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Windows 7: Optimal HDD cluster size analysis utility?

06 Dec 2015   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.
Optimal HDD cluster size analysis utility?

I'm in the process of migrating to a new laptop and want to determine if I currently have the optimal cluster sizes on my data partitions. I have separate partitions for music, ISO files, video, etc. (These are Extended/Logical partitions.) Obviously using the 4k default for video files makes no sense and I currently use 32k clusters for that partition - but it would be nice to obtain verification of my current cluster sizes.

I should add that my goal is to optimize (minimize) required disk space to store my data - not achieve maximum performance.

Anyway, I'd like to find and use a program to perform an analysis of my HDD that would show the optimal cluster size to slack space ratio for each partition.

Anyone know of such a program? TIA, Rob

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2015   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Karen's Disk Slack Checker 2.5 Download (Free) - PTSlack.exe

Above is the nearest thing I can find.

This used to be a fairly big deal in the era of small and expensive hard drives, but few people care about slack space when drives are so cheap. Most of the Google hits on the topic are 10 plus years old.

I accept defaults on hard drives.

I have played with cluster size on USB thumb drives intended for mp3 playback in a car, where it made a minor difference in how many songs I could store on a 64 GB thumb drive. Maybe 14,000 at one end of the spectrum and 14,300 at the other end---not much difference.

I suspect that the use of multiple partitions rather than a single partition with the appropriate folder structure is a greater inefficiency than any that might be brought on by a "non-optimal" cluster size in a multiple partition setup.

Also, I think larger cluster sizes result in faster access, which may be more of an advantage overall than the disadvantage of the additional slack space of larger clusters. Not sure how measurable that is or how significant it ultimately might be. It's inevitably a compromise.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2015   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.

Much thanks for the reply! Very helpful. Actually I had used 'Karen's Disk Slack Checker' many years ago but had long since forgotten about it. The report it produces provides a lot of information but unfortunately does not determine nor recommend an "optimal" cluster size. But indeed helpful. RIP Karen
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Dec 2015   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)

unbob I tend to obsess about stuff like this myself, but in this case the payoff just isn't there. You already know the good stuff i.e. for Video and probably music/photo partitions there's no sense to use tiny clusters. But after that IMO you are best off just to leave formatting to Defaults.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Optimal HDD cluster size analysis utility?

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