Aligning WD10EZEX drive using the WD Align tool


#1

Hi folks.

Can anyone tell me if they had any success aligning their WD Blue 1 TB (WD10EZEX) Advanced Format drive using WD Align?

I partitioned my drive into two partitions (300 GB and 631 GB) using Disk Management tool in Windows XP. This created two unaligned partitions. I ran the WD Align tool and it reported that both partitions are aligned. I checked the partition offsets using System Information (MSINFO32.EXE). This is what it showed.


Partition                              - Disk #1, Partition #0
Partition Size                     - 300.00 GB (322,126,608,384 bytes)
Partition Starting Offset   - 32,256 bytes
Partition                              - Disk #1, Partition #1
Partition Size                     - 631.51 GB (678,075,632,640 bytes)
Partition Starting Offset   - 322,126,640,640 bytes

As you can see, the offset for partition 1 is 32,256 bytes (NOT evenly divisible by 4096) and for partition 2 is 322,126,640,640 bytes (also not evenly divisible by 4096).

I also ran the Disk Alignment Test program (diskat-gui.exe) and it too confirmed that the partitions are not aligned.

The WD Align tool version I have is 2.0.0.111 (AcronisAlignTool_s_e_2_0_111.exe)

Another user has reported same problem with the WD10EZEX and WD Align in another thread (Ran WD Align on new HD> “All partitions are already properly aligned. No further actions required.”). I didn’t find a satisfactory answer/solution there even though the problem was marked as ‘Solved’. I can’t even post/reply on that thread as it is closed.

Are any other Windows XP users facing a similar problem with the WD10EZEX drive and WD Align?


#2

I’m not sure if this utility is capable of aligning multiple partitions.  Can you try it with just one partition on the drive and see if it works?


#3

Also, you could try formatting the drive directly with Acronis and see if it will allow you to create multiple partitions.


#4

Hello Bill_S.

I was able to align two partitions (also 300 GB and 631 GB) on my WD Elements 1 TB USB Portable External hard drive (using WD Align). So, it does work with multiple partitions. Atleast it worked on my external drive. The WD Elements uses an ‘older’ SATA-2 drive though. Here is the data reported by System Information for the Elements drive after running WD Align.


Partition                              - Disk #2, Partition #0
Partition Size                     - 300.00 GB (322,124,644,352 bytes)
Partition Starting Offset   - 1,048,576 bytes
Partition                              - Disk #2, Partition #1
Partition Size                     - 631.50 GB (678,067,961,856 bytes)
Partition Starting Offset   - 322,125,692,928 bytes

As you can see, both partitions are aligned properly now. Just like the WD10EZEX, I was unaware that the Elements also was an advanced format drive. After copying nearly 600 GB data to it and using it with unaligned partitions for almost a month, I finally got them aligned couple of days back. Now, I have to copy the 600 GBs to it… again. If only WD would have put some kind of ‘warning’ text on all its products (like “This product MAY contain an Advanced Format drive”), it would have saved me several wasted hours.

Anyway, I am trying to do the same with the WD10EZEX… without any luck.

I COULD try aligning it with just a single 1 TB partition. But, even if it works, it won’t be of any use to me as I need multiple partitions. It is a large, internal disk and I will have to partition it. Will give it a try.

Also, you could try formatting the drive directly with Acronis and see if it will allow you to create multiple partitions.
By ‘Acronis’, are you referring to Acronis True Image disk imaging software? I have downloaded but not installed it yet. I will try that also.

Below are two links to topics by people who encountered similar problem. Both topics have been marked as ‘Solved’ but the ‘Solution’ has not been provided. The messages that have been marked as the ‘solution’ say that “If the WD tool tells you it is already aligned, it should be”.

