Friday, 28 January 2011

Partition alignment

You can only align a partition (on a hardware block boundary) if a cluster size is an integral multiple of your hardware block size. This means you cannot align a HFS partition, because it would happily use 19 or 27 sectors per cluster. Most other filesystems would use a cluster size that is a power of two, matching the hardware block size.

Another thing is that if the boot sector and the data area use different alignments, it is the data area that you align. On FAT, there may be 1025 or whatever odd number of sectors between the boot sector and the first cluster of actual data. If you align the FAT partition's boot sector, the data would then be offset by one sector.

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