questionswinxp harddrive limitations - google is way too…


If it has SP1 it should have 48 bit LBA support. So unless you plan on having anything above 144 petabytes then you should be good.


Larger hard drives (1-2TB) are able to be used if you format the hard drives a certain way (from my understanding) -- here's a link with some helpful information about the matter:$file/FinalHiCap_2.2TB_TechBrief.pdf


There is a lot of info there, much of it worth a browse, but the place that best indicates the conflicting reviews follow the header "Maximum Sizes on NTFS Volumes" in the link above.

2TB shouldn't take anything fancy according to the text. Anything more than that seems to indicate need for further reading on that boring support page.


@coolphilip04: in all of my current reading, petabyte wasn't even mentioned...

@capguncowboy: atm that's definitely a tl;dr, but i will hit it tomorrow. that being said, one of the only things i caught at the beginning was that it seems to reference a 64bit OS, which wasn't even an option for MOST people 4-ish years ago, when this machine is from.

@gregorylikescheapstu: your provided text seems to imply that anything NTFS can understand up to 16TBs. I didn't read too far, but I'm hoping to clarify. Which of the following is true:
-WinXP can understand anything up to 16TB
-WinXP, when formatted on an NTFS drive, when dealing with NTFS drives can understand up to 16TB.

Are both true or...?


FWIW It is an install of WinXP that has been updated to the current available update. If you need more info, let me know what you need so I can spec the machine to confirm :)


@smtatertot13: The text goes further into it than that. Honestly I never had any reason to learn about TB drives back then, so I'm learning this now with you. This is what I've gathered from the tidbit I read:

-Using the standard 4KB cluster size, yes, 16TB is the theoretical limit of the NTFS volume. However:

-"Because partition tables on master boot record (MBR) disks support only partition sizes up to 2 terabytes, you must use dynamic volumes to create NTFS volumes over 2 terabytes. Windows XP Professional manages dynamic volumes in a special database instead of in the partition table, so dynamic volumes are not subject to the 2-terabyte physical limit imposed by the partition table. Therefore, dynamic NTFS volumes can be as large as the maximum volume size supported by NTFS."

-Capgun's insight seems in line with the proceeding sentence from that text: "64-bit computers that use GUID partition table (GPT) disks also support NTFS volumes larger than 2 terabytes."


@smtatertot13: Dynamic volumes in use with Windows XP is better described in this support page:


so, from what I can tell thus far, i can happily buy a 4TB drive, input it as a secondary drive inside the machine that only has WinXP and will be able to start backing up my movies. yes? :)


@smtatertot13: I'm not certain enough to give a "yes", with the current information provided. My understanding of it, at least.

The MBR limitation would presumably be effective whether the primary or secondary drive.

Before investing any money, I would test out the process of setting up a dynamic volume as shown in my previous link. Ensure there aren't any snags we don't know about. Ensure, also, that whatever version of XP you are using is capable of the process. (The one used in the support article is XP Professional, which has the most advanced features available.) If all goes smoothly, I'd then get be comfortable making a purchase. Though still, I'd rather try to get a hold a 4TB drive, elsewhere, for further testing.

I'm a tester and a cheapskate. All that testing may prove to be unnecessary, but would be prudent.


@smtatertot13: I personally think you would be smarter (and more guaranteed) to buy two 2TB drives. It protects against failure as well.


My CompTIA A+ reference book says "A 64KB cluster size results in a maximum volume size in Windows XP, for example, of 256 TB. When a cluster size of one sector, or 512 bytes is used, the maximum volume size reduces to 2 TB."

So, you'll be fine if you modify the cluster size...