1> Ran WD Align on new HD> “All partitions are already properly aligned. No further actions required.”
http://community.wdc.com/t5/Desktop-Portable-Drives/Ran-WD-Align-on-new-HD-gt-quot-All-partitions-are-already/td-p/449040

2> WD20EZRX / Win XP / WD Align says ‘properly aligned’ disk alignment test ‘volume is not aligned’
http://community.wdc.com/t5/Desktop-Portable-Drives/WD20EZRX-Win-XP-WD-Align-says-properly-aligned-disk-alignment/m-p/540679

In my case, WD Align is also saying that the partitions are aligned. BUT, THEY ARE NOT. The first ‘Partition Starting Offset’ on my WD10EZEX (partitioned and formatted using WinXP Disk Management) is 32,256 bytes (32,256/512 = 63rd sector). On a properly-aligned AF drive, the ‘Partition Starting Offset’ must be evenly divisible by 4096. From the Elements drive info above, you can see that WD Align has set the ‘Partition Starting Offset’ to 1,048,576 bytes (sector 2048) and 322,125,692,928 bytes (both evenly divisible by 4096) for the two partitions… which is CORRECT.

The ‘Publish Date’ for WD Align (version 2.0.111) is 1/27/2012. So, the tool has not been updated for over a year now. I think WD should first verify that the align tool is compatible and working properly with the new drives. Because I am not the only one who has encountered this issue.

Thank you for your time.


#5

Hi prashant_n_s

The tool does work.  However, I forgot to mention that there are jumpers you can set for XP that causes the drive to align when you format it.  Have you tried that?  And if they’re set already, then you don’t need to align the drive.  Because the jumper will offset the drive by one bit automatically.


#6

Hello again Bill_S. A very good morning to you.

No I didn’t try setting the jumper on pins 7-8. Here’s why…

The information below is from the ’ Advanced Format Hard Drive Download Utility’ page…

"Early 3.5-inch WD drives with Advanced Format supported jumper pins 7–8. Placing a jumper on these pins adjusted the drive’s internal alignment for single partition XP installations. Support for this jumper setting is no longer needed on newer drives. For optimal performance on all XP installations WD recommends running the WD Align utility."

From the text above, I honestly don’t know which 3.5-inch drives classify as “Early AF drives”. The date printed on the label on my drive is ‘06 DEC 2012’ and I purchased this drive on 29 JAN 2013. But, I cannot tell for sure if it is an “Early” drive or a “newer” drive. So, I cannot tell if putting a jumper on pins 7-8 will solve the problem. Since my drive is only a couple of months old, I am guessing that it is a “newer” drive. But, I am not sure.

If you read topic 1> in my preceding post (Ran WD Align on new HD> “All partitions are already properly aligned. No further actions required.”), the person who made the post DID TRY the jumper on his drive. It DID NOT WORK for him. The post was made in August 2012. My drive was manufactured in December 2012. So, it is highly unlikely that a jumper will work because WD has disabled that option on the newer drives.

However, even if the jumper option was available, it wouldn’t do me any good as it works for a SINGLE PARTITION only. Meaning that I will have a single 1 TB partition… which is not what I want.

You said that the tool does work. I agree with you but, only partially. I have used it successfully to align my 1 TB WD Elements external USB drive couple of days back. But, it is not working with the WD10EZEX drive. FYI, the Elements uses a SATA-2 drive.

The WD10EZEX model was released/launched around July or September 2012. I got these dates from newegg.com and cnet.com. The ‘Publish Date’ for WD Align tool (v2.0.111) is 27 January 2012. So, it is possible that the tool has not been updated to recognize the newer WD10EZEX model. It also does not recognize the WD20EZRX model (topic 2> in my preceding post).

If you could just check with the WD software department personnel whether the align tool supports the WD10EZEX model, the problem will be solved much quicker.

Once again, thank you for your time.


#7

Okay.  Yes, you are right.  The newer drives have those jumper pins disabled.  Here is the break down.  WD Align can only align one partition on a drive.  Acronis, however, will actually align more than one partition.  I don’t know how many it can align, but it should be at least two.  You can download and install Acronis from our downloads page. 


#8

I suspect that WD Align “erroneously” reports that non-aligned partitions are aligned because it has determined that your drive is a non-AF model. That said, if this is indeed the case, then a better message would be something like “your drive is not an Advanced Format model and does not require alignment”.

In fact here is a recent thread where two apparently identical AF drives are identifying themselves differently, one as AF, the other as non-AF:

http://community.wdc.com/t5/Desktop-Portable-Drives/WD20EARS-differences-why/m-p/544451#M12562

The problem is that certain aspects of AF reporting are optional, so an AF drive may not identify itself as such.


