4K alignment is a quite important issue for hard disks which employ 4K sectors, including both Solid State Drive (SSD) and advanced formatted mechanical hard disk. And actually it refers to the alignment between 4K physical sector and cluster.
A cluster is the smallest logical amount of disk space that can be allocated to hold a file. One cluster can only hold content of one file no matter how small the file is. -------- From Wikipedia
When we are creating partitions on hard disks which use 4K physical sector, the partition always does not start from the starting position of a physical sector, which means physical sector and cluster will be shifted:
As a result, reading data saved in one cluster will access 2 physical sectors, thus increasing access time or slowing down read speed. Similarly, writing a file will operate 2 physical sectors at least, which definitely will increase writing times and waste disk space. Therefore, it is very necessary to perform 4K alignment, and to align partition can help reach the goal.
When Do We Need to Align Partition
1.If you are creating partitions on SSD or advanced formatted HDD under old versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000, etc., partition alignment is required since these operating systems do not have such a function.
2.After copying a partition to SSD or advanced formatted HDD, or after changing the location and size of a partition, you are suggested to align partitions, even if you are running Windows Vista or more advanced Windows operating systems which align partitions automatically.
About “Align Partition”
The “Align Partition” feature added in MiniTool Partition Wizard helps users align the specified partition in several simple steps, and all operations will be done automatically. For specific steps, please see MiniTool Partition Wizard Tutorial below.
How to Align Partition
Step 1: run MiniTool Partition Wizard to get its main interface:
Step 2: select the partition which needs aligning, and then choose “Align Partition” from the left panel or select “Align” from right-click menu.
Step 3: click on “Apply” button to perform aligning.
After application, to align a single partition is completed via MiniTool Partition Wizard. It is so easy. However, if you want to align multiple partitions on the same hard disk, please see Align All Partitions to get details.