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Question

Toshiba 3TB Partitioned As All MBR?

by Big_Al_C / December 20, 2013 8:30 AM PST

Hi, I run Windows 7 Pro SP-1 64-Bit with a ASRock P67 PRO3 (B3)

MoBo that has a UEFI BIOS.


My C, D and E partitions are on a 120 GB NTFS SSD with a MBR.

I installed Windows 7 on a pre-partitioned SSD, so no hidden

"System Partition".


I installed a Toshiba PH3200U-1I72 2TB HDD that is Advanced Format

512e and is properly "Aligned" using the Toshiba provided utility.

The PH3200U-1I72 is used as storage only on partitions "F" thru "M"

set as MBR and working perfectly.


I bought a Toshiba PH3300U-1I72 3TB HDD that is also Advanced

Format 512e to replace the 2TB.

I know that 3TBers can't utilize the full capacity in MBR,

and must be set as GPT to do so.


BTW: I would make 5 partitions, 4 NTFS and one small FAT32.


I use Norton's Ghost weekly and it has issues with GPT.


I proceeded to contact various partitioning/cloning software

companies to see if their products could be used in place of

Ghost.


The partial exchange below is between TeraByte Unlimited and me:

TBU:

"If your new drive uses 4K sector sizes you
wouldn't need to have a GPT."

Me:

Please elaborate.

BTW, This is what my present Toshiba 2TB looks like:

http://i.technet.microsoft.com/dynimg/IC546236.jpg


TBU:

If you expose the 4K sector size and not the emulated

normal 512 byte sector size, you can use an MBR and

use the entire space (up to 16TiB).

0xFFFFFFFF*512=2,199,023,255,040
0xFFFFFFFF*4096=17,592,186,040,320


Me:

With what software and what is the procedure to go about

doing this?

Can it be done via a Bootable CD or must it be done in Windows

with just my SSD and empty 3TB connected?


TBU:

It would be a drive feature/option, typically using
a jumper. The BIOS would also have to support the larger
sizes too so it doesn't crash reading larger sectors, a
modern BIOS should be able to handle it.


My hunt for answers from Toshiba is a lost cause as their

support is a TOTAL joke and does NOT offer E-Mail support.

So, I'm here to find out if this "exposing the 4K sector size" can,

indeed, be done to my PH3300U-1I72, and if so, EXACTLY how to go

about doing it.

Also, are there any shortcomings to having the Toshiba "exposing

the 4K sector size" using 5 partitions, 4 NTFS and one small FAT32?


Thanks in advance for any help you can be.

Big Al

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All Answers

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Answer
sounds like advice on Linux instead
by James Denison / December 20, 2013 9:51 AM PST

He's saying if you make your sectors to be 4KB in size instead of normal 512 bytes, you can use a MBR up to 16TB. Consider the sector ratio is made 8:1, so the addressing then can cover the space of (2TB x Cool 16TB.

http://lwn.net/Articles/378298/

http://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/29078/how-to-partition-22tb-disk

http://lwn.net/Articles/377895/
this is a good read on it and the problems involved.

So, like the old joke, "the advice given is correct, but it might break your computer."
First time I've heard someone using windows even suggesting to do this for windows.
I didn't know windows could even interact as MBR with 4K sectors. As I understand it,
the emulator setup allows older BIOS to interpret the drive as if it was still using 512 byte sectors,
but when the sector is actually accessed, the full amount of 4K can be used for it.

About hard drives which support doing this;
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Advanced_Format

"As of June 2011, there are a limited number of HDDs that support "Advanced Format" or 4k sectors as shown below.

All drives in this list have a physical sector size of 4096 bytes, but not all drives correctly report this to the OS. The actual value reported (via new fields in the ATA-8 spec) is shown in the table as the physical reported sector size. As this is the value partitioning tools use for alignment, it is important that it should be 4096 to avoid misalignment issues.

The logical sector size is the sector size used for data transfer. This value multiplied by the number of LBA sectors on the disk gives the disk capacity. Thus a disk with 4096 byte logical sectors will have a lower maximum LBA for the same capacity compared to a drive with 512 byte sectors. Drives with 512 byte logical sectors offer better compatibility with legacy operating systems (roughly those released before 2009) however drives with 4096 byte logical sectors may offer marginally better performance (e.g. more read/write requests may fit into the NCQ buffer.) "



For the Windows user. Seems Vista is when the ability to do this appeared.
http://computer-forensics.sans.org/blog/2010/07/28/windows-7-mbr-advanced-format-drives-e512/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Format
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/storage/2010/04/01/the-facts-4k-advanced-format-hard-disks/1

The drive manufacturer can say if the drive is able to do it, and provide the software to partition it that way.

