Dynamic disks and volumes

Dynamic disks provide features that basic disks do not, such as the ability to create volumes that span multiple disks (spanned and striped volumes), and the ability to create fault tolerant volumes (mirrored and RAID-5 volumes). All volumes on dynamic disks are known as dynamic volumes.

There are five types of dynamic volumes: simple, spanned, striped, mirrored, and RAID-5 Mirrored and RAID-5 volumes are fault tolerant and are available only on computers running Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, or . However, you can use a computer running Windows XP Professional to create mirrored and RAID-5 volumes on these operating systems.

Regardless of whether the dynamic disk uses the master boot record (MBR) or GUID partition table (GPT) partition style, you can create up to 2,000 dynamic volumes per disk group, although the recommended number of dynamic volumes is 32 or less per disk.

For information about how to manage dynamic volumes, see Manage dynamic volumes

Limitations of dynamic disks and dynamic volumes

When using dynamic volumes, the following limitations apply:

When installing . If a dynamic volume is created from unallocated space on a dynamic disk, you cannot install on that volume. This setup limitation occurs because Setup recognizes only dynamic volumes that have an entry in the partition table. However, you can extend the volume (if it is a simple or spanned volume).

Portable computers and removable media. Dynamic disks are not supported on portable computers, removable disks, detachable disks that use Universal Serial Bus (USB) or IEEE 1394 (also called FireWire) interfaces, or on disks connected to shared SCSI buses. If you are using a portable computer and right-click a disk in the graphical or list view in Disk Management, you will not see the option to convert the disk to dynamic.

Dual-boot computers. Dynamic volumes (and the data they contain) cannot be accessed by, or created on, computers running MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0, or Windows XP Home Edition that are configured to dual-boot with Windows XP Professional or . If you want computers running these operating systems to be able to access the data, store the data on basic volumes. For information about basic volumes, see Basic disks and volumes 

When extending a volume. If a basic volume is converted to dynamic (by converting a basic disk to dynamic), it might or might not have an entry in the partition table. If the converted volume was a system or boot partition, it retains an entry in the partition table, and you can install on the volume, but you cannot extend it. If the converted volume was not a system or boot volume, it does not have an entry in the partition table, and you cannot install on the volume, but you can extend it.

On Windows 2000, volumes converted from partitions have an entry in the partition table. On , volumes converted from partitions do not have an entry in the partition table unless the partitions were system or boot partitions. In Disk Management, you can see if a volume has an entry in the partition table by right-clicking the volume. If Extend Volume is disabled, the volume has an entry in the partition table.

You can install only on simple and mirrored dynamic volumes. These volumes must have entries in the partition table (which means that these volumes were system or boot volumes).

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