Managing Dynamic Disks In Vista Part V

One of the perks of using dynamic disks is that you can move physical disks between computers. A dynamic disk will have a status of foreign when it is moved from one computer to another. You will be unable to access any data on the disk until it is imported into the computer’s system configuration.

If you have moved a dynamic disk from one computer to another, you can use the steps below to import it. The steps below assume that you have already physically added the foreign disk to the computer.

  1. Click Start, right click Computer and click Manager.
  2. Click Storage
  3. Click Disk Management.
  4. From the Action menu, click Rescan Disks.
  5. Right click the disk marked as Foreign and click Import Foreign Disks.
  6. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.

You should now be able to access the data that is stored on the new disk. Remember that any time you remove or add a physical type to a computer you have to open the Disk Management console and select the Rescan Disks option from the Action menu.

Summary
Vista supports basic and dynamic disk. A dynamic disk supports simple volumes, spanned volumes, striped volumes, mirrored volumes, and RAID-5 volumes. Dynamic disks provide several features that are not supported by basic disks, such as the ability to span a volume across multiple disks. You can use the Disk Management utility to perform most disk management tasks, including converting from a basic disk to a dynamic disk.

[tags]dynamic disk, vista, windows[/tags]

Managing Dynamic Disks In Vista Part IV

You can use the Disk Management console to format or reformat dynamic volumes. To format a dynamic volume in Vista, open the Disk Management console. In the details pane, right click the appropriate volume and click Format. Select the file system you want to use and click OK.

Keep in mind that you can convert from FAT to NTFS without having to reformat the volume. In other words, you will not lose any data. However, this is a one time conversion. In order to revert back to FAT, you will need to reformat the volume.

Typically you should choose NTFS over FAT32 because of the additional features it supports such as file level security, disk compression, file encryption, and disk quotas. Vista includes support for FAT and FAT32 to remain compatible with older operating systems. In most cases the only time you would want to use FAT32 is for multi-boot configurations where you have Vista and an older operating system, such as Windows 98, running on the same system.

Changing the Drive Letter Assigned to a Dynamic Volume
In Vista, you can use the Disk Management console to manage the drives on your computer. One of the things you may want to do at some point is change the drive letter assignments. You can assign any letter between C and Z to a hard disk drive while letters A and B are reserved for floppy disk drives.

To access the Disk Management console, right click Computer and select Manage. Under Storage, click Disk Management. The drive configuration of your computer will be displayed in the details pane. You can change the drive letter by right clicking any volume and selecting Change Drive Letter and Paths. Click the Change button and use the drop down arrow to select the drive letter you want to assign to the volume. Click OK. Click Yes to confirm your actions.

Two points you must keep in mind when performing this procedure. You cannot change the drive letter assigned to the boot or system partition using this method. Second, some programs may refer to specific drive letters for environmental variables. Changing the drive letters may result in such programs not functioning correctly.

[tags]dynamic disk, vista, windows[/tags]

Managing Dynamic Disks In Vista Part III

The Disk Management console is the main interface for managing basic and dynamic disks. Once you open the console, you will see a graphical display of all the disks installed on your computer as well as the volumes configured.

Management tasks can include creating and extending volumes, formatting volumes, changing drives letters, importing disks, and so on. The following sections will discuss how these management tasks can be performed under Vista

Creating and Extending Volumes
The main type of volume on a dynamic disk is a simple volume. You can create a new simple volume or spanned volume within the Disk Management console by completing the steps below:

In Vista, you can create a new simple volume by completing the steps below:

  1. Open Disk Management.
  2. Right click unallocated space on the dynamic disk and click New Simple Volume.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Type in the size of the volume and click Next.
  5. Assign a drive letter to the volume and click Next.
  6. Specify the formatting options. If you choose to format the partition, type in a name for the volume in the Volume Label field and select the file system you want to use.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Review your selections and click Finish.