#9

It occurs to me that WD Align must be able to detect when the 7-8 jumper is installed. If it were to merely base its judgment on the starting sector number, then it would incorrectly identify those single partition XP installations which have been correctly aligned by means of the AF jumper.

AIUI, the function of the jumper is to add a +1 sector offset to each LBA so that when the OS accesses sector 63, the drive transparently maps it to LBA 64, thereby aligning the partition.

The ATA standard provides several words in the Identify Device information block that enable the drive to report the sizes of its logical and physical sectors, and whether a sector offset is active. For example, word 209 reports the “alignment of logical blocks within a physical block”, and word 106 indicates that the ratio of Physical sector size to Logical sector size.

Working Draft AT Attachment 8 - ATA/ATAPI Command Set (ATA8-ACS):
http://www.t13.org/documents/UploadedDocuments/docs2008/D1699r6a-ATA8-ACS.pdf

The following thread has an example of the Advanced Format words for a WD20EARS:

http://community.wdc.com/t5/Desktop-Portable-Drives/Physical-Sector-Size-different-between-WD20EARS-00MVWB0-and/m-p/219914#M6211


#10

fzabkar wrote:
I suspect that WD Align “erroneously” reports that non-aligned partitions are aligned because it has determined that your drive is a non-AF model. That said, if this is indeed the case, then a better message would be something like “your drive is not an Advanced Format model and does not require alignment”.

In fact here is a recent thread where two apparently identical AF drives are identifying themselves differently, one as AF, the other as non-AF:

http://community.wdc.com/t5/Desktop-Portable-Drives/WD20EARS-differences-why/m-p/544451#M12562

The problem is that certain aspects of AF reporting are optional, so an AF drive may not identify itself as such.

From what I’ve been told, if in doubt the drive label will tell you if the drive is indeed AF.


#11

Okay.  Yes, you are right.  The newer drives have those jumper pins disabled.  Here is the break down.  WD Align can only align one partition on a drive.  Acronis, however, will actually align more than one partition.  I don’t know how many it can align, but it should be at least two.  You can download and install Acronis from our downloads page.

I was able to align two partitions (300 GB and 631 GB) on my WD Elements SE Portable 1 TB external hard drive (Model WDBPCK0010BBK) using WD Align. So, WD Align CAN align more than one partition.

I will try Acronis. If it works, I will post an update here.
I will also try GParted as suggested by fzabkar.


#12

I suspect that WD Align “erroneously” reports that non-aligned partitions are aligned because it has determined that your drive is a non-AF model. That said, if this is indeed the case, then a better message would be something like “your drive is not an Advanced Format model and does not require alignment”.

In fact here is a recent thread where two apparently identical AF drives are identifying themselves differently, one as AF, the other as non-AF:

http://community.wdc.com/t5/Desktop-Portable-Drives/WD20EARS-differences-why/m-p/544451#M12562

The problem is that certain aspects of AF reporting are optional, so an AF drive may not identify itself as such.

I am sorry I didn’t mention this before. WD Align DOES RECOGNIZE the WD10EZEX as an Advanced Format drive. It is just not able to see the unaligned partitions. The Disk Alignment Test program is detecting the AF drive AND the unaligned partitions too. System Information is reporting the partition start offset as 32,256 bytes (i.e. 63 sectors… meaning unaligned). And there is NO JUMPER on pins 7-8. Also, I used the Windows XP Disk Management tool to partition the drive. So, the partitions HAVE TO BE unaligned.

Even I saw that thread about the two WD20EARS AF models. The drive label on those drives indicate BOTH are AF drives. But, they are different ‘internally’. One AF drive is reporting 512-byte physical sectors. After reading such wierd experiences, I am not quite sure what is going on with WD drives.


#13

_ It occurs to me that WD Align must be able to detect when the 7-8 jumper is installed. If it were to merely base its judgment on the starting sector number, then it would incorrectly identify those single partition XP installations which have been correctly aligned by means of the AF jumper. _

_ AIUI, the function of the jumper is to add a +1 sector offset to each LBA so that when the OS accesses sector 63, the drive transparently maps it to LBA 64, thereby aligning the partition. _

_ The ATA standard provides several words in the Identify Device information block that enable the drive to report the sizes of its logical and physical sectors, and whether a sector offset is active. For example, word 209 reports the “alignment of logical blocks within a physical block”, and word 106 indicates that the ratio of Physical sector size to Logical sector size. _

