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Paragon’s GPT Loader available for Windows Home Server v1 – Early Adopter Program

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Paragon Software Group has just publically opened up their Early Adopter Program that will allow Windows Home Servers v1 to recognize new high-capacity storage drives. This unique software solution uses special drivers and an initialization utility that adds support for GPT hard drives. Read on to find out more about Paragon and my upcoming Friday night plans.

Paragon Software Group

Background

Originally, I jumped on the chance to use my new 3TB drive in my EX485 WHS v1, but could not get it to work with standard methods. I did not have a solution for Windows Home Server v1 and decided to use the 3TB drive as a UEFI boot drive.

In early December, Andrew Edney had connected me with Kathryn Lamb of the Paragon Software Group, and Kathryn told me that the GPT Loader Early Adopter program was starting and could be useful for our WHS systems. This new software from Paragon seemed to be a great way to access the new drive sizes but still keep the security of WHS v1.

Still being a little weary of making changes to my trusty WHS v1, I told Andrew I would sit on it for two weeks until I could talk to their techs in person at CES 2011.

So, this past Thursday night at CES we finally had the chance to meet the Paragon reps in person and they assured me that GPT Loader would work on WHS v1. Tommy Phan, one of their Technical Support Engineers based out of Irvine, said GPT Loader was ready and working for WHS! Excellent news Tommy. He did say that GPT Loader is only for internal storage drives and not for the system drive or external devices.

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“Paragon” Windows Home Server?

So, I spent most of last night building a new “Paragon” Windows Home Server v1 specifically for this test. It has a 1TB system drive and I will add a 3TB for the testing. I will add other drives on future paychecks.

Mental Note: Do we really only have SP1 installation disks? Should we not be able to download the SP3 installation? Do I have to do each SP separately every time? Seriously.

Anyway, this Friday night I will install the GPT Loader and document everything so we can verify that the software works! Sweet.

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BYOB and Home Server Show

When I took our group over to the Paragon booth at CES 2011 ShowStoppers you could tell that the Michaels, Dave McCabe and Jim Collison were also super excited about the new software. I am sure you will be hearing much more about the GPT Loader from both BYOB and the HSS.

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So what is GPT Loader already?

GPT Loader allows you to access the full amount of space on the new high-capacity drives.

Paragon GPT Loader includes a special system driver and a utility for initializing ultra high capacity drives. The driver adds support for GPT (GUID Partition Table) disks, while the utility initializes modern 2.2TB+ drives ready for use.

Note! The current version of Paragon GPT Loader cannot help you to accommodate Windows OS on a 2.2TB+ drive. Its main purpose is to provide access to 2.2TB+ drives connected internally as a secondary device under any Windows OS since XP. Only internally connected single 2.2TB+ drives are supported, not external storages, or those combined into RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks).

Check out more of the details at:

http://www.paragon-software.com/support/early-adopter/index.html

Paragon Software Group

Paragon GPT Loader grants instant access to internal 3TB+ hard disk drives under any Windows OS since XP

December 13, 2010

FREIBURG, Germany, December 13, 2010Paragon Software Group (PSG), the technology leader in innovative data security and data management solutions, has expanded support of its Paragon GPT Loader to include any Windows OS since XP, granting full access to modern 3TB+ hard disk drives (HDDs). Paragon GPT Loader now overrides crippled HDD controller drivers in Windows Vista and later OSes to access internal HDDs more than 2TB in capacity despite limitations of system software.

With the growing ability to produce HDDs with higher capacities year over year, a wider spectrum of end users are finding the new 3TB+ drives ideal for use as external storage devices alongside desktops and laptops, or inserted inside workstations and home computers as internal storage.  Demand increases as large files — such as HD-video, archived images and music in lossless compression format — become stored and accessed more frequently in the home and workplace.

Newer Windows operating systems, including Windows 7, appear to support modern high-capacity drives at first glance, but other system software — including Intel Storage Matrix Drivers for HDD controllers, which occur in most systems equipped with Intel chipset-based motherboards — limit that support, causing the majority of the disk to remain unavailable. With only 750GB of the usable disk space accessible, users who purchase 3TB drives are paying a premium for storage space that cannot be used due to the limitations of controller drivers native to the operating system.

Paragon GPT Loader, a specially designed driver that adds the functionality to support the GPT partitioning scheme under Windows XP, now grants full, native access to 3TB+ drives connected internally for any Windows OS since XP, including Windows 7.

For more information about Paragon GPT Loader, please visit: http://www.paragon-software.com/technologies/components/gpt-loader/.

Availability & System Requirements:

Paragon GPT Loader supports internally connected single 3TB+ drives under Windows XP, excluding drives used as external storage or those combined into RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks).  Paragon GPT Loader replaces outdated HDD controller drivers to use 3TB+ disks under any Windows OS since Vista, including Windows 7.  Available for immediate download, free of charge as part of the Early Adopter Program , interested parties are invited to run pre-production software to help validate features of the new technology. Paragon GPT Loader can be downloaded at http://www.paragon-software.com/support/early-adopter/index.html.

