AGAIN Do not use Advanced Format disks in WHS v1

After our warning the other day about using advanced format hard drives in version 1 of Windows Home Server, Microsoft have also published a Knowledge Base article explaining the problem.

The article (KB2385637) explains that if you are using one of these drives in Windows Home Server v1 for either Server Backup, the Storage Pool or System Disk then you will experience performance degradation even if using the manufacturers provided alignment tool.

Microsoft’s Recommendation is:

Do not use Advanced Format disks in your Windows Home Server v1.

Although these disks will work in Vail, version1 users should take note of Microsoft’s guidance:

It is important to note that some hard disk manufacturers are releasing Advanced Format drives in the same base models as traditional 512 byte sector drives. Because of this, it is critical that you make sure that the drive you are purchasing is not an Advanced Format drive if you are running Windows Home Server v1. Before you purchase a disk drive, review the product specifications or visit the manufacturers Web site to ensure that the drive is compatible with Windows Home Server. Be aware that Advanced Format drives are not always clearly identified on the retail packaging.

KB2385637 is available to view here.

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Comments (12)

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  1. bigred says:

    I’m using a new WD 2TB drive…all I did was add the jumper. Seams to be working fine.

  2. sub_serverant says:

    The Microsoft web site warning KB2385637 does not mention anything about the jumper use. The KB2385637 only pertains to using the larger sectors/jumper free. I sent a feedback to them regarding the jumpers, LOL. I bought two of these 2 gigers for 99 bucks, I plan to jumper them, and test the HD performance. If the performance is bad, then I will rebuild my win 7 HTPC into a 4 gig unit to hold media, and keep the drives for the final vail.

  3. Mike says:

    I have had 2 of these drives running in an external unit on my WHS system without issue for the last 5 months. I jumpered them (as per the instructions) and all seems fine. I have not noticed any speed difference compared to my other “normal” drives in the same enclosure.

    I am interested to see if ther is a performance hit if you jumper the drive vs the software fix.

    Site looks real nice BTW.

  4. Maxime says:

    I originally bought two WD15EARS disks for my Home Server, and did notice the bad performance. Especially during longer transfers of > 1GB. I believed this was the replication kicking in as soon as I passed a certain amount of data.

    Then, about 2 months ago, I read a post here that mentioned the problems with those advance format disks. I’ve set the jumpers on those disks after migrating the data temporarily onto a borrowed external HD, and I’ve never had problems since. I even bought me an additional disk of the same type.

  5. Mike says:

    I just ordered a 2TB drive from Amazon and they sent me an Advanced Format drive (even though the product description was for a regular drive). I found a regular one on newegg – but sadly it cost more than the Advanced Format one.

    Personally I would rather stick with what it supported and (fingers crossed) save myself from any potential issues or headaches down the road.

  6. TheBeagle says:

    I have several WHS units that use both versions of the latest Western Digital HDDs. On my HP ex485, with WHS V1, it will only work with the 512 bit sector version (WD20EADS); however, my WHS V2 (Vail) unit works very well with the Advanced Format Version (WD20EARS) since the code in WHS V2 is essentially Server 2008 R2, which has native support for the Advanced Format drives. I also have another unit which now has Aurora loaded on it, and uses the WD20EARS drives without any problems. I tried using the WD20EARS drives (with the jumper installed to force the drive into 512 bit sectors) in the WHS V1 unit, but it didn’t seem to like that setup for some reason, so I didn’t pursue it further. Best regards to everyone. TheBeagle

  7. Can only repeat what already is said. Have a Western Digital EARS 1TB disk. Added the jumper as per instructions on the drive before inserting the HD and adding to the pool. Have had no problems with the drive what so ever. The drive is about 55% full and I have not noticed and speed problems.

  8. Johnny Appleseed says:

    I too bought a couple EARS drives and using the jumper noticed no degradation of performance when copying files. However, when streaming video to my PS3 or Dune Player, the video tends to hang in random places. I don’t know for sure if the EARS drives are to blame, but I didn’t have that problem when I only had non-EARS drives in my system. I’m planning on removing the EARS drives to see if that makes a difference.

  9. The Kitty says:

    I have a 2 gig EARS in HP EX485 with jumper in place and it seems to work fine.

  10. Jr says:

    I have two EX495’s, both running the Western Digital EARS 1.5TB disks, that have been in use for 1 year and 6mo respectively. Hadn’t noticed any performance issues, however, the server that has been running for 6 months started to show more and more file corruption to the point that it became unstable and now is in such a bad state that it has to be completely rebuilt from scratch. Overall there doesnt seem to be much data lost, a dozen or so small files out of about 3 terabytes of data. Not sure if its the advanced format drives, but it has me a little nervous to keep using them, jumpered, aligned or not.

  11. HOSS says:

    Me and a friend of mine had build 2 NAS based on WHS v1 with 2 WD10EARS (1TB) _without_ any jumper on them.

    Maybe this raccomandation is only valid for already installed WHS ? We created our NAS from scratch and normal SATA-IDE emulation.

    At the moment we don’t experience any issue.

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