All hard drive manufacturers have announced the first wave of 3TB (that's 3 Terabytes) hard drives in the first half of 2010, and first 3TB hard drives like the Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRSDTL 3TB are now available.
These high capacity hard drives will work fine for users running Windows Vista, Windows 7 or a Windows Server 2008 operating system. Windows XP users will however notice that they cannot use all of the space of the hard drive. Why? Because the operating system cannot address disk space beyond the 2 Terabyte limit. That's roughly one third of space that cannot be used.
An alternative is an advanced partitioning scheme like GUID Partition Table (GPT) which can support 3TB volumes. The problem however is that GPT is not supported by Windows XP.
Paragon however came up with a solution. They basically create a specially signed driver to make Windows XP compatible with the GPT partitioning scheme. With this in place, Windows XP users can utilize the full storage of 3TB hard drives.
There are a few limitations though, but the solution nevertheless is the only available one to use all 3 Terabytes of hard drive space on Windows XP. The major limitation of this method is that the 3TB hard drive cannot be the system partition. The full 3 Terabytes are only available if the hard drive is installed as a secondary drive. Other limitations include incompatibility with RAID setups and external 3TB hard drives.
After installation and reboot of the system the GPT partitioning scheme needs to be created on the 3 Terabyte drive. This is done by clicking on Hard Disk in the menubar and selecting Convert to GPT hard disk from the context menu.
Full access to all 3 Terabytes is provided afterwards. It is then possible to use Windows tools to manage the hard drive, or the Paragon GPT Disk Manager. The disk manager offers options to partition the hard drive among other features.
Paragon GTP Loader is currently available free of charge as part of Paragon's Early Adopter program. The program has been developed for Windows XP, and users of other Microsoft operating systems have no benefit of running the software (as their systems support 3TB drives). The Paragon GTP Loader download link will be sent to the email address used in the registration for the early adopters program. The same email contains a link to the product guide in pdf format.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.