Windows XP HDD support

Hi All,

Looking into building a dedicated Windows XP machine after the headache Ive had trying to play SW:KOTOR on a W10 laptop I had laying around.

So I have some idea of the parts I would like to put into the PC however Ive hit a snag. The HDD. Now from what I have read XP is only able to support natively (after the Service Packs) around 2TB.

Now what I want to know is this. Can I format a drive that has a higher capacity then 2TBs to a have a single partition at max supported then have another partition or is there any XP hacks that can force XP to support larger drives?

Have you considered running a virtual machine with passthrough if you have a dual GPU rig?

Windows XP is a very seriously security flaw

And no there isnt. Windows XP doesnt support the GPT style drive format… even with PAE (Physical Address Extensions)

The curse that is HEDT and a single GPU.

It wont be connected to the network so there is no security risks.

Hmm… So it looks like I may need to use multiple HDDs in the future. That or look into how XP games play using Wine or Lutris. I cant see any reason for an issue to arise.

Famous last words

1 Like

A friend of mine has an old xp machine with a newer hard drive. He had to partition his 1TB drive into several drives. It works for his. And his machine isn’t on the internet. So that’s better.

XP supports 2TB maximum so there shouldn’t be any issue with your friends drive. What I’m trying to figure out is will it support say 3TB HDD if I partition it with 2TB and 1TB partitions.

I don’t see why not. It should just see the individual partitions as separate drives. He couldn’t format an entire 2tb drive with XP. But once we used Window’s setup to partition the drive, it worked like a charm. But as you’ve pointed out, your mileage may vary. But I don’t see how that should be any different.

I guess Ill just have to see how it goes when it comes down to the build. On the plus side once the build is completed there should be no more compatibility issues
with older games.

1 Like

yes, you can.

though I question your sanity for needing more than 2tb on xp


Laughs manically :crazy_face:
Too many games not enough time

Be aware that unless your partition table type is EFI and not MBR adding partitions past 2 TB won’t be possible (the space will not be able to have partitions added to it). So check that early.

Default for XP is probably MBR unless you change it during disk initialisation.

In my opinion if you really want to run XP for older software it’ll make more sense to use two 2TB drives and drop in a USB 3.0 card to use a larger external HDD.

A common issue you’ll have with Windows XP is Advanced Format drives can be problematic if you don’t use WD Align(WD Blue or Black drives)–you can avoid this issue by using a Seagate Barracuda since their firmware will switch into 512e Emulation like certain models of their Enterprise drives(Cheetah & Exos). Toshiba still sells a series of drives with 512e mode.

Using drives larger than 2TB isn’t possible unless you use another SATA controller chipset which includes a driver to handle 3TB storage on XP, some card makers use a driver shim to partition 3+ TB HDDs below 2TB and puts those partitions into a virtual RAID 0 as a workaround. Seagate Backup Plus external drives have a USB to SATA chipset which loads a custom Seagate driver to bring 3+ TB storage support to WinXP but the downside is the drive will re-adjust the partition alignment(1.5 TB blocks depending upon how large the external HDD is) and you can’t shuck the drive from the enclosure unless you erase the drive before reuse.