New in Vista is the ability to shrink a volume. This means you can reclaim unused space from a volume and then create a new volume from that free space.

To shrink a volume:

  1. Open Disk Management.
  2. Right click the volume you want to shrink and click Shrink Volume from the context menu.
  3. Enter the amount in MB to shrink the partition.
  4. Click Shrink.

Once the operation is complete, the free space that you reclaimed will appear as unallocated space within Disk Management.

As with Windows XP, Vista also lets you extend a volume. Before outlining the steps there is a VERY important point to keep in mind. A primary partition becomes a simple volume when the disk is converted to dynamic. However, if an existing simple volume was created before the disk was converted to dynamic it cannot be extended. A simple volume can only be extended if the simple volume was created after the disk was converted to dynamic. So when you are considering extending an existing volume, remember that a simple volume that was originally a primary partition cannot be extended and you cannot extend the system or boot volume.

To extend a simple volume:

  1. Within the Disk Management console, right click the simple volume that you want to extend and click Extend Volume.
  2. Select the disk that the volume will be extended to and click Add.
  3. Specify the amount of space to add to the volume. Click Next.
  4. Click Finish.

[tags]dynamic disk, vista, windows[/tags]

Managing Dynamic Disks In Vista Part II

Vista lets you to convert from a basic disk to a dynamic disk without losing any data. However, before you attempt to do so, you need to keep the following points in mind:

  • There must be a minimum of 1 MB of free disk space on the master boot record disk you want to convert.
  • Local access to a dynamic disk is limited to Windows 2000 and later.
  • Any partitions on an existing basic disk are converted to simple volumes.
  • You cannot revert back to a basic disk without repartitioning.
  • Removable media cannot be converted to a dynamic disk.

You can upgrade a basic disk to dynamic disk using the Disk Management console. Click Start, right click Computer and click Manage. Click Storage and click Disk Management. Click Disk Management. Right click the appropriate disk and click Convert to Dynamic Disk.

It is important to remember that dynamic disks are not accessible under pre-Windows 2000 operating systems. This is important if you are dual booting with an older version of Windows. Any dynamic disks will not be readable under the legacy version of Windows.

Unfortunately converting back to a basic disk is not as simple but you need know the general process that has to be completed. Your very first step will be to back up data on the volumes. You can then use the ‘convert basic’ command from the command prompt to return the disk to a basic disk.

Now that you are familiar with the steps you must complete to convert between basic and dynamic disks, you can begin learning how to manage dynamic disks.

[tags]dynamic disk, vista, windows[/tags]

Managing Dynamic Disks In Vista Part I

Vista supports two different types of disks: basic disks and dynamic disks. The disk type you use will determine how the physical hard drive space is partitioned and the features that are supported. For example, if you decide to have Windows initialize physical disks as basic disks, you will be able to create primary and extended partitions and logical drives. On the other hand, if disks are initialized as dynamic, you can create simple and spanned volumes and take advantage of additional features.

Note: Dynamic disks are only supported on the Business, Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Vista. Dynamic disks are also not supported on portable computers.

Basic versus Dynamic Disks
Basic disks are supported by all versions of Windows including MS-DOS and Windows NT. A basic disk supports primary partitions, extended partitions, and logical drives. A basic disk also supports different types of Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) including volume sets, stripe sets, mirror sets, and stripe sets with parity.

Dynamic disks were introduced in Windows 2000 and any earlier versions of Windows do not provide support for this type of disk. Dynamic disks support the following disk configurations:

  • Simple volumes
  • Spanned volumes
  • Mirrored volumes
  • Striped volumes
  • RAID-5 volumes

If you are running Windows 2000 or later, you can use the standard basic disks or convert to dynamic which allows you to take advantage of additional features. When you first install Vista (or any other Windows version that supports this disk type), all disks are initialized as basic. Afterwards, you can optionally convert to a dynamic disk using the Disk Management console.

