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Working with Basic Partitions

Windows XP Basic disks support partitions and logical drives and recognize volumes created using Windows NT 4 or earlier operating systems.

Before Windows 2000, Basic disks supported all volume types: basic volumes, volume sets, stripe sets, mirror sets, and stripe sets with parity (also known as RAID-5 sets).

Under Windows XP, you can create Basic partitions only on Basic disks. Because Windows XP Professional is considered a desktop (client-side) network operating system, it does not support any type of fault-tolerant volumes—even on Dynamic disks. Only Microsoft server operating systems support fault-tolerant features such as mirrored volumes and RAID-5 volumes (stripe sets with parity), and those configurations can only reside on Dynamic disks.

Keep in mind that these Windows fault-tolerant configurations are operating system features. Independent, non-OS RAID arrays, such as Serial ATA RAID host adapters, provide similar benefits with much less system overhead.

Using Partitions and Logical Drives on Basic Disks

To extend a Basic partition, the partition must be formatted as NTFS, it must be adjacent to contiguous unallocated space on the same physical disk, and it can be extended only onto unallocated space that resides on the same physical disk. You can only extend a Basic partition with the diskpart.exe utility, as shown in Figure 3.5, and not through the Management Console.

Figure 3.5Figure 3.5 Using the diskpart.exe utility to extend partition E.

Creating or Deleting a Partition or Logical Drive

To create or delete a partition or logical drive, you can use the diskpart.exe command-line tool, shown in Figure 3.1, or use the Disk Management console, shown in Figure 3.6.

To create or delete a partition of logical drive, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Disk Management console.

  2. To create a new partition, right-click an unallocated region of a Basic disk and then click New Partition.

  3. To create a new logical drive, right-click an area of free space in an extended partition and then click New Logical Drive to start the Create Partition Wizard.

  4. Select Primary Partition, Extended Partition, or Logical Drive as appropriate and follow the instructions presented by the wizard to define the size and format of the new storage space.

  5. To remove a partition, select Delete Partition from the partition's context menu.

Figure 3.6Figure 3.6 Dividing Basic disks into partitions using the New Partition Wizard.

In Windows XP, you must delete all logical drives or other volumes in an extended partition before you can delete the extended partition.

Be careful. If you choose to delete a partition or logical drive, all the data on the deleted partition or logical drive is lost. You cannot recover data stored on deleted partitions or logical drives. You cannot delete the system partition, boot partition, or any partition that contains an active paging file.

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