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How to convert basic disk into dynamic disk in Windows Server 2003

Last week we had configured next RAID:
1. RAID 1 with two hard discs of 36.4 GB for the Operating System
2. RAID 5 with four hard discs of 146.8 GB for data

At Windows level all this appeared as two partitions:
1. First one related with the RAID 1, so a partition with disk space of 36.4
2. Second one related with only one partition. Because of RAID 5, it appeared with disk space of 273 GB

We needed more space in the 2nd partition of 273GB. Our server had a free gap for a last hard disc. It was installed another disc which was similar to the existing ones in the RAID 5 (same size...etc) with the purpose of not creating issues with the RAID. The disk was installed. At Array Utility level it was added to the RAID 5 and it has been detected perfectly.

Now, in Windows still appears 273 GB, i mean, in spite of adding a new disk of 146.8 GB to the server the OS still doesnt recognize the new space. It makes sense as this space is unllocated. Luckily for us, we are referring to a Data partition, not OS partition. So, in theory right now we would be able of expanding the existing partition to this unllocated space using the diskmanagement tool or dispart command. At the same time i guess we could use tools like Partition Magic or similar ones.

Considering the fact of doing it with the Windows 2003 Server disk management tool here is my question as i didnt do it before. I have two options, via diskpart command line or via GUI of Windows. I would like to try it via disk management instead of command line. According to it:

1. Attached the first screen shot of how is the system.
2. As the disk 1 is basic i can conver it in dynamic with the purpose of extending the actual free space.
3. My doubt is, can i do it directly just clicking in convert to dynamic without a risk of loosing the data? i have the doubt too if i have to convert first the unllocated space in NTFS (and for doing this....how do you suggest to do it?)

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Co-Owner
Top Expert 2011
Commented:
Yes you can convert the disk simply by choosing convert to Dynamic Disk without losing any data.
You don't have to convert the disk however, to extend the disk, so I would leave it well alone and not convert it to a Dynamic disk.
Have a read of the following MS article about extending a volume using Diskpart:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325590 
Commented:
Alanhardisty is right! And you are pretty safe with a data drive.
I'd like to add this:
If you just want to use the Disk Manager gui:
After backing up several times and making a copy to an external drive . . .
You just right click the disk portion of the gui, convert to Dynamic. Then right click the volume portion you want to extend and pick 'extend volume'. Verify that you're doing the correct volume, and that you are using the correct unallocated space, check the size number to make sure the finished product will be correct, and then click finish.
Enjoy your newly enhanced data drive.

Review: After you convert it to Dynamic, you can just add the second partition to the space needed by clicking properties on the gui and choosing 'extend volume'. Double-check that the volume you are extending is the one that is highlighted (can't really miss here because you are extending the data partition, not the boot or system one).

Another way is to backup, delete the original partition (scary--triple check that backup) and re-create a volume of the size you want and copy the data back.
The only reason to do this is that the partition break when adding to a partition has been known be a problem down the road (if you want to change anything else, for example, on that drive).
Extending a volume over two partitions adds a slightly increased change of volume failure.
This is very rare, and mainly just a good reason to do regular backups.
BUT, if you want to go all the way:
Remember: Backup the data multiple times.
After verifying the backup, copy the data to an external USB drive (you may want to at least temporarily move any page files or printer queue files to a drive you're not changing).
Quadruple check the data.
Then, delete the partition in which the data used to live.
Create a new partition the correct size and then create a volume with correct name, and drive letter on the new partition.
Finally, copy the data back (*DO NOT delete the external drive data until some time has passed -- perhaps a week at least).
Then put the page files back and replace the print queue locations (if any).
Then enjoy happy, peaceful computing.

Author

Commented:
Thanks both of you. As alanhardisty was the first in replying i'm giving more points to him. Anyway thanks a lot lscarbor for your complete answer