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formatting a 3TB drive

Discussion in 'Building a new PC' started by Mez, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    I was wanting some more diskspace and I went to get a 2TB drive. 3 TBs were only $30 more. I figured what the heck. Big mistake and maybe I should have returned it. The computer it was to be used on is XP. I quickly surmised you need a 64 bit computer to access 3 TB. I have 2 Win7 computers but neither were working. A month or 2 later, I got one of the 2 up and running. I was shocked to see the drive was still 746 GB. Then I discovered the BIOS needed upgrading and that company went out of business long enough ago that I am not even going to look for it. I can ask a friend if I can use his computer to partition and format the disk. If I can partition into 2 x 1.5 TB drives and format them can I access the drives on a 32 bit OS?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
  2. ddp

    ddp Moderator Staff Member

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  3. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    Great articles!

    Thanks! I figured as much but my figures have been worthless.
    Thanks DDP.

    I hope each logical drive has its own MBR.
     
  4. ddp

    ddp Moderator Staff Member

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    i guess you will find out fairly soon.
     
  5. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    Well not right away. I am a US federal contractor so I am on furlough. That is why the computer got fixed. I am working on #2 now. They both had incurable malware. I can by a crap computer for $100, cheaper than to have the geek squad reset the computer to factory settings. I found a place that sells factory restores for cheap, $25. I had the disks and just was waiting when I could play with it for a few hrs. I now have 2 computers ready to go. However, after upgrading all my security it may be a while before I need to use one.

    I thought I would have time today to format the drive but I am getting stuff my wife wants done. She has been in a real bad mood for weeks and she is a hot blooded ethnic. At least she isn't so hot blooded she throws things. It looks like I will have time next week. This may last as long as the one on 95. 3 weeks plus a bonus week. Before the govt could open a blizzard delayed the opening for another week.
     
  6. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    Well, it is more complex than that. Your BIOS must be able to see the whole drive. I have heard WD has a utility that will allow you to use drives bigger than 2 TB if your OS is at least Vista. You will not be able to boot from this drive. I have not located the utility yet but have found the documentation.

    WD support for drives larger than 2 TB.

    I guess I will need to use a different computer for this drive. I have 2 candidates for my DVD recovery process. Even though the US govt claims DVDs will last hundreds of years I am discovering depending on the brand, they may only last 5 yrs. I bought a few hundred Sony light scribe disks. They are not lasting more than 5-7 yrs. Even other brands are showing age after 10 yrs. These were stored in the dark but are showing age. Some are de-laminating so you see a moire pattern on the shiny side. Others have patterns forming on the back sides. Once they show some moire they will not play but can be ripped but the ripping takes so long you need to do it over night. 5-10 hrs. I haven't lost any of those but I lose about 10% the Sony light scribes. Most of the 'lost' disks appear to be blank. I can see they were burned because I leave a mm rim of un-burned media because they last longer and because you can see that they were burned.

    If you have old disks you ought to check them out. By the way, I am not seeing any aging on the Verbatim disks. I plan to back them up last. DVDs tend to suck up disk space. Sonys, disks showing age and selected classics are being backed up right now.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  7. ddp

    ddp Moderator Staff Member

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  8. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Be very careful with 3TB disks.
    In the past if you plugged a drive into a system where the drive was larger than the system would support, you just couldn't see it, but the drive remained intact.
    If you plug a 3TB drive into a system that can't read 3TB disks properly, in the majority of cases the data on the drive will be destroyed irreparably.

    If there's any risk you're using hardware that won't support 3TB disks, don't buy 3TB disks, end of story.
     
  9. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    Yes, thanks for the warning. If I knew what I know now I would not have bought it. It is way too late to return it and the price was right. With your warning I guess it will become an internal disk while it is being loaded.

    What is the destruction route? Does the MBR gets buggered? If so, I will need to back it up. 3 TB is too much data to lose. This will be an archive disk. Once filled it will be removed and will sit on a shelf.
     
  10. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    The real problem is that MBR is not typically used, GPT is used in its place (to create a larger than 2TB partition). External docks and S-ATA controllers that can't read these partitions will show the drive as unformatted - but plug it back into a system that does support them, it'll still be unformatted, and try as you might to restore the partition headers, you won't be able to.

    Only formatting the drive as MBR you may be able to avoid this situation, however, everything I've read implies that you can't use the remaining terabyte even with MBR, because disk controllers wrap round to zero after they go over the 2.1TB limit, and overwrite the other partition, so in my opinion, I don't think you're much safer with two MBR partitions, even if you are able to get them working in the first place.

    In a supported system (modern motherboard controllers are usually OK as it happens) you'll be fine, but don't ever be tempted to attach the drive to an external dock or transfer it to another PC without having backed the data up first.
     
  11. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    Thanks!

    Hopefully others will read this thread and learn something.
     

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