Working Draft AT Attachment 8 - ATA/ATAPI Command Set (ATA8-ACS):
http://www.t13.org/documents/UploadedDocuments/docs2008/D1699r6a-ATA8-ACS.pdf

_ The following thread has an example of the Advanced Format words for a WD20EARS: _

http://community.wdc.com/t5/Desktop-Portable-Drives/Physical-Sector-Size-different-between-WD20EARS-…

I never put a jumper on pins 7-8 as I do not want a single partition. After purchasing the drive, I learnt that it is an AF drive. So, I read the info available on WD website. Since it is clearly stated that the jumper option ONLY ALLOWS ONE SINGLE PARTITION (that too on OLDER drives only), I scratched that option long time ago. Only option available now is to align the partitions through software.


#14

_ From what I’ve been told, if in doubt the drive label will tell you if the drive is indeed AF. _

Here is the picture of my drive label. I do not see ‘Advanced Format’ mentioned anywhere on the label.


#15

Just to dispel any doubts that the drive is not being detected/identified as an AF drive, I am providing data reported by two programs.

And when I say “AF drives”, I mean those drives that have 4096-byte physical sectors.

However, I am now aware of atleast one AF drive (WD20EARS) in existence that has 512-byte physical sectors.

See it here.
http://community.wdc.com/t5/Desktop-Portable-Drives/WD20EARS-differences-why/m-p/544451#M12562

In the above link, you will see two (almost) identical models, with the drive label on BOTH drives mentioning ‘Advanced Format’. However, one drive reports 512-byte physical sectors while other reports 4096-byte physical sectors.

1> Here is the data reported by Disk Alignment Test program.
Information about my old PATA primary drive has been edited.


Disk Alignment Test 1.0.10 Report

Computer: JINX
Operating system: Windows XP 32-bit (2600)
Overall status: Wrong alignment is detected.

Disk 1: [ATA WDC WD10EZEX-00ZF5A0]
    * Capacity: 932 Gb
    * Logical block size: 512 bytes
    * Physical block size: 4096 bytes
    * Physical offset: 0 blocks
    * Serial number: [REMOVED]
    * Firmware: 80.00A80

Volume G:
    * Length: 300 Gb
    * Free space: 300 Gb
    * File system: NTFS
    * Cluster size: 4096 bytes
    * Placement: Disk 1 [63, 629153532]: NOT aligned

Volume H:
    * Length: 632 Gb
    * Free space: 631 Gb
    * File system: NTFS
    * Cluster size: 4096 bytes
    * Placement: Disk 1 [629153595, 1324366470]: NOT aligned

2> I also burned a CD with the Align tool, used the CD to boot the computer and ran the Align tool.
It said that the partitions are aligned.

It created a ZIP file which contained the Acronis System Report in four TXT files.
Below is data from the “disks.txt” file.


          PS         Speed IFace Hs-Bs-Tg Model                     
Num  NT    L9NO  Size FSsize Free FS     Type            Label       ABCHSV
---- ----- ---- ----- ----- ----- ------ --------------- ----------- ------
1-   d(0) MBR   932G    1K SATA  0-0-0    WDC WD10EZEX-00ZF5A0      
  -1  p(1) --CC  300G  300G    0b NTFS   07 NTFS, HPFS   … A----v
  -2  p(2) --DD  632G  632G    0b NTFS   07 NTFS, HPFS   … -----v
                 2.5M             free                               ------

Disk 1 properties:
  BIOS number:   0x80
  Geometry:      121602 255 63
  Total sectors: 1953525168
  Logical Sector Size:         512
  Physical Sector Size:        4096
  Logical Sector Offset:       0
  Legacy ATA Encrypted:        0
  TCG OPAL Encryption Capable: 0
  AZ Alignment enabled:        1
  BIOS extension properties:
    Extension version:   3.0
    Functions supported: Ext. EDD
    Transparent DMA:     0
    CHS information:     None
    Removable drive:     0
    Write with verify:   0
    Change-line:         0
    Lockable drive:      0
    Geometry:            16383 16 63
    Total sectors:       1953525168
    Sector size:         512

.
. [SECTOR DATA HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM HERE]
.

