Which WD Blue drives are 'Advanced Format' and which aren't?

From the currently available WD Blue models, can anyone PLEASE tell me FOR SURE which ones are advanced format drives and which ones are not?

WD is NOT explicitly putting this IMPORTANT information on all its drive labels. WHY? I recently purchased the WD10EZEX and it turned out to be an AFD. Nothing on the drive label mentioned AFD. Even the WD Blue product page lacks this IMPORTANT information. If I had known that it was an AFD, I would not have purchased it. I have been having several issues with this drive. Like the WD Align software (AcronisAlignTool_s_e_2_0_111.exe) says the partitions ARE aligned when they are clearly NOT aligned.

This is from MSINFO32.EXE

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

Another user has posted the same problem with the WD10EZEX and the WD Align tool 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 EZEX model and WD Align tool?

So, now I need a new drive for my Windows XP machine and I do NOT wish to buy an AFD.

Is there any way of telling whether a drive is AF or not without removing it from the anti-static pouch?

If not, is the Disk Alignment Test program (diskat-gui.exe) a sure shot way to check AF/non-AF drive? I mean, can this program reliably tell if a drive connected to the system is AF or not? It correctly identifies my WD10EZEX and my WD Elements portable 1TB USB drive as AF drives.

I need some way of knowing that the drive I am purchasing next is NOT an advanced format drive.

I also have a question about installing XP on an AF drive. Suppose I re-partition, format, AND ALIGN (using DISKPAR.EXE… not DISKPART.EXE) an AF drive from another Windows XP machine (I don’t have Vista or Windows 7), will I be able to install Windows XP SP3 on an ALREADY-ALIGNED partition? I am not sure if WinXP+SP3 will install on an AF drive that has ALIGNED partitions. I just do not wish to perform the aligning process AFTER installing WinXP on an UNALIGNED partition.

Below is the list of SATA and PATA drives that I am interested in. I would like to know which ones use AF and which don’t. I also need one PATA drive for my old PC. I am not sure if WD is rolling out PATA drives with AF now.

WD Blue SATA drives

Model #           Capacity    Cache
WD10EZEX           1 TB     64 MB (this IS an AF drive)
WD10EALX           1 TB     32 MB
WD7500AZEX  750 GB    64 MB
WD7500AALX  750 GB    32 MB
WD5000AZLX  500 GB    32 MB
WD5000AAKX  500 GB    16 MB

WD Blue PATA drives

Model #            Capacity   Cache

WD3200AAJB  320 GB     8 MB
WD2500AAJB  250 GB     8 MB
WD1600AAJB  160 GB     8 MB

Thank you for your time.

We apologize for the confusion, we are currently working on simplifying the support page to make it easier to differentiate the advanced format drives. You may look at the top label of the hard drive to verify if it is an advanced format drive, you can also continue to use the Disk Alignment Test. 


1> The WD10EZEX model hard drive I purchased is an Advanced Format drive.
2> The top label of the hard drive DOES NOT MENTION ANYTHING about it being an Advanced Format drive. That is the reason I am complaining about it.
3> WD introduced AF drives in the market more than two years ago. So, in addition to the label on the drives, the specification for each drive model on your website should mention if that model is AF or not.
4> After repartitioning and formatting the EZEX from Windows XP Disk Management tool, I ran the WD Align tool to align the partitions. Since the partitions were created by Windows XP, they ARE unaligned. So, the WD Align tool should notice the unaligned partitions and give me the option to align them. IT DOESN’T. It says the partitions are aligned even though they are not. Partition information provided by MSINFO32.EXE and the Disk Alignment Test program confirms that the partitions created by XP are unaligned. Clearly, the WD Align tool is failing to SEE the unaligned partitions.

After having all these problems, I decided to buy a ‘REGULAR DRIVE’ (those that use 512-byte sectors). Problem is that I cannot tell if a hard drive (sealed in an anti-static pouch) is an AF drive or not. One way I can think of doing it is to open the pouch, connect the drive to a system, and run the Disk Alignment Test program. In order to do THAT, I will have to PURCHASE THE DRIVE FIRST. The hard drive sellers in India DO NOT ALLOW opening the anti-static pouch unless we pay for it first. And I ain’t purchasing another WD drive (with “insufficient information” on its label) just to find out whether it is an AF drive or not.

So, if anyone can tell me which of the drives listed in my OP are non-AF drives, it would be helpful.

Thank you for your time.

Here is the complete list of WD manufactured HDDs that clearly states which HDD models are non-AF and which models are Advanced Format drives.

WD non-AF and AF HDDs list