Video Screencast Help

External 3TB USB drives don't work

Created: 05 Nov 2013 • Updated: 11 Nov 2013 | 5 comments

I thought I asked this and got a answer but it is not in my activity so going to ask it here.

I had an issue a while back where I got a customer to update their 650 gig external USB drives to 3+TB ones.

I guess anything over 2TB has a different storage technology that server 2008 or older does not know how to use right?

I am trying to remember what it is so I can ask the external hard drive vendor to make sure I get one that will work this time as we are at the point where I need them to get bigger ones soon.

So I don't want to have them waste their money again.

I have asked them to hook up the 3TB ones and see if I reformat them if that would make it so they would work??   Have not heard back that they still have them handy.

So if someone could let me know the difference in the drives once you get over 2tb that would be cool.

I joined western digitals forum a couple days ago and asked but no one has got back to me yet.



Operating Systems:

Comments 5 CommentsJump to latest comment

pkh's picture

Disks over 2TB are normally uses GPT partitions while disks under 2TB normally uses MBR.  Most OS'es can handle GPT partitions.  The catch is when the disks are formatted for 4Kb sector sizes.  Only OS like Server 2012 officially supports 4Kb sector sizes.  To use big disks with older OS'es, you got to format the disks in 512Kb emulation mode.

mli7777's picture

That is what I remember.  :)

Thanks for that info.

So say if they ever get back to me and they still have the 3tb drives that did not work as they must have had the 4kb sector sizes. 

If I can get them to find them and hook them up to a SBS 2k8 server can I just run a format on them and it will change the sector sizes while it formats it or do I have to do it from a command prompt or something with a specific switch command??



pkh's picture

A format will do, but just to be sure specify the sector size

mli7777's picture

Well ran a full backup yesterday of the main server that had issues at the start and it finished successfully.

I used the disk companies utility that you can download from their site to reformat and change the sector size. 

I am using 3tb Western Digital drives so the link for the utility I used is

It has directions and the download link there.

You can run the fsutil command on the drive before and after to see it changed the bytes per sector.

See attached.

Thanks for the help.


mli7777's picture

Sorry I may have said winner to early.

I am not looking at this again.

The full backup I forced worked great.   The next one that ran said finished but was almost twice as big.

Then an incremental kicked off over the weekend and was at twice the doubled full backup when I cancelled it.  It is like it does not know how to mark files as being backup up or something I am not sure.

So looking into this some more and maybe going to get the customer to just buy some 1.5tb drives and hope that they work.