WD Align - Please add to next release

Post your suggestions here if there are new features or applications that you would like added to the Ultimate Boot CD.

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phoenix00
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WD Align - Please add to next release

#1 Post by phoenix00 » Mon May 17, 2010 10:42 pm

http://support.wdc.com/product/downloadsw.asp?sid=122

This will be very useful for those stuck on WinXP and end up buying one of WD's newfangled AFD HDDs.

install.cfg:

Code: Select all

LABEL -
MENU LABEL WD Align 2010.01.19 - Build 122 (Western Digital)
TEXT HELP
 WD Align will allow the user to realign partitions on internal Western 
 Digital Advanced Format Drives (AFDs) WITHOUT a jumper installed across 
 pins 7-8. 
ENDTEXT
LINUX /boot/syslinux/memdisk
INITRD /ubcd/images/align122.iso.gz
APPEND iso raw
install.lst:

Code: Select all

title WD Align 2010.01.19 - Build 122 (Western Digital)\n WD Align will allow the user to realign partitions on internal Western\n Digital Advanced Format Drives (AFDs) WITHOUT a jumper installed across\n pins 7-8.
map --mem /ubcd/images/align122.iso.gz (hd32)
map --hook
root (hd32)
chainloader (hd32)
As you can see, I gzip'd the .iso before copying it into the directory structure.

Have fun!

Off-note: I've been using and modding UBCD since version 3 and loving it ever since. Keep up the good work!

Victor Chew
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#2 Post by Victor Chew » Tue May 18, 2010 1:17 pm

On my todo list now.

Thanks!

Victor Chew
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Re: WD Align - Please add to next release

#3 Post by Victor Chew » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:36 pm

Working on UBCD 5.1alpha now and looking at this.

I think this is best left as a customization option rather than included in UBCD.

Going forward, I think an app should only be included in UBCD if it can be used for diagnostic or recovery purposes. For apps with purposes like system optimization, it can be added during customization.

At some point, I plan to apply the same filter to existing apps and remove them from V5.1.

ady
Posts: 829
Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 5:26 am

Re: WD Align - Please add to next release

#4 Post by ady » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:38 am

@Victor

As a general rule, I would agree that "system optimization" is not the same as "diagnostic and recovery".

But the new Advance Format (AF) is going to be "officially" used by all hard disk drive manufacturers since January 2011.

In fact, Samsung and Hitachi are also launching their own Advance Format Align tools. OTOH, Seagate has a different aproach to the Advance Format issue, but is also part of the "official" announcement.

Since UBCD has several "old" partitioning tools (plus boot managers, cloning tools, and MBR tools), my guess is that in a few months the forum is going to receive several questions about problems using these "old" tools on HDD with Windows Vista/Seven (and even MacOS and Linux) that are supposed to used AF-compatible tools.

Moreover, there are several (even "most") Windows-based tools that are also incompatible with AF, including PowerQuest's old tools.

Almost all "FDisk" tools included in UBCD are going to have problems with AF.

Maybe, one way to minimize problems (and recursive questions) could be to (eventually) add AF tools, which are in fact "FDisk" / Partitioning tools, which are compatible with AF.

Additionally, newer versions of Linux's Fdisk and Parted should be compatible with AF.

I should add that there *are* partitioning strategies to partition a HDD in a way that its partitions will be compatible with both, AF rules, and with "old" traditional common practice partitioning, simultaneously.

StopSpazzing
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Re: WD Align - Please add to next release

#5 Post by StopSpazzing » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:34 pm

5.1 its going to be totally redesigned. We will have to see how this will play out with older tools. Maybe a warning when you use older tools? Who knows.
~Just StopSpazzing~

Visit the UBCD Wiki: http://wiki.ultimatebootcd.com
Please check your UBCD ISO MD5 Hash Sum; May prevent issues later on by not having an exact copy.

Currently Working on Common Issues and Repair Tips on the Wiki.

