Some of you may remember that back in March I blogged about a rather poorly researched/written news article on the BBC's website. The article was about a change to the way computer hard drives are manufactured, moving from 512 byte to 4K sectors. At the time I claimed that it was a complete non-story that seemed to be aimed at scaring users of Windows XP to upgrade to Vista or Windows 7. Well I now know just how much of a non-story it really was.
Having recently run out of disk space (again) I decided to add another drive to my computer. Given the difference in price between the different drives I was looking at I eventually opted to buy a Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5 Terabyte drive. The drive is clearly labeled as using the advanced format and explains how to configure the drive depending on how you will be using it. Having installed and formatted the drive I visited Western Digital's Advanced Format webpage and downloaded their recommended tool for aligning the 512 byte and 4K sectors to provide optimal performance. I loaded up the tool (a simple to use graphical affair), selected the disk to align and 10 seconds later the job was done. Ten seconds, that was all it took to align the sectors. That just shows how much of a non-story the original news article was. For anyone who can read the label on the drive there is no problem at all.
What really scares me is the amount of disk space I now have. I have three drives in my computer totaling over 2TB. Given that the first computer I used with a hard drive (I so don't miss loading programs from tape) was my Dad's laptop that would hold about 80MB of data 2TB seems insane. How times change.