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Basic Drive, Simple Drive, Dynamic Drive

Too many options with little understanding of the advantages to each.

I am getting ready to rebuild my Win2000 box and I am looking for a little info.

Currently I have three physical drives in the machine. 1=NTFS (system), 2=NTFS (data only), 3=FAT32 (CD and ghost images needs DOS access)

Because I use GHOST to backup my system partition it needs to stay in NTFS.
Because I GHOST over to the FAT32 drive it needs to stay that way too.

But I am wondering about the data drive. It is NTFS now but what about switching it to a Dynamic drive? What would I gain?

Can I do the conversion without losing the data? I backup to CDRW but I don't want to have to restore 11gig of data if I can avoid it. I was going to just give it a try but I got a message saying it would dismount all other file systems and I wasn't sure if that ment the data would be lost or just the NTFS access to the drive so I stopped.

I know that once I put the drive over to Dynamic I can use things like MIRROR or RAID but if I run it as asingle drive standing alone do I gain anything? If so what? Why would I want to do this?

1 Solution
schworakAuthor Commented:
I guess my current drives are all BASIC disks with NTFS or FAT32 on them.

I am just not sure if a single dirve configured as a DYNAMIC drive is of any value.

I see the value of 2 or more DYNAMIC drives but not a single drive.

schworak, see this link: http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/en/datacenter/help/default.asp?url=/windows2000/en/datacenter/help/sag_DISKconcepts_04A.htm 

There are limitations for basic disks as well as dynamic disks. You may want to review the link and decide exactly what you want to accomplish before you change, because one you convert there is no going back. 2 of the main benifits of dynamic disk are striping and mirroring. That is RAID 0 and RAID 1. STriping allows data to be writen across multiple disks for greater access speed. Mirroring , of course, duplicated the data from 1 disk to another. You must however have either the hw or sw to run RAID.

You can also have both Dynamic AND Basic disks within the same system. A good start point for you is the link I listed above...
With my experiences with GHOST, i could not get ghost to see my NTFS Dynamic drive.

Take that into consideration.

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schworakAuthor Commented:
Thanks. I know GHOST can't see dynamic drives but I never ghost the drive I am considering. Just too much data.

I will check out that link and see what I can figure out.
Unless you have a compelling need to go to dynamic then I would strongly suggest staying with basic.  The partition table is not updated when you make changes to a dynamic disk.  This could effect your FAT32 partition.  I ended up removing all partitions on a system disk and rebuilding the disk because of "dynamic" disk problems.

I thought the latest Ghost supports writing images to NTFS partitions.  I wonder if it has full dynamic support...
Ghost 7.6 does not support Dynamic drives, however you can still use the command line switches to force a bit for bit copy of the drive.  It takes a bit longer, but it can be done.  

Dynamic disk conversion can be done without losing data, been there done that.

I currently have two NTFS SCSI drives that are Basic and two IDE drives both set up as Dynamic.  One is bigger han the other, so I am only using a portion of the larger disk for the mirror.  I store my data in the mirror.  Not as good as hardware RAID, but works fine in my server.
schworakAuthor Commented:
The link along with a few more I found along the way helped me find what I was looking for. Really, unless I am going to use more than one drive there is little need for a dynamic drive. The real advantages seem to come when spanning, mirroring, and RAID5 settings. Spanning isn't that big of a deal to me. I am more after mirroring or the RAID5 for fault recovery.
If that is the case I would recommend hardware implementation of RAID, if the OS goes down your array with the data should still be intact.  A mirror relying upon the OS is not as fault tolerant.
schworakAuthor Commented:
Thanks for that suggestion. I will look into a hardware solution as well.

As this is a simple home office setup, I am on a tight budget and may set up the software configuration first then the hardware configuration.

All comes down to price at this point I guess.

Thanks to everyone!

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