Difference between Windows 2003 Basic and Dynamic disks

Physical disk drives are hardware device that can be installed or attached to a computer for data storage purpose. Windows 2003 should automatically detect any disk drive you install the computer. The main tool which ships with Windows 2003 for disk management is Disk Management MMC snap-in.

You must be a member of the local Administrators group, the Backup Operators group, or have been delegated permission to manage basic and dynamic disks. To format a disk, you require administrator privileges.

Windows 2003 supports two storage types; Basic disks and Dynamic Disks.

Basic Disks

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 can have up to four primary partitions or up to three primary partitions and one extended partition. Each primary partition is represented with one logical volume. Each extended partition is represented by one or more logical drives.

Dynamic Disks

Dynamic storage is available in Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 Server. 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 disks, we can create fault tolerant volumes. Non-fault tolerant volumes provide no data redundancy. If a non-fault tolerant drive fails, the data can be recovered only from backup. Fault tolerant volumes provide data redundancy. If a fault tolerant drive fails, you can rebuild the volume without having to recover data from backup.

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