Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


3TB disk with MBR Partition - is this possible?

  1. #1


    Posts : 959
    Windows 8.1, 10

    3TB disk with MBR Partition - is this possible?


    I read something on another thread about the 2TB size limit with MBR disks... which made me think about the 3TB external USB Backup disk I bought last week.

    I'm using 32-bit Windows 8 (on an old laptop, so no possibility it is anything other than BIOS) and Windows 8 is reporting that the disk has more than 2TB free. But it's also reporting that the disk is MBR, and isn't giving any other errors.

    I thought MBR and 3TB were incompatible?

    Have I missed something? Or am I due to get a shock when I fill the disk with more than 2TB of data?

    Couple of screenshots below.

    It's drive E: I'm interested in.

    Click image for larger version

    Click image for larger version

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Arnhem, The Netherlands
    Posts : 1,412
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Media Center Edition


    Hi David,

    It's perfectly possible to have a MBR drive partition with more then 2TB. The 2TB MBR limitations you reffer to do only apply to when the disk is being used as a BOOT disk. In your situation that's obvisously not the case. So there's nothing to worry about.

    Greetz,

    Rover
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 959
    Windows 8.1, 10


    Thanks for that reply.

    So can someone confirm my understanding is correct?

    The 2TB is really a limit on the number of sectors you can have on a disk, and my external disk probably gets round that by having larger sector sizes. Windows 8 has been written with this in mind, so once Windows 8 is booted and going, it can read from the disk.

    But the BIOS doesn't know about larger sector sizes, so when booting up from the MBR, it needs to have the smaller size sectors to work. Therefore to use a 3TB disk as a boot device, you either must partition it into multiple partitions that are less than 2TB, or format as GPT (which can only be booted by EFI hardware).

    Is that about right?

    Thanks!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Arnhem, The Netherlands
    Posts : 1,412
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Media Center Edition


    That sounds like right to me yeah.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

3TB disk with MBR Partition - is this possible?

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