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Okay, we've all heard the apocryphal stories about problems with server drives configured as "Dynamic", but the ability to make changes without having to reboot is clearly beneficial.

I'm adding a second disk, a RAID1 virtual disk, hardware managed, to a development server hosting Virtual Server. As this is a development server, reboots can happen during working hours with proper notice, so making changes without rebooting isn't critical. I'm leaning toward "basic", because I'm "afraid" of dynamic because of the stories too.

My question is, has anyone here actual suffered failure/corruption/other problems of a dynamic disk?

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6 Answers 6

Unless you need a dynamic disk for to use software RAID, I am not sure why you would use one. As far as I know there is no real advantage to sue them.

I have used the software RAID on occasion, and so I have used dynamic disks, I have never had any issues.

The one thing that may be a minor issue for some is that accessing dynamic disk from other disk imaging environments and older Linux systems is not possible.

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I am running a Dynamic Disk on Vista 64 for a RAID 0 setup. I have had no problems as of so far, but agree with Zoredache, if your hardware makes it work just fine, I wouldn't mess with it inside of Windows. Mine was hardware setup and I liked it better than now with the software solution.

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I used to use Dynamic disks, even if it was just a single volume with nothing special. Never again. It was a nightmare to recover. MS-DOS can't see it, Norton Ghost reads it as a RAW volume, you can't access the data on it from anything but another Windows machine (which is great... if you have another Windows machine).

Great for running Software RAID, but very difficult in data recovery situations.

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I've also had nightmares with data recovery and dynamic disks. –  John Naegle Dec 17 '12 at 4:18
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We've found it convenient to use on SAN-based volumes that may need to get expanded, such as our backup-to-disk volumes. If you really do need a volume larger than 2TB, Dynamic makes that a lot easier.

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I've been running Windows Server 2003 and have always used basic disks. I bought a new 1 TB disk with the intention of installing Win2k8 R2 on it. I partitioned the drive in Windows 2003 and, for the heck of it, made it a dynamic disk. (I wasn't really sure how much a Win2k8 installation needs.)

Then I booted the Win2k8 R2 DVD, which promptly refused to install on the new drive because "Windows cannot be installed on a dynamic disk". Furthermore, the Win2k8 R2 installer was incapable of reformatting the drive into a useable condition. I had to boot back up in Win2k3 to convert it back to a basic disk before the Win2k8 install would work. Pretty pathetic.

There wasn't any data on the disk so this was more of an inconvenience than a problem, but I'm not messing with dynamic disks again.

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If you use "Basic" disks you can use any number of bootable CDs that will allow you to access those disks if/when trouble strikes and you really need to recover or repair something on the disks (this may be much faster than performing a full restore).

If you use "Dynamic" disks and have the same problem you're pretty much screwed. How important is this aspect to you?

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