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Windows 7: Is it possible to create a C: drive with 64K clusters?

10 Aug 2009   #1
kolotyluk

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 
Is it possible to create a C: drive with 64K clusters?

I'm trying to create a C: drive with 64K clusters - to match the block size of my RAID-0 drive. During the Windows 7 Setup process I drop into the command window with Shift-F10 and manually format the C: drive using

format c: /a:64k /x

then I continue with setup. Setup expands the files (seemingly normally) and then reboots, but when the system reboots I get

A disk read error occurred
Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to restart

If I reboot again it automatically reboots from the DVD.

I've tried this twice with the same results. I cannot tell if this is a bug in Windows 7 Setup, is a problem with the Dell system I am using, or if it is simply not supported to install Windows 7 this way.

If I use the default format from the Setup GUI, the installation works correctly.

Can someone please explain?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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10 Aug 2009   #2
iseeuu

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kolotyluk View Post
I'm trying to create a C: drive with 64K clusters - to match the block size of my RAID-0 drive.

I've tried this twice with the same results. I cannot tell if this is a bug in Windows 7 Setup, is a problem with the Dell system I am using, or if it is simply not supported to install Windows 7 this way.

Can someone please explain?
kolotyluk; Welcome to Seven Forums! Glad you dropped in.

I don't know that anyone has tried to do what you want to do. I believe as long as you use the "installer", it will create the default cluster best suited to Windows 7.

The only way I can see of getting 7 over a 64k partition it to use the 'upgrade' or 'repair' selection form the install DVD. Now you understand that anytime you experiment like this you are at risk of loosing all your DATA!? So make good backups before proceeding.

I have not done this so this is a quess: if you take an empty hard drive, you can use the 7 "Disk Management" utility to format it using 64k clusters.



Then you would have to COPY the contents of your current C drive to the new formatted partition. Connect only this drive and reinstall 7 via upgrade or repair. The installer should not reformat the drive and therefore should leave the 64k clusters alone. Now, and this is a big "Now", Windows 7 may simply not be able to function in a 64k environment so all your effort may be for nothing. You are welcome to try.

Have fun,
Robert
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2009   #3
kolotyluk

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Thanks for the info Robert - I have a sneaking suspicion that the problem is that Microsoft's boot loader cannot read a file system formatted with 64K clusters. It appears that Setup is correctly writing the O/S to the C: partition, and it writes a boot loader to the boot blocks on the drive, then it reboots to finalize the installation, but the boot loader is too simple to read the file system on the C: partition so it complains "A disk read error occurred."

I would imagine this is a scenario Microsoft have never tested before. Of course I don't know this is the case for sure, but I'm wondering if there is any way to get someone from Microsoft to confirm it. It would be another thing entirely to get someone from Microsoft to fix the problem.

Cheers, Eric Kolotyluk
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Aug 2009   #4
Antman

 

In your BIOS, increase your PCI bus latency by single steps. Test.

You have been advised earlier in this thread to archive the data on the disk(s). Remove all other disks from the machine before playing with this trick.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2009   #5
Antman

 

Also note: You may actually reduce the performance of your RAID0 with 64k blocks. Any files smaller than 64k will reside on a single disk within the volume, disaffecting the benefit of multi-head seeks/reads/writes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2009   #6
Dinesh

Windows® 8 Pro (64-bit)
 
 

In addition to Antman's post, I would also like to recommend to turn off integrated audio and NIC.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2009   #7
Dinesh

Windows® 8 Pro (64-bit)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Antman View Post
Also note: You may actually reduce the performance of your RAID0 with 64k blocks. Any files smaller than 64k will reside on a single disk within the volume, disaffecting the benefit of multi-head seeks/reads/writes.
I guess the default is 128k?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2009   #8
Antman

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dinesh View Post
I guess the default is 128k?
Cluster size, stripe size - not the same thing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2009   #9
Dinesh

Windows® 8 Pro (64-bit)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Antman View Post
Cluster size, stripe size - not the same thing.
oh i was talking about the strip size. thanks for the correction.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2009   #10
kolotyluk

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Antman View Post
In your BIOS, increase your PCI bus latency by single steps. Test.

You have been advised earlier in this thread to archive the data on the disk(s). Remove all other disks from the machine before playing with this trick.
I'm curious why you think this would have an effect? The block size of the RAID is already 64K, so the I/O operations over the PCI bus would already be 64K wouldn't they?

The system boots fine when C: is 4K clusters (the default), but not for 64K clusters - which is why I suspect a boot loader problem.

Thanks for the warning, but there is nothing I need to archive as this is a test box I'm playing with and I've been reinstalling Windows 7 from scratch each time.

Cheers, Eric
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Is it possible to create a C: drive with 64K clusters?




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