Vista/XP install on large cluster sizes

Discussion in 'General Windows Vista Discussion' started by sagulili, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. sagulili


    Nov 5, 2009
    Likes Received:
    The Ultimate Tweak: Windows XP or Vista installation on larger than default allocation sizes
    The choice of cluster size has an impact on real-world performance, though for most people it is not all that significant. In a nutshell, larger clusters waste more space due to slack but generally provide for slightly better performance because there will be less fragmentation and more of the file will be in consecutive blocks. This occurs because when clusters are larger, fewer of them are needed than when they are small. A 10,000 byte file would require three 4 kiB clusters but only one 16 kiB cluster. This means this file will always be in a contiguous block if stored in a 16 kiB cluster, but could be fragmented if stored in a 4 kiB cluster size partition. The slack tradeoff is a waste of 4 kiB more storage in the case of the 16 kiB clusters, but, this is hardly an issue now with the gargantuan sizes of hard drives nowadays. Small cluster sizes also have a negative effect on partition because they require larger file allocation tables, to manage their much larger numbers of clusters.

    Due to this advantage on real world performance of larger cluster size, many have tried to install windows on partitions with cluster sizes larger than 4kb but to no avail. Windows will not allow installing itself on a partition with a cluster size larger than the default allocation size of the NTFS file system... but there is a way around this. Though you cannot use anymore system restore and windows backup, and the installation disk for repairs but who uses them anyway. And who cares when your drive works like RAID.

    Five years ago, I have tried for weeks to install Windows XP on a drive formatted with 64KB cluster size with no success. I have searched the net for related articles on how to install Windows on a 64KB cluster size drives or partitions and I found nothing. Okay, let’s cut to the chase, I know you’re itching to do this. Here’s how it works:

    1. Partition your drive so that it has two volumes. The first partition you set as the physical volume must be 10 MB or larger and format it with FAT32 or NTFS file system with default allocation size. You should create this partition first because this will become your boot drive and you would want it to be on outer most part of the disk for performance reasons and label it as BootDrive or SystemDisk (any label would do).

    2. Create another partition and format it with the NTFS file system with a cluster size of 64KB or 32KB or 16KB, whatever you prefer, but for better performance larger means better as it means less fragmentation and lesser head movement. Label the partition as OSDrive, Windows or anything.

    3. Run your windows installation disk. When the installation prompts you to choose which drive or partition you may want to install Windows, choose the second partition you made and it works like magic. It's that easy.
    And, oh, besides the two partions that I have told you to create, you might want to hide first your other drives or partitions before installation, or better disconnect it, as Windows might install its system files on those disk if those drives or partitions have default allocation sizes. This tweak also works on Windows 7. Enjoy!

    For your questions or comments contact me: sagulili at gmail dot com
    sagulili, Nov 10, 2009
    1. Advertisements

  2. sagulili


    Oct 20, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Windows Vista, Windows XP install on 64KB cluster size

    Well done dude! Yeah i know its an old post but i used ur info and i liked it! ps. extra side portion for other folk, u dont have to make the partion's active or anything. Just partion and format and then install windows to the second(main) partion and ur done!! (remember that the 1st partion must be formatted to default size) Another extra is that according to HD tune tests, 64KB formatted hard drives actually use less cpu power than say 4KB(4096bytes) formatted drives. Perfect for old cpu's or atom cpu's. Something like 6% vs 28%.
    Also, HD tune tests are by default tested using 64KB blocks. Its only when ur hard drive is formatted to about 64KB that the best performance comes into play. Anything bigger is a waste and not much benefit, anything smaller and there are performance penalties. Enjoy! Again, thanks for the tip!
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
    cannonss1, Oct 20, 2011
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.