How To Use Disk Management to Configure Dynamic Disks in Windows XP

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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to use the Disk Management snap-in to configure dynamic disks.

Dynamic Disks and Volumes

Dynamic disk storage supports volume-oriented disks. You create the following volume types only on dynamic disks:
  • New simple volumes.
  • Volumes that span multiple disks (spanned volumes and striped volumes).
  • Volumes that are fault-tolerant (mirrored volumes and RAID-5 volumes).
Volumes on dynamic disks are called dynamic volumes. Dynamic disks can support up to 2,000 dynamic volumes per disk (although the recommended number of volumes is 32 or less per disk).

Local access to dynamic volumes (and to the data that the dynamic volumes contain) is limited to Microsoft Windows 2000 and Microsoft Windows XP Professional-based computers. You cannot create dynamic volumes on (or access dynamic volumes from) a Windows XP Professional-based computer that has one or more of the following operating systems running:
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 and earlier
  • Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition and earlier
  • MS-DOS
You can create dynamic disks by using the Convert to Dynamic Disk command in Disk Management to convert a basic disk.

Using Disk Management

To start Disk Management:
  1. Log on as an administrator or as a member of the Administrators group.
  2. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  3. Click Performance and Maintenance, click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management. In the console tree, click Disk Management.

    NOTE: You can also click Start, point to Run, type diskmgmt.msc, and then click OK.
In Disk Management, the computer's disks and volumes are displayed in a graphical view and in a list view. By default, the local computer's disks are displayed; however, if you have the required permissions, you can perform this process on remote computer.

To customize the view of the disks and the volumes in the upper and the lower panes of the window, click View, point to Top or to Bottom, and then click the view that you want.

NOTE: It is recommended that you perform a full backup of disk contents before you make any changes to disks, volumes, or partitions.

How to Create a Simple Volume or a Spanned Volume

To create a simple volume or a spanned volume:
  1. In Disk Management, perform one of the following steps:
    • To create a simple volume, right-click unallocated space on the dynamic disk on which you want to create the simple volume, and then click New Volume.

      -or-
    • To create a spanned volume, right-click unallocated space on one of the dynamic disks on which you want to create the spanned volume, and then click New Volume.
  2. In the New Volume Wizard, click Next.
  3. Click the type of volume you want to create (Simple volume or Spanned volume), and then click Next.
  4. Click the disk (or disks) in which you want to create the volume by performing one of the following steps:
    • If you are creating a simple volume, verify that the disks in which you want to create a simple volume are listed in the Selected dynamic disks box.

      -or-
    • If you are creating a spanned volume, under All available dynamic disks, click to select the disks that you want, and then click Add.

      Verify that the disks in which you want to create a spanned volume are listed in the Selected dynamic disks box.
  5. In the Size box, specify the size that you want for the volume, and then Next.
  6. Assign a drive letter or drive path, and then click Next.
  7. Specify the formatting options that you want by performing one of the following steps:
    • If you do not want to format the partition, click Do not format this partition, and then click Next.

      -or-
    • If you want to format the partition, click Format this partition with the following settings, perform the following steps in the Format dialog box, and then click Next:
      1. Type a name for the volume in the Volume label box.

        NOTE: This is an optional step.
      2. Click the file system that you want in the File system box.

        You can also change the disk allocation unit size, specify whether you want to perform a quick format, or enable file and folder compression on NTFS-formatted volumes.
  8. Confirm that the options that you selected are correct, and then click Finish.
The volume is created and appears in the appropriate dynamic disk or disks in Disk Management.

How to Extend a Simple or Spanned Volume

To increase the size of a simple volume or a spanned volume after you create it, you can extend it by adding unallocated free space on the same (or another) dynamic disk.

To extend a simple volume or a spanned volume:
  1. In Disk Management, right-click the simple or spanned volume to be extended, and then click Extend Volume.
  2. In the Extend Volume Wizard, click Next.
  3. On the Select Disks page, do the following:
    • Click to select the disk (or disks) onto which the volume will be extended, and then click Add.

      Verify that the disk or disks onto which you want to extend the volume are listed in the Selected dynamic disks box.

