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Microsoft talks about handling large hard disks in Windows 8

In a new Building Windows 8 blogpost, Microsoft continues to talk about the development of Windows 8, this time focusing on how Windows 8 will handle large hard disks.

The blog entry, written by Bryan Matthew discusses how Microsoft has “evolved in conjunction with offerings from industry partners to enable you to more efficiently and fully utilize these very large capacity drives.”

First of all, Microsoft begin to talk about “large capacity drives, which have the storage space of 2.2TB or higher, the post also quotes IDC research which said that the storage capacity for a single hard drive could increase to 8TB by 2015.

The two main goals with Windows 8 is to allow large hard disks to use its entire available capacity, as well as giving drive makers a way to have more efficiency managed physical disks, which is the sector sizes of 4KB.

Windows 8 will be able to access all of the disk drive’s capacity, Microsoft have done this by programming the OS to use the Logical Block Addressing method. “Each sector has a predefined size (until recently, 512 bytes per sector), and sectors are addressed in monotonically increasing order, beginning with sector 0 and going on to sector n where: n = (total capacity in bytes)/ (sector size in bytes),” stated Matthew.

Windows 8 can also use all the hdd space by using a scalable partitioning scheme called GUID Partition Table, which was created by companies in the 1990’s.

Matthew says that the “GPT allows for up to 64-bits of information to store the number that represents the maximum size of a disk, which in turn allows for up to a theoretical maximum of 9.4 ZettaByte (1 ZB = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes).”

Matthew continues, talking about UEFI compatibility within Windows 8: “Our partners are working hard to deliver Windows 8 based systems that use UEFI to help enable these innovative Windows 8 features and scenarios (e.g. Secure Boot, Encrypted Drive, and Fast Start-up). You can expect that when Windows 8 is released, new systems will support installing Windows 8 to, and booting from, a 3TB or bigger disk.”

Matthew then begins to talk about sector sizes within Windows 8: “All hard disk drives include some form of built-in error correction information and logic – this enables hard disk drive vendors to automatically deal with the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) when reading from the disk platters. As disk capacity increases, bits on the disk get packed closer and closer together; and as they do, the SNR of reading from the disk decreases.”

Microsoft has been hard at work on Windows 8, with a beta expected soon, Microsoft is planning to release the final version of the OS sometime mid/late 2012.

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