Hard Disk Management What appears in My Computer to be a hard disk drive might or might not correlate to a single physical device

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Booting to L:

NTFS v. FAT32 Disk Formats

Use NTFS unless you have to use FAT32


      • Windows 95/98/Me cannot recognize NTFS volumes

      • On multiboot systems, you must use FAT32 for any local drives that you want to access when you boot the system using Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me


      • NTFS permissions and encryption are not available on FAT or FAT32 partitions


      • An NTFS volume can recover from disk errors more readily than an otherwise identical FAT/FAT32 drive

      • NTFS uses log files to keep track of all disk activity

      • NTFS can mark bad clusters and stop using them


      • NTFS-formatted volumes can be expanded without having to back up, repartition, reformat, and restore (if you use Dynamic Disk)


      • On partitions greater than 8 GB in size, NTFS volumes manage space more efficiently than FAT32

      • The maximum partition size for a FAT32 drive created by Windows XP is 32 GB

      • With NTFS, a volume can be up to 16 terabytes (16,384 GB)

tip - Avoid FAT16

FAT16 is out of date – maximum partition size 2 GB

Don’t use it unless you have to use really old applications or operating systems

Appropriate for very small hard-disk partitions only

      • If you must use a FAT16 partition for compatibility reasons, try to keep its size under 511 MB

Converting a FAT32 Disk to NTFS

convert d: /fs:ntfs

      • At command line

      • Where d is the drive letter you want to convert.

      • If you convert system volume, you must restart

Basic and Dynamic Disks – Basic Disk

A basic disk is a physical disk that contains primary partitions, extended partitions, and logical drives

      • This is the old disk structure used by MS-DOS, Windows 95/98/Me, & Windows NT 4

      • The partition table is located in a 64-byte section of the Master Boot Record (MBR), the first sector on the disk

      • A basic disk can have a maximum of four partitions, which can include one extended partition

  • Extended partition can contain multiple logical drives D:, E:, and so on.

Basic Disk Examples

Four Primary Partitions

Three Primary Partitions, One Extended Partition with Three Logical Drives

Basic and Dynamic Disks – Dynamic Disk

A dynamic disk contains dynamic volumes

Dynamic disks can only be used by
Win 2000, XP, and 2003 Server

A dynamic disk does not have a partition table

Information about the layout of disk volumes is in a database stored on the last 1 MB of the disk

Dynamic Disk Advantages:

Unlimited number of volumes on a disk

Physical disks can be combined

  • Spanned volumes – add space to an existing volume

  • Striped volumes – data is stored in equal-sized 64-KB strips across multiple dynamic volumes on separate physical disks to improve performance

Dynamic Disk Advantages:

Disk configuration information for dynamic disks is stored in a database in a reserved area on the disk itself

      • If you have multiple dynamic disks on a single system, each one contains a replica of the dynamic disk database for the entire system

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Hard Disk Management What appears in My Computer to be a hard disk drive might or might not correlate to a single physical device

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