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Installing Server 2003 on Basic Disk?

Last Modified: 2008-07-18

Dell Poweredge NF500 Storage Server
Windows Storage Server 2003 x64 edition
Raid 5 (maybe)
750 GB SATA drives (5)

My question is that I know you cannot have bigger than 2 TB on a basic disk.  This is fine because I can just setup everything up as dynamic so we can use all 4 TB of space (or 3 something after a RAID 5), but I don't believe that I can have Server 2003 on a Dynamic disk...or am I wrong?

I believe that I am looking at having a separate physical drive configuration for the OS and then using the big drives in a RAID 5 for data.  I have no problem installing everything on one big Virtual Disk with a RAID 5 but then that leaves some questions as to what happens to the OS install?

Any thoughts?
Watch Question

This article describes changes in Windows operating systems that will support disk logical unit sizes larger than 2 TB.

it should answer your question. on a personal note, i would avoid dynamic disk as if it's a plague.


Basically we are stuck with an unallocated partition because windows doesn't recognize it.  We are only utilizing 2 TB of space and are left with 1.4 TB of space that we can't use.  I assume it's because of the basic disk.

With that being said Disk Management and even Partition Manager Server 9.0 won't let me convert to GPT...the option is greyed out.
Windows Support for Logical Units Larger than 2 TB

With Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows XP 64-bit Edition (x64), these limits have changed.

Microsoft added support for 64-bit block numbers in the disk/class layer, using the new SCSI Commands included in the SCSI-3 Block Commands-2 command set. Microsoft also enabled GPT support for all Windows Server 2003 SP1 platforms. With this change, for example, a snapshot of a GPT partition on an Itanium-based machine can now be transported to a 32-bit machine for data mining or archiving purposes.

The new limits are as follows:

Basic or dynamic volume size: 264 blocks = 273 bytes (too big to pronounce)

Maximum NTFS file system size that can be realized on Windows: 256 TB

Note: Disk devices with more than 2 TB of disk space must be converted to GPT format for all of the disk space to be usable. If the device uses MBR format, the disk space beyond 2 TB will be unusable.


Good post and that all makes sense...sorta.

Why wouldn't it recognize that unallocated partition or even let me do anything with it?  Am I barking up the wrong tree assuming it's size restrictions?


Is there an issue with having one big partition at 4TB and having the OS on the same one?
here's why, in the note

Note: Disk devices with more than 2 TB of disk space must be converted to GPT format for all of the disk space to be usable. If the device uses MBR format, the disk space beyond 2 TB will be unusable.


When I right-click to convert the disk to GPT it is greyed out
why do you need such a big partition anyway?
This one is on us!
(Get your first solution completely free - no credit card required)


It's a file server that is going to replicate to our Colo.

Well, the part about only being able to use GPT on an empty disk pretty much summed it up.  We have data on there...that would explain it.

Thanks for all your help.

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