Ambiguous References to Sector One and Sector Zero

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Article ID: 97819 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q97819
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This article discusses some inconsistencies in sector numbering.

Sector counting starts at 1 when referring to the physical disk geometry. The first sector is reference by head 0, cylinder 0, sector 1. When people refer to absolute sectors on a physical volume, however, they typically refer to sector 0 as the first sector. Many applications (for example, Norton Disk Doctor) refer to the first sector as sector 0. Other tools use different conventions.

Documentation often references sector 0, as it is less ambiguous than using sector 1. Sector 0 is clearly the first sector, even if you disagree with the convention. Sector 1 is the first sector to some people, and the second sector to others.

On a disk with 37 sectors per track, 8 heads, and 512 cylinders, Windows NT would look at the numbering as follows:

                                      absolute
			

cylinder     head      sector       sector address

   0          0           1              0
   0          0           2              1
   0          0           3              2
   0          0           4              3
		


   0          0          36             35
   0          0          37             36
   0          1           1             37
   0          1           2             38
		


   0          1          36             72
   0          1          37             73
   0          2           1             74
   0          2           2             75
		


   0          7          36            294
   0          7          37            295
   1          0           1            296
   1          0           2            297
		


511 7 36 151550 511 7 37 151551
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Properties

Article ID: 97819 - Last Review: February 28, 2014 - Revision: 3.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
Keywords: 
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbother KB97819

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