Dynamic Disks in XP

I had a problem recently with an IDE hard drive formatted with a single NTFS partition, that used to sit in a Windows 2000 machine. Having installed XP-64-bit on a new machine, I then plugged this IDE drive in, powered the computer up and proceeded to let XP install what it needed to support the drive. When it had done, the NTFS partition wasn't accessible. Worse, the Logical Disk Manager reported the drive as being 'Dynamic' (as opposed to 'basic' which a drive usually is), and that it couldn't activate the NTFS partition as therer were 'no valid configuration copies found'.

I then went looking for a partition tool that could help me find out what was going wrong. In the end I found an ISO for a bootable CD, called the Ultimate Boot CD, and this contained loads and loads of system inspection and recovery tools. Some tools are demo, but a fair few are full-featured and free; naturally, use them at your own risk!

For this particular problem, none of the disk recovery tools were any use. None of the tools I tried from the manufacturers (Western Digital, Seagate, etc) would analyse/edit the partitions; only concerned with the physical integrity of the disk. As for the filesystem tools, I tried these two :

  1. Active@ Partition Recovery (partition-recovery.com): didn't recognize the drive at all
  2. Ranish Partition Manager (http://www.ranish.com/part/): Everything appeared correctly, and I managed to modify partition to be the correct filesystem
Problem solved! What did I have to modify then? It was simple; all I needed to to was change the partition type from '42' (which means 'dynamic') to '07' (which means 'NTFS'). Interestingly, XP was only able to actually see the partition once I'd plugged the drive into a Windows 2000 machine, powered it up, accessed the drive, powered down again and plugged the drive back into the XP machine.

At least, this is what I did and for all I know, a simple reboot of the XP box might have sufficed...


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John Swindells

John Swindells I am a career professional in software development, becoming proficient in various systems and languages since 1992. In recent years I have been especially active in web and mobile app projects. I stepped down in April ... (more)

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