System Volume Converted to Dynamic - Can This Be Undone?

Posted on 2006-04-11
Last Modified: 2010-04-18
Hello, experts.

I inherited a client from another IT firm, and they are running 2003 Server SP1. After reviewing the basic setup and installing backup software (no system backup since 7/05... frightening.) I noticed that the system volume, disk (0), was configured with a simple layout - dynamic, and the second drive (1) was configured as a partioned layout - basic. I think they were aiming at mirroring the drives, but I am not sure where to begin untangling this.

There is no data on disk (1) to worry about, but the system volume is packed with applications that I would prefer not to spend hour upon hour reinstalling. Can this volume be changed back to a basic disk? Can it be ghosted to another drive, reformatted and then ghosted back? Is suicide the answer?     =)

Thanks in advance,
Question by:commonsensetech
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Since there is only one volume on Disk 0, then that tells me there was no new volumes created after it became a basic disk. This is a good thing. Officially, there is no way to roll back to a basic disk. However, with a call to MS support, they can remote in and run some commands to convert it back to a basic disk. Of course they recommend a full system backup prior to doing this. It has the potential to be data destructive.

    If you wish to use software mirroring via the OS, then you need both disks to be dynamic. However, software mirroring sucks. If this is a production server, preference is to use a hardware array controller. They are worth the money.

    I believe if you ghost off the data, it will ghost back as a dynamic disk.
    LVL 15

    Accepted Solution

    Commercial partition management tools like Paragon Partition Manager ( and Acronis Disk Director ( can convert dynamic to basic. As with all partition management operations, make sure that you take an image of the disk / partitions first.

    Ghosting won't help you - that will just create another dynamic partition.

    The only other alternative is to backup everything on the dynamic partition, format it, create a basic partition, then restore the data to the basic partition. You'll probably also need to use the recovery console to recreate the boot records. Using Paragon Partition Manager or Acronis Disk Director is a lot less hassle.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Ah, they added that as a feature. Thanks for the info.
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    Take into consideration this:

    Reverting Dynamic Disk with Spanned or Striped volumes into a Basic one
    Q: Can I convert a Dynamic disk with Spanned or Striped volumes into a Basic Disk?
    A: No, you cannot. The program can convert only Dynamic Disks with Simple volumes which consists of a single region

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