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Swap Dynamic Disks between computers?

Last response: in Storage
September 16, 2003 8:04:20 PM

I have 2 200gb drives and a 120gb drive that i would like to move from one computer to another. They are set up as dynamic disks. I tried connecting one to the second computer and it wouldn't work. i tried rescanning and refreshing, but the drive won't become active. It shows up in disk administrator, but i can't get at it.
i really need to reformat my C: drive on the first computer.
so to sum up:
how does one move a dynamic disk from one computer to the other?
can i reformat my drive with the dynamic set up and not lose data on the other drives? (by this mean, lose the access table, not the actual data)

sorry...i realize that this is pretty vague, but im doing it from memory because im at work now. i hope to update with more information tonight.

Doug Rogers
September 17, 2003 3:29:36 PM

Why are your disks dynamic? Do you use software RAID? If so, the drives cannot be moved individually - they are part of an array and data is spread over them.

Dynamic disks can only be used on Windows 2000 or XP systems, if your 2nd computer is Win98 for example you cannot access the dynamic drives on them.

Microsoft Knowledge base ( has a lot of information on dynamic drives.
September 18, 2003 3:39:38 PM

They are both XP machines. XP says they are dynamic disks, there is no raid configuration. I am not sure why it is set up like that, as i don't ever recall making the disks dynamic.
here's the story: I was using my desktop also as a fileserver because i only have one machine capable of either at my present location. I then acquired another machine and wish to move only the larg harddrives over, but leave the C: drive in the origional machine.

I tried searching microsoft and all i could find is that in a dynamic disk set up, each disk contains all the information regarding how the hdd's are configured. It seemed to make sense then that i could move the non-OS hdds and they would rebuild the partition table once they were installed in the 2nd computer. That didn't work.

I would really appreciate and light that could be shed on this topic.

Doug Rogers
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September 18, 2003 3:57:21 PM

Is the motherboard/CPU/chipset setup substantially different between the two computers?

:eek:  My CPU runs so hot it creates a quark-gluon plasma :eek: 
September 19, 2003 2:30:34 PM

Well, I should think you should be able to move the HD's to the 2nd XP machine. I'm sorry but i don't have much experience with dynamic disks... Maybe you can un-dynamic the disk? (My experience with M$: no!) Maybe some third-party partition manager like PartitionMagic can help...

Anyway, I forgot to answer one of your questions: yes, you can reformat the original C-drive and reinstall your OS, without loosing your data on the other drives. If you want to be 200% sure you could temporarily remove them from the system. However, since the 2nd machine didn't like dynamic disks the reinstalled OS may not like them either...

One question: if you go to the Logical Disk manager, right-click on the disk (the grey disk area, not the partitions to the right), what options do you have here? (This is where you would find the option to convert to the dynamic disk)
September 22, 2003 2:29:40 PM

Although i am not 100% sure since i am at work now, i do believe there was an option to convert the disk back to a basic partition, but that would mean total data loss.

Doug Rogers
September 23, 2003 9:02:14 AM

According to Microsoft you should indeed be able to revert to basic partitions, but knowing M$ that would most likely mean data loss.

I seem to recollect that 3rd party software like PartitionMagic don't like dynamic disks, but maybe they have updated their software.

Anyway, something else: did you try to assign a drive letter to the partition on your second XP machine? (somehow a tiny voice in the back of my head tells me that that is not always done automatically with dynamic drives...)