Compatabilty of 4TB HD with Win 7 OS

Dell Inspiron 570 PC (Purchased May 2010)
Win 7 Professional 64bit SP1
AMD Phenom II Processor

I am interested in buying a WD 4TB Elements Desktop External Hard Drive (WDBWLG0040HBK), but having now discovered the 2TB Windows limit and the need to reformat as GPT (all of this is new to me) I am trying to find out whether the above HD would work with my PC. I found a lengthy MS article (KB2581408) which discusses the problem and details how to reformat as this GPT. Unfortunately, right at the end it says that there are known issues that can cause problems. It then says to contact your OEM. As my OEM is Dell past experience tells me that they wouldn’t be prepared to help me. I’ve tried one of two of the forums, including Dell, but answers tend to be of the “It should be OK” variety. I really would like something more definite before I spend over £100 so I’m hoping that this forum can provide this information and, hopefully, firm reassurance.

Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit supports initializing and partitioning hard drives larger than 2TB as GPT. This should not be an issue. However, you may need to use a USB 2.0 cable since physical (Hardware) compatibility is beyond the operating system itself.

Thanks for the reassurance. I should have mentioned that I only had USB 2.0.

However, browsing on this site has now given me something else to worry about. Knowledge base ID 3340 explains that the system may fail to boot, hanging at the POST state, with an external HD larger than 2.2 TB because the BIOS itself cannot handle such a large HD. To be honest, I haven’t the faintest idea whether this would be a problem but, as you can see, my PC is fairly old. I suppose that I could post on the Dell forum, but do you have any suggestions?

The only suggestion I can make other than enforcing your main hard drive as the only bootable device within your system’s BIOS, would be to simply disconnect your external hard drive from your computer before turning off the system.

I have a WD 4TB Elements Desktop External Hard Drive and it works fine on my old Windows XP 32Bit PC using USB3 with full capacity available … (Windows XP 32bit, does not support GPT)

(also works fine on Win7 32bit & 64bit ) heck … it even works on my Raspberry Pi , WDTV Media Players and Android Box !

Mine is Formatted NTFS with MBR Partition … … wait, what ? MBR and not GPT ?

Yep :slight_smile:

Western Digital and other Companies use 4K Advanced Format on a lot of External HDD’s to bypass the 2TB limit which enables compatibility with Older OS’s, Systems and Devices.

Everthing you’ve read about 2TB limits and GPT Partitions is True, But for “Internal Hard Drives / Boot Drives

WD 4TB Elements Desktop External Hard Drive … MBR partitioned

PS. WD Element Desktop External Hard Drives
System Requirements
Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

In a nutshell … i’m 99.99% confident it will work on your system without issues
(for that 00.01% … check return/refund policies wherever you buy it from)

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Many thanks for the replies. Obviously I now need to go away and cast the runes, or something. And, yes, I fully realise that all responsibility is now mine! :slight_smile:

You have to use the WD format utility:

See: 4TB on MBR and not GPT