A spanned volume is a volume that uses more than one physical disk. You can use any unallocated space left on disks to create a spanned volume. It also can include more than one unallocated space on a single disk while free spaces can be of any size. The only benefit of spanned volumes is the use of unallocated space that may have originated from imported disks or specific volume arrangements. The main disadvantage is the risk of losing the volume if one disk participating in the spanned volume fails. A faulty portion means a faulty spanned volume! There are no performance benefits when implementing spanned volumes.
To create a spanned volume, perform the following steps with administrator privileges:
- Open the Disk Management console by typing disk management in the Start search text box and click Create and format hard disk partitions or from the Computer Management console found in Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Administrative Tools
- Convert disks to Dynamic if they are set as Basic, right-click a Disk (left-hand side) and select Convert to Dynamic – at a later stage, the wizard prompts you to convert disks if you skip this step Read more…
Moving data disks from one computer to another is a task that should be carried out with caution. If a volume becomes corrupted in the process then you may not be able to recover you data, hence, treat such operation as sensitive and take the necessary precautions.
Follow these steps when moving disks form one computer to another:
- Backup your critical data to another drive or external medium.
- Make sure that the status of the volumes on the disk is healthy – check the Status column or disk layout from the Disk Management console, repair volumes before proceeding with the move!
- From the Device Manager, open the disk drives node and select the disk you are removing, right-click the disk and click Uninstall, finally click Ok to the Confirm Device Removal dialog box – if you have multiple disks installed and some are of the same brand and model, then use the Location info ex: Location 1 (Channel 0, Target 1, Lun 0) to determine which disk is the right one Read more…
In Windows 7 systems we find two different partitioning systems. These are the Master Boot Record (MBR) and the Globally Unique Identifier Partition Table (GPT) styles. While MBR is supported by all versions of Windows, GPT is only supported on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Servers 2003 and 2008, and 64-bit versions of Windows XP. GPT offers several advantages over MBR such as, it can support up to 128 partitions while MBR supports only four, GPT is more reliable as it is aware of the modern disks geometries, GPT supports larger partitions – up to 18 Exabytes in theory and uses primary & backup partition tables for redundancy.
When using GPT partitions it is worth noting that larger partition sizes can have side-effects such as, take longer to check (running ChkDsk) and they are not compatible with all operating systems! Also, to boot from a GPT disk, the computer must support the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI). Remember, that all BIOS based systems must boot from an MBR disk. Removable media cannot be partitioned with the GPT style.
As most standard Windows installations format the entire disk with one partition or volume (excluding the hidden 100MB system partition), creating additional partitions without installing a new hard disk requires you to resize or better to shrink your existing volume. In certain computer setups, one would be better off with two or more partitions rather than having one large volume (sometimes referred to as the boot drive or the c: local disk). A typical case might be when creating a partition that hosts backups. Usually, backups are large files that take plenty of hard disk space and may halt your system because after so many jobs no free space may be left available for the system to operate. Also, it is by far more simpler to resize an existing volume rather than backing up all data, deleting and re-creating two or more partitions when your system is already installed.
To shrink a volume using Disk Management, perform the following procedure:
- Open the Disk Management console by typing disk management in the Search text box from the start menu, and click the Create and format hard disk partitions link
- From the Disk Management console, right-click the volume you want to shrink and click Shrink volume – the system checks and discovers the maximum available shrink size.
- From the Shrink dialog box specify the amount which you want to shrink the volume or leave the displayed value to shrink to the maximum amount
- The shrink process proceeds without further prompting and at the end you should be able to see a new unallocated space. Then, prepare this newly created space as a new volume.
- To revert back before you prepare the new volume you can right-click the shrinked volume and click Extend Volume and follow the Welcome to the Extend Volume Wizard