I finally found out how to convert a dynamic disk to a basic disk without data loss
Just now, I had a panic attack (I was on a deadline to fix someone's computer) when I was trying to do this operation since my drive imaging program couldnt restore my "basic disk image" (a system backup) on a "converted-to-dynamic-disk" drive (BTW, it was on a laptop so it had one HD). When I tried to do a restore, it would restart after booting into some sort of PE (Preinstallation) environment... I forgot that dynamic drives are not accessible in some types of PE environments.
To me, backup and reinstall takes too long. Besides, this procedure ONLY modifies the first sector of the HD so theres no data loss in the remaining thousands of sectors. The only mistake you can do here is mess up the partition table (the table of contents, in other words).
- Must not have implemented the extending, striping, raid level x (except mirror*), and spanning features after
you have converted to a dynamic disk.
*For mirrored volumes: Break them
- Must have the FULL
version of Partition Table Doctor (PTD) (latest version)
If running windows
1. Install and run PTD
2. You should
encounter an error. Click "auto" (to make life easier) and the partition table will be VIRTUALLY
rebuilt in an few seconds. The proceeding window will show the modifications. Watch out for hidden partitions. If you see a hidden partition, right-click the hidden partition and select "unhide". However, on some systems, do not unhide the partition for diagnostics and/or factory restoration (Should be a FAT16 or 32).
3. Right-click your system partition and select "active"
4. Once again, review the modifications for errors. As a precaution, backup the current partition table to a CD or FLOPPY.
5. On the menu bar, click on "general" then "save"
If you cannot access windows after the diskprobe method
1. Get a copy of the full version of PTD (the CD or floppy version)
2. Reboot and boot to the CD or floppy
3. Follow step 2-6 (However, you can only backup to a floppy)
Here's what I believe happens
Note: PTD does not support dynamic drives
(The key to the reversion process)
1. When PTD is launched, it encounters a partition table error since the LDM database (partition table for dynamic disk, in other words) isnt recognized by PTD
2. When "auto" mode is used, PTD scans the HD by sector and makes a virtual table consisting of the start and end sectors of each partition and writes a new partition table to the HD. Voila! The new partition table is the MBR style!
- After breaking mirrored volumes, this procedure should work (though I didnt try it, my logical speculation is that it should work since both drives/partitions are identical replicas of each other)
- I have not tried this operation on 64-bit processors, dual-core, GUID partition, and that sort of stuff. However, you are welcome to try and report your results here.
- The diskprobe method (Click here
) wont work for dynamic drives once containing logical volumes because a logical volume acts as 1 primary partition which can contain multiple partitions in order to exceed the 4 Primary partition barrier on MBR disks. If you were to try the diskprobe method, the logical volume will be read as a primary partition, thus, losing those other partitions.