So, the tech you spoke to knew what he was talking about.

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Answer
excellent page at microsoft on it
by James Denison / December 20, 2013 10:33 AM PST

they must have some new writers, this one is written for easy understanding.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/hh848035%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

Looks like you have the magic three to do it. Mobo will support it, the OS will support it, and the drive is 512e which means it supports the "extended" partition size.

your thread there;
http://forums.toshiba.com/t5/Computer-Troubleshooting/3TB-PH3300U-1I72-Partitioned-As-All-MBR/m-p/513049

The software from Toshiba to accomplish this;
http://storage.toshiba.eu/cms/en/support_services/advanced_format.html

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Close, But No Cigar
by Big_Al_C / December 20, 2013 4:15 PM PST

James,

First, thank you for your effort. It is appreciated.

From my post:

>I bought a Toshiba PH3300U-1I72 3TB HDD that is also Advanced

>Format 512e to replace the 2TB.

I have NOT installed the 3TB yet.

If I can't get it all MBR, it'll be returned unopened.


>I use Norton's Ghost weekly and it has issues with GPT.

It takes me 10 minutes to "make" an image of my C Drive and

6 minutes to "restore" it done with bootable CD's without ANY

interaction by me at all. I just LOVE Ghost!! If I could keep

MBR, I'd be in heaven!!


>Looks like you have the magic three to do it.

>Mobo will support it,
>the OS will support it,
>and the drive is 512e which means it supports the "extended" partition size.


Well, usually 2 out of 3 isn't bad, but in this case, the last is the killer.

From all I've read these past 8-10 days, 512e is not the Holy Grail.

This is talking about ALL BRANDS of 3TB HDD's:

"As a result, capacity beyond 2.2TB is not addressable using the MBR partitioning scheme."

from http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_install/how-do-i-install-windows-7-ultimate-64-bit-on-a/cf50021f-3a75-4435-a31b-761133012227


>The software from Toshiba to accomplish this:

From my post:

I installed a Toshiba PH3200U-1I72 2TB HDD that is Advanced Format

512e and is properly "Aligned" using the Toshiba provided utility.


That is all the Toshiba "Partition Alignment Tool" does, align.

I'm assuming that you mixed up the Toshiba PAT with what Seagate

and WD get from Acronis:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCLGfj1LSmI


So, the bottom line from TeraByte Unlimited is that unless I can figure out

how to change the Toshiba to this

0xFFFFFFFF*512=2,199,023,255,040
0xFFFFFFFF*4096=17,592,186,040,320

setting OR safely use a tool like Acronis's Seagate/WD tool, NO joy.

Again, I REALLY appreciate your effort.

Big Al

Collapse -
Download that tool from WD
by James Denison / December 20, 2013 5:14 PM PST
In reply to: Close, But No Cigar

I've used WD tools on drives other than WD before without problems or being blocked by the software from doing so. I wasn't aware the toshiba tool just "aligned" it.

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I'm using Mint at the moment
by James Denison / December 20, 2013 6:35 PM PST
In reply to: Close, But No Cigar

so I ran "fdisk -lu" on it to show how Linux can setup a drive to start (align) at the 2048 sector, which is what has to happen for those drives using the 4KB size sectors. You will note one drive on which I have windows 2000 starts at 63, which is standard MBR approach. The other drive starts at 2048, but is set for legacy use of MBR's 512 byte sector sizes. Had I wanted, on that drive I could have set it for 4KB size sectors. This has been available in Linux for a while now.

How did I do that? I booted from a Mint 14 Live DVD, used the GParted (partitioning) program in it. Completely free and quick with a graphical interface. As I recall I chose to "align to MB" which set it up that way.

Here's a good page on it, link was provided from the Arch Linux page above.
This person's advice is to align it to the 4KB at the beginning and that really makes more sense to me than aligning to a 2KB.

https://www.tolaris.com/2011/07/21/libblkid-or-why-you-dont-need-to-worry-about-4k-disk-format/
some more on the matter.

Are you sure you aren't making this more difficult than needed. Everything I'm reading says Windows since Vista, when the drive is "aligned" can create 4KB sectors on it.
http://www.wd.com/global/products/features/?id=7&language=1

I know in Linux I can offset the beginning by a megabyte or two, and create sector sizes that are 4KB instead of 512b without much difficulty at all.

