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Basic Disk VS Dynamic Disk

September 3rd, 2009

Basic Disk VS Dynamic Disk Basic Disks in Windows 2000/XP/Vista:
A basic disk uses the normal partition tables found in MS-DOS and Windows. The volumes contained on a basic disk will be basic volumes, such as primary and extended partitions, and logical drives. Basic disks may also contain multi-disk volumes created by Windows NT 4.0 and earlier (volume sets, stripe and mirror sets, and stripe sets with parity). Windows XP will not support these types of multi-disk basic volumes. With Windows XP, you should back up your data and then convert these to dynamic disks prior to installing Windows XP Professional.

Dynamic Disks in Windows 2000/XP/Vista:
Dynamic disks are supported in Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP Professional. Windows XP Home Edition does not support dynamic disks. Dynamic disks contain simple volumes, spanned volumes, striped volumes, mirrored volumes, and RAID-5 volumes. Dynamic storage allows you to perform disk and volume management without having to restart Windows.

Dynamic disks are only supported in Windows Vista Ultimate, in Windows Vista Business, and in Windows Vista Enterprise. Generally, dynamic disks are not supported in Windows Vista Home Basic or in Windows Vista Home Premium. However, when you upgrade your computer from Windows XP Media Center Edition to Windows Vista Home Premium, some dynamic disks are supported.

General Information

  • On a basic disk, a partition is a portion of the disk that functions as a physically separate unit. On a dynamic disk, storage is divided into volumes instead of partitions.
  • Storage types are separate from the file system type; a basic or dynamic disk can contain any combination of FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS partitions or volumes. Please note that the creation of FAT16 volumes will be limited to 2GB or less, FAT32 volumes will be limited to 32GB or less. NTFS volumes do not have a capacity limitation.
  • Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP Professional accommodates both basic and dynamic storage. A disk system can contain any combination of storage types. However, all partitions or volumes on the same disk must use the same storage type (Basic or Dynamic).
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