How to Convert a Dynamic Disk to Basic Disk in Windows 7

How to Convert a Windows 7 Dynamic Disk to Basic Disk When  Microsoft says It’s Irreversible!

Firstly, Do Not Dance with the Devil!

I made the mistake (again!) of trying dynamic disks with my new Windows 7 installation.  I must have been asleep – the use of this system is seriously frowned upon for most users.  It has several pitfalls not least that it’s high-end Windows specific (i.e not home, basic etc), and it’s impossible to clone partitions for backup or moves, say.

But mainly, it’s supposed to be irreversible AND un-do-able!

Dynamic Disk Option
Dynamic Disk Option

To convert from basic to dynamic is frighteningly easy (see screen shot).  The reversing option disappears once it’s done and in virtually all Disk Partition Software,  any ‘partitions’, now called volumes, just show as one big monolithic slab of pale yellow disk that has any possible action greyed out!  This was really bad as it was on the system drive…

You’ll see in the screen-shot that there are 3 disks.

Disk 0 & disk 1 were an effort at user-data mirroring originally until I realised what I pile of poo I’d just landed in.  All the initial  recommendations were negative and the prognosis didn’t look good.  See:

Solution

HxD Screenshot
HxD Screenshot

However, this post gave me a pointer which eventually led to here and the HxD disc editing tool, here.   The Dynamic Disk Converter is a paid for solution and would have worked.  But I tried the approach after a bit more reading around the subject….  WARNING: See my comment on Dynamic Disk Converter here – added 27/7/2010(SP)

The trick, as in Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, is 42!

Specifically, all 42‘s must be converted to 07.

The highlighted area contains the bit to edit and the numbers to edit in this area are those in column 02 that are 42.  So change all the 42′s to 07′s in column 02 in the four highlighted lines.  (n.b. The screendump was taken after I’d fixed the disc, so all the 42s are now 07 and some partitions have been deleted.)

That’s all.

Do NOT twiddle anything else.

Caveat

This post in the thread says to just alter one line – this is wrong!  (There’s a confusing addition at the bottom.  This relates directly to my experience, so yes, all real primary partitions are numbered 07)

And this post says to do them all – this is right.  It shows 3.

In my original pre-editted state, I had 4!  Handily, this shows the reason (I think), why you can only have 4 primary partitions on a drive.

Finale and Actual Actions Summary

Current Disks
Current Disks

Now you’ll see I have only two 07′s in the column (in the screenshot above).  These map to the two partitions showing in my Disk Management full screen-shot here.  For some reason, it had ‘remembered’ other volumes I’d made on the disk – that’s why I had 4 to do.

I was quite prepared to buy the paid-for software.  It looked good and worth the cash.  Instead:

  1. I very tediously moved ‘volumes’ into ‘partitions’ onto a third disk I entered into the system.
    1. This later disk needed it’s partitions resizing first to make room.
    2. It was hot-plugged using it’s SATA into the wire from the DVD as I didn’t have any spare SATA wires!  Doh!
  2. The moved data was from disk 0 & disk 1, all relevant stuff going to disk 2.
  3. Deleted all the volumes from Disk 1
  4. I could then set Disk 1 to basic using Windows as per Microsoft instructions.
  5. Moved all user data back to C-Drive volume (I had been in the process of separating data from programs).
  6. Backed up C-Drive volume and system state using Windows 7 Backup tool to new partition ‘BACKUP’ using all of Disk 1
    1. This was in case the following hex stuff failed.  It would allow an easy restore by:
      1. Install windows from DVD onto Disk 0
      2. Use Windows backup to reset system state and all the files & programs on the C-Drive on Disk 0
  7. Now used the Hex editor to edit the disk sector information as described above.
  8. REBOOT (fingers crossed!)
  9. WAHAY! It worked.
  10. Removed pseudo partition remaining on Disk 0 to leave unallocated space  – I think this was due to the invisible 1Mb database that exists on dynamic disks.

Plans

I’ve now got two new hard drives in the post.  When these have arrived and are installed, I’ll use standard tools to move partitions and get user data onto a RAID mirror assembly.  This will increase data integrity and give me a better backup.  You’d think that outboard backups would be fine, wouldn’t you?  Well I bought a Western Digital 1TB Studio Edition which worked okay for a while….

But it ran so hot the eSATA/USB circuitry failed!  I dismantled it and found the drive to be okay – this is the third disk, Disk 2 in the screen-shots!

Now, I have a new system with a better,  heavy-duty power supply, adequate (and quiet cooling), with the whole thing protected behind an APC UPS which I’ve had for a year.  Sticking to basic disks should make backups simpler and the whole thing should be more reliable – certainly more so than the WD Studio thing which is a pile of hot plastic pants.

p.s. added 5/12/2010: read this for my new recommended fast backup solution: http://strangelyperfect.tv/10155/what-is-the-best-backup-for-windows-in-a-small-home-or-office/

p.p.s. added 01/03/2012: I now recommend that folks use the free Easeus software, http://www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm  This will fix dynamic discs using a familiar graphical user interface so is way less scary.  Thanks to those that pointed this out.

Stick to basic Disks – you know it makes sense!

Further Reading

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156 responses .

  1. David says:

    Dynamic Disk convertor did not work for me paid over the money for it. I wish I had sssn your post earlier. Took my drive and put it into another computer running windows 2008 server and bingo recognised the drive got all the data off and then converted the disk.

  2. Strangely says:

    So that's manual editting 1, paid for software Nil!

  3. Tom says:

    Ok, sleepy in the morning, didn't realize I'm trying to create fifth partition, voila, dynamic hell.

    It was on a new machine, so I made backup on a usb flash and went for what the Internet had for me. Tried your solution, rebooted, Windows working, fine.

    However, instead of three enigmatic raw partitions originaly on the HP notebook I now have one enigmatic raw partition. But hey, didn't know what's there before, don't know now :).

    Big thanks for this, I just don't have time for recovering my system right now, so this really saved me.

    • Strangely says:

      @Tom
      Glad it worked!

      One extra partition on your HP machine “could” be the backup BIOS-type thing that came on all Compaq machines until they were bought by HP. The other partition is probably the invisible partition that’s made as part of the dynamic disk hell. It’s actually a database that stores heaps of data relevant to the dynamic disks.

      So now you have one standard partition, and it’s all working fine – ergo, job done. Just be careful in case your machine is set up in the old Compaq fashion. There are quite a few machines about like this, and if you delete the BIOS partition there’s a separate restore route to replace this…..(Acer sometimes do this as well)

      (This is one of the reasons I stick to bog standard mainboards and componentry nowadays and stay away from bespoke things from major manufacturers unless I’m sure that they are completely wipe-able and restore-able from a standard Windows/Linux boot disk. It’s also why I will never, ever fall into the dynamic disk trap again!)

  4. Plaknas says:

    Hi,

    I went through your solutions for this problem. It all seems fine except that I have only one disk on my laptop. I didn't know there were two other volumes that didn't show and when I created another one, I ended up with this. Now if I do the HxD method, given that I have only one harddisk, can I still boot Windows? And if I do a full system recovery, can I set things straight? I mean, get back to basic disks? I am willing to do anything but I cannot pay….just bought a new HP laptop. Thanks.

    • Strangely says:

      If it’s fine…what’s the problem? ;-) You seem a bit confused so let me know exactly where you are with your system and changes. I’ll help where I can but as soon as mine started working properly, I stopped playing with the tool!

      But guessing;

      When you use HxD, you examine a disc at a time. By default it’s read-only for safety. So if you only have one drive, you only have to do it once.

      What you have to look at is how many “07″ or “42″‘s you have. If you are sure you only have one boot (usually C) drive, then there should be just one “07″ when you are done and finished. Any extra one is a hidden partition for the dynamic disk database…(This is the status in my screen dump above). You just set this “42″ to “07″ if you haven’t already and then delete it to recover the small bit of disc space it takes up, using the standard windows disc management tool.

      You can tell your boot disc as there’s a number “13″ on the same line as your “07″. You should be able to boot your windows from this disc. (This “13″ pops up a lot in old DOS type talk and I think this is what’s going on.)

      A problem for you is the exact location of your system restore information. As far as I’m aware, system restore doesn’t dig down as far as dynamic disc information, just files on the partition.
      I didn’t do this route and had all my important files saved to alternative locations before I started.

      • Plaknas says:

        Well it goes like this. I could see only two volumes C, with Windows installed and D, the one with the Recovery files. C had a capacity of 450GB, so I decided to create more and I ended up with a dynamic disk. I thought I could live with it until I realized that I cannot install other OS on a dynamic disk.

        I can see 7 volumes in Windows Disk Management. C, D, and three volumes that I created. There is another NTFS called SYSTEM and a FAT32 called HP_TOOLS which I am guessing contains all the data of the HP exclusive tools on the computer.

        When I load up HxD, I have “42″ in the exact same place as you. Now, if I change all those to 07, can I get back to Basic Disk. Is that what you did? I am a little apprehensive because you seem to have more than 1 hard disk while I have only 1. However, Tom and I seem to have the same problem. If it works, I just want to be sure, all the HP exclusive tools continue to work, like the volume and playback control. I am using a hp dv7 series laptop, if that helps in anyway. Right now I am backing up my data, in case I need to do a system restore.

  5. Plaknas says:

    I meant a full system recovery. Not just a system restore.

    • Plaknas says:

      THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

      I got back my basic disk again!!!! The only difference was that, the recovery partition was empty and there was another 1MB volume for god knows what reason. THANKS!!!

      I solemnly swear I shall never use dynamic disks ever again, despite the easy method you have provided to convert to basic disks again.

      • Strangely says:

        @Plaknas
        “I solemnly swear” – I like that! I too have a mental “note to self” to never, ever, contemplate the dynamic disc thing again!

        You seem to have things sorted out fine. As you’ll have guessed, the HxD tool just looks at a single hard drive at a time, so the only benefit to me for having several discs was having a place to copy my files to. When I did the process, I disconnected my backup discs to ensure that there was no possible way that the data could get mangled.

        I also see what you mean by the “recovery partition”. I forgot that several manufacturers will do this by default i.e. split a physical drive into two for backup purposes.

        HP Tools: If you fish around HP support, I’m certain that you can download new copies of the tools with instructions about how to set up a HP drive to the maker’s specifications. You could certainly do it for old Compaq machines from 10 years ago. So I shouldn’t worry about losing them too much. The tricky bit is if they’ve split the BIOS in the old Compaq way. Even so, there should be full instructions and support files for how to do all this.
        Caveat: For the above, you will, of course, need access to a second machine to store files and make setup discs etc.

        The 1Mb Volume: After you’ve set things to “07″, this shows up, as it did for me. It is in fact the hidden database volume that Dynamic Disks use for their lookups. You can delete it once you are done using disc manager and then add the extra space to your standard C-drive, or whatever using the same tool.
        BTW: using Win7, it makes a hidden volume of 100Mb for it’s own use which the disc management tool call a “system, active, primary partition” – so don’t delete that if you are on Win7!!! The standard C-drive is called “boot, page file, crash dump, primary partition” in it’s description.

        As a further aside, I’ve moved away from having multiple OSs on hard drives in the old way (as you are intending to do). I now use a FREE Sun virtualisation tool called VirtualBox, which I can heartily recommend, it being much more stable than Microsoft’s XPMode thing. Give it a try if you are after using other OSs.
        Currently I use it to access my work remotely via a WinXPsp3 window as the Citrix software is only 32-bit and won’t work on my 64-bit Win7. So you can install any program (including anti-virus) that you want into the virtual OS. I also have another XP for sandbox testing or browsing the dark side of the internet(you take ‘snapshots’ of the OS when it’s nice and stable, then if it’s infected or corrupted, just delete the current snapshot and use the good, previous one). I also have installations of Fedora11, Mandriva2009.1, Suse11.1, Ubuntu 9.10 as well which can all be fired up at a click.
        the good thing about VirtualBox is that it’s almost platform independant. So you can install it in Linux, Apple, Solaris or Windows, and tyhen run nearly any other (or the same!) OS in a window. You map what drives you want to see in your virtual OS that exist on the HOST PC, or not – as you want. I’ve even mapped virtual drives through to my work OS inside the Citrix client.
        This is all very weird to talk about – a bit like “The Matrix” with programs running inside programs….
        Give it a go. It means you can leave your HP Laptop’s drive alone and won’t have to bother with boot managers etc, which can sometimes go wrong!

        • Plaknas says:

          Well yes that 1MB partition was deleted anyway when I returned to Basic Disks. The important thing is everything is normal. I should just remember never to make more than 4 volumes. Yes, there is a system volume of around 100MB, it can't be deleted. I will definitely try out VirtualBox. Thanks for all the hlp.

  6. winslive says:

    Modify disk sector is complex compare with use Dynamic Disk Converter. the utility DDC is a choice easy and safe, i chose it. to download: http://www.dynamic-disk.com/download.html

    • Strangely says:

      @winslive

      I gave the link for Dynamic Disk Converter in my original post. Thanks for your your information on your successful usage of it, and the extra link.

      Since then, the score is 3-1 for Hex Editing versus Dynamic Disk Converter.

      One person (@David) actually wrecked their disc using Dynamic Disk Converter.

      My experience, once I'd got the hang of the HxD hex editor program and could see what it was up to, was that it was as easy and straightforward as editing a Word document.

      So I think the message is that you pays your money and takes your choice!

  7. CuLLi says:

    Hi!

    I have a single 1TB disk and its dynamic after installing Windows Virtual PC X( I have Windows 7. The question is can i install later on it another OS? If yes i leave it dynamic, because i dont want to risk with Dynamic Disk Converter (demo).

    I found this:

    “The problem is whether Windows Vista/2008 and Windows 7 can be installed on dynamic disk or not. In order to guarantee data’s security, their installation program dose not allow operating system is installed on dynamic disk. But, with exception, OS can be installed on the dynamic system volume. For example, first install a Vista to a basic disk, and then change the basic to dynamic disk, and on the dynamic disk you can directly install a OS (such as Windows 7 etc.)”

    Another question: the 4 dynamic partitions that i have on a single disk will be one when i trying to install on it Windows?

    • Strangely says:

      Crikey….
      The problem I had was that the OS (Win7), was on a Dynamic Disk, which I now deem to be an invention of the devil himself! You seem to have gone this route…. Oh dear is all I can say.

      But it's windows itself that makes the disk dynamic. If you remove windows you can do what you like with it. I think that if you resize the volumes, you can install different OSs into the available space. But to me, though, this seems to be inviting boot manager hell as everything in this area isn't clear cut. Each OS seems to have it's own preferences and they all want their own boot loader to take over.
      I've tried boot managers in the past, and have never been absolutely satisfied. I always go back to…
      KEEP IT SIMPLE!!!

      You also seem to be using Windows Virtual PC. I tried that, and it's a bit of a hog. Sun's VirtualBox is a much better virtualisation tool IMHO and virtually any OS can be installed within it. Microsoft's Virtual PC is a windows only solution, Win7 top end versions only, I think, and you need specific processor extensions to get it to work. Sun's VirtualBox does not need such high end processors, but obviously will use the power if given it. (There are a few check box settings for AMD-V, IO APIC etc). For Microsoft, I'm pretty sure that you can have only one installation of XPMode within the Virtual PC. It crashed my system when I tried two concurrently. VirtualBox from Sun – well, I've had 5 hosted OSs running concurrently AND Microsoft's XPMode in Virtual PC! You have to start Virtual PC BEFORE VirtualBox as Microsoft sucks all the cycles out and needs heaps of hooks to be available for it's own use to be able to work. VirtualBox will make do with whatever is available! Now that's what I call a good program!

      I've now removed Virtual PC from my machine because of all of this and just use Sun VirtualBox.

      However, both Virtualisation methods are similar in that the hosted OS is stored as a big file (or two) within the hosting OS's file system. I haven't checked out how much registry info is also needed to get them working. But art the end of the day, a file is a file.

      Please explain your remaining questions again, could you, because I'm unclear about what you are trying to do.

  8. CuLLi says:

    The question is simple:

    Can i install windows later on it? or it will give this error:

    http://www.dynamic-disk.com/img/install-to-dynamic/install-windows7.gif

    I know that Virtual PC sucks. I heard about VirtualBox but i forgot about it.

    Dynamic Disk Converter let me to converter freely no? But i dont want to risk with it. (i just opened the program but it didnt request me to enter a password)

    Thx for helping!

  9. CuLLi says:

    And i know why Virtual PC converted my disk in dynamic. When i checked how many free space i have on the virtual drive it shows me ~128gb, the total space of all of my 4 partition. So it unites the free space of all partitions and this is why it converts himself to dynamic :( SUCKY CRAP M$ solution

    • Strangely says:

      Hi CuLLi
      As you know I try to stay away from dynamic discs now…!
      I think your screendump is showing the same problem that I got in virtually ALL disc management programs. That is, the disc doesn’t “exist” for the program. This is the reason to stick with “normal” discs, for me.

      The inbuilt M$ disc management program will resize partitions and volumes but not merge data. A program like Acronis will do this, but only on “normal” discs. This is what I’ve found.

      I’m still confused about what you are trying to do. Are you trying to make a dynamic disc WITHIN an XP installation inside Virtual PC?
      Or is it that you want to upgrade XP that’s already on a dynamic disc? Or are you installing an OS into spare space on a dynamic disc?

      My advice, from all the info you’ve given me is to get all your data off the disc onto a spare one. If you haven’t one, get one. Then do a nice clean install and don’t muck around with dynamic discs. Just stick with standard partitions.

      The only reason to use dynamic discs is to use every bit of disc space available. This was fine when discs were <10Gb etc and you may have had 4 of them, but now, terabyte discs are cheap and there's no reason to skimp on space.
      It's a bit like poor man's RAID, because if one disc fails, the WHOLE volume goes caput!!! (If you've spanned a volume across multiple discs)

      Now, I don't even use RAID because the discs rebuilds are dependant on the actual RAID hardware. What if that goes wrong? All data lost just same in that scenario.
      For me the best way to protect data is to have a proper copy.
      On a separate disc.
      In a different machine or hot-pluggable, as I have now, so that there is no permanent electrical connection between the data and it's backup...

      Then put the OS on a nice standard partition.
      .-= Strangely´s last blog ..Lookalikes =-.

  10. CuLLi says:

    http://www.dynamic-disk.com/img/install-to-dynami

    This problem occurs only when i trying to install Windows 7 on a dynamic partition that has an installed Windows XP

    I hopping that this is true:

    “The problem is whether Windows Vista/2008 and Windows 7 can be installed on dynamic disk or not. In order to guarantee data’s security, their installation program dose not allow operating system is installed on dynamic disk. But, with exception, OS can be installed on the dynamic system volume. For example, first install a Vista to a basic disk, and then change the basic to dynamic disk, and on the dynamic disk you can directly install a OS (such as Windows 7 etc.)”

  11. CuLLi says:

    * This problem occurs only when i trying to install Windows 7 on a dynamic partition that has an installed Windows XP? (this is a question sry :D)

  12. ddlin says:

    Hi CuLLi, do you want to install a Windows7 into your dynamic disk with 4 partitions? Although you have a XP on the dynamic disk, but Windows installer is still not let you use Win7 to replace XP, or install Win7 to other partitions on the dynamic disk. The installer allow Win7 is installed to the disk unless a Vista or Win7 has been installed on the disk rather than XP.

    1. Suggest you connect a new harddisk as a basic disk to your computer for installing Win7, then copy the data on old disk to the new disk.

    2. Use 3td party utility to convert to basic disk.

  13. CuLLi says:

    I uninstalled Virtual PC, i dont care now about virtual sh*ts!

    I have a single 1TB disk with 4 partitions. (C:,D:,E:,F:). On C: i have Windows 7. I dont want to upgrade to Windows XP or to create/resize/delete partitions.(only format C: when install new OS)

    I just want to install a new Windows 7 in case when my current windows will be f*cked up. But i dont know if it let me install on the dynamic partition (C:) the newer windows.

    U still dont understand? I cant explain more simple like this and sorry for my english :)

    • Strangely says:

      @CuLLi

      I understand now.

      It won't let you do that, in my experience. The thing is that the whole disc goes dynamic, not just a partition, and windows manages it. Also, windows likes to install it's own OSs in the order that they came out from M$ (although you are not doing a retrograde install, I thought I'd mention this). If you manage to get a "spare" OS onto the remaining space, it'll be dead if the original one goes dead anyway because of the way Windows manages the dynamic disc…

      So if you need a backup, make a proper backup. Make a new image for quick replacement, if you like.

      If you want to install Windows ON TOP of a dead one on your C: drive, I've a very strong suspicion that it won't see any of your partitions because of the dynamic disc nature of volumes. So I think you'll lose anything on your disc. This is why I call it an invention of the devil! (I haven't personal experience of this – it's just what I've read etc)

      The other problem is the kind of stuff you'll have on D:,E:,F: If it's programs there will be a host of registry entries all referencing the C: drive. Your backup Windows (on G:, say) won't have any pointers to any data on the D:,E:,F: drives! So it will be all alone, hardly knowing any of the programs around.

      Go with ddlin's suggestion and get a new spare hard-drive. You could image the whole drive to this, if you wanted, which would be a quick restore solution, although the actual imaging/backup process takes ages with huge discs nowadays.

      If you don't have the physical space for a new disc in your machine, an eSATA external drive will connect just as fast.

      If you are really into trashing your system because of things that you may do, why not install Win7 as a virtual OS into VirtualBox? This way, do all your experimenting within the sandbox environment of VirtualBox, and if your virtual Win7 goes caput, just roll the whole thing back. It's an idea, because you don't seem very confident about the reliability of your Win7 install…. For me, I've been using the full RTM 64-bit ultimate version since the first week of August when the code was fixed, and it's been rock solid for myself, despite all the ways I've tried to break it! ;-)

    • ddlin says:

      You don't format C: drive, because after formating, the installer may not allow you install the new Windows 7 to a formatted dynamic partition (C:). I think that it isn't good choce to install system partition to a dynamic disk.

  14. CuLLi says:

    "But, with exception, OS can be installed on the dynamic system volume. For example, first install a Vista to a basic disk, and then change the basic to dynamic disk, and on the dynamic disk you can directly install a OS (such as Windows 7 etc.)”

    I found this on Dynamic Disk Converter page. Its the same case that i have with the exception that i have Seven instead of Vista.

    Later i will try to run the Windows 7 install, and i will see if it let me to chose C; when it requests me to

  15. CuLLi says:

    Later i will try to run the Windows 7 install, and i will see if it let me to chose C: when it requests me where to install…. (of course i dont will change my current windows)

    (i clicked on Submit accidentally)

  16. CuLLi says:

    “But, with exception, OS can be installed on the dynamic system volume. For example, first install a Vista to a basic disk, and then change the basic to dynamic disk, and on the dynamic disk you can directly install a OS (such as Windows 7 etc.)”

    Or this refers only to upgrading to Seven from Vista? :(

    Should i try Dynamic Disk Converter? But its not risky? And the demo version will do this? (i opened the program and didn't request to me to buy etc. i think its free for personal use)

  17. ddlin says:

    culli,
    probably you should try to the dynamic disk converter, i saw its site i think it should be no risk, but not free. you could need to contact its support.
    windows 7 home doesn’t support dynamic disk, is your seven home edition?

  18. CuLLi says:

    Aha! So only Windows 7 home edition doesnt support dynamic disk? Then ok.. i use Profesional(pirate edition >:) )

    I launched yesterday the Windows 7 install inside my current windows (from iso, not from boot cd because i) and when i selected drive: C it didnt say that i cant install there because its dynamic so its OK. I will not risk to convert it if i cant install OS on it.

    But now i have an another problem. I cant boot cd from DVD-ROM. I have DVD-ROM as first boot device but nothing. My reader only reads 3 seconds the dvd then stops while in POST its say Booting from CD… My DVD-ROM is faulty or because dynamic HDD? :( (in Windows DVD-ROM works well)

    • Strangely says:

      Hi

      The first paragraph in my original posting says that dynamic discs are "high-end Windows specific (i.e not home, basic etc)". So yes, you need the higher licence – the discs are physically identical.

      You've also answered your own question about trying to install onto a dynamic disc with your second point as well!! ;-)

      As for your other problem. My guess is that your disc has a corrupt boot file or that it's a bit damaged or that the drive head needs cleaning. For booting, each "bit" has to be spot-on, so files that can be normally read okay with a drive, aren't actually so when it comes to the boot process.

      I suggest making another disc (coaster time folks!)

      The dynamic drive won't affect it. In fact, it'll probably prompt you to write a whole new install to the whole drive if it can't find a valid windows installation already extant.

      On a broader issue, if you use pirate software then you'll undoubtedly get weird problems. Trying to get help with such problems is somewhat hypocritical as well. Now, because Microsoft are so keen to get everyone onto Win7 following the Vista fiasco that they're virtually giving it away, there's no reason to use dodgy stuff which is frequently trojan loaded anyway (I had a copy of Melodyne and Ableton Live given to me that were affected in this way). If you want to do stuff for testing or to satisfy yourself the best way to set up your system, it's perfectly and legally possible to use Win7 for 120 days. Microsoft document it as do a host of news sites. This link will give you some decent pointers.

      Also, there are a host of fully functioning free OSs out there. I have Mandriva, Ubuntu, Suse and Fedora on mine. They all work multimedia out of the box. Browse the web, print and make ISOs with no effort at all. Games are different, butb getting there.
      http://windowssecrets.com/comp/091112/

  19. CuLLi says:

    DDC is free for personal use. I opened it few times and it didnt request me to buy…….

    • Strangely says:

      I think you'll find that DDC is like all these disc programs, such as Paragon, Acronis etc.

      They all let you set up a whole sequence of wanted operations, and then you hit a big "Action" type button to make it all happen.

      It's at this point that you'll get a prompt that it's a demo/trial copy. Normally, the program will exit into a DOS type screen and churn away for hours while it does it's stuff…. I usually leave it for an overnight session e.g. a full disc image of my drive took 18 hours! Yes, 18!!! The bigger the discs get, the longer this process, which used to be a simple thing, now takes.

      I can't say that DDC will take this long. But using the free HxD to reset my disc to basic took all of 1 minute, once I'd backed up all my data, that is (see above point about the 18 hours…)

  20. CuLLi says:

    HxD is not 100% save no? Where to backup 1TB data? i have only a 120GB HDD from my older PC.

    • Strangely says:

      HxD worked fine for me and some others who've said so above.

      If you really have 1TB of data then you need to get somewhere to back it up. Otherwise, it's not worth having the data as it can disappear at any moment. Hard drives fail, remember. I've had two go in the last 10 years! The servers at my work replace one a fortnight, on average.

      If you don't value your data, then don't back it up and don't worry about it. If you value the data, buy another 1TB disc – or two!

      It's the old question "How much can you afford to lose?"

      On the other hand, maybe your disc isn't really full of 1TB of data? Maybe it's just the files from your 120Gb drive which will be 120Gb absolute maximum?

      Find out exactly what space is being used – sometimes the OS reports wrongly, especially if you have been compromised and the "Alternate Data Streams" have been used in the NTFS by some malware. This can really soak up space and give misleading space values.

      If you have any issues like this, this is what I've done in the past.

      Format a drive using FAT. It'll be really inefficient, but it works.

      Cut/Copy ALL your needed data files to the new drive. Drag and drop will do.

      You'll find that all the windows NTFS stuff like file ownership and permissions are wiped, as well as other possibly malware NTFS AD Streams.

      Then copy all the files back to where you need them. YOu need to delete the old files first. This only works with data files. System files will suffer.

      It's a good trick if you ever get bad malware with rootkits and the like. Basically, they don't work on a FAT filesystem. Then, you make a new clean OS install and copy your data to where it's needed. The difference in disc space can be quite noticeable.

  21. mtarkhov says:

    hi! i just wanted to say HUGE thanks, you just saved my hp laptop hdd from full formatting. this hex way is simple and awesome, i’ll this article with friends.

    thanks, -max

  22. smithee says:

    THANK YOU!!! after the partitioning gone wrong I thought I had offically done it this time and bricked yet another hd. Alas I find this simple and easy little way around when everybody else says I was screwed!! so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! changing just three little 42's to 07's and voila! this laptop is the bane of my existence, but it has survived a tumble down an entire flight of stairs among other catastrophes haha!

  23. Terryyy says:

    Is it possible to have "noob"-version from these instructions? I managed to convert my hdd to dynamic disk from basic disk on my new Acer-computer/Windows 7. Here is a snapshot fro my system http://img143.imageshack.us/i/disks.jpg/. Disk 0 is the new hdd and in (C:) there is the windows 7, (E:) and (F:) are just empty space so far. Disk 1 is the old hdd which is connected to usb-port and I can have empty space from there if needed.

    I'm just bit lost with these instructions. So basically I need to take image from (C:) and put it on a disk 1 for safe-keeping? Will I also do a windows repair disk and put it on disk 1? Then I just delete all the volumes in the disk 0? Including 13,67 Gb and 1 Mt sized parts (which don't have names) in the beginning and that SYSTEM RESERVED 100 Mt part?

    After that I somehow move the (C:)-image from disk 1 to disk 0 to (C:) if it still is there in disk 0? Then I use the HxD to do what mentioned above, reboot and everything should be fine?

    I've tried Disk Partition Software Demo version, but it said that (D:) and some nameless part couldn't be converted back to basic disk with that program and it should be done with metheod 1&2. So there isn't any help from that program?

    Thank u very much in advance!

  24. Terryyy says:

    Ok, so I managed to convert dynamic disk back to basic disk with these instructions so I think it is now 5:1 in favour of hex editing. Big thanks! I used freeware called Ptedit32 which, if possible, is even more simple to use than HxD.

    But now I have runned to a bit of problem. After conversion I have over 600 Gb unused space on my disk and I can't do anything with that space. In previous message there was a snapshot from my disk management before the conversion. The (E:)-drive got me to a problem in a first place when I was trying to make it and I accidentally converted my disk to dynamic disk.

    Here is a snapshot from my disk management after the conversion http://i42.tinypic.com/30hnckn.jpg/. It shows the unused space and that I have some 1 Mb partition on my disk. I'm not sure if this were there originally or did Windows make it in conversion to dynamic disk. Is this small partition keeping me from creating a new drive to the disk? Should I remove this? I've looked it up from disk management but it doesn't give any options to do anything to that partition (same thing with that 13,6 Gb partition which is somekind of hidden Acer made back-up partition?).

    So if someone has a good idea what to do so I could get the unused space back to use, I will be more than happy! But thanks for the help so far!

    • Strangely says:

      @Terryyy

      This is the Ptedit32 download link on the Symantec website: ftp://ftp.symantec.com/public/english_us_canada/tools/pq/utilities/

      You should be able to expand the C: drive into the 681Gb of unused space using windows' own disk management. Right-click on the C: drive will show the "Extend volume" option for you.

      You can't do this for the 1Mb or 13.6Gb bits though, even after you remove the partition with the "Delete Volume…" right-click option. You'll need a third party disc tool to do this. There are heaps of free and paid-for ones that will do the trick.

      The 1Mb is made during the dynamic disk creation process and is a database….

      If you are managing your own backups and the BIOS is a standard on-chip one, you can delete the Acer 16Gb partition. Acer utilities use it for backup and/or a default restore file source for all their included software when you bought the machine (Sometimes backup is on a separate drive or even HALF the main single drive). I've seen various types over the years and my daughter's had one example like yours, which I safely removed when I did a clean Win7 install for her. I recently did the mother-in-law's with a Win7 upgrade from Vista, but in this case I left the Acer partition as it was, but removed all their software which slowed everything up as it mapped every file creation and change to the backup… Triple Zeds for disc access speeds there! zzz

      Hope this helps. I've re-read my article and agree that it needs a nice clean re-write for improved clarity. But it's finding the time, innit? !!

  25. Eric Dv6t says:

    Hello Strangely. I don't understand these instructions :S I'm a noob and maybe a little incompetent :p Anywho I turned my disk (disk0) into a dynamic disaster!!! I Screwed up my recovery partition and my hp tools partition so I deleted them with disk management so now my disk looks like this:
    http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u173/bonelessm

    Please tell me what steps I need to take (using the hex tool thing)to make my disk simple again!

    NOTE:I just bought this laptop, I'm broke and I dont have a way of backing anything…

  26. Eric Dv6t says:

    Do I change all 4 "42's" into "07's"? snapshot: http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u173/bonelessm

    • Strangely says:

      @Eric Dv6

      Sorry it's not clear. I really need to re-write this topic…

      But yes. You have four 42s so change them all to make the partitions visible and standard. You can roll back if you are doing this from a boot-disk, so perhaps you should ensure that you can boot from an external source to play with the hard disc using the tools if you need to do this.

      My experience is that it's really easy. It's just the 42s in column 02 JUST ON THE FOUR LINES HIGHLIGHTED.

      My guess is that your HP partitions etc will suddenly become active again…!

      Keep me informed please of your progress.

      • Strangely says:

        To re-iterate…

        Change the four 42s to 07 and you'll then see four partitions.

        Then, if you use windows' or any other disc management tool and delete partitions (as I did), you'll see that the deleted partitions are now listed as 00 and your live partitions are 07 if you look at them with the HxD tool.

        This gives a clue as to the method to recover deleted partitions! ;-)

        • Jalil says:

          Dear All, Thanks for this nice post, unfortunately I don't really get it. I think you guys did this experiment on a destop pc and I have a laptop, Infact two. So I have dynamic disk on 1 of them and can't change it, trying since the last 3 days. Anyone there who can help me solve it. I will be very grateful.

          Regards

          Jalil

        • Jalil says:

          Hi Strangely, I looked at this post but unfortunately I didn't get it. right now I have a two laptops, one of them having dynamic disks, and an 8 GB USB. and the laptop that has dynamic disks doesn't contain any data so how could I convert it back to basic disk. I will be very grateful if you kindly guide me on this.

          Regards
          Jalil
          ***************

          • Strangely says:

            Jalil.

            There is no real difference between a desktop PC and a laptop. Only the componentry and some of the connectivity is different – the actual guts of the machines, their components and the OSs are identical e.g. hard drives, screens, keyboards etc.

            Since the laptop has no data (but an operating system (OS), I assume), you can proceed in two ways.

            1. Do a full re-install of your OS and get it prepared exactly how you like vis-a-vis partitions etc

            2. Use the HxD program to edit the sector information, as described. Because you have no data, you don't need to bother with backups etc, which was where I spent most time when I did it – a full backup took about a full day! So you can proceed with the potentially dangerous process without any fear, secure in the knowledge that if you muck it up you can always do a full re-install of your OS anyway. The actual change is instantaneous (once you've hit the commit button to finalise all your changes) and only needs a reboot to see if it's taken.

            After you have your disks/partitions back to normal you can do any further changes using the inbuilt or other disc management programs to get them how you want.

            Good luck! I actually found the process easier to do than describe!

          • Jalil says:

            Hey Dear,

            Thank you so much for this great post, I just did it, I changed the disk to basic within 5 seconds by changing 42s to 07s, Thats so nice of you man……….Thats appreciative, Thanks man.

            Regards

            Jalil

          • Strangely says:

            Wahay Jalil!

            I think everyone, like me, is a bit daunted by the apparent complexity of the process. But as you've found, it's quick and easy in the end – just be careful to edit EXACTLY the right bit, that's all!

          • Jalil says:

            Ya thats a big help man, The good thing about this post is that there is not so many posts about this problem, when you search for it, Its only dynamic disk's website, your post and Microsoft's simple directions which doesn't really help. So its great……By the way will you have time to screen record it and post it up, Its going to make it even easier.

            Thanks

          • Strangely says:

            I'd love to do a better version of the post and screen record the process, but unfortunately my time is limited. Also, I'm now of the opinion that if it ain't broke, don't fix it! So you'll have to wait until I go mad again and then have to undo the madness… ;-)

  27. I think you’ll find that DDC is like all these disc programs, such as Paragon, Acronis etc.

    • Strangely says:

      On the contrary – I found that the DDC was better than Paragon & Acronis. As I said, all disc options disappear in these programs and the whole disc just appears as a pale yellow blob with no separation between any volumes.
      Best of all, was HxD – it was free, and easy, once the fear factor has left you!

  28. Miggins says:

    Why didnt you simply copy the contents to another disk, then simply use Disk management in Windows to remove the rartition and then in one click Windows converts it back to basic?

    Then copy your system back?

    I was also under the impression that the primary / Boot disk could not be made into a dynamic disk.

    • Strangely says:

      <img class="size-thumbnail wp-image-7744 " title="Dynamic Disk Option On System Disk" src="http://strangelyperfect.tv/wp-content/uploads/DynamicDiskOptionOnSystemDisk-86×86.jpg&quot; alt="Dynamic Disk Option On System Disk" width="86" height="86" />

      This shows the option to make a dynamic disk on my system drive this morning. So your impression is wrong! I did it, and what a twit I was for doing it.

      Because of this, simply copying isn't an option. Apart from the time factor (it'd already taken 18 hours to do a backup), I already had my core data backed up and you can't copy the whole disk as it just makes another dynamic disk. If you copy partitions, it doesn't work either. I tried.

      I was prepared to do a full re-install, but then, it's the time. Anyone who has ever done this knows that you can easily kiss goodbye to a weekend getting windows and all your applications re-installed, let alone getting all the user files back in place….

      the best thing, if you don't believe me, is to do it to your own system and then try and recovering using your suggested method. You'll then understand what a pickle the whole dynamic disk thing is! AS I said at the top, don't dance with the devil.