      -and-
    • In the Size box, specify the amount of unallocated disk space that you want to add, and then Next.
  4. Confirm that the options that you selected are correct, and then click Finish.
The volume is extended and appears in the appropriate dynamic disk or disks in the Disk Management window.

NOTE:
  • You can only extend NTFS volumes, or volumes that are not yet formatted with a file system.
  • A volume can be extended only if there is enough available disk space.
  • If you upgraded from Windows 2000 to Windows XP, you can extend simple and spanned volumes only if the volume is created on a dynamic disk in Windows XP. Simple or spanned volumes that result from a basic to dynamic disk conversion in Windows 2000 cannot be extended.
  • You cannot extend the system or boot volume.

How to Format a Dynamic Volume

To format a dynamic volume, follow these steps:
  1. In Disk Management, right-click the dynamic volume that you want to format (or reformat), and then click Format.
  2. In the Format dialog box, do the following:
    • Type a name for the volume in the Volume label box.
    • Click the file system that you want to use in the File system box.

      If you want, you can also change the disk allocation unit size, specify whether you want to perform a quick format, or enable file and folder compression on NTFS volumes.
    Click OK.

  3. Click OK when you are prompted to format the volume.
The format process now starts.

How to View the Properties of a Dynamic Volume

To view the properties of a dynamic volume, follow these steps:
  1. In Disk Management, right-click the dynamic volume that you want, and then click Properties.
  2. Click the appropriate tab to view the property that you want.

How to Delete a Dynamic Volume

To delete a dynamic volume:
  1. In Disk Management, right-click the dynamic volume that you want to delete, and then click Delete Volume.
  2. Click Yes when you are prompted to delete the volume.
IMPORTANT NOTE:
  • When you delete a volume, all data on the volume is deleted in addition to the volume itself.
  • You cannot delete the system volume, boot volume, or any volume that contains the active paging (swap) file.

Troubleshooting

Disk Management displays status descriptions in graphical view and under the Status column in list view in the Disk Management snap-in to inform you of the current status of the disk or the volume. Use these status descriptions to help you detect and to troubleshoot disk and volume failures. The following is a partial list of disk and volume status descriptions:
  • Online

    This is the normal disk status when the disk is accessible and functioning correctly.
  • Healthy

    This is the normal volume status when the volume is accessible and functioning correctly.
  • Online (Errors)

    The disk may display this status if input/output (I/O) errors are detected on it.

    To resolve this issue, right-click the disk, and then click Reactivate Disk to return the disk to the online status.
  • Offline or Missing

    The disk may display this status if it is inaccessible. This may occur if the disk is corrupted or if it is temporarily unavailable.

    To troubleshoot this issue:
    1. Repair any disk, controller, or connection problems.
    2. Verify that the physical disk is turned on and that it is correctly attached to the computer.
    3. Right-click the disk, and then click Reactivate Disk to return the disk to the online status.
For a complete list of disk and volume status descriptions, and troubleshooting procedures, see Disk Management Help: In Disk Management or in Computer Management, click Help on the Action menu.




REFERENCES

For additional information about how to create a mirrored volume, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
307880 How To Create a Mirrored Volume in Windows XP
For additional information about how to create a RAID-5 volume, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
309043 How To Use Windows XP to Create a RAID-5 Volume on a Remote Windows 2000 Computer
For additional information about working with dynamic disks, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
175761 Dynamic vs. Basic Storage in Windows 2000
222189 Description of Disk Groups in Windows 2000 Disk Management
254105 Dynamic Disk Hardware Limitations
For additional information how to use Disk Management to assign, remove, or change drive letters, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
307844 How To Change Drive Letter Assignments in Windows XP
For additional information about how to convert a basic disk to a dynamic disk and how to change a dynamic disk back to a basic disk, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
309044 How To Convert to Basic and Dynamic Disks in Windows XP Professional
For additional information about how to configure basic disks, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
309000 How To Use Disk Management to Configure Basic Disks in Windows XP
For additional information how to use the Diskpart command-line utility to manage your disks, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
300415 A Description of the Diskpart Command-Line Utility

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Article ID: 308424 - Last Review: October 30, 2006 - Revision: 2.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
kbhowto kbhowtomaster KB308424

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