JJ Johnson

Win2K3 Server And Wd20Ears

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I just received a WD20EARS drive that I plan on installing on a Windows Server 2003 system. From what I've read, Win2k3 is in the same boat as XP and WHS in that it won't realize the 4k sectors on the drive and so performance will suffer if nothing is done about it.

Is my best bet to jumper pins 7/8 before formatting the drive or should I use the WD Align tool after creating the partition in Windows? Is the align tool run before formatting? It's not completely clear to me what either method does or which is preferred.

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I think you'll be fine with it in your system. You can run the align tool after you set up partitions, but it should format just fine if you don't plan on addition partitions. For good measure though, try the WD Align tool afterward, it will report on their alignment and either do nothing or suggest you fix it.

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I think you'll be fine with it in your system.

Do you mean to say that you think Windows Server 2003 is 4k sector aware? I keep reading that WHS doesn't like the AF drives _because_ it's based on Windows Server 2003.

You can run the align tool after you set up partitions, but it should format just fine if you don't plan on addition partitions.

Do you mean with or without pins 7/8 jumpered? I think I've read that the align tool should not be used if the drive has been jumpered.

For good measure though, try the WD Align tool afterward, it will report on their alignment and either do nothing or suggest you fix it.

Easily done. I run the WD Align tool after setting up the partition (I plan on using just one partition), but before formatting, correct?

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Do you mean to say that you think Windows Server 2003 is 4k sector aware? I keep reading that WHS doesn't like the AF drives _because_ it's based on Windows Server 2003.

Do you mean with or without pins 7/8 jumpered? I think I've read that the align tool should not be used if the drive has been jumpered.

Easily done. I run the WD Align tool after setting up the partition (I plan on using just one partition), but before formatting, correct?

To give an reply to why WHS does not support EARS drives without the jumper, its simply a matter of the Align util used not to run on WHS, since it doesnt recognize it as win xp, and i think the issue is the same for 2k3.

Personally i use a WD15EARS in my whs without issue with the jumper.

It may be possible to align it according to http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/14632-wd-ears-align-ok-on-whs/ but i must admit i have not personally tried it. (i guess they fixed something in the utility)

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Installing the jumper has the effect of shifting the logical sector numbering by one internally by the drive, so that a partition starting at sector 63, is in fact starting at sector 64 instead. If you install the jumper you must leave the jumper on before and after partitioning and formatting.

I would prefer to create an aligned partition instead of using the jumper. If the WD Align tool doesn't work with W2K3, you can create an aligned partition manually by following the procedure outlined in this Microsoft KB article:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;929491

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Installing the jumper has the effect of shifting the logical sector numbering by one internally by the drive, so that a partition starting at sector 63, is in fact starting at sector 64 instead. If you install the jumper you must leave the jumper on before and after partitioning and formatting.

Thanks. That's helpful. So with the jumper in place the drive's firmware essentially remaps the sector numbers being sent in commands from the OS and thus assures alignment of the data. Is that correct?

I would prefer to create an aligned partition instead of using the jumper.

Why is that? This is the information that I'm really looking for. What each method actually does, and the pros and cons.

From what I've gathered the alignment tool will physically realign the partition (if necessary). It also appears to be designed to preserve any data should someone want to run the utility after having used the drive.

Can the tool be run before formatting the drive in Windows?

If the WD Align tool doesn't work with W2K3, you can create an aligned partition manually by following the procedure outlined in this Microsoft KB article:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;929491

No, the standard WD utility refused to run on Win2k3, but I can plop the drive into an XP system to align the partition if need be.

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I began by formatting the drive on the W2k3 Server system with the jumper in place. It formatted with no problems.

I then put the drive into an XP system and ran the WD Align tool, which told me that the partition needed to be aligned.

Then I took your advice, removed the jumper and started over. I recreated the partition on the XP system, then I tried running the WD alignment tool, but it stated that the drive must be formatted first. After formatting the drive on the XP system the alignment tool took only a few seconds to align the partition.

Thanks.

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