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Change away from dynamic mirrored RAID?

Posted on 2006-07-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Some time ago in trying to solve another problem I changed my two-disk-drive RAID mirror to dynamic (motherboard Promise controller).  I now realize that this places a lot of restrictions on what I can do with backups, restoring XP, etc.

I want to change back to mirrored RAID but not dynamic.  I can break the mirror, then move one of the drives to a disk controller not part of RAID, and go from there.  Can someone give me the steps?
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Question by:jonwells
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 17113218
If you chose the deceptive windows "dynamic" drive, you are fried, totally fried, and that is what one gets for trusting in MS.  Never do it.  Dynamic is a software deception as to mirroring, it is not real drive mirroring.  So if you chose windows dynamic drive, you only have one choice --

* copy all data to another drive and format the drives, even Fdisk it if you can, to remove this MS junk.

To establish a proper hardware mirror, you format the first drive as you want, and put the data on it you want, and put the second drive in unformatted, or whatever, and make the raid 1 in the Promise BIOS, making sure that the drive with data is on the FIRST controller, and is a bootable drive.  Once the RAID is made, you keep windows TOTALLY AWAY from this RAID, the controller manages it, windows will only mess it up.
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 17113220
Also, you should copy all data to another drive before you do any changes to the disk setup.  WIndows dynamic drives are TOTALLY unrecoverable.  If you lose it, it is gone.
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by:r-k
ID: 17113640
"Dynamic is a software deception as to mirroring, it is not real drive mirroring."

scrathcyboy: Can you elaborate on what you mean by this sentence. Why is it not real drive mirroring? I have been using it for quite some time with no problem, but want to be sure I did not miss anything....
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by:nttranbao
ID: 17114235
open Windows HELP, seek CONVERT DYNAMIC TO BASIC. These are standard steps.
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by:jonwells
ID: 17114480
Per Microsoft Help, the "standard steps" seem to be to delete all the volumes on the disk, then start over:

"The disk must be empty before you can change it back to a basic disk. If you want to keep your data, back it up or move it to another volume before you convert the disk to a basic disk.
 • Once you change a dynamic disk back to a basic disk, you can create only partitions and logical drives on that disk. "

I can break the mirror, then do this procedure on one of the drives.  How can I restore the data onto the now-Basic disk, and eventually rebuild the mirror as usual?  If I image each partition first, and restore those images to the newly-Basic drive, will that also restore the Dynamic state?
 
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by:jonwells
ID: 17114829
I found a similar question from 2003 in Experts-Exchange, and one of the responses suggested Paragon Partition Manager which claims it can do it.  Paragon does have this caveat:

"Anyway, the program allows to convert Dynamic Disks containing only simple and single-part volumes. The thing is that Veritas who developed the Dynamic Disks for Microsoft, names multi-part volumes entirely located on a single disk as the "simple volume" too. However, such volumes aren't simple in Microsoft's sense because their filesystem is spread out over several non-adjacent partitions. Currently Paragon utilities do not convert such volumes because the process would be very lengthy and unreliable."

Before spending $100 on this software, is there a sure way to know that my volumes are simple and single-part?
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 17116333
" open Windows HELP, seek CONVERT DYNAMIC TO BASIC. These are standard steps."

Yes, the format and wipe all data from the disk -- that is REAL standard for microsoft.

I reiterate again, and if you dont believe me, then good luck to you -- YOU CANNOT GO BACK FROM A MS DYNAMIC DRIVE TO A "NORMAL" DRIVE WITHOUT WIPING THE DRIVE(S) CLEAN.  READ THE MS DOCS.

And good luck
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nttranbao earned 500 total points
ID: 17117546
Dir jonwells

You can try some methods and 3parties, but aint this worth if you have a simple and safe way to do : copy all your data to other places ( usb disk, CD, other HDDs..) and simply follow the MS instruction.

"If I image each partition first, and restore those images to the newly-Basic drive, will that also restore the Dynamic state" -> see this reference :http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/ghost.nsf/docid/2000062209523525?Open&docid=2000020908463825&nsf=ghost.nsf&view=docid
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by:nttranbao
ID: 17117595
Thanks. Glad it's kinnda useful
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