WD15EARS with WD Advanced Format (4K sector), alignment of partitions for use with multiple OS


I am replacing my primary drive with a WD15EARS (1,5Tb WD Caviar Green with WD Advanced Format (4K sector)). In regard of this I have done some basic research on the subject of the WD Advanced Format and alignment issues with various OS’s, yet I need some further clarification and advice.

As part of my personal and professional interests I use various OS. On this single hard disk drive I need to use 3 OS, Windows XP (both 32bit and 64bit) and Windows 7.

I understand that I have to use WD Align utility for the WinXP partitions yet I don’t understand if this will in any way impact the possibility to use Win7 on the same hard disk?
Will alignment of WinXP partitions misalign Win7 partition? Will the drive performance be affected in any way for aligning partitions?
Does all partitions on this drive need to be aligned?

I don’t want to start installing 3 operating systems until I can find some answers to those questions. I would be very grateful for any help.

If you start with Windows 7 first, to create your partitions, then you won’t have any alignment issues with XP.  If you start with XP to create your partitions, then you would need to use the alignment tool we provide afterward.

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Thank you.

Is there some list of compatible partitioning software that works with WD Advanced Format drives?
Also, once I create properly aligned partitions, I guess any cloning software can be used?
OFC, provided that I use it only for cloning already created partitions… (meaning not using the option to re-create disk/partition geometry)

AIUI, gparted (freeware) can create partitions using the old 63 sectors / cylinder format (as do Win XP and earlier Microsoft OSes), or it can align them to mebibyte boundaries (as do Vista and Windows 7).


Thanks for your answer, TBH I was hoping for some info that maybe Paragon, Partition Magic, Easus or any of the others have updated versions, compatible with the WD Advanced Format.

I guess that once partitions are properly aligned, the danger for performance loss is taken away and the system anyways see the drive as any plain 512B drive. Meaning I can use any older defrag or cloning software (like Norton’s GHOST), as long as that software doesn’t change the partition/disk geometry?

the imaging software must be 4KB sector aware too


It seems that I’m stuck with the provided WD edition of Acronis True Image for a while. I prefer to do the imaging from WinPE platform, but it will require some effort to port WD’s Acronis to PE…

Again, my thanks to everybody that contributed in this thread.