MBR 1-:
  First physical sector:           0 (0 0 1)
  Table extended structure
    Extended boot sector:       0
    Extended hidden partitions: 00 Unused
                                00 Unused
                                00 Unused
                                00 Unused
    Extended boot disk:         0x00
    Extended patch flags:       FAT16(-) MS-DOS7+(-) FAT32(-) OS/2(-)
    Extended OS/2 patch:        0x00
    Extended checksum (0x59):   0x2C
    Extended size (14):         25412
    NT signature:               0xFE28DC8D
    Extended serial number:     0x0000
  i f    Start C   H  S      End C   H  S      Start       Size Type
  - - ---------- — – ---------- — – ---------- ---------- ----
  0 A          0   1  1       1023 254 63         63  629153532 07 NTFS, HPFS
    A          0   1  1       1023 254 63         63  629153532 07 NTFS, HPFS
    -          0   1  1      39162 254 63         63  629153532
  - - ---------- — – ---------- — – ---------- ---------- ----
  1 -       1023 254 63       1023 254 63  629153595 1324366470 07 NTFS, HPFS
    -       1023 254 63       1023 254 63  629153595 1324366470 07 NTFS, HPFS
    -      39163   0  1     121600 254 63  629153595 1324366470
  - - ---------- — – ---------- — – ---------- ---------- ----
  2 -          0   0  0          0   0  0          0          0 00 Unused
    -          0   0  0          0   0  0          0          0 00 Unused
  - - ---------- — – ---------- — – ---------- ---------- ----
  3 -          0   0  0          0   0  0          0          0 00 Unused
    -          0   0  0          0   0  0          0          0 00 Unused
    Boot sign (0x0AA55):        0xAA55
Partition 1-1: of type 07 NTFS, HPFS and size 300G
  First physical sector:          63 (0 1 1)
  Last physical sector:    629153594 (39162 254 63)
  Total sectors:  629153532
  NTFS bootsector structure:
    Jump code:               0xEB 0x52 0x90
    File system name:        NTFS    
    Sector size (512):       512
    Sectors per cluster:     8
    Reserved sectors (0):    0
    FAT copies (0):          0
    Root folder items (0):   0
    Total sectors (0):       0
    Media ID:                0xF8
    FAT size (0):            0
    Sectors per track:       63
    Number of heads:         255
    Hidden sectors:          63
    Big total sectors (0):   0
    Hard disk:               0x80
    Reserved:                0x00 0x0080
    Big total sectors:       629153531
    MFT cluster:             786432
    MFTmirr cluster:         39322095
    MFT record size:         -10
    Index buffer size:       1
    Serial number:           2600-84B0-0084-890F
    Boot signature (0AA55h): 0xAA55
Partition 1-2: of type 07 NTFS, HPFS and size 632G
  First physical sector:   629153595 (39163 0 1)
  Last physical sector:   1953520064 (121600 254 63)
  Total sectors: 1324366470
  NTFS bootsector structure:
    Jump code:               0xEB 0x52 0x90
    File system name:        NTFS    
    Sector size (512):       512
    Sectors per cluster:     8
    Reserved sectors (0):    0
    FAT copies (0):          0
    Root folder items (0):   0
    Total sectors (0):       0
    Media ID:                0xF8
    FAT size (0):            0
    Sectors per track:       63
    Number of heads:         255
    Hidden sectors:          629153595
    Big total sectors (0):   0
    Hard disk:               0x80
    Reserved:                0x00 0x0080
    Big total sectors:       1324366469
    MFT cluster:             786432
    MFTmirr cluster:         82772904
    MFT record size:         -10
    Index buffer size:       1
    Serial number:           689C-9FCE-9C9F-94E2
    Boot signature (0AA55h): 0xAA55
Free space 1-
: of size 2.5M
  First physical sector:  1953520065 (121601 0 1)
  Last physical sector:   1953525167 (121601 80 63)
  Total sectors:       5103
Disk 1  Partition 1
  FS:                NTFS
  FSSize:            629153529 (300G)
  BlockSize:         8 (4K)
  BlockCount:        78644191 (300G)
  FreeBlockCount:    0 (0b)
  ReservedSectors:   0 (0b)
  FATSize:           0 (0b)
  FATCount:          0 (0b)
  RootEntries:       0 (0b)
  UsedRootEntries:   0 (0b)
  InodeSize:         1024 (1K)
  InodeCount:        0 (0b)
  BytesPerInode:     0 (0b)
  VolumeLabel:       …
  SerialNumber:      0F 89 84 00 B0 84 00 26 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
  CheckPerformed:    0
  UsefulInformation: 0 (0b)
  BadBlockCount:     0 (0b)
  FreeInodeCount:    0 (0b)
  FilesCount:        0
  DirectoriesCount:  1
  HardLinkCount:     0
  SymLinkCount:      0
  BlockDeviceCount:  0
  CharDeviceCount:   0
  SocketCount:       0
  FifoCount:         0
  JournalSize:       0 (0b)
Disk 1  Partition 2
  FS:                NTFS
  FSSize:            1324366465 (632G)
  BlockSize:         8 (4K)
  BlockCount:        165545808 (632G)
  FreeBlockCount:    0 (0b)
  ReservedSectors:   0 (0b)
  FATSize:           0 (0b)
  FATCount:          0 (0b)
  RootEntries:       0 (0b)
  UsedRootEntries:   0 (0b)
  InodeSize:         1024 (1K)
  InodeCount:        0 (0b)
  BytesPerInode:     0 (0b)
  VolumeLabel:       …
  SerialNumber:      E2 94 9F 9C CE 9F 9C 68 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
  CheckPerformed:    0
  UsefulInformation: 0 (0b)
  BadBlockCount:     0 (0b)
  FreeInodeCount:    0 (0b)
  FilesCount:        0
  DirectoriesCount:  1
  HardLinkCount:     0
  SymLinkCount:      0
  BlockDeviceCount:  0
  CharDeviceCount:   0
  SocketCount:       0
  FifoCount:         0
  JournalSize:       0 (0b)


