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Windows 7: Need to add 4k-sector support to Windows7 installation files

11 Feb 2017   #1
Drumming Pete

Windows7
 
 
Need to add 4k-sector support to Windows7 installation files

HI,

I am reinstalling Windows 7 x64 fresh to my Asus i5-processor based laptop, which also has UEFI Bios/USB3.0 and a SSD.

I remember I read about Windows 7 pre-SP1,
It does not fully support the 4-k sector (advanced format) drives.

Can you help me get the right driver/update (for Win7, x64, Ultimate release)and show me how to slipstream this into my Windows7 install-files?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
12 Feb 2017   #2
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Download the MS downloader - https://www.heidoc.net/php/Windows%2...Downloader.exe
Launch the downloader and choose win 7 64 Ultimate release (retail or OEM). It will be SP1.
- Burn a DVD or use Rufus to make a boot able flash disk. Rufus - Create bootable USB drives the easy way.
- Backup all your data
- On BIOS, disable secure boot and fast boot. Enable Compatible System Mode - CSM (if you have it)
For CSM, here are the current settings (in bold)
Launch CSM.......................................(Auto, Enabled, Disabled)
Boot Device Control.............................(UEFI and Legacy OPROM, Legacy OPROM only, UEFI Only)
Boot from Network Devices...................(Ignore, Legacy Only)
Boot from Storage Devices....................(Ignore, Legacy Only, UEFI Driver first)
Boot from PCIe/PCI Expansion Devices....(Legacy Only, UEFI driver first)

- Boot Win 7 installation disk as UEFI, go to install - Advanced - delete all partitions - Create new.
It will create 3 partitions:
- UEFI - 100M - Fat32
- MSR - 120M - RAW
- Large NTFS
Install on the large NTFS

For the updates: MS releases SP2 for Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Feb 2017   #3
Drumming Pete

Windows7
 
 

HI Megahertz07, there's info there to help me boot for a UEFI setup/install. Thanks

Two questions;

1. I got the hotfix which adds support for correct 4k-sector handling. I want to try and slipstream this into my win7 install files.
How do I do this? I already slipstreamed usb3 drivers into the boot.wim which I need but perhaps a kb-update needs different commands?

2. If slipstream of this driver is a success, will it be loaded during fresh installation to correctly format my SSD for 4k-sectors. Or is this advanced format driver not necessary during formatting stage?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

12 Feb 2017   #4
Drumming Pete

Windows7
 
 

HI guys.

1. I need to know how to slip 1 kb-update into my windows7 boot.wim. How do I do this using DISM?
I already have usb3 drivers slipstreamed but perhaps with a hotfix the commands are different?

2. The update is a 4k-sector hotfix for utilizing advanced-format drives correctly (My Win7 DVD was pre-sp1, I use a USB now). If I slipstream this driver into my install files. Will this be used immediately during a fresh installation to correctly format my SSD. Or is this advanced-format update not necessary during the formatting/partitioning stage ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2017   #5
dg1261

Windows 7/8.1/10/XP multiboot
 
 

Pete,

I wonder if you're perhaps getting confused by the terminology. AF ("Advanced Format") really means little more than that the drive uses *physical* 4KB sectors internally ... but that's nothing new; all large drives have been designed that way for many years now. The real issue is how the drive's interface presents those sectors logically to the outside world--that is, Windows or the host interface.

Don't confuse the physical sector size with the logical sector size. Most AF drives use a 512e interface, whereby the drive presents one physical 4KB sector to the outside world as a block of eight logical 512-byte sectors. The term "AF" by itself doesn't indicate what size logical sectors you're talking about, so it's more common to differentiate them as 4Kn ("native 4KB logical sectors") vs. 512e ("emulated 512-byte logical sectors"). In 4Kn, 1 physical sector = 1 logical sector. In 512e, 1 physical sector = 8 logical sectors.

