4k Cluster hard drive Manager

Update: using the phrase '4k sector hard drive manager' is not actually right, to be more specif, '4k cluster hard drive manager' will be better, since 'sector' is hardware-level, it's not changable, it is static after being created/made; 'cluster' is chanagable, it's kinda software-level.

512b sector hard drive has a long history; it was the format standard in last century, but with the growth of pc industry and hard disk production, data capacity requires more in sector level, especially when large file data need to be stored. Decades ago, 512b sector works well in small file data storage, which is now still the best. But not that best when dealing with large data, on the country, a lot of space wasted based on the noncontinuous storage theory. Thus, 4096b sector comes into being, also known as 4k sector, which is 8 times of the very old ones. It's not simply enlarges the capacity but make full use of each sector. you can find detailed explanation from Microsoft

Advanced Format, also known as 4k advanced Format, which rules current sector size of 512 bytes migrate to 4096 bytes (4k), this change improves format efficiency and makes HDD contribute bigger capacity, meanwhile, it improved error correction function. Hard disk with 1T or 3T capacity must use 4k advanced format standard in single disc

How to check if my hard drive is 512b or 4k?

You can click on the partition and use the function View Properties, in the Cluster size row, it shows “4k”, on the screenshot, yours may be different

Check a partition is 512b cluster or 4k

Create new 4k cluster partition

In Partition Expert we can click on an unallocated space and do the followings to create a 4k cluster partition:

  1. Choose the Create Volume function
  2. Choose 4k from the Cluster size section (it’s also the default setting)
  3. Click OK and Commit to use the recommended settings (auto generate Drive letter, format to NTFS file system, create a logical/primary volume, use all unallocated space, auto optimize for SSD partition)
Create a 4k cluster partition

Format to 4k cluster partition

I’m currently using the 512b partition, how can I format it to 4k

In Partition Expert, we can format it like this:

  1. Right-click on the target partition
  2. Choose the Format Volume option
  3. Choose 4k from the drop-down menu
  4. Click OK and Commit to start

Note: Format will delete everything on the disk, please make sure you have a backup of important data, Partition Expert will also pop-up a warning message before proceed

Format a partition to 4k cluster

Is 4k the best option?

Currently and for in most of the cases, Yes

Windows 10 is using 4k cluster as the default setting when you format and create a volume, but there are other options available, many options are larger than 4k, the best option is the one suits your need.

On the Server side, for example, large data analyzing company would choose larger cluster to store data, which brings higher efficiency and better performance for both Server side and Client side.

In Windows 10 and Server 2012 and above, we have more options on cluster size

Windows 10 gives us more unit size options

There are many hardware providers have released their 4k hard drives in recent years, but few apps know how to run 4k hard drives, much software in this field are not appear synchronously. Macrorit Partition Expert, is the manager of 4k hard drive

how to merge unallocated space to Drive C partition

Macrorit Partition Expert has SSD 4k alignment options when create new volume; actually, 4k alignment is one of our alignments among 512b, 1k, 2k, 4k, 8k, 16k, 32k, 64k alignment. Run our manager, right click on the target partition to see Sector Size