Change Increase Check Windows XP NTFS Cluster Size
If you have the same situation as me and are simply trying to increase the cluster size on a Windows XP partition (up from the default of 4k), after much searching and trial and error
here is how I successfully did it:
(First back up all data or better yet use Norton Ghost 12 and back up the total partition or drive. My C: drive is around 300Gb with about 30Gb of applications, files, operating system, documents, photos, movie clips, etc. and it backs up in about 16 minutes to a USB external drive and restores completely in about 11 minutes)
Next, you will need a utility to actually increase the cluster size, such as Paragon, PartitionMagic, Acronis, etc
Here is where I had problems…every forum post recommended PartionMagic
to do this which can be accomplished by (in PartitionMagic) going to Partition>Advanced> Change cluster size
After about 2 hours it finally finished.
What resulted was an error message of “Disk read error” every time I tried to re-boot into Windows. In fact, my system was crashed. It would not boot at all. I tried FIXMBR and FIXBOOT and some other drive utility to fix it and still nothing.
I restored my drive with Norton Ghost 12 (bootable CD) as mentioned before ( I was up and ready to roll in about 11 minutes, absolutely nothing lost…except my time) and tried PartitionMagic’s “Cluster resize” again. Same thing. Unbootable PC.
I happen to have a bootable CD of Acronis Disk Director Suite 10 from when I used it for something last summer. (Get the trial, if you want to try it HERE )
I booted with it, and lo and behold, it ALSO has a “Cluster resize” feature. I set my cluster size to be increased from 4k to 64k and it finished in about 3 minutes.
I thought something had to be wrong, since it finished so fast, but it booted into WinXP just fine and the cluster size was now 64k!
Couple of notes:
You can no longer use NTFS file compression if you raise cluster size above 4k.
At least 2 ways to check the cluster size used by a drive:
a) Run WinXP built-in Disk Defragmenter, select the drive, Analyze,
then View Report. (cluster size is 2nd item in top window)
b) Type chkdsk at a command prompt. For example, to see the cluster size of D:,
C:\Docume~1\Cetus>chkdsk d: (and hit the Enter key), where it
says “____ bytes in each allocation unit,” that is the cluster size.
You can use Acronis to decrease the cluster size as well as increase it
This may matter a lot or not much at all, but my specs are: Windows XP installed on drive C:, which is a RAID 0 array of (2) WD Raptor 150Gb Serial ATA (SATA) drives. My drive D: is a Seagate (SATA) 7200.10 320Gb drive. My mobo is a EVGA NVIDIA 680i SLI. (I have WIndows Vista Home Premium installed on the D: drive and I dual-boot, but that has nothing to do with this “Cluster size” issue, AFAIK