximum NTFS volume size as implemented in Windows XP Professional is 232−1 clusters. For example, using 64 KiB clusters, the maximum NTFS volume size is 256 TiB minus 64 KiB. Using the default cluster size of 4 KiB, the maximum NTFS volume size is 16 TiB minus 4 KiB. (Both of these are vastly higher than the 128 GiB limit lifted in Windows XP SP1.) Because partition tables on master boot record (MBR) disks only support partition sizes up to 2 TiB, dynamic or GPT volumes must be used to create bootable NTFS volumes over 2 TiB.

Maximum File SizeTheoretical: 16 EiB minus 1 KiB (264 − 210 or 18,446,744,073,709,550,592 bytes). Implementation: 16 TiB minus 64 KiB (244 − 216 or 17,592,185,978,880 bytes)
That's the over all simple answer,, but not the full answer
There is a lot more info to this than I ahve time to point out or research and explain.
I suggest searching google or bing on this and GPT (GUID Partition Table).
Tepid, nice explanation For BIOS based (uses MBR) computers, the limit is 2TB which is kinda limited for today. That's why Intel needs to get it acts right and make EFI the "de facto" standard, so that we can boot up off > 2TB volumes (RAID 0 of 2x 1.5TB disks is already ~3TB).

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by logicearth View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by valtonray View Post
i don't know i think WinFS kinda got killed off. i was surprised that it didn't show up in 7 but now it has been so long since we've heard anything about it i think it's become vaporware.
How does WinFS relate to this? WinFS was not a file system, it sat atop NTFS. It merely was collecting extra data into a database.
WinFS is like an abstraction layer for File Systems, just like HAL for hardware. The idea was, if we have a database driven File System, the role of volume managers will be reduced tremendously, and data grouping (folders) will be obsolete since we will be seeing our data in a "pool", which will be categorized in a way of stacks works (the cool name was "One of the Four Pillars of Longhorn").

At that time I thought, is Microsoft using some part of ZFS to build WinFS? See, ZFS's concept is it's managing a "pool", you can add a storage device to that "pool", it will then take care of it, from which data to be written where, to checksum of each block (to make sure that the data is safely written/stored). And there goes WinFS, Microsoft cancel it, so it's not implemented in Vista (Longhorn). It got thrown to the sides, it was implemented in MS SQL product IIRC, but haven't heard about it since 2-3 years ago...

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Tepid View Post
I also forgot to mention.

If you seriously have that many drives? Then you need to start looking at full blown Servers chassis and racks. And creating full blown Raid 6 arrays.

I would add that if you need more than 23 Drive letters, then you are seriously doing something wrong.

And I appologize if that so0unds rude,, it is not meant to be. Just matter of fact.
I do have that many partitions (the result of bad practice in micro managing disk partitions). What I need is not a server chassis, that would be the old way of thinking. I need a new way to consolidate my data (which is why I found mounting a volume to a folder to be very efficient). I'm currently testing a 4TB ZFS RAIDZ volume over iSCSI, it works very well. From that 4TB volume (1 partition), I can create virtual drive letters if need be (using "subst" command), so that applications that are bound to static addressing using drive letters will not break.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Ztruker View Post
The easiest way to handle this would be to assign each partition based on the drive number.

Drive 0
Partition 1 = 0.1 (0.1:\users for instance)
Partition 2 = 0.2

Drive 1
Partition 1 = 1.1
Partition 2 = 1.2

etc...

This could easily handle 256 (0:256) partitions per drive but can you imagine what the impact would be if the current setup is changed? The hit to the operating system itself would be huge as it would be to all installers and apps that use their own installer.

Backward compatibility would be a nightmare.
Don't mix partition management with drive letters, partition management is at the partition table, you don't need to know the way partition table works, as long as the partition is created and you can mount it, then you're good to go. There are many limitation on a MBR based partition, IIRC you can only have no more than 4 partition at a time (either it's 4 primaries, or 1 primaries and 1 secondary with 3 logicals). GUID based partition is not bound to this kind of limitation.

