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I am trying to install Windows Server 2008. In the disk partition step, I saw my disk partitions are recognized by the installation program as :

Physical Disk 1:
100M system partition
80G  dynamic partition

Physcical Disk 2:
500G primary partition
500G primary partition

So what's the difference between system, dynamic and primary partition?

Which partition should I choose for an operating system?

Thanks!

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1 Answer

The "system" partition on Windows 7/2008 is the 100 MByte partition that contains the hardware-related files and the Boot folder that tell a computer where to look to start Windows.

A "boot" partition is where the Windows system32 folder is located.

A disk can be basic or dynamic. The partition style/scheme can be either MBR or Guid.

A dynamic partition offers additional capabilities, such as the ability to create volumes that span multiple disks (spanned and striped volumes) and the ability to create fault-tolerant volumes (mirrored and RAID-5 volumes). Regardless of whether the dynamic disks on a system use the MBR or GPT partition style, you can create up to 2,000 dynamic volumes on a system, although the recommended number of dynamic volumes is 32 or less.

You can create up to four partitions on a basic disk using the MBR partition scheme: either four primary partitions, or three primary and one extended. The extended partition can contain one or more logical drives.

A dynamic disk MBR layout is similar to the basic disk MBR layout, except that only one primary partition is allowed (referred to as the LDM partition), no extended partitioning is allowed, and there is a hidden partition at the end of the disk for the LDM database.

Windows Server 2003 SP1 and later can use a partition style known as the globally unique identifier (GUID) partition table (GPT) in addition to the MBR partition style. A Guid partition allows partitions larger than 2 TB, but you cannot install windows on a partition larger than that. GPT boot volumes are also not supported on many older versions of Windows. A basic disk using the GPT partition style can have up to 128 primary partitions, while dynamic disks will have a single LDM partition as with MBR partitioning. Because basic disks using GPT partitioning do not limit you to four partitions, you do not need to create extended partitions or logical drives.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/What-are-system-partitions-and-boot-partitions

Basic and Dynamic Disks
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa363785%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

Disk Concepts and Troubleshooting
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc977219.aspx

Partition styles
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc738081.aspx

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