Are dynamic disks safe?

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Recently a question is raised by many Windows users: are dynamic disks safe? This is because dynamic disk is less used than basic disk in computer, and it is not very familiar to users. Certainly, the answer is yes. Dynamic disk is safe to use in Windows system.

Differences between Basic Disk and Dynamic Disk

What is dynamic disk? It is a term relative to basic disk. Basic disk and dynamic disk are two kinds of disks different in storage type. Basic disk can support MBR and GPT partition styles. In a MBR disk, there are at most four primary partitions or three primary partitions plus one extended partition in which multiple logical partitions can be created. But there’s no distinction between primary partition and logical partition in GPT disk and unlimited partitions can be contained in a GPT disk.

Dynamic disk also supports MBR and GPT partition style, but the difference is the number of volume in a dynamic disk is not limited. What’s more, dynamic disk offers features that basic disk cannot do. For example, it is able to create volumes that span multiple disks and create fault-tolerant volumes.

Dynamic disk is supported by Windows OS after Windows 2000, such as Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, etc.

The Benefits of Dynamic Disk

A dynamic disk consists of dynamic volumes, like simple volume, spanned volume, stripped volume, mirrored volume and RAID 5 volume, and so on. Here, we are going to talk about several common dynamic volumes in dynamic disk.

  1. 1. Simple volume

Users can create a lot of simple volumes on one dynamic disk. A simple volume takes up free space of a single disk and can be expanded to unallocated space on the same disk, but it cannot be expanded to other disks, otherwise, it will become a spanned volume.

  1. 2. Spanned volume

A spanned volume is composed by unallocated space on two or more disks. Using spanned volume can make the best use of a disk space. However, spanned volume isn’t fault-tolerant. If one part of a spanned volume fails, the whole volume will fail.

  1. 3. Stripped volume

Stripped volume, also known as RAID-0, is created by same-sized unallocated space on two or more disks. When data is saved to a stripped volume, it will be divided into many parts and saved to each disk of the stripped volume at the same time. This largely promotes the storage speed. But stripped volume doesn’t have the capability of fault-tolerance.

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  1. 4. Mirrored volume

A mirrored volume is fault-tolerant and formed by two unallocated space with the same size on two disks, and the data on each disk is the same. And if one disk fails, data on the other disk is still available. However, the disadvantage of mirrored volume is only 50% disk usage ratio.

  1. 5. RAID-5 volume

RAID-5 volume is a fault-tolerant volume and it is created on three or more disks. RAID-5 enjoys the benefits of stripped volume and mirrored volume. However, it cannot be mirrored or extended.

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These are main features of dynamic disk. Although dynamic disk is advanced than basic disk, many users are still accustomed to utilizing basic disk. So the requirement for converting dynamic disk to basic disk is raised by some users.

How to Convert Dynamic Disk to Basic Disk in Windows 7

Users may know that Windows built-in tool – Disk Management enables users to convert basic disk to dynamic disk. But the conversion is irreversible. Disk Management cannot succeed in converting dynamic disk back to basic disk without data loss unless all volumes in the dynamic disk are deleted. Obviously, it is not sensible and practical.

Under this circumstance, users had better resort to a third-party partition magic to handle the conversion. There are many partition programs on the market to be chosen from, such as MiniTool Partition Wizard. In the following paragraphs, a display of how to convert dynamic disk to basic disk with this software will be demonstrated.

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Open Partition Wizard to enter this interface. Choose a dynamic disk which needs converting and click “Convert Dynamic Disk to Basic” on the left panel.

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Click “Apply” to perform the conversion.

Note: the free edition of Partition Wizard doesn’t support this function. Pleased select the advanced ones when necessary.

Above all, users don’t need to worry whether dynamic disks are safe or not any more. Just like basic disks, dynamic disks have benefits and shortages. So, users can choose the preferred one according to different conditions.


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