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Preamble: I don't know much about hardware (please keep this in mind).

So I bought a 6TB WD Black internal drive and I have 2 issues with it.

  1. Partition - it looks like I can only utilize the 2TB part because when I plugged the drive in and went to install Windows 10, there were 2 partitions and there's an error creating a new partition on the larger one. I went ahead to install Windows 10 because I thought I could just fix it on the Disk Management tool for Windows. It is currently labeled as Unallocated Space but I can't do anything on it. All the options on the context menu are grayed out.
  2. Noise - before purchasing the drive I read some reviews and I am aware that the 6TB drive could get a bit hotter and noisier than the 1TB or 2TB variants. I didn't expect it to be this noisy though. It sounds like a clogged drain. Is this normal?

Anyway - regarding the partition stuff I've been reading a bit but not really sure what to do.

There was an article about using UEFI to remove the 2TB limitation but I don't know what that is or how to do it. There was another article about using diskpart to change the drive to GPT to also remove the 2TB limitation but I think that approach requires me to delete everything on the drive. I'm hoping to avoid that.

Can anyone help me?

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  • 1
    The disk needs to be GPT in order to be able to store more than 2TB. The UEFI part is for when a bigger harddrive is not detected. Sounds like you need to reformat.
    – LPChip
    Jan 19, 2017 at 21:02
  • How old is your computer ?
    – YanivK
    Jan 19, 2017 at 21:08
  • MBR doesn't support drives larger than 2TB, so you have to reinitialize the disk as GPT. There are a few tools that can do that without data loss, but do that on your own risk because nothing guaranteeds the conversion will be successful without loss of data
    – phuclv
    Jan 20, 2017 at 12:06
  • @LPChip I was expecting that I would need to reformat. Thanks. When I look at my boot options in the BIOS there's options for UEFI hard disk - does that mean my mobo supports UEFI?
    – dokgu
    Jan 20, 2017 at 14:55
  • @YanivK Fairly new actually - July 2016 - ca.pcpartpicker.com/user/dokgu/saved/#view=FYfFTW
    – dokgu
    Jan 20, 2017 at 14:56

3 Answers 3

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Unfortunately, you will need to reformat in order to use the entire disk.

Here are the exact steps to take in order to get your windows installation correct.

  1. Boot to Windows Installation Media.
  2. Pretend like you are going to install it using the advanced installation option.
  3. On the screen where you select the hard drive/partition to install windows to - press Shift+F10. This will bring up a command prompt.
  4. Enter diskpart tool by typing diskpart
  5. Now type list disk This will show the disk number of your 6tb disk.
  6. select disk 0 where 0 is the disk number in the previous step.
  7. clean
  8. convert gpt This will convert disk to gpt.
  9. Now, you can exit command prompt and refresh the window that shows available disks to install windows on.
  10. Select that disk and continue with the windows install.
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  • Wow - to think there should have been an easier way to know that I could run the cmd prompt on that screen. Didn't know I could use Shift+F10. Thanks anyway!
    – dokgu
    Jan 20, 2017 at 14:59
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  1. Partition problem: you cannot boot form a classic partition larger than 2TB. If you want to do that, you will have to use UEFI and GPT.

What I would recommend instead is making a very small boot partition for the operating system (like under 100GB - I'd use 87.8GB so 5500GB remain for data) and let the rest be the main data partition, which you will be able to make larger than 2TB since you will boot from the small one.

  1. Noise problem: this is a matter more of vibration transmission. I used 6TB Gold and Black drives and I did not notice significant noise. You need to reduce overall vibration in your case if you want less noise. Anyway, it's rather a general setup problem, not a drive problem. The noise of it is way lower compared to a 10k old SCSI drive.
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  • I have an SSD that is currently in RMA but I should be getting it back fairly soon. By that time I will be installing Windows on the SSD and the 6TB will be used solely for data. The current installation of Windows on the 6TB drive is temporary while waiting for the SSD. Do I still need to worry about the 2TB limitation if I'm not going to use the drive for the OS?
    – dokgu
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:03
  • Also, regarding the noise - how do I reduce the vibration? Do I need to purchase special hardware for that? Here's what my PC currently looks like ca.pcpartpicker.com/user/dokgu/saved/#view=FYfFTW
    – dokgu
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:04
  • No, if you do not want to boot from the 6TB drive, there's nothing to worry about. As for the noise, nothing special is usually needed. You just need to check how vibration spreads in your case. Fixing the drive very well with screws should reduce vibration, but there are other metal parts in contact in the that may cause vibrations to amplify. You could also use thin layer of material between the drive and the case, but do that only if you have some thermo conducting material. Using something else may cause the drive to overheat.
    – Overmind
    Jan 25, 2017 at 10:59
  • Looking at your case I see that drives can be mounted on the Z-axis. That area is subject to noise amplification due to the way it's attached.
    – Overmind
    Jan 25, 2017 at 11:04
  • What do you mean by Z-axis - like stacking them on top of each other? Should I place it at the bottom of the stack?
    – dokgu
    Jan 25, 2017 at 14:36
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There are several reasons to use UEFI instead of BIOS. I won't go into details regarding that. But there are some cases when you already have a fully functional Windows installation running on BIOS and you don't want to start all over again. Sadly, there are no tools that performs this job. And I found there is not too much documentation regarding how this can be performed either, or even how this should work. Since after some digging and trial-and-error I was able to perform the operation, I will post the instructions for anyone who needs it.

Please note this is not supported by Microsoft

Goal

Convert a Windows 7/8 BIOS (MBR) installation to UEFI (GPT) without moving, copying or losing data.

