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Windows 7: 3TB HDD for Storage Drive

06 Jan 2017   #1
BuckSkin

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 
3TB HDD for Storage Drive

I have searched this and keep getting conflicting information and also information that is way over my head.
I have this machine: DELL Optiplex 780m, the big one (mini-tower).
64-bit Windows 7 Pro
It has a single 500-GB internal HDD
I wish to add a WD 5400-rpm 3TB internal HDD for storage only.

1. Must I format this GUID(GPT) --- (not certain I am using the correct initials here)
2. I have read that system images must be stored on NTFS; if I must format this 3TB as GPT, can I still store system images on it?
3. Can this drive be seen as a single drive letter and utilize the entire capacity ?

I also wish to use identical 3TB internal HDDs in enclosures as USB-connected external HDDs.
4. Can these be formatted NTFS and be plug-n-play as such?

Thanks for reading.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Jan 2017   #2
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

NTFS is the actual top level File system so will be in use for any lower level system chosen, there is no need for concern about the NTFS format apart from the fact that any system Bootable partition must be a Primary partition

For many years the MBR low level disk system was the system of choice, unfortunately this has some issues that are now relevant with the current disks available - The maximum size for a partition is 2TB and also the maximum number of Primary (bootable) partitions is four, (less of a general issue unless you are multi-Booting). This system also relies on a single location for the Master Boot Record, and a duplicate, which is used to locate the files at a basic level.

To circumvent these issues the GPT system is available - This has a much larger partition size, (Theoretically this is more than twice the size of the entire Internet so will not run out soon ), so is more useable on today's large disks, and has a little room for expansion as disks grow in size .

It also has unlimited Primary partitions, and stores the file records throughout the disk so is safer from a localised failure or malware attack.

GPT is the recommended way to go unless you are using an OS or specific low level software that cannot read the system.

In your case a 3TB drive can use either system but only GPT would allow a single partition (Disk Letter) - Using the MBR system would need to partition into at least two partitions with a maximum size of 2TB.

Internal or External drives work the same (I would suggest a USB3 connection if possible to give usable access speeds for external drives)

I would also recommend the free Partition Wizard software for set-up of your systems

Free download Magic Partition Manager Software, partition magic alternative, free partition magic, partition magic Windows 7 and server partition software - Partition Wizard Online
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2017   #3
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Hi,
I would suggest a 7200 rpm WD black or blue series if you can find one they would be a lot better than a slow 5400 rpm disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Jan 2017   #4
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

I agree with ThrashZone that a WD Black would be a better choice for an internal drive than a 5400rpm drive since, being a 7200rpm drive, it will be faster than a 5400rpm drive. The 7200rpm WD Blues are also speedy but WD makes those only up to 1TB; the larger ones are 5400rpm drives. I prefer the WD Blacks both for speed and the longer warranty that suggests they are more likely to last longer. This isn't to say that the Blues are bad drives—they are good drives—but the Blacks are better.

The 5400 rpm Blues do make good backup drives. While slower than 7200 rpm drives, they are more economical for backup drives and the slower speed isn't a problem since most backups methods are a set and forget procedure that you can ignore until a backup update is finished. It is best to keep backup drives shut down and disconnected from the computer except when updating a backup.

Also, I advise staying away from 3TB drives. For some odd reason, they tend to get poorer customer reviews than other drives. If your budget can stand it, I suggest using 4TB drives or, if money is tight (as it usually is for all of us) and you won't need all 3TB for quite some time, 2TB drives cost less and are usually more reliable than 3TB drives
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2017   #5
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2017   #6
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

WD has had a better track record over time than Seagate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2017   #7
BuckSkin

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Barman58 View Post
To circumvent these issues the GPT system is available

In your case a 3TB drive can use either system but only GPT would allow a single partition (Disk Letter) - Using the MBR system would need to partition into at least two partitions with a maximum size of 2TB.
Thanks for the in-depth explanation.

So what you are saying is that my particular application can handle a 3TB drive formatted GPT, or formatted NTFS if I create two partitions; and, you see no hardware limitations that would prevent using the 3TB, correct ?


The reason I opt for 5400-RPM is less heat and longer life of moving parts.

For internal storage, what would I gain by using 7200-RPM ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2017   #8
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

Almost

You need to decide the type of low level system setup you want, (or Need), either MBR or GPT with the differences as described in my other post, once you have this installed you can then format the partition(s) with NTFS or FAT or FAT32 Etc

Basically

There is a disk format Either MBR or GPT

Then There is a partition format on top of the disk format this can be Fat 32 or NTFS or others

You can have an NTFS format structure on either an MBR or GPT Disk

with a 3TB HDD I would personally use a GPT disk format, create a single Partition and format this with NTFS
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2017   #9
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

Just found this explanaton image on-line



If you look at the top two disks shown above you will see One MBR disk and then one GPT disk both contain partitions formatted to NTFS, (the third drive is MBR, formatted with FAT32)

The image is from Partition Wizard That I recommended it's help system does explain a lot of the technical differences between the two systems if you want to be totally sure before proceeding further
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2017   #10
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Barman58 View Post
...with a 3TB HDD I would personally use a GPT disk format, create a single Partition and format this with NTFS
For data only drives 3TB and larger, I totally agree!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 3TB HDD for Storage Drive




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