Why new hard disks might not be much fun for XP users

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by BellWeather, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. Excellent article and something to be aware of for new builds that don't want bloatware but only XP!


    From the comments section of the article:

    Windows XP works just fine with properly aligned partitioned drives. The only part it fails with them is with the initial "blue screen" install process as that is hard-coded for the 63rd 512byte offset. But you can get around it. I know this because when I worked at HP we had this issue. Microsoft's solution was some registry tricks in WinPE to format the drive the "XP" way, but we found ways around it while maintaining the proper alignment.

    The trick we used was:
    1) Install XP first
    2) ImageX XP to another HDD or over the network
    3) Reformat the drive and install Vista
    4) Copy XP to the hard disk
    5) Setup bcdedit to dualboot XP

    And for just XP we would skip the Vista install but use the new Vista bootloader as opposed to ntldr. It worked just fine, and we got the "faster" properly aligned partitions.

  2. It's my understanding that simply tweaking the cluster size from 512 byte to 4K with Partition Magic, Acronis Disk Director (or similar utilities) is not enough: Is this correct?
  3. jprad


    Correct. It's due to XP boot partitions starting on the 63rd 512b sector, which is one sector short of a 4096b boundary.
  4. WD has made an "alignment utility" for XP users.