When referring to partition alignment, we always mean 4k alignment for SSD. How much do you know about 4k alignment?
With the development of digital age, the capacity of hard disk is also expanding, which makes the definition of 512 bytes for each sector no longer reasonable to manage a mass storage disk. Based on this situation, people change 512 bytes to 4096 bytes for each sector, which is now known as “4k sector”. 4k alignment is coincidence with advanced format, and follows the rules of “4k sector” to write data.
NTFS, of which the cluster size is also 4096 bytes, is another element that pushes 4k alignment popular. Today NTFS is becoming the tendency of hard disk file system. In order to make cluster size corresponding to sector size, or in other words, make physical partitions corresponding to logical partitions, the concept of “4k sector alignment” appears.
Why is it necessary to align SSD partition? To show you the benefits of partition alignment, let’s talk about the consequence of partition unaligned primarily.
Then what is 4k unaligned?
The previous standard for traditional hard disk is 512B for each sector. After the new standard (4k sector) is released, hard disk vendors simulate sectors into 512B to guarantee the compatibility with operation systems. In particular cases, file system defines 4096 bytes as a cluster. However, as the boot sector takes up a whole track(63 sectors), the file system begins right after the 63th sector. By calculating, we know the size of that 63 sectors is 32256B (512Bx63=32256B); and they are divided into 7.875(32256B÷4096B=7.875) clusters. In this way, 4k sectors and 4k clusters are not aligned. In other words, when you write data in such a partition, the data will span two physical sectors even though it is minimum (as shown in the picture). This will directly lead to low running speed. Thus, there is a necessity to align partitions to 4k sectors.
Align Partition is specially designed to accelerate the reading and writing speed for your hard disk, especially for Solid State Drive (SSD). (If a SSD is not partition aligned, both its running speed and service life will be reduced.) As long as you align partition to n*(512B*8), i.e. n*4096B, your partition is 4k aligned. Thus, it greatly improves the operating speed of your disks and furthermore increases the efficiency of your computer. Therefore, it is of great importance to align partitions.
Now you may ask: how do I know whether my partition is aligned or not? Here is the answer.
In Windows XP/VISTA/win7: Start > Search “msinfo32” > Enter
Windows 8/8.1: Press “Win + R” > msinfo32 > Enter
A new window will pop-up. In this panel follow the path: Components > Storage > Disks > Partition Starting Offset. Then you can see the specific size of your partitions.
Note: slide the mouse to check your partition size one by one.
Now use this formula: your partition size(byte)/4096. If there is no decimal in your answer, your partition is already 4K aligned. If not, go ahead.
SSD as well as HDD adopting with advanced format nowadays all need to align partitions. If you leave a SSD unaligned, the performance of that disk will be affected greatly. Here are two ways for you to align partitions, i.e. lossy alignment and lossless alignment.
Lossy alignment means to backup your data, resize your disk partitions, and execute advanced format under Windows 7 and then reinstall operating system. Obviously this is not a good idea. So let’s come to the second way – lossless alignment. You just need to download a professional partition management tool to help you. Here MiniTool Partition Wizard Free is strongly recommended.
Launch this program, and you will see all your disks and partitions are listed there. Select the partition that needs to be aligned and right click on it. Then choose “Align” to go on. Last but not least, don’t forget to press “Apply”. For more details, please visit “Align partition“.
Launch this program, and you will see all your disks and partitions are listed there. Right click the target SSD and choose “Align All Partitions”. Finally, press “Apply” to execute all operations. For more details, please refer to “Align all partitions“.
You see, it’s pretty easy to align partitions for SSD. You just need to follow the prompts and execute a few clicks, and then the partitions are aligned. Now grasp this partition software to enhance your computer’s performance.
Download MiniTool Partition Wizard Free