I'd like to find out if there is any way to accomplish this, since it would benifit my storage server greatly. I am using a Promise FastTrak 8660 and five Seagate ST31000340NS 1TB drives in a RAID 5 array.

I figure that if the x86 ENTERPRISE edition of Server 2003 can handle 64GB of RAM, it should have no problem supporting larger HDD volumes as well. I've read (somewhere...) that the Windows Server operating systems are not limited to the standard 2TB like Windows XP and 2000 are. I'm hoping it's something that just needs to be turned on, similar to the way PAE works for the 4GB RAM limit in x86 servers.


2TB is still the limit for the OS partition, even in Windows 2008 R2 because that's the limit for MBR partitions. You can certainly have partitions larger than 2TB via GPT but you can't boot from them. There's no relationship between PAE/memory and disk storage.

Personally, I can't imagine wanting to do this in a storage server anyway. If the OS is on a separate partition from the data you have a ton more flexibility down the road when you need to upgrade the OS. I understand that if there are limited disk slots in the box, you might prefer to forego dedicating a slot or two for the OS drives but unfortunately, we'll be stuck with 2TB for a bit. Everything above refers to Windows, of course.

  • 1
    You're right...but...the 2TB boot limit is a factor of BIOS booting machines; IA-32/64/Itanium machines book using EFI and can boot to >2TB GPT partitions and have been able to since Server 2003. This poster was asking about x86 so you're right but thought you might be interested anyay. – Chopper3 May 6 '10 at 8:31
  • I would also prefer the option of having a separate physical volume for the OS and data storage. If you have a complete failure of the OS you could retrieve the physical disks used for the storage and rehost them in another machine. – Dan May 6 '10 at 10:54

Seriously you are on the wrong way. I would not never ever go to a large boot partition, especially not for a storage server.

  • Create a 64gb partition for the operating system. Only.
  • Use the rest for the other element.

Gives you a lot of advantages, especialyl later for upgrades etc.

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