#16

FWIW, I notice that the Acronis System Report includes the following line:

AZ Alignment enabled: 1

The following document suggests that support for the above was added in Version 2.0.11:
http://support.wdc.com/download/notes/Windows_WD_Align_Version_2_0_111_Release_Notes.pdf

It might be irrelevant, but I can’t find any information on this feature.


#17

Obviously, you know a lot more about hard drives than I do. So, I wouldn’t be able to comment on AZ Alignment.

I was going to mention this earlier. But, I felt it was unnecessary as WD Align is recognizing the WD10EZEX as an AF drive.

Now that we are considering all factors that could be the cause of the problem (especially after learning that an AF drive could have 512-byte physical sectors :dizzy_face: ), I would like to bring your attention to one line in the above Release Notes PDF file.

Version 1.1.0.506

* BPKT model is now recognized as an Advanced Format Disk

From the above line, it is my guess that WD Align is using hard-coded Drive Model Numbers. If that’s the case, it is reasonable to believe that WD Align needs to be updated for the newer models.

Publish date for WD Align is January 2012.

WD10EZEX was launched sometime around June-July 2012 (I got this date from customer reviews for the WD10EZEX on newegg.com). cnet.com reviewed this model in September 2012.

I may be wrong here. But, with the information I have so far, this is all I can think of. Being a software writer myself, I am aware of the “liberties” some programmers take. And I wouldn’t be surprised to know that WD Align wasn’t programmed to recognize newer models like the WD10EZEX and WD20EZRX. These are the two models I know with which other people have encountered problems aligning their partitions.


#18

Hello!

I finally managed to solve the partition aligning problem on the WD Blue WD10EZEX AF drive. As I have said many times before in this thread, WD Align Tool is not able to detect unaligned partitions on the WD10EZEX model.

I recently purchased two more WD10EZEX-00RKKA0 drives (manufactured March 2013). The model number is different from the first drive I have (WD10EZEX-00ZF5A0). WD Align Tool DID NOT WORK with the two new drives also.

However, I was able to create properly-aligned partitions on all three drives using ’ Acronis True Image WD Edition’. I used the ‘Add New Disk’ option to create primary/extended partitions.

Just FYI:
WD Align (Version: 2.0.111) publish date is January 2012.
Acronis True Image (Version: 14192) publish date is May 2012.

I can confidently say now that WD Align Tool definitely needs to be updated to accomodate the new drive models.

Thanks a lot for your help Bill_S and fzabkar. I really appreciate it.