Microsoft have just released this interesting KB article on large sector drive support in various versions of Windows.

Over the next few years, the data storage industry will be transitioning the physical format of hard disk drives from 512-byte sectors to 4096-byte sectors (also known as 4K sectors). This transition is driven by several factors, including increases in storage density and reliability.  

Specific requirements for Microsoft support by OS version

Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008:

  • Install the hotfix from the following Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article:
    2470478  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2470478/ ) Applications that are built on ESENT and that run on a Windows Vista-based or Windows Server 2008-based computer may not work correctly after the reported physical sector size of the storage device changes
  • Make sure that the drivers and firmware for your storage controller and for your other hardware components are updated. Also make sure that they support large sector drives.

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2:

  • Install Service Pack 1 (SP1), or install the update from the following KB article:
    982018  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/982018/ ) An update that improves the compatibility of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 with Advanced Format Disks is available
  • Make sure that the drivers and firmware for your storage controller and other hardware components are updated. Also make sure that they support large sector drives.
  • Use the updated Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) for SP1 that will be released as part of the updated pieces of the SP1 Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) and of the Windows OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK). Or, embed update 982018 into Windows PE.

Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP:

Any large sector disks, such as Advanced Format drives, are not supported by Microsoft for installation on systems that are running Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, or Windows XP.

The full KB article is here.

Posted by markparris

Microsoft MVP - Enterprise mobility.

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