Prerequisites

  1. A computer able to boot UEFI. You can check that on your computer manufacturer. Also in the BIOS setup should display UEFI boot options.
  2. Windows 7/8 x64 (I'm not sure if x86 supports it or how).
  3. A computer able to boot from USB or memory card (only for this process).
  4. A USB drive or memory card with at least 4GB or a Windows installation disc.
  5. BitLocker TURNED OFF! If you have BitLocker enabled on your hard drive, it will have to be TOTALLY turned off for this procedure. After the procedure is performed, BitLocker can be turned on again.
  6. A "standard" Windows installation. This means, the disk where Windows is installed has to contain the System Partition (something above 200MB) and then the OS Partition. This is because Windows will require some space at the beginning of the disk to create the new boot partitions, and we will use the previous System Partition. To verify this you can follow Instructions steps 8 through 11. If there isn't enough space at the beginning (the primary small partition is under 200MB), partitions may be resized using some tool like Easeus Partition Master (You can also just use the windows disk management tool (diskmgmt.msc)) or such. Don't continue the operation until you have done so because you may not be able to finish it!

Warnings

  1. As usually, I won't take any responsibilities if data is being lost, your computer doesn't boot up anymore, or some gremlins attack your family. You are doing this at your own responsibility. :) This is not a documented feature at all.
  2. After this procedure, old versions of Windows probably won't be able to boot from this disk drive since it has to be converted to GPT.

Recommendations

  1. It is HIGHLY recommended for you to perform a backup of your data! If you have a second disk drive big enough, you can simply create a system image and able to recover the full installation as it was before you started this procedure if anything goes wrong.
  2. Download this guide to another computer or print it out, since you will have to make some operations without Windows working.
  3. These procedures are likely to render your on-board Recovery partition unusable. Thus, a backup of your Recovery partition onto a USB device is highly recommended if your PC came with Windows 8 preinstalled or you don't have your Windows installation media. Once created, this bootable Recovery USB can optionally be substituted for the System Repair disc in the steps below. For a creating the Recovery USB, see the following: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/create-a-recovery-drive-in-windows-8/7261 Jump

Notes

Steps were performed on Windows 8. Some steps in Windows 7 may have different menus, but the options and results are the same.

Instructions

  1. Create a system repair disc (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Create-a-system-repair-disc Jump ). You can skip this step if you have a Windows installation media. Is a good measure to reboot and verify you can start your system from this disc.
  2. Identify which disk you want to convert (usually is #0). This can be done by looking at the number in the Windows Disk Management.
  3. Download gptgen from here http://sourceforge.net/projects/gptgen Jump . (You could use the Windows Disk Management Tool for this too. (diskmgmt.msc)) This tool will allow you to convert your MBR disc to GPT with the data included.

  4. ATTENTION: After this step, your computer CANNOT BOOT until the whole process is completed. DO NOT Shut Down Unless Instructed to!

    Unzip gptgen and then run CMD with elevated privileges. (replace the 0 with the identified disk number).

    This will result in a BSOD shortly after and it's to be expected:

    gptgen.exe -w \\.\physicaldrive0
    
  5. Boot using your Windows installation or previously generated system repair disc.

  6. Choose language and preferences, and then select Repair Your Computer -> Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Command Prompt
  7. We will need the disk partitioning tool. With this, we will recreate the boot partitions. Type:

    diskpart
    
  8. Identify the boot disk where Windows is located, typing:

    list disk
    

    Something like this should appear:

    Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt


    • Disk 0 Online 128 GB 0 B *
  9. Once identified, select the disk (replace with the correct number):

    select disk 0
    
  10. Verify the partitions:

    list partition
    
  11. Something similar at the info below should appear. Partition ### Type Size Offset


    Partition 1 Primary 350 MB 1024 KB

    Partition 2 Primary 126 GB 350 MB

  12. Delete the previous system partition:

     select partition 1
    
    
    
    delete partition
    
  13. Create the new boot partition, Microsoft reserved partition:

    create partition EFI size=100 offset=1
    
    
    
    format quick fs=fat32 label="System"
    
    
    
    assign letter=S
    
    create partition msr size=128 offset=103424
    
  14. If you list the partitions again, you should have ended up with something like this: Partition ### Type Size Offset


    Partition 1 System 100 MB 1024 KB

    Partition 2 Reserved 128 MB 101 MB

    Partition 3 Primary 126 GB 229 MB

  15. Ensure that your Windows installation is mounted, replacing 3 with the volume number of the Windows installation (usually 1):

    list volume
    
    
    
    select volume 3
    
    
    
    assign letter=C
    
  16. Exit diskpart:

    exit
    
  17. Generate boot partition data, replacing C: with the letter of the Windows installation (usually C:):

    bcdboot c:\windows /s s: /f UEFI
    
  18. Cross your fingers and then restart your computer!

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  • Its not UEFI vs BIOS, but UEFI vs Legacy. You may want to edit that. PS. I'm not responsible for the -1.
    – LPChip
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:05
  • @LPChip I have an SSD that is currently in RMA but I should be getting it back fairly soon. By that time I will be installing Windows on the SSD and the 6TB will be used solely for data. The current installation of Windows on the 6TB drive is temporary while waiting for the SSD. Do I still need to worry about the 2TB limitation if I'm not going to use the drive for the OS?
    – dokgu
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:08
  • @uom-pgregorio you cannot use a larger than 2TB partition. Once the new SSD is installed, if you want to start using the rest of the space, at some point, you will need to remove the partition and change it to GPT in order to start using the rest of the space. It doesn't matter when this is, it just needs to happen.
    – LPChip
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:11
  • @LPChip Alright I think it's clear to me now. Thanks!
    – dokgu
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:22

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