Convert Dynamic Disk back to Basic Disk without data loss

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by markymoo, Nov 11, 2007.

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  1. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member


    I like to share with you my method. I had a 400gb sata drive and xp wont see the data after install until you add it to Disk Management as a Dynamic Disk because it somehow it became a dynamic disk in the past. I not sure why. For it to be seen as a Basic Disk like all the rest of your drives you have to convert it to Basic but this means you lose all your data so say Microsoft. I didn't want to lose 400gb of data. Haha. So here's a hack to convert it to a Basic Disk without losing any data. It also means i can access the drive in dos properly too. Welcome...

    First download this great disk editor - No need to install. - Will also open disk images.

    By default it reads your disks Read Only so goto Extras - Options and untick 'Read Only by Default.

    Next goto Extras and select Open Disk and select the right Physical Disk of the drive you want to become Basic Disk.

    Once opened you see the first sector on display like so.


    It should read 42 at sector 0 location 1C2. Change it to 07(ntfs) and then click the save icon at the top to save back to the drive. Now reboot and run chkdsk drive: /f after. Thats it, it's now a Basic Disk.

    Basic Disk Storage

    Basic storage uses normal partition tables supported by MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), Microsoft Windows NT, Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. A disk initialized for basic storage is called a basic disk. A basic disk contains basic volumes, such as primary partitions, extended partitions, and logical drives. Additionally, basic volumes include multidisk volumes that are created by using Windows NT 4.0 or earlier, such as volume sets, stripe sets, mirror sets, and stripe sets with parity. Windows XP does not support these multidisk basic volumes. Any volume sets, stripe sets, mirror sets, or stripe sets with parity must be backed up and deleted or converted to dynamic disks before you install Windows XP Professional.

    Dynamic Disk Storage

    Dynamic storage is supported in Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003. A disk initialized for dynamic storage is called a dynamic disk. A dynamic disk contains dynamic volumes, such as simple volumes, spanned volumes, striped volumes, mirrored volumes, and RAID-5 volumes. With dynamic storage, you can perform disk and volume management without the need to restart Windows.

    You cannot create mirrored volumes or RAID-5 volumes on Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional, or Windows XP 64-Bit Edition-based computers. However, you can use a Windows XP Professional-based computer to create a mirrored or RAID-5 volume on remote computers that are running Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, or Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, or the Standard, Enterprise and Data Center versions of Windows Server 2003.Storage types are separate from the file system type. A basic or dynamic disk can contain any combination of FAT16, FAT32, or NTFS partitions or volumes. A disk system can contain any combination of storage types. However, all volumes on the same disk must use the same storage type.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2007
  2. vbc

    vbc Registered Member

    I have a problem and hope you or someone can help me.

    We were changing a secundary (NTFS, not bootable) disk to another machine and it appeared in the winxp64 disk management as dynamic and foreign.

    I dont remenber why and when it became dynamic but anyway is was a simple and single volume in just one partition nad logical drive.

    in the context menu, Inadvertdly i click in the "convert to basic disk" instead of "import foreign disk" and the result is "F***" I hope i can anyway retrieve my data!! it became basic and with unallocated space, no partition.
    Then, we change the disk to other 2 diferent machines, in one it apeared as offline, in other apeared as basic with the space unallocated, we tried to convert it back to dynamic but no success, unalocated again.
    We dont want to create a logical drive because we are afraid of doing more things on it.
    Do you think we can find any way with any disk editor or partition recovery/rebuil tool that can make possible to recovery our files in there?
    We tried already with the Linux Rescue CD and it cannot see files.

    Can you help?
    Thank you
  3. tgell

    tgell Registered Member


    You can use the demo version to see if recovery is possible. Do not install it on the drive to are trying to recover.
  4. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

    Hi vbc

    Sympathies, what you did was click the destruct button. Dynamic disks contain a 1mb database which is hidden at the end to keep track of the data and not in convential partition tables. When you converted it to basic you removed these tables and so it has no idea where the data is. Theres no benefits using dynamic in 99% cases unless you want more than 4 partitions.

    All i say is try to get it back theres a possibility. I used umpteen recovery s/w. My tried and trusted data recovery for extreme cases is WinInternals ERD 2003/5 Disk Commander which is on Administrator Pak which were bought up by Microsoft but comes with a hefty pricetag. It looks simple s/w on the outside but if theres a chance it will get back. This does a comprehensive full scan so it will take a long time. GetDataBack-ntfs that tgell suggested is a good one if it ntfs. It best you try a freeware one or trial to see if you can it back first before buying. You have to do a deep scan.

    Don't try to repair, rebuild the partition or alter the structure of the drive, just scan it first to see if it finds any data.

    Theres alot of good freeware hard drive utils on recovery cd collections on the web.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2007
  5. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

    I forgot to mention one other cracking recovery software. Active@ Undelete It will recover from dynamic disks and raid also. It will let you take a raw disk image of the corrupted drive and can put back the image if you mess up or want to experiment with different recovery options.
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