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Windows 7: Convert a Basic Disk to a Dynamic Disk

28 Oct 2010   #10

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

You're most welcome Eric. Thank you.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2013   #11

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1

So I would have to have 2 or more physical disks in my system to make them Dynamic disks, regardless of whether I have hardware RAID turned on or not? That seems about right, except how do you make a striped-mirrored setup?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2013   #12

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello HC,

You can make any single disk dynamic.

You can combine separate dynamic hard disks into a single dynamic volume (called spanning), split data among several hard disks (called striping) for increased performance, or duplicate data among several hard disks (called mirroring) for increased reliability.

What Are Dynamic Disks and Volumes?: Storage Services

Basic and Dynamic Disks (Windows)

Personally, I would not make them dynamic disks. You could set up a RAID 0+1 for mirrored and stripe if supported by your RAID controller. The problem is RAID 0+1 first creates a stripe set out of two or more drives, and then mirrors the whole structure onto the same number of additional hard drives. Basically, you'll need four hard drives. Two to stripe, and the other two to mirror.

RAID 0+1: Mirrored Stripe Set (Performance & Data Safety) - RAID Scaling Charts, Part 1

Hope this helps,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Aug 2014   #13

Win7 x64

I am confused to as what this means: "When restoring a system image from a dynamic volume, the disks on your computer cannot be formatted to match the layout of the disks on the backup. To have full functionality, select a volume (partition) on a basic disk as your backup location instead."

I have a Dell XPS8700 with Windows 8.1. I just formatted out 2 500GB drives to act as a Dynamic Disk. I would like to image my OS drive and store the image, in a folder, on the newly created Dynamic Disk. My primary OS was originally on a factory installed 500GD WD disk. I used Macrium to copy my partitions to the new SSD drive. Everything works as far as the Diagnostics Partition and the Restore Partition. Windows shows 5 partitions on the disk, Macrium shows 6. Anyway the copy went fine and all is well.

What do I need to know about storing OS images on the new dynamic volume? Can I use GPT? Should I make a few partitions on the dynamic disk?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 Aug 2014   #14

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Randy,

It basically just means that the disk needs to be one partition at least as large as the size of the image to be able to restore the image to it. If you had it all partitioned, there may not be enough space to do so.

Personally, I would not recommend using dynamic volumes if you didn't have to, and stick with basic MBR instead. This way you are less prone to risk of data loss.

Sure GPT is fine to use for a data disk in Windows 7.

For storing multiple system images, I find renaming the WindowsImageBackup folder like in method two in the yellow tip box at the top of the tutorial below works the best.

Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

Hope this helps,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2016   #15

Windows 7
Clearing Up Some Incorrect Info On The Internet


So I decided to mirror my wifes system partition and C:/ partition to a 2nd disk. It failed at first but I got it working after a huge ordeal. I want to post my experience here because there is a lot of misinformation about this topic in various places all over the internet and I want to share what I learned in case it is helpful to anybody. I realize a lot of info online is outdated and that may be the issue.

First some links that helped:
BCD Edit:
Bootrec 2:
Mark Partition as Active: Partition - Mark as Active

Second the following is NOT true:
  1. This can be true sometimes but not always....that the boot information is on your OS drive/partition (like drive C) and it needs to be active.
  2. That the system drive and operating system drive can not be converted to a dynamic disk or mirrored to a 2nd disk.
  3. That you need to convert back to a basic disk if you did that.
  4. That you need to reinstall the OS.

So here are my explanations for these untrue things that lead me down the wrong path:
1. This issue ONLY APPLIES if you followed advice on setting a drive as active for a possible solution. So your boot data and config can either be on the C: (or whatever drive your os is on) or a hidden system drive which on windows 7 is exactly 100MB. If you installed w7 from scratch you likely are using the 100mb system drive. The 100mb system drive needs to be the active drive (also some people called this a boot flag but its the same as far as I can tell). When trying to fix things I changed the C drive as the active drive and that caused me hours of going in the wrong direction and I had to recover from that once I realized my error. This is helpful to fix that: see mark partition as active link above. I used method two with an installation disk and changed it to do it on the system drive. To get the system drive letter look for a 100mb partition allocated before your os drive. All other partitions that are not the system drive (whether system is c or the 100 mb) should be inactive in my case but if you are dual booting it might not be for you but my guess is that it is because I read that a dynamic disk can only have one active drive (i dont think other os boots in a converted basic drive will work an anymore without some help)....I didnt research that so I don't know. [IU]Another thing that I read that was incorrect was that only basic drive partitions can be set as active.[/U] I was able to set a partition on a dynamic drive as active. That being said I base that on the fact it took the command via diskpart and "detail partition" showed it as active when I finished. Also if you set drive c as active and you did have the 100mb system drive and you ran the bootrec commands you may have written the new boot info to the C: which technically if set as active will bypass the system drive and if you get it working this way it will negate your system drive. It would work but would not be correct. I had to backup BCD and delete the C:\boot folder on C:\ then run /RebuildBcd as explained in bootrec link I gave above. Most of the bootsec commands will operate on whatever drive you have set as active.

