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Dynamic disk

  • Contents:

    There are 2 types of hard disks (storage type related), namely basic disk and dynamic disk. It is believed that most users are familiar with basic disk, so here we mainly introduce dynamic disk.

    What Is Dynamic Disk

    Supported by Windows 2000 and later Windows OS, dynamic disk is a kind of physical disk. In Windows Disk Utility, users can convert a basic disk to dynamic without losing data. Nevertheless, this is not a reversible process unless users delete all existing volumes or ask third party partitioning software for help, MiniTool Partition Wizard for example. Dynamic disk provides lots of features basic disk does not have, like the ability to create fault-tolerance volumes and the ability to create volumes which spans multiple disks. On dynamic disk, users can create different kinds of volumes, including simple volume, mirrored volume, striped volume, spanned volume, and RAID-5 volume.

    What Features Dynamic Volumes Provide

    By creating different types of dynamic volumes, users can enhance data security (mirrored volume and RAID-5 volume), make the best use of disk space (striped volume and spanned volume), and quicken data storage speed (striped volume and RAID-5 volume). All these volumes can be created in Windows Disk Management tool.

    1. Simple Volume:

    On the thumbnail above H: and I: are simple volumes. Simple volume equals to primary partition or logical drive on basic disk, and users can create lots of simple volumes on one dynamic disk, not limited to 4. A simple volume can be extended to unallocated space on the same disk but keeps simple. However, if users extend it to unallocated space on other disk, it will become a spanned volume.

    2. Mirrored Volume:

    Mirrored volume is created by 2 unallocated spaces with the same size. It offers fault-tolerance by imaging data on the volume. If one of disks failed, data on the failed disk will be unavailable, but Windows can run normally by reading data on the other disk. However, this kind of volume just enjoys 50% disk use ratio.

    3. Spanned volume:

    Spanned volume combines unallocated spaces on 2 or more disks (up to 32 disks) to one volume, and each unallocated space can be different. Creating spanned volume can make the best use of disk space. Nevertheless, this kind of volume does not provide fault tolerance. If a part of spanned volume fails, the entire spanned volume will fail.

    4. Striped volume:

    Striped volume is created by unallocated space with the same size on 2 or more dynamic disks. When users store data to a striped volume, the very data will be divided to multiple parts and saved to all portions of striped volume at the same time, which can enhance data storage speed. Nevertheless, this kind of volume does not have the ability to create fault-tolerant volumes.

    5. RAID-5 Volume:

    RAID-5 volume should be created on 3 or more dynamic disks and provides features mirrored volume and striped volume have. It is fault tolerant since parity check is contained. When one disk fails, Windows will continue by reconstructing data on the failed disk from remaining data and parity. Moreover, it saves data as mirrored volume acts.

    These are main features dynamic volumes offer. However, users sometimes need to perform operations on dynamic disk or volumes, such as extend volume, shrink volume, and Change Volume Cluster Size. Windows disk management tool can not do these operations well since it has lots of defects. For example, it can not extend or shrink volumes except a simple volume. Therefore, third party partitioning tool is needed. Download MiniTool Partition Wizard Professional Edition or more advanced editions to manage your dynamic volumes well.