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Are You Saying What I HOPE You Are?
by Big_Al_C / December 21, 2013 10:57 AM PST

James,

First, let me say that 95% of what you wrote went right over my

head!! I've been building/fixing computers since the late 1990's

and one area I've NEVER had a problem with is the HDD. Partition

Magic and Norton Ghost were my best buddies.

BUT NOW, with this stupid GPT 3TB crap, I'm going insane!!


>I've used WD tools on drives other than WD before without

>problems or being blocked by the software from doing so.

>I wasn't aware the toshiba tool just "aligned" it.


Are you saying that you have this?:

http://support.wdc.com/product/downloaddetail.asp?swid=119&wdc_lang=en

The Release Notes:
http://support.wdc.com/download/notes/Acronis_True_Image_WD_Edition_Release_Notes_5932_5941.pdf

have this line:

You need at least one Western Digital hard drive attached in
your system to be able to install and run the product.

Seems you lucked out with your WD tool working on non WD HDD's.

Also, the user guide

http://support.wdc.com/download/notes/atiwduserguide/ATIH2013WD_userguide_en-US.pdf

is saying WD uses the Acronis "Extended Capacity Manager"

This is in the Extended Capacity Manager user guide:

You will be able to continue using the Extended Capacity Disks

even after uninstalling Acronis True Image Home 2012.

During uninstallation, you will be asked whether you

want to remove the Extended Capacity Disk.

If you choose not to remove the disk, it will remain usable.


The downside to this is that IF you have to reinstall Windows,

the Extended Capacity Disk driver Acronis installs goes bye-bye

and you now have NO access to the last third of your 3TB.

AND, it's unclear if you will EVER get it back again if you

reinstall Acronis on the fresh Windows install.


I'd feel a LOT safer if the "Your disk is now a full 3TB" is on

the disk ITSELF, no matter what data is or is not on it.


>I booted from a Mint 14 Live DVD, used the GParted (partitioning)

>program in it. Completely free and quick with a graphical interface.

>As I recall I chose to "align to MB"


Are you saying that YOU have a 3TB that is ALL MBR by using GParted???

That YOU did what TeraByte Unlimited's

0xFFFFFFFF*512=2,199,023,255,040
0xFFFFFFFF*4096=17,592,186,040,320

does and now you have full access to your 3TB?


I await you reply.


Big Al

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align by any other name...
by James Denison / December 21, 2013 1:29 PM PST
"You need at least one Western Digital hard drive attached in your system to be able to install and run the product....Are you saying that you have this?:

http://support.wdc.com/product/downloaddetail.asp?swid=119&wdc_lang=en
"


Yes, that's what I used once on Seagate drive.
Yes, I did have a WD in the computer.
Here's below info using Linux "inxi -Dd" command.

Drives:
HDD Total Size: 280.1GB (2.4% used)
1: id: /dev/sda model: ST3120814A
size: 120.0GB serial: 4LS4Q736
temp: 36C

2: id: /dev/sdb model: WDC_WD1600AAJB
size: 160.0GB
serial: WD-WCAS2A263273
temp: 28C

Optical: /dev/sr0
model: N/A
rev: N/A
dev-links: cdrom1,cdrw1,dvd1,dvdrw1

Features:
speed: 48x
multisession: yes
audio: yes
dvd: yes
rw: cd-r,cd-rw,dvd-r,dvd-ram
state: N/A


Interestingly I note it automatically aligns SSD drives automatically with the 2048 offset needed for 4KB sectors. I wonder if it does the same for "advanced format" drives and their firmware identification to the program?

"The downside to this is that IF you have to reinstall Windows,
the Extended Capacity Disk driver Acronis installs goes bye-bye
and you now have NO access to the last third of your 3TB.
AND, it's unclear if you will EVER get it back again if you
reinstall Acronis on the fresh Windows install."


From what I read it says the drive stays that way forever after unless you specifically do something to change it. When I read Windows site, it seems to say it will use the drive that way if it's already set with the offset and for 4KB sectors (instead of 512b) ever since Vista. There's two methods mentioned of using such drive, one is called "native" and involves direct addressing of the 4KB sectors, the other is "Hybrid" and involves a bit of trickery in which the older MB type addressing for 512b is reported, but when writing and reading from each sector the full 4KB of it is used. Windows says it supports both.

The new "advanced format" drives may be using that hybrid method. One site showed how different disk programs gave differing reports, where one saw 512b size sectors while reporting the space used in all sectors indicated it HAD to be using all the 4KB. Another used it all but reported the entire setup incorrectly.

