Microsoft Windows XP offers two types of disk storage:
basic and dynamic.
Basic Disk Storage
Basic storage uses normal partition tables supported by MS-DOS,
Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Millennium
Edition (Me), Microsoft Windows NT, Microsoft Windows 2000, and Windows XP. A
disk initialized for basic storage is called a basic
disk. A basic disk contains basic volumes, such as primary
partitions, extended partitions, and logical drives.
basic volumes include multidisk volumes that are created by using Windows NT
4.0 or earlier, such as volume sets, stripe sets, mirror sets, and stripe sets
with parity. Windows XP does not support these multidisk basic volumes. Any
volume sets, stripe sets, mirror sets, or stripe sets with parity must be
backed up and deleted or converted to dynamic disks before you install Windows
Dynamic Disk Storage
Dynamic storage is supported in Windows 2000 and Windows XP
Professional. A disk initialized for dynamic storage is called a dynamic
disk. A dynamic disk contains dynamic volumes, such as simple
volumes, spanned volumes, striped volumes, mirrored volumes, and RAID-5
: Dynamic disks are not supported on portable computers or on
Windows XP Home Edition-based computers.
You cannot create mirrored
volumes or RAID-5 volumes on Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional,
or Windows XP 64-Bit Edition-based computers. However, you can use a Windows XP
Professional-based computer to create a mirrored or RAID-5 volume on remote
computers that are running Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server,
or Windows 2000 Datacenter Server. You must have administrative privileges on
the remote computer to do this.
Storage types are separate from the
file system type. A basic or dynamic disk can contain any combination of FAT16,
FAT32, or NTFS partitions or volumes.
A disk system can contain any
combination of storage types. However, all volumes on the same disk must use
the same storage type.
Convert a Basic Disk to a Dynamic Disk
Use the Disk Management snap-in in Windows XP to convert a basic
disk to a dynamic disk. To do this, follow these steps:
- Log on as Administrator or as a member of the
- Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
- Click Performance and Maintenance, click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management.
- In the left pane, click Disk Management.
- In the lower-right pane, right-click the basic disk that
you want to convert, and then click Convert to Dynamic Disk.
NOTE:You must right-click the gray area that contains the disk title
on the left side of the Details pane. For example, right-click Disk 0.
- Select the check box that is next to the disk that you want
to convert (if it is not already selected), and then click OK.
- Click Details if you want to view the list of volumes in the disk.
- Click Convert.
- Click Yes when you are prompted to convert the disk, and then click OK.
: After you convert a basic disk to a dynamic disk, local access
to the dynamic disk is limited to Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional.
Additionally, after you convert a basic disk to a dynamic disk, the dynamic
volumes cannot be changed back to partitions. You must first delete all dynamic
volumes on the disk and then convert the dynamic disk back to a basic disk. If
you want to keep your data, you must first back up the data or move it to
Dynamic Storage Terms:
- A volume is a storage unit made from free space on one or more disks. It
can be formatted with a file system and assigned a drive letter. Volumes on
dynamic disks can have any of the following layouts: simple, spanned, mirrored,
striped, or RAID-5.
- A simple volume uses free space from a single disk. It can be a single region on
a disk or consist of multiple, concatenated regions. A simple volume can be
extended within the same disk or onto additional disks. If a simple volume is
extended across multiple disks, it becomes a spanned volume.
- A spanned volume is created from free disk space that is linked together from
multiple disks. You can extend a spanned volume onto a maximum of 32 disks. A
spanned volume cannot be mirrored and is not fault-tolerant.
- A striped volume is a volume whose data is interleaved across two or more physical
disks. The data on this type of volume is allocated alternately and evenly to
each of the physical disks. A striped volume cannot be mirrored or extended and
is not fault-tolerant. Striping is also known as RAID-0.
- A mirrored volume is a fault-tolerant volume whose data is duplicated on two
physical disks. All of the data on one volume is copied to another disk to
provide data redundancy. If one of the disks fails, the data can still be
accessed from the remaining disk. A mirrored volume cannot be extended.
Mirroring is also known as RAID-1.
- A RAID-5 volume is a fault-tolerant volume whose data is striped across an array
of three or more disks. Parity (a calculated value that can be used to
reconstruct data after a failure) is also striped across the disk array. If a
physical disk fails, the portion of the RAID-5 volume that was on that failed
disk can be re-created from the remaining data and the parity. A RAID-5 volume
cannot be mirrored or extended.
- The system volume contains the hardware-specific files that are needed to load
Windows (for example, Ntldr, Boot.ini, and Ntdetect.com). The system volume can
be, but does not have to be, the same as the boot volume.
- The boot volume contains the Windows operating system files that are located in
the %Systemroot% and %Systemroot%\System32 folders. The boot volume can be, but
does not have to be, the same as the system volume.
For additional information
about how to convert basic and dynamic disks, click the article number below to
view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
HOW TO: Convert to Basic and Dynamic Disks in Windows XP Professional
For additional information about how to configure basic disks, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
HOW TO: Use Disk Management to Configure Basic Disks
For additional information about how to configure dynamic disks, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
HOW TO: Use Disk Management to Configure Dynamic Disks
For additional information about how to create a mirrored volume, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
How to create a mirrored volume on a remote Windows 2000-based computer in Windows XP-based computer
For additional information about how to create a RAID-5 volume, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
HOW TO: Create a RAID-5 Volume