Hard drives 4KB sectors format may slow down Windows XP

It's been common knowledge for a while now that hard drives are slowly transitioning from using 512-byte sectors to using 4KB sectors. But, as a recent BBC story points out, “users of Windows XP, or other older operating systems, may run into problems as those OSes were designed with the 512-byte rather than the 4KB […]

It's been common knowledge for a while now that hard drives are slowly transitioning from using 512-byte sectors to using 4KB sectors. But, as a recent BBC story points out, “users of Windows XP, or other older operating systems, may run into problems as those OSes were designed with the 512-byte rather than the 4KB architecture. XP and older OSes do not automatically align writes on 4K boundaries, though this is something that can be adjusted by use of software provided by the hard drive manufacturer (such as Western Digital's Advanced Format Align Utility). Some drive imaging or cloning software for PCs also does not yet support 4KB sectors, so if you clone a 512-byte drive you would need to run the alignment utility. David Burks of Seagate estimates that in some cases the performance hit could be as much as 10%. Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X Tiger, Leopard, and Snow Leopard willn’t be affected by the format switch. BBC story says that versions of the Linux kernel released after Sep 2009 are also 4KB aware, but OSNews reports that Linux users may run into problems if they create partitions that start on odd-numbered 512-byte logical sectors.

[BBC | OS News | Source]