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Windows XP has a maximum partition size of 2 TB, which is a real pain for me since I have a 16-drive NAS. At the moment I just access it in 2 TB chunks, but as I add drives this will get to be even more of a pain than it is at the moment.

So I'll need to upgrade the operating system that creates the data which goes to the NAS to something that supports large partitions. With an eye to the future, ideally I'd be prepared for up to 4 TB * (16 - 2) = 56 TB with RAID 6, though for the short term even 6 TB would be an improvement. (Maybe 16 - 3 would be better, leaving room for a hot spare?)

I've heard that Windows Server 2003 SP1 has a large limit, but I'd like to avoid it here if possible.

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2 Answers 2

Windows Server 2003 SP1 and above support 256 TB if you're using a GPT drive rather than an MBR drive.

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/gpt_faq.mspx

The 256 TB limit is imposed by NTFS.

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Any idea about Vista or 7? –  Charles Dec 17 '10 at 5:13
    
I believe Vista and 7 support more than 2 TB - I noticed an update for my Win 7 machine which stated it was a fix for those getting blue screens using disks 2TB or more; so I'm assuming you are able to do so... not sure what the max is though. –  emtunc Dec 17 '10 at 7:50
    
Well, thanks; +1 for that. –  Charles Dec 17 '10 at 23:03
    
By "Server 2003 SP1 and above", I was including Vista and 7. –  Mikel Dec 20 '10 at 5:10

I'm not exactly sure what that is referring to, but I can tell you that the maximum partition size is in Windows 7 is 16 exabytes (I don't even think Cray's have that much storage), but the industry has placed a 2 TB limit on partitions. The largest hard drives are currently 2 TB hard disks, so unless you're doing RAID, you won't exceed any partition size limits in Windows 7. I've also never, ever heard of a hard drive having its own limits, and BIOS limits, if present, will not apply to Windows. Therefore, unless your running a huge RAID array, you need not worry about partition size limits.

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I am doing large-scale RAID -- the total drive size is 6 TB at the moment but we're looking to expand. –  Charles Dec 27 '10 at 2:46
    
;) I would not call that large scale ;) Just thinking of getting a 72 disc case here for a data archive... and slave another one to that. –  TomTom Sep 29 '11 at 5:35

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