Why do factory formatted drives have a small dangling partition?

I noticed on these 18tb WD Elements (boy I am I tired of “shucking” drives, but … the savings are undeniable) that they are formatted NTFS but sometimes they have a dangling little extra 33mb partition, like so:

I wonder why that is? What’s on that extra little partition?

I also noticed that not all of them have this, sometimes they use the full partition:

What’s up with that?


@codinghorror sorry for pointing you to your own website :smile: :

"It may be a relic of times past. When using the old-style cylinder alignment, the number of sectors on a modern disk would seldom work out to an exact number of cylinders – that is, the last cylinder would be partial. Thus, when partitioning MBR disks with cylinder alignment, it was once common practice to leave a few sectors at the end of the disk unused. "


Wow! Answer from the author of GPT fdisk, doesn’t get much better than that… can’t complain!

I’ll upvote both Q and A!