Victor Chew
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Re: WD Align - Please add to next release

#6 Post by Victor Chew » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:58 pm

Doesn't all 4K HDD does 512-byte sectors emulation at the firmware level?

In that case, why should older tools like fdisk have problems with the newer drives?

My understanding was that using older tools or OS (eg. WinXP) could result in the creation of misaligned partitions which will lead to reduced drive I/O. But you shouldn't end up with a broken machine that needs fixing.

There is also the Windows version of WD Align:

http://support.wdc.com/product/downloadsw.asp?sid=123

that a user could use to realign the partition without messing around with ISO images or boot CDs.

ady
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Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 5:26 am

Re: WD Align - Please add to next release

#7 Post by ady » Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:52 pm

Victor Chew wrote:Doesn't all 4K HDD does 512-byte sectors emulation at the firmware level?
Not exactly. Seagate claims they are not going to need any additional tool to align their drives, because they are dealing with this at firmware level. But WD, Samsung and Hitachi are launching special tools. I don't know about Toshiba.

The firmware is going to deal with the translation anyway. The translation between 512B and 4KB sectors is not the problem. The partition boundaries are the ones in need of an additional tool.

(Note that the additional tool for "newer OS's" is not really needed, not even for performance issues, if the partition boundaries are 4K aligned.)
In that case, why should older tools like fdisk have problems with the newer drives?

My understanding was that using older tools or OS (eg. WinXP) could result in the creation of misaligned partitions which will lead to reduced drive I/O. But you shouldn't end up with a broken machine that needs fixing.

There is also the Windows version of WD Align:

http://support.wdc.com/product/downloadsw.asp?sid=123

that a user could use to realign the partition without messing around with ISO images or boot CDs.

You are partially correct. Windows Vista and Seven don't have problems with any alignment. Mixing partitioning tools is the problem.

One problem is checking the partitions with "old" tools that assume "cylinder boundaries". Those assumptions lead to "warnings", which users, unknowingly, could follow through to "correct" the alignment. This "correction" could actually "make" the problem.

If I remember correctly, PowerQuest's Partition Magic first "warns", and then asks if the user wants to accept the suggested "corrections".

Other tools are even worse, and could "correct" the alignment, just because this "feature" is part of the checks/test they run on partitions.

Another problem is dual booting. If you happen to make a partition with one "old" tool (meaning, with classic cylinder boundary alignment), and the other with 4K or 2048K (known as optimal) alignment, you may find yourself with one partition limit "inside" the other one (overlapping partitions). I don't remember right now the exact order and steps how this situation happens. You might find examples at boot-land forums. Vista and Seven don't care about alignment, but XP is not 4K-alignment-aware.

Obviously, in future time, when 4K-based sector disks turn to be more popular, the performance issue will be also part of the "problems"; meaning, users will complain not only about partition boundaries mixed up, but also if the HDD performance is not the best it can be :)

I guess for now you could leave alignment tools out of UBCD, but it would be wise to somehow classify/tag partitioning/repair tools if they could work with 4K alignment.

For example, Ranish Partition Manager default is cylinder boundaries, and it could warn you if you create partitions otherwise. But, it will let you save those partitions anyway.

The DOS FDisk will force you to partitions with cylinder alignment. For best performance, you should calculate size values which lead you to 4KB (or 2048KB) simultaneously with cylinder boundaries.

As usual, if you know what you are doing, then you are ok. If not, you are not.

In Windows, PowerQuest's (Symantec) PartInfo for NT will "warn" about partitions not starting or ending at the "correct" sector or head numbers (meaning, cylinder boundary). This is an information tool, but the "wanings" are the same as in their partitioning tools.

Additionaly, a third problem could be the "distance" between the extended partition, EMBR's and logical partitions when using 2048KB alignment, but that's out of the issue of this topic.

IMHO, partitioning applying simultaneusly both, new and old "rules" / "common practices", whenever possible, would be the best compromised solution, while sticking always to the same partitioning tool (avoid mixing them).

I hope I was clear.

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