Microsoft providing customer an update that improves the compatibility of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 with Advanced Format Disks that've a 4KB physical sector size. "This hotfix is only applicable to Advanced Format disks which report themselves as having a 4 KB physical sector size, and which emulate a logical addressing interface of 512 bytes," noted Microsoft in KB article KB982018.
Note: "Advanced Format disks introduce a larger physical sector (4 KB). However, to make initial versions more compatible with current computer systems, they maintain a 512 byte logical addressing interface. Therefore, they're known as "512-byte emulation disks," or "512e" for short," explains Microsfot.
"Hard disk drives have traditionally been based on 512 byte sectors, and all access to the physical media was addressed based on this unit. Recently, hard disks vendors have begun to transition to new disks that've a sector size of 4096 bytes (4 KB). These're generally known as an "Advanced Format Disk." Because disks are only able to perform physical media updates in the granularity of the physical sector (4 KB in this case), a 512 byte write that's directed to the disk will require some additional work in order to be completed. This work comes at the cost of performance and reliability, with the specific cost varying based on the workload and hardware implementation. To avoid this additional work, applications must be updated to natively support writes that are based on the 4 KB sector granularity."
"This KB article introduces new storage infrastructure to support querying for the physical sector size of the storage device. Additionally, this KB article introduces support in certain key system components for these kinds of disks in order to improve performance, reliability, and general interoperability," the company added.
According to Microsoft there're no less than five issues addressed with the release of KB 982018 that had no fix ahead of its release: