Configuring Disks and Drives
• With basic disks, Windows Vista supports both primary and extended parti-
tions. A primary partition is used to start the operating system. You access a pri-
mary partition directly by its drive designator. You cannot subdivide a primary
partition. In contrast, an extended partition is designed to be subdivided. After
you create an extended partition, you must divide it into one or more logical
drives. You can then access the logical drives independently of each other.
• With dynamic disks, Windows Vista supports several different types of vol-
umes. A simple volume is a volume on a single disk that can be used to start the
operating system and for general data storage. A spanned volume is a volume
that you extend across several disks. A striped volume uses free space on multi-
ple disks and stripes the data as it is written to give you faster read/write access.
Dynamic disks have several advantages over basic disks, including improved error
detection and error handling. Volumes on dynamic disks can also be expanded or
reduced in size. However, when you boot your computer to a non-Windows operat-
ing system, such as Linux, you’ll usually want to have a basic disk. Further, you can-
not create dynamic disks on any removable-media drives (such as ZIP, Jazz, and CD-
ROM) or any disk on portable computers. While you can convert external disks
attached via FireWire or USB to dynamic disks in some cases, you typically don’t
want to use dynamic disks with external disks.
Using Disk Management
Your primary tool for working with your computer’s disks is Disk Management. You
will use Disk Management to partition disks, format disk volumes with filesystems,
and mount disk volumes. You can also use Disk Management to convert a disk from
the basic disk type to the dynamic disk type and vice versa. However, while you can
convert from a basic disk type to the dynamic disk type without losing data, you
must remove disk volumes on a dynamic disk before you can convert the disk to the
basic disk type.
Using an Administrator account, you can start and work with Disk Management by
completing the following steps:
1. Right-click Computer on the Start menu.
2. On the shortcut menu, choose Manage to start Computer Management.
3. In the left pane of the Computer Management window, select Disk Manage-
ment under Storage.
As Figure 19-1 shows, Disk Management provides an overview of the storage devices
configure within or attached to your computer. By default, Disk Management’s main
windows show the Volume list view in the upper panel and the Graphical view in the
lower panel. The third view available but not displayed is the Disk List view.