Hard Disk Concepts and Operations in Windows NT and Windows 2000


Murat Yildirimoglu






Windows NT                   Windows 2000                Windows 2000

(Basic Disk)                           (Basic Disk)                           (Dynamic Disk)


Primary Partition         Primary Partition         Simple Volume


Logical Drive on          Logical Drive on          Simple Volume

Extended Partition       Extended Partition              


Volume Set                Spanned Volume         Spanned Volume        


Stripe Set                   Striped Volume           Striped Volume


Disk Mirroring             Mirrored Volume          Mirrored Volume


Stripe Set with Parity   RAID-5 Volume           RAID-5 Volume


Basic Disk

Basic disk is the disk system we have been using up until Windows 2000. And it can be still used under Windows 2000. There are two types of partitions on basic disks: Primary partititons and extended partitions. There can be up to 4 primary partitions on a disk. And only one extended partititon  can be on a disk. Last constraint for them is the total number of the partitions must be 4 (4 primary or 3 primary and an extended partition). Primary partitions are the ones that can be marked as active. Extended partititons can not be marked as active. Why do we have an extended partition then? Because we can create logical drive son extended partition and doing so we can get rid off the four partitions constraint. The information about the configuration of the basic disk is stored in the Registry and this makes it difficult to port a disk to a different Windows NT or Windows 2000 system.


Dynamic Disk

Dynamic Disk is new to Windows 2000. It is smarter and more flexible than the basic disks. There is no max number limit for the dynamic disks. You can create any number of sections, called “volumes”, on dynamic disks. And the configuration info is stored on the disk itself, an advantage for portability. Disadvantage with dynamic disks is that only Windows 2000 can recognize  them. You can not dual boot Windows 2000 with older OSs anymore.



To be continued…