Western Digital Advanced Format vs. Linux Woes

Published 2 min read
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Hi folks,

I've been using WD's Advanced Format disks recently, and have to say that I'm particularly unimpressed with WD for how they've dealt with Linux support, but never fear - I'm here to help!

The problem was, when I used fdisk to create the partitions, it moaned like a blocked drain about the fact that the logical and physical sectors were misaligned, and told me that this would seriously negatively affect the access speeds. After a little reading up on it, the actual process for creating the disk is a lot simpler than many people were willing to admit. Anyway, here's a mini-howto:

Step 1 - Start fdisk

You start fdisk by using the following command:

fdisk -c=nondos -u=sectors /dev/sd[x]

Just replace the [x] with the letter of the drive you want to edit. In my case, this was /dev/sdb

Step 2 - Create a partition

Press "n" -> [Enter] to create a new partition.
Press "1" -> [Enter] to make it partition #1.
Type "2048" to make it start on a sector which matches up with the WD Advanced Format sector boundary.
To enter a size, use the "+size{M,G}" format. This will ensure that your partitions have boundaries which work with the WD Advanced Format drive sector sizes.

This logic extends for all partitions you create. Make sure the starting sector for the partition is divisible by 2048. Why WD have chosen to make it extra-complicated to use their HDDs in Linux is anybody's guess, but thankfully there are enough talented Linux gurus out there to put paid to their dastardly schemes!

As always, if anybody has any questions, leave them in the comments. I'll do my best to answer every single one!


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