2. Yes you can convert the OS disk and system disk to dynamic and you can mirror both the system 100mb partition and the OS C: partition. I converted my wifes drive C: and system reserved drive to dynamic, I also converted a matching drive to dynamic then I mirrored drive c to the unallocated matching drive. At first I did not mirror the system 100mb drive because the mirror option was not available...more on that later. Now this did cause my system not to boot but I believe that was only because the main drive was on a higher sata port and the matching mirrored drive on the lower port did not have the system boot and bios wanted to boot whatever ended up at disk 0. With two drive c's it got confusing. I can't confirm that for sure (although everything worked once I fixed the port and fixed what was active) but tried the whole litany of bootrec () commands and none of them worked until I realized the bios was trying to boot the disk without the system drive (boot config) and I set the wrong drive as active.
3. The people saying this are listening to people that are saying #2. Converting back to basic does restore the drive for some people but leaves you not reaching your end goal. There is a way to restore to basic without data loss if you really want to give up.
4. Please don't ever listen to anyone that says this for 98% of computer issues until you have exhausted all options and asked an expert..paid if need be.

Mirroring System Drive: I was able to mirror the system drive (100mb drive) but I had to delete an OEM partition first as it needed to go to the beginning of the drive like the main drive. Once that was deleted and the whole drive was unallocated I was able to mirror both the system drive and os C: drive. Don't use the clean all method to delete it unless you want to wait a while or you want to zero it out.

In summary my issues and wrong steps were:
SATA PORT: System Drive (whether the os drive or the dedicated system drive) was on a higher sata port and my computer tried to boot the mirrored drive that didnt have a boot record which ended up booting into a black screen with a blinking curser. When I fixed that active drive issue the SATA port issue then had the bootrec commands say No Element Found
Active Drive: I accidentally set the C: drive as active. Then the bootrec commands complained of no system drive or 0 / no operating systems found or total identified windows installations 0.
I was running bootsec commans in vain because of the wrong active drive set.

Errors I encountered:
At boot black screen with blinking curser. Happened when sata port was wrong. Could happen for wrong active drive too I am not sure.
System partition not found when running bootrec commands. I think this was when my system drive was no longer the active drive as well and maybe when using the wrong sata port.
No OS's found when running bootrec /ScanOs and /FixBoot also same as above. See Bootrec 2 link. (Delete bcd first then rebuild)
Element not found: Wrong SATA Port see Bootrec 2 link.

When I had the wrong active drive I could tell finally because I learned about the 100mb partition and relazed I set C as active. Then I realized the sata port error due to bootrec commands giving the errors I mentioned and I had a 60 mb unallocated space on the second drive and I finally realized that was the drive at drive 0. It kept being assigned to drive 0 no matter what was set as active. Then I just did the bootrec /rebuildbcd once after manually backing up and deleted the wrong bcd and /boot on C:, then automatic system repair about 2 times. All worked after that.

Then I just destroyed the mirror, deleted the oem partition on the 2nd drive, then changed the drive to unallocated space. The mirrored the system and os partitions. Voila perfect!

Honestly if I had just tried to boot into the plex2 installation in the beginning it probably would have worked and I never would have had such a problem.

So now my wifes computer is bootable with dual mirrored dynamic disks and both the system reserved 100mb drive and the os drive C: are mirrored.

I hope my story is helpful.

Convert a Basic Disk to a Dynamic Disk-mirroredsystemdriveandosdrive.png

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Convert a Basic Disk to a Dynamic Disk

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