Many people often ask the question “Why convert from basic to dynamic?” The main reason is to take advantage of additional features that include:

  • Disk and volume management tasks can be performed without having to restart the computer afterwards.
  • Volumes that span multiple disks can be created. These are referred to as spanned volumes.
  • A simple or spanned volume can be extended without losing any data.
  • Dynamic disks support an unlimited number (up to 2000) of volumes.
  • Dynamic disks do not use a Master Boot Record (MBR). The disk layout information is stored on the last 1 MB of the disk.

[tags]dynamic disk, vista, windows[/tags]

Basic And Dynamic Disks In Vista (Part IV)

It is common these days for someone to move a hard disk between two computers. When you move a dynamic disk from one computer to another, the status will appear as “foreign” within the Disk Management console. You will be unable to access any data on the disk until you import the disk into the computer’s system configuration.

If you have moved a dynamic disk from one computer to another, you can use the steps below to import it. The steps below assume that you have already physically added the foreign disk to the computer.

  1. Click Start, right click Computer and click Manager.
  2. Click Storage
  3. Click Disk Management.
  4. From the Action menu, click Rescan Disks.
  5. Right click the disk marked as Foreign and click Import Foreign Disks.
  6. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.

You should now be able to access the data that is stored on the new disk. The important point to remember any time you remove or add a physical type to a computer is that you have to open the Disk Management console and select the Rescan Disks option from the Action menu. And on that note, you should now be able to tackle many disk management tasks.

[tags]vista, basic disk, dynamic disk, windows, microsoft, partition, volume, drive[/tags]

Basic And Dynamic Disks In Vista (Part III)

Now that you are familiar with basic and dynamic disks, you can move on to performing some basic disk management tasks such as creating, shrinking, extending and formatting simple volumes.

In Vista, you can create a new simple volume by completing the steps below:

  1. Open Disk Management.
  2. Right click unallocated space on the dynamic disk and click New Simple Volume.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Type in the size of the volume and click Next.
  5. Assign a drive letter to the volume and click Next.
  6. Specify the formatting options. If you choose to format the partition, type in a name for the volume in the Volume Label field and select the file system you want to use.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Review your selections and click Finish.

New in Vista is the ability to shrink a volume. This means you can reclaim unused space from a volume and then create a new volume from that free space.

To shrink a volume:

  1. Open Disk Management.
  2. Right click the volume you want to shrink and click Shrink Volume from the context menu.
  3. Enter the amount in MB to shrink the partition.
  4. Click Shrink.

Once the operation is complete, the free space that you reclaimed will appear as unallocated space within Disk Management.

As with XP, Vista also lets you extend a volume.

To extend a simple volume:

  1. Within the Disk Management console, right click the simple volume that you want to extend and click Extend Volume.
  2. Select the disk that the volume will be extended to and click Add.
  3. Specify the amount of space to add to the volume. Click Next.
  4. Click Finish.

In the final installment of this article, I’ll outline some of the additional disk management tasks that you can perform in Vista.

[tags]vista, basic disk, dynamic disk, windows, microsoft, partition, volume, drive[/tags]

Basic And Dynamic Disks In Vista (Part II)

Vista supports both basic and dynamic disks (as does Windows 2000 and XP). You can use the Disk Management console to convert a basic disk to dynamic. Before you attempt to make the conversion, you need to keep the following points in mind:

  • You cannot revert to a basic disk without first deleting all partitions and volumes.
  • Vista Home editions do not support dynamic disks.
  • Portable computer do not support dynamic disks.

You can convert a basic disk to a dynamic disk by completing the steps below:

  1. Click Start, right click Computer and click Manager.
  2. Type mmc and click OK.
  3. Click Storage.
  4. Click Disk Management.
  5. In the right pane, right-click the disk you want to convert and click Convert to Dynamic Disk.

Alternatively, you can also use the ‘convert dynamic’ command from the Command Prompt.

Unfortunately converting back to a basic disk is not as simple but you need know the general process that has to be completed. Your very first step will be to back up data on the volumes. You can then use the ‘convert basic’ command from the command prompt to return the disk to a basic disk.

