Tip

Setup support of dynamic disks falls short

Please let us know how useful you find this tip by rating it below. Do you have a useful Windows tip, timesaver or workaround to share? Submit it to our tip contest and you could win a prize!


Dynamic disks

    Requires Free Membership to View

are a major tool for managing storage in Windows 2000.

But because of the way dynamic disks store their partition and other information, they can report inaccurate information during the text-mode portion of Setup. Inaccurate information can also result during recovery from the recovery console in the case of an unbootable system.

Remember not to delete any of the dynamic volumes in text mode Setup unless you are going to delete all of them. Deleting or reformatting a dynamic disk volume using Recovery console's DISKPART or FORMAT commands, or during text mode setup can cause data loss.

Since Setup doesn't completely support dynamic disks, there are a few things you should keep in mind that will be useful for you in the long run.

Hard-linked vs. soft-linked dynamic disks
Dynamic disks come in two flavors: Hard-linked and soft-linked. Hard-linked dynamic disks are created when you upgrade a disk with physical or logical drives from basic to dynamic. The upgraded disk will retain a legacy style partition table entry, which Setup can recognize.

Soft-linked dynamic disks were created as dynamic disks and don't have the partition table entry. Instead, they have a single partition table entry for the entire disk. The volume configuration information is stored in a special partition at the end of the disk. During Setup that information is unavailable to the system, so Setup displays a single drive letter for the entire physical disk, even if it contains multiple volumes.

This isn't a problem if you understand what is happening. Simply continue with the setup or recovery and the correct information will be displayed later in the process. Microsoft recommends keeping a record of dynamic disks and their volumes, noting which volumes are hard-linked.

Editor's Note: You can receive similar hardware tips twice weekly by subscribing to our Windows Systems and Storage newsletter. Sign up now!


Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last 20 years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in February 2005

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.