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ashok 21st June 2013 04:39 PM

Formatting an external hard drive - some help wanted
I want to back up the data on my computer's hard drive as it has started hiccuping recently. I think the drive might die like the last one.
I bought a Western Digital Elements external drive. When I connect it via USB to my computer it shows up with a WD icon and a drive letter.

It's a 2 TB drive and I want to partition it. This is possible fairly easily. However I have a doubt. 122MB apparently is already used on the drive. So if I partition the drive anything currently residing on the drive will be lost. Is that information ( 122MB) required for the drive to be recognised ? I guess the WD icon will also disappear.
So is it OK to go ahead and partition it ( on WinXP-2) ? I guess I can use it later on my Win7 machine too!
Thanks for any help.

JonSnell Electronic 21st June 2013 04:57 PM

I think you may have problems with a drive as large as that (2 Tb). Win XP will have problems unless you install update 3.
Windows 7 has no problem reading files of that size.
The 122MB used space is used by the MBR file layout system and will not be affected by partitioning the drive if you use Win7 to carry out the operation and use MBR. If you use the newer file system GUID the drive will not be bootable but will utilize the whole of the disc.
It is best to keep partitions as small as practical otherwise by the time windows loads a record of all the files the pc/laptop will be very slow.

See Disk partitioning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ashok 21st June 2013 05:35 PM

Hi Harleyjon,
Thanks for your post. So I guess the MBR will not be deleted while repartitioning the drive. The drive apparently has been originally formatted using the NTFS format which I do not intend changing. Right now it's just one big drive ! I was thinking of 200GB partitions. Will give about 9 partitions.
Do you suggest that I partition it using my Win7 machine ?
My XP seems to show the proper size right now in Explorer. Would that mean it would partition it properly ?

I do not want to rock the boat and update the WinXP with SP3 just in case the drive crashes ! I want to get all the data out first.
Thanks for the help.

JonSnell Electronic 21st June 2013 05:52 PM

You can only produce two main partitions with MBR, the rest are logical partitions. No matter though. Use Win7 to partition the drive, that will be safest. Copy folders directly using drag and drop, that will do it.
GUID will allow 1028 partitions, all bootable! NTFS is ideal.

Zen Mod 21st June 2013 05:54 PM

do not worry - you can wipe all WD custom folders/partitions and partition it as one big NTFS

I made exactly that with their 3T

or - you don't need even to partition/format anything - just delete all WD related files/folders and it will show as regular drive

Zero D 21st June 2013 08:42 PM

@ ashok

Have a look at these & see if either are useful ;)

Partition Manager 12 Free Edition Paragon Partition Manager Free Edition - Leading partitioning software! | PARAGON Software Group - free partition software, resize partition

EaseUSŪ Partition Master 9.2.2 Free Edition Free Partition Magic alternative. Best Free Partition Manager Freeware for Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8 32 bit & 64 bit - EaseUS Partition Master Free Edition.

Pano 21st June 2013 09:06 PM

I buy big external HDs by the score and reformat them to what ever is needed to hold HD video files. NTFS does have a 4GB file size limit, which we sometimes run up against with HD video. Mac format does not, nor does UDF, as far as I know. I use all three formats on WD, Seagate, G-Drives and others, no problem. Win XP does not natively read UDF.

I usually just make the drive 1 big partition. So far, so good. :xfingers:

Zen Mod 21st June 2013 11:16 PM


Originally Posted by Pano (
..... NTFS does have a 4GB file size limit......

I'm lazy to Ggle for references , but that's not entirely true ; I'm having more than few single files , in size pretty much greater than 4G , while being on NTFS based W7 64

I think culprit is in 32b vs. 64b systems , not in NTFS itself

Pano 22nd June 2013 12:30 AM

Could be! I'm pretty certain Win XP does not allow it, nor will a Mac write to NTFS with a file of more than 4GB. Windoze 7, maybe. That has been the cause of much panic with late arriving video files.

biju55 22nd June 2013 01:07 AM

try to install Mac in your system . tonymacx86 - Home

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