"Are you saying that YOU have a 3TB that is ALL MBR by using GParted???

That YOU did what TeraByte Unlimited's

0xFFFFFFFF*512=2,199,023,255,040
0xFFFFFFFF*4096=17,592,186,040,320

does and now you have full access to your 3TB?"


No, I don't have a 3TB drive. I did say I used GParted (or maybe KParted from KDE, both much the same) along with the GRUB (actually grub2) bootloader to do the same offset that is required for use of 4KB sector sizes which allows use of MBR on drives up to 16TB in size. Because of my smaller drive which I have several distros installed to, I chose to use the standard 512b size sectors, even though I had the offset on the drive which would allow 4KB sector usage, or what is being called "aligned".

Microsoft says the last 3 windows versions will allow setting sector sizes other than the normal 512b, I don't know if it will allow it for MBR or only work for GPT partitioning. Windows has always been sort of over controlling that way. I've had partitions on disc I set for over 30GB size using FAT32 file system, but I couldn't do that in Windows, since it wouldn't allow it. Nevertheless, once I'd used another program to make the larger FAT32 partition, Windows was able to install to it and use it with no problem.

If Windows file or disc manager programs won't allow you to set a drive for MBR partitioning and using 4KB sectors at the same time, then you'll have to use something else to do it. I do know GParted and KParted (both from non graphical "parted" linux program) allows to creat the offset being called "aligned" by some, and if it doesn't allow 4KB size sectors then use of "fdisk" in Linux will allow it being forced on the partition.

Try and see if you can do it in Windows first and if not, then do it using Linux, but format it in NTFS.

If you don't want to open the 3TB drive to do some test runs on, then use some other drive you have to test it out. I'm under the impression however that the "advanced format" means those drives are using a firmware to allow "hybrid" access to 4KB sectors.
Collapse -
have you considered
by James Denison / December 21, 2013 1:39 PM PST

just dividing it into two partitions?

Collapse -
BUIMMER!
by Big_Al_C / December 21, 2013 3:07 PM PST
In reply to: have you considered

James,

>From what I read it says the drive stays that way forever after.

Believe me, YOU are the brains in this conversation, but looking

at THIS: "During uninstallation, you will be asked whether you

want to remove the Extended Capacity Disk." says to me that Acronis,

whether their own, Seagates DiskWizard or WD's version of DiskWizard

is installing a file SOMEWHERE in the OS so if the OS goes belly-up

so does that file. If the disk cannot "see" the file, since a fresh

install of Windows won't have it, the disk reverts back to the way

it was before the Acronis file(s) was influencing it.


The only way I can see it being "forever" is if Acronis places the

file in the BOIS, which, I would think, they would say up front.

AND, wouldn't there have to be a TON of versions of that file since

there are SO many different MoBos? Again, YOU Da Man, but this seems

logical to me.


>"Are you saying that YOU have a 3TB that is ALL MBR by using GParted???

I thought that IS what you were saying. Damn!


Not gonna open the 3TBer until I have someone who says that they

HAVE used some software to make a 3TB that is ALL MBR and that the

HDD is behaving normally and their data is safe.


>Try and see if you can do it in Windows first and if not, then do it using Linux, but format it in NTFS.

I can STILL feel the air on my head! WAY above my pay grade, dude.


>have you considered just dividing it into two partitions?

Oh, I'm NOT adverse to 2 initial partitions, BUT I'D prefer

to designate my OWN sizes to start with. I want my F partition to

be about 2.5 TB, before making the rest of the partitions I want,

but I'd settle for 2.1-2.2TB.

However THAT can't happen until I can get BOTH partitions as MBR.


In fact, I've been reading about people going nuts trying to find

software to make their 3TBer one big partition WITH GPT and it

turns out Microsoft beat them to the punch and built that capability

into Windows already!

"How To Fully Use Your 3TB Hard Drive" here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHAIDprjmYo

Well, James, you have gone above and beyond and beyond and I thank

you very much.

Unfortunately, THE HUNT GOES ON. AND ON. AND ON. AND ON.


Big Al

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Boot sector vs OS
by James Denison / December 21, 2013 3:36 PM PST
In reply to: BUIMMER!

The disk information for how to access a disk is loaded not in the OS, but the boot sector.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boot_sector

That doesn't mean OS won't come with tools and utilities to install it's own boot sector onto the disk, but even if ever file of an OS was deleted, the boot sector would remain until some tool or utility was run to change it too. For instance you can have a drive with 2 or 3 partitions on it and windows loaded in the first partition, then something happens to windows and you reformat and reinstall it, but the drive remained partitioned and accessible same as before because of the boot sector information on it.