Paragon Software Group

Check back with us on Friday night when I load the software and install a 3TB into WHS v1.

Paragon WHS

Timothy Daleo

Timothy Daleo
Timothy Daleohttp://usingwindowshomeserver.com
Timothy Daleo is a Project Resource Analyst and Oracle Applications Trainer in Pasadena, California. In addition to financial analysis, Tim has been developing training materials since 2003 and supporting direct projects through various auxiliary databases since 2005.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Tim–

    Will we be able to load this onto an HP MSS, or is that motherboard too custom for this to work? Very interesting article and thanks in advance for your testing and time!

    Jim

    • I was told it would work on all WHS v1 but I built the test server so I could try it before I load it on my EX485. I am always extra careful with my HP. Seriously.

  2. This looks great –but as someone who would like a 3TB external drive via eSATA with my HP Mediasmart EX490 as a backup drive, it sounds like I'm out of luck here. Can that be confirmed?

      • I already have an enclosure, actually, which has better cooling than the MyBook.

        http://www.testfreaks.com/blog/review/thermaltake

        I currently have a 2TB Hitachi drive in it, but in the long run, a 3TB SATA drive would be my logical upgrade, using my existing enclosure. I just want to make sure the 3TB drive will work properly with WHS as a backup drive.

        If not, I'll wait until someone makes an enclosure that is. Much as I like WD drives, I don't wish to be tied to a specific enclosure, nor a drive that has a limited warranty compared to regular OEM 3.5" models.

  3. The current connection of the 3TB My Book from WD is USB 3.0. You do not need any special software to connect the WD 3TB Book to your HP. There is an internal board in the My Book enclosure that makes the 3TB external drive work with any system.

    Until (or unless) they make a eSATA connection you are out of luck.

  4. Hi Tim,

    I have been sitting here perplexed for the last 3 hours trying to figure out how I was going to get WHS to recognize my 2 new hitachi 3tb drives just received. Unfortunatly, I did not know that they wouldn’t work right out of the box, but it now looks like ignorance may be bliss. Hitachi has a slip of paper in the box which has Paragon’s URL for a free download of the GPT Loader. All I really want to do is install the drives in a drive enclosure and use them via e-sata port on my mediasmart EX495 to back up some shares(video by far the largest) and maybe then the computer back-ups. I was just getting ready to print the return shipping label was fully prepared to cry as the UPS guys took them back to Tiger Direct. It looks now like I may call off the dogs. I will be testing with the software provided by Hitachi and let you know works out. I am not add mine back into the storage pool, but as a Windows Home Media back-up disk. Please let us know all intricate details as you proceed.

    THanks,
    Mike

  5. The GPT Loader application from Paragon is still in WHS testing unfortunately and is not ready for the general public for use with WHS. The handout you received from Hitachi probably mentions XP and not any WHS operating systems. It is possible that the 3TB disks with GPT Loader may work as a backup (I have seen some success that way) but I would be cautious until Paragon confirms the usage in WHS.

  6. Could not get the GPT software to recognize the “Large Capacity Hitachi Hard Drive” during installation and was told by Hitachi that the drive is “not compatible” with 3rd party enclosures and that I would need to buy thier external 3TB hard drive. As it turns out, GPT is supported by the WHS disk management utility and I was able to partition the entire 2.7TB as NTFS. Unfortunatly I overlooked the quick format option and I am 2 hours into the format at only 42% complete. Will update once complete, but I could see the drive in the WHS console storage server tab when I first plugged it in, so I am hopeful it will work just fine as a WHS BDBB (Backup Database-Backup).

    • Yes, you can add the 3TB drive to the WHS in Disk Management. It will see the full partition and be available in Disk Management. Once your format is complete, the drive will be available in the Console to be added to WHS.

      However, even though the 3TB drive size is fully recognized in the Console after the partition and format, it can only be used as a Backup drive in WHS v1. If you try and add it to the “storage pool” from within the Console, the Console will reformat it (by design) as MBR and you lose the 3TB drive space. Even as a backup drive I would be weary of my data since full WHS testing by Paragon has not been completed.

      • Hi, all,
        (Still enjoying the BYOB Podcast, thx!).
        Question on the 3TB Drive – i just want to clarify from what has been said here:
        (1) I cannot add 1 or 2 – 3tb drives to my HP MSS ex485 using the WHSv1 native drive extender? i.e. if i add 2 – 3tb drives, i wont be able to expand my storage pool with drive extender by 6tb (approx).
        Thx in advance!

        • WHS v1 does NOT support drives over 2.2TB. As of today, Paragon has yet to provide a solution or work-around for the changes that the Console makes when adding a drive.

  7. I understand and agree with the storage pool reformatting by design point. As for a back-up, at this point Paragon’s software is not in the picture. I was not able to install it because it could not find the drive.

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