Windows 7 has no trouble supporting 512e AF drives because to it they look just like the older drives with 512-byte physical sectors. AFAIK, Win7 does not support 4Kn AF drives, though. (See chart at the bottom of this KB982018 article.) Windows 8 and 10 do, but I don't believe you can use a 4Kn drive with Win7. (That is, unless it's as an external USB drive--but in that case the USB interface is responsible for the 4Kn support, not Win7 itself.)

I suspect your research has been clouded by discussions around the issue of partition alignment.

Typical NTFS clusters or allocation units are 4KB in size, so even on traditional HDDs Windows is reading and writing 8 512-byte sectors at a time, whether or not it needs all 8. That's great on an AF drive, where it can correspond with one physical sector--whether that be one 4Kn sector or 8 512e sectors--provided that those 512e sectors correspond exactly with one physical sector. That's the whole argument for alignment; if Windows reads/writes 8 512-byte sectors at a time, and those 8 512e sectors line up over portions of two different AF 4KB physical sectors, that would reduce performance substantially. Performance is much better if those 8 512e sectors align with a single physical AF 4KB sector.

FWIW, I would think for compatibility reasons your SSD might use a 512e interface. If you can't find it specified in the SSD's documentation, you can check by running the command "fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo x:" (where x: is a NTFS partition on the SSD) from a Windows command prompt. (That's easier to do with a desktop vs. a laptop because you can mount both the existing Windows hard disk and the SSD at the same time. On a laptop where you may only be able to install one disk internally at a time, you may need to actually install Windows on the SSD first.) That command will tell you what logical sector size is in use on that disk.

The bottom line is you don't tell Windows what sector size to use. You have some control over alignment, but not sector size, so don't worry about it. That's determined by the drive interface, and Windows will format the file system based on what the drive tells it to use. Windows will format the file system with 4KB allocation units, whether that be 8 512e logical sectors or (as supported by Win8/10) one 4Kn logical sector, but it's up to the drive to tell Windows whether it's 512e or 4Kn.

You do have control over alignment, so let Win7 create your partitions or use a third-party partitioning tool that will create properly aligned partitions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2017   #6
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

I think you're making things more complicated than they are.
Download the Win 7 SP1 as instructed. Make a DVD or a boot able flash disk.
With fast boot disable, hit the boot menu. It will give you a option to boot as legacy or UEFI. Choose UEFI.
When you delete all partitions and create new, it will format the SSD as GPT and create the needed partitions. Proceed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2017   #7
Drumming Pete

Windows7
 
 

There are updates in SP1 that I do not want to install.


This article
points to the update/hotfix I want (and need) to install to correctly address my axternal AF harddrives in the near future. So it needs to be installed anyway.

Would it be possible to load this hotfix as a driver during the installation of windos7 ?

My current OS is win8, and yes I have checked with FSUtil and yes it says my SSD in my laptop, has physical sectors of 4096. So I really do need this driver during installation before fromatting.

Thanks for all your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2017   #8
dg1261

Windows 7/8.1/10/XP multiboot
 
 

To avoid repeating myself, I'll just quote what's already been posted.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Drumming Pete
... the update/hotfix I want (and need) to install to correctly address my axternal AF harddrives
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dg1261
The term "AF" by itself doesn't indicate what size logical sectors you're talking about, so it's more common to differentiate them as 4Kn vs. 512e.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Drumming Pete
... and yes I have checked with FSUtil and yes it says my SSD in my laptop, has physical sectors of 4096.
Irrelevant.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dg1261
Don't confuse the physical sector size with the logical sector size.
Windows only cares about logical sector size.



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Drumming Pete
I am reinstalling Windows 7 x64 fresh ...
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dg1261
Win7 does not support 4Kn AF drives. (See chart at the bottom of this KB982018 article.) I don't believe you can use a 4Kn drive with Win7.

Good luck.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2017   #9
Drumming Pete

Windows7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dg1261 View Post
To avoid repeating myself, I'll just quote what's already been posted.

Irrelevant.

Windows only cares about logical sector size.

Then what according to you is this article about, exactly?

WindowsImageBackup and SQL do seem to care

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...s-is-available
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Need to add 4k-sector support to Windows7 installation files




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