Friday, June 4, 2010

Problem with Dynamic Disk

Yesterday I encountered a problem which resulted in my laptop being unable to boot from the internel hard  drive. It was mainly caused due to creation of a simple volume in the unallocated space of the disk through disk management of Windows 7. Below I describe the problem in detail, the cause of the problem and the solution I found. If any of you also ran in to the same problem, hope this will be helpful.
First I installed Windows 7 on a primary parition which was created at the installation time. Then after the installation was successful, I loged in as administeator and created another simple volume in the unallocated space by disk management utility in Windows 7. When creating that, I got a warning that the partition will be converted to a dynamic disk. At that time I did not know what dynamic disk is, so I searched in the internet and found out that it is not anything harmful. Therefore I accepted the creation of the new volume. Then ,when I restarted my laptop, it did not boot up. Then I again tried to boot from the DVD and it got booted. Then I noticed that all the partitions have turned in to dynamic disk. Therefore to convert the disk back to basic, I tried to delete the partitions in the reinstallation process of windows 7, but did not succeed.
Windows 7 allows only 4 primary partitions. During installation, when we create a partition to install the OS, it additionally creates one partition with a size of 100MB to store temporary . Now two primary partitions are created. Then I created another partition to install fedora. Now there are four partiotions including the unallocated space. But I prefered to have two more partitions to store my data in a more organized manner since I had enough disk space (300 GB altogether). The only option I had, to create more partitions, is to create simple volumes in the unallocated space with the help of disk management utility in Windows 7. But by doing that, it has turned the whole disk in to a dynamic disk. Therefore, a bootable disk could not be detected at the boot up stage and hence the system could not boot.
While searching for a solution, I found out that the solution is to convert the dynamic disk back to a basic disk. It could have been done through the disk management of Windows 7, but since I could not boot the OS, that option was not applicable. Then I found a good article which described a work around for that. First, you have to obtain a command promt at boot up as described in this article.. I used the option 2 described there. Then you can follow the procedure starting from step 2, described under the option 2 in in this article.
This will lead to the recovery of your disk by converting it back to basic disk.
I could simply use that procedure because I encountered the problem just after I made a clean installation and hence, I had no data stored in the hard drive. But if you have data which was not backed up in the hard drive, above procedure will delete that data. Therefore if it is the scenario, you should find a better work around to convert the disk back to basic without loosing your data. 

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