The next installment of this article will look at configuring dynamic disks under Vista.

[tags]vista, basic disk, dynamic disk, windows, microsoft, partition, volume, drive[/tags]

Basic And Dynamic Disks In Vista (Part I)

All versions of Windows support basic disks. A basic disk supports the following:

  • Primary partitions
  • Extended partitions
  • Logical drives

A basic disk also supports different types of Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) including volume sets, stripe sets, mirror sets, and stripe sets with parity.

Vista Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions all support Dynamic Disks. A dynamic disk supports the following:

  • Simple volumes
  • Spanned volumes
  • Mirrored volumes
  • Striped volumes
  • RAID-5 volumes

You can upgrade a basic disk to dynamic disk using the Disk Management console. Click Start, right click Computer and click Manage. Click Storage and click Disk Management. Click Disk Management. Right click the appropriate disk and click Convert to Dynamic Disk.

There are things you need to keep in mind when converting to a dynamic disk. In order to revert to a basic disk, you must back up all your data, delete the existing volumes and repartition the disk. You can then convert to a basic disk using the ‘convert basic’ command.

Next, you cannot upgrade to a dynamic disk of you are using a mobile computer. Finally, dynamic disks are not accessible under pre-Windows 2000 operating systems. If you are dual booting with an older version of Windows, the dynamic disk will not be readable.

In the next installment of this article, I will more closely at converting from a basic to dynamic disk.

[tags]vista, basic disk, dynamic disk, windows, microsoft, partition, volume, drive[/tags]

Hack A Dynamic Disk Back To A Basic Disk

The advantage of a dynamic disk is that you can span two (or more) disks and you can perform disk and volume management without rebooting. Microsoft says a dynamic disk cannot be changed back to a basic disk without deleting the partition(s) and rebuilding the disk. But what if you’ve got a lot of data on it – or program files – and don’t want to take the time to rebuild it?

This article at The Lazyadmin.com has an elegant hack that allows you to edit a couple of bytes on the disk using DskProbe from the Windows 2000 SP4 Support Tools or the Windows 2003 Support Tools (a free download from Microsoft) to change it back to a basic disk without having to rebuild it. You’ll have to do it for each partition on the dynamic disk.

WARNING: Have a complete data backup of the dynamic disk before you try this – in case you make a mistake or it doesn’t work!

[tags]lazyadmin.com, 2003 support tools, dynamic disk, basic disk, DskProbe[/tags]

Convert To A Dynamic Disk In Vista

A few things you need to keep in mind about converting to a dynamic disk. First of all, this is a one way upgrade. In order to revert back to a basic disk, you must back up all your data, delete the existing volumes and repartition the disk. Next, you cannot upgrade to a dynamic disk of you are using a mobile computer. Finally, dynamic disks are not accessible under pre-Windows 2000 operating systems. If you are dual booting with an older version of Windows, the dynamic disk will not be readable.

You can convert a basic disk to a dynamic disk by completing the steps below:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Right click Computer and click Manage.
  3. Click Disk Management (Local) in the left pane.
  4. In the right pane, right-click the disk you want to convert and click Convert to Dynamic Disk.
  5. Click the check box beside the disk you want to convert and click OK.
  6. Click Convert.
  7. When prompted, click Yes.
  8. Click OK.

Unfortunately converting back to a basic disk is not as simple but you need know the general process that has to be completed. Since the disk has to be repartitioned, your very first step will be to back up all data on the volumes then proceed with the steps below.

  1. Click Start.
  2. Right click Computer and click Manage.
  3. Click Disk Management (Local) in the left pane.
  4. Right click a volume on the dynamic disk and click Delete Volume.
  5. Click Yes.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each volume on the disk.
  7. Right click the dynamic disk and click Convert to Basic.

[tags]dynamic disk, vista, convert, convert to basic[/tags]