Advanced Format hard drives

Many vendors, including the University's preferred client partners (Apple, Dell, and Lenovo) have begun shipping enterprise-class desktop and notebook systems with Advanced Format hard drives. These hard drives are formatted with with 4096 byte blocks instead of the 512 byte blocks that have been standard for decades. The first of these new drives came from Western Digital, but other hard drive manufacturers are beginning to bring these drives to market.

Almost all applications and middleware are fully compatible with Advanced Format hard drives. Issues are possible and have been seen with operating systems, disk imaging software, and software-based whole disk encryption. Other software that bypasses the operating system or sends commands directly to the hard drive (such as drivers and disk utilities) is also likely to have issues. Specific issues and information are below:

Operating Systems

 

All supported versions of Mac OS are compatible with Advanced Format hard drives.

Windows XP is incompatible with Advanced Format hard drives without modification, which is usually accomplished via either pin-jumping or a software utility. Windows 7 and Windows Vista are compatible.

Current Linux distributions are compatible with Advanced Format hard drives.

Disk Imaging Software

 

Microsoft ImageX is compatible with the latest build image.

Microsoft Windows PE version 2.1 (Windows Vista) or 3.0 (Windows 7) is compatible with Advanced Format hard drives.

Symantec Ghost version 11.0 or above is compatible if the "-align=1MB" switch is used.

Apple Disk Utility is compatible with Advanced Format hard drives.

Software-based Whole Disk Encryption (WDE)

 

PGP WDE for Mac OS is incompatible with Advanced Format drives. It is suspected that PGP WDE for Windows is also incompatible with Advanced Format hard drives, but this has not yet been tested.

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Date Posted: April 5, 2013 Tags: Technical Info, Provider Resource, Storage, Hard Drives

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