BUT, you do have the ability to mount a volume (partition) to a folder, you can have your "D: (Data)" drive letter to be mounted on "C:\Data", that folder will contain your "Data" partition, along with NTFS ACLs etc.

===========================================================

Here's what I've bumped my head on relating to this drive letter limited realm...

I had so many partition, so many devices, so many remote disks I ran out of drive letters. At that time, well.. it's OK, I can still mount the darn thing in a folder, so it's all good. Then the HUGE problem came, 3 of my disks is dying (~3 years old Seagate Barracudas). Those disks holds 6 partitions in them, if I take them down, I'll have a gaping hole on my drive letters. Not to mention I have my music library (managed by iTunes) scattered all over those 6 partitions. Restoring the music library will be a PITA I thought at that time.

And then came the WDC Caviar Black 1TB drive. At partitioning time I was at a dead end, I can't make 6 partitions on this disk, that won't work... even if I do able to create 6 partitions, it won't take long before I have to use another drive letter to mount my new disk partition to expand my pool of disk storage. THEN it hits me, "Why do I mount it to a drive letter?", I hit my head Then I partition it using GPT, 1 partition only, created some ~900GB volume. I copy all of my data off 3x dying disks to the new Caviar Black, with "volumename_driveletter" folder format (so drive letter G: holds a volume labeled "Fun" will have "fun_g" as it's folder name), mount the ~900GB volume to a folder, and type this command ==>

Code:
subst g: c:\volumens\1tb_pool\fun_g
And BOOM, a G: drive letter shows up, and it contains the exact same data/folder structure as the original disk, but without the partition limit

By then, I've attached another 1TB disk under "fun_g" folder ("Fun" partition was ~200GB originally), effectively "expanding" the volume to ~1.8 TB shared volume limit (along with other 5 "partitions"). This time, I don't have the "oh shit, I ran out of free space in G:" kind of problem. If I need free space, I attach another disk on it (which the drive G: it self is technically a folder).

You can have almost unlimited number of folders compared to the very small 27 drive letters... Which then made me realize, Drive letters is an old legacy and Microsoft should have just leave it behind.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jan 2010   #19
computersplus

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit
 
 
Read My Mind

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Tepid View Post
I also forgot to mention.

If you seriously have that many drives? Then you need to start looking at full blown Servers chassis and racks. And creating full blown Raid 6 arrays.

I would add that if you need more than 23 Drive letters, then you are seriously doing something wrong.

And I appologize if that so0unds rude,, it is not meant to be. Just matter of fact.
you read my mind stay out lol.....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jan 2010   #20
VektaFrenzy

Microsoft Windows Seven
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by zzz2496 View Post
Hi ukgovsucks,

In my setup, I have 8 harddisks, 2 internal optical drives, 2 external optical drives, 2 card readers (each needed at least 3 drive letters). I had drive letter up to "S", that leaves me somewhat little slack to use, not to mention I have several VHDs shared over network, and several iSCSI disks. When everything online, and in use, IF I put all in drive letters, I should need drive "AC" (as in after "Z"-> "AA"->"AB"->"AC"). It was a PITA before I re-mount everything in folders... By mounting each into folders, I can now have as many volumes as I want. I even have seperate folders for remote disks, virtual disks, and directly connected disks. Fortunately Microsoft still provides "subst" command, so I can still have a virtual drive letter off my folder mounted volume just to keep backward compatibility with my preconfigured Database server process/iTunes/and several other apps...

Now, I'm rearranging everything using larger volumes (testing a 4TB volume right now) to maintain order of my data chaos. Drive letter really is a legacy, Microsoft should just leave it behind, use WinFS instead (where did that FS go anyway?). Unix style is still the best (everything is in a directory/file).

zzz2496
Fortunatelly, my computer and laptop has just 1 harddisk with high capacity.
Buat apa kebanyakan begitu.. ;S
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Do we still need drive letters...?




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