"During uninstallation, you will be asked whether you
want to remove the Extended Capacity Disk." says to me that Acronis,
whether their own, Seagates DiskWizard or WD's version of DiskWizard
is installing a file SOMEWHERE in the OS so if the OS goes belly-up
so does that file.


That all happens BEFORE you install the operating system, so how is it you believe if the OS is removed that the Acronis program also disappears? The fact that you need the Acronis program to do the removal of it should be sufficient clue to that.

The drive gets setup first, then the OS is installed.

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OK, Mr. Fancy Pants Know It All!
by Big_Al_C / December 21, 2013 4:22 PM PST
In reply to: Boot sector vs OS

James,

>The disk information for how to access a disk is loaded not in the OS, but the boot sector.

Hey, pal, don't ***** to me!! I TOLD you: YOU are the brains in this conversation!

OK, NOW I get it. So Acronis, in essence "Marks" the HDD as full MBR

albeit in two partitions.


You could also say their Extended Capacity Disk does the

0xFFFFFFFF*512=2,199,023,255,040
0xFFFFFFFF*4096=17,592,186,040,320

thing. Wonder if the ECD, as TeraByte puts it...


exposes the 4K sector size and not the emulated

normal 512 byte sector size, you can use an MBR and

use the entire space (up to 16TiB).

THAT would be a kick, a 16TB MBR, whoa.


Well, MR. GENIUS, you've solved one half of my dilemma:

I now know that a 3TB MBR IS possible, now I just have to find

some users of 3TB's who have used the Acronis, Seagate DiskWizard

or WD's version of DiskWizard and get their consensus as to the

performance and safety of their 3TBer.


Even though the hunt goes on, at least I'm riding now and no longer

on foot. As I said before: You Da Man!!!!!!

Thanks again.

Big Al

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Answer
I suggest...
by Willy / December 21, 2013 10:55 PM PST

You review this article from MS. I got this during some Win8 issues that a user wanted to go with.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/gg463525.aspx

Basically, if you have 2tb or less go MBR, more than 2Tb then GPT. While it still relies on the mtrbd. firmware to be capable to handle any HD above 2Tb as well, basically h/w supported. Since, 3Tb HDs are found today and then added to other HDs or multiple installs, the complexity can get to be hard to handle. I tend to rely on a total MS solution rather than 3rd party like Arconcis, etc., because even that can be outgrown over time. In other words, if you start to mix and match to get to a final install, it may work depending on the latest updates, firmware, bios and any possible h/w adapter becomes a tangled mess if even the process needs some procedure to get from point A to B. hope this helps....

tada -----Willy Happy

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Update Update Update
by Big_Al_C / December 22, 2013 8:24 AM PST
In reply to: I suggest...

Guys,

I just found this and would like some input before opening the

Toshiba 3TB's box:

Make SURE the 3TB is EMPTY as this will wipe ALL data on the drive

To make a fully accessible 3TB with 4k sector:


1. Boot to desktop.

2. Open "My Computer" in Windows Explorer.

3. Click on the EMPTY 3TB HDD.

4. If the factory made some partitions on it, delete them all.

5. Once it is just one disk, right-click it and click "Format"

6. Select "4096", "NTFS" and "Format".

7. Click OK. Since the 3TB is EMPTY, it should be real quick.

8. It's now ready to be partitioned to your liking up to 2.7 or so

TB's total and is set as MBR.

Big Al

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good article
by James Denison / December 22, 2013 11:28 AM PST
In reply to: Update Update Update
http://www.pcworld.com/article/235088/everything_you_need_to_know_about_3TB_hard_drives.html

"Another differentiator between the drives turned out to be the software. Hitachi includes a driver/partitioning utility (from Paragon Software) that allows you to utilize all 3TB in a single partition. By contrast, as of this writing, the Acronis software favored by Seagate and WD allows you to use the entire drive capacity, but only in separate 2.2TB and 800GB partitions. To create a single volume, you need to follow the previously mentioned tip about combining partitions using Windows dynamic disks."
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Good info
by Willy / December 23, 2013 4:02 AM PST
In reply to: good article

The article clearly explains why the mess of larger that 2Tb drives cause so much fun. "MS". Then the article further explains why 4kb vs 512kb works better. All in all, worth the read. -----Willy Happy

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