The short answer to this fairly complex question is Windows supports drives larger than 2 terabytes (TB) just fine.
I’m running a 3 TB drive on my system as we speak. It worked in both Windows 7 and again once I upgraded to Windows 8.
There are a couple of issues that can sometimes come up.
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Reformatting the drive
One is that you might actually need to reformat the drive first. It’s very possible that the format on the drive is something that is incompatible with Windows. That doesn’t mean that the drive is incompatible; it just means that the drive needs to be reformatted by Windows in a way that will allow it to work with Windows. There’s a Microsoft knowledgebase article on this called, “Windows support for disks with capacity greater than 2 TB.” This goes through some of the topics that may come up in cases like this, but I can absolutely assure you that 3 TB works just fine. I’m doing it.
As they say in the commercials, “I’m soaking in it.”
Choosing a drive brand
When it comes to specific brands of drives, I don’t have recommendations. I actually don’t make them because it tends to change over time. When it comes to hard drives specifically, manufacturers seem to come and go in terms of quality, so a brand that was good one month might be so-so the next.
Right now, I’m pretty happy with Seagate but six months from now, we could be talking about Hitachi, Fujitsu, or something else. It’s really kind of tough to make a blanket recommendation in the hard drive industry.
Choosing a backup program
When it comes to backup programs, I actually don’t recommend using the one that comes with most drives. Not because they aren’t any good but usually because they’re typically cut-rate versions of backup programs with the intent of actually up-selling you to something else.
What I strongly recommend you do is you actually choose a backup program separate from the drive. I happen to heartily recommend Macrium Reflect. There is a free version, but I actually recommend the paid version because it simply has more functionality – and that will backup your system just fine.
As far as Windows’ own included backup, it’s not a program that I recommend. It’s better than previous versions of the Windows’ included backup, but it still doesn’t make the grade if you’re serious about backup. And of course, I really think everybody should be serious about backup.
So my recommendation is don’t rely on whatever comes on the drive. Go out and get yourself a copy of Macrium Reflect and go from there.