  29. Mc Vincent says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for this simple guide in converting dynamic to basic disk. I don't have any experienced in editing this kind of stuff. I don't even know HxD Editor since I'm a noob when it comes to this. But just following this easy steps save me $25 and gives me total relief. Two thumbs up for you man. I owe you a lot for saving my files. Cheers! ;)

  30. Frank says:

    Hi,

    I love this guide because it is easy and hassle-free. But the thing is, it won't work with Windows 7. I've got Dynamic disk (with 4 volumes in it), and yea, wants to change it to Basic with no data loss.

    I've tried using Dynamic Disk Converter Professional Demo Edition (just to check) to change the disk back to Basic, but DDC gave me warning that one of the volume will be lost. And that's the most important volume (actually, all are important). The warning says that I've done a RAID on my disk, which I haven't.

    Is there any other way to convert the disk back to basic without data loss?

    Regards,

    Frank

    • Strangely says:

      @Frank

      It was Windows 7 Ultimate that I did the fix on! HxD worked perfectly for me, so there's something odd going on with the RAID mesage you've got. Is it possible that you've got a mainboard setting in the BIOS set to RAID or similar yet the disk(s) is just a single disk? There are some quite confusing RAID/SATA/IDE type settings that I've found aren't at all intuitive with the current crop of mainboards.
      Have a twiddle and see if you can get the RAID message to dissappear and then you may get DDC (or HxD) to work. As long as you haven't set the onboard RAID active, it's possible that it's sending conflicting messages to the OS.

  31. Doug says:

    I'm not a newbie, and I guess I could have done the registry changes suggested. But I would have needed/wanted to do a full backup first, and that would have been impractical, since Windows Backup doesn't back up everything, and the backup program I'd already paid for (Acronis True Image Home 2010) doesn't do dynamic disks. So I bit the bullet and bought Dynamic Disk Converter, which worked perfectly. It's a program I'll only use once, but it was worth it.

    • Strangely says:

      I thought that DDC would be OK, but I went the HxD route! Well done.

    • Strangely says:

      @Doug

      They're not Registry changes….. You actually edit core bits of data that tell the Operating System what partitions are set up on the hard drive. It's on a special bit of the hard drive, and goes right back to the very basics of personal computing and hard drives.

  32. Atest says:

    Hah, you have shared so much, how I can wait, here, share something related about convert dynamic disk to basic disk in windows7. Hope we can share the information together.

    • Strangely says:

      Interesting message, this one….

      Atest is his name.

      Atest is his game.

      But what's it about?

      Well. The IP address is 220.248.143.189 and a WHOIS on this pops up an address in China! See ‘http://whois.domaintools.com/220.248.143.189

      The link to Dynamic Disk Converter (DDC), is valid, so I decided to find out EXACTLY who this fine company are…

      On their "About" page, we find that the company is Aomei Technology. However….

      Doing a WHOIS on BOTH DDC and Aomei Technology come up with their name being hidden behind their registrar in Pittsburg, pairNIC.com Try ‘http://whois.domaintools.com/dynamic-disk.com for instance.

      So you have to ask yourself;

      "If this is such a fine company, why are they hiding behind a USA privacy service?"

      And;

      "Why are they spamming me with a crap, vague, test comment from a Chinese IP address?"

      You then have to ask yourself, (bearing in mind that a company that makes software to modify your crucial disk drive's setup could also add any old code they like to the software… think rootkit);

      "Is this something I should allow on my hard drive?"

      For me, I'll stick with HxD (although other Hex Editors would have equally well have done the job). My thoughts on spammers and the malware that they invariably deliver are well described on this website!

      And I don't want to find out at a later date that I've delivered something nasty into my system.

      On the other hand;

      if DDC owned up to who they are, I might recommend it as valid software - but not now!!!

  33. Fabio says:

    Hi,

    This looks easy enough…however, my situation doesn't seem to match up exactly, and so I have a question.

    One of my drives that accidentally got converted to dynamic has 2 partitions on it (F, I). I run HxD, and open the correct disk, and there is only ONE 42 in that area of the sector, not two as I was expecting (one for each partition).

    If I convert this one and only 42 to 07, will I still have both of my partitions, and will my data on both partitions still be intact?

    Thanks,

    fb

  34. Fabio says:

    @Strangely:

    Thanks for the efforts. Unless I'm missing something, I don't see any change between the time you had the extended partition in place, and wiped it….looks identical to me.

    fb

    • Strangely says:

      Fabio.

      That's my point! I still have my G drive (which has important stuff in it) in place, yet all the time, only 3 "07"s show!! I made 2 partitions and they didn't show up!

      So my suggestion, although you haven't confirmed it, is that (probably) all your drives are on an extended or logical partition. How it manages to boot up, I'm not sure.

      Now whether or not turning the "42" into a "07" will work for you, or if you'll lose one or both partitions and all the data, I can't say.

      When I did my fix, I laboriously copied all data files to a separate drive before doing so. I think you should do the same.

  35. Fabio says:

    Thanks again.

    The drive in question is not a boot drive at all…purely data.

    I think, as you stated, the safest route is to copy the data out, and then try….I will do so and post back with some pictures to let you know how it turned out. Once again, thanks for your efforts!

    fb

    • Strangely says:

      I think in that case, that you've made an extended or logical partition with two partitions inside it. So back up you data then try setting then 42 to 07. It should work, but if not, you've the backup!

      I'd be pleased to see the pix and put them in the site post. However, only I as admin can post images to the site so you'll have to use a link to an external server.

      Good luck!

      Rees

  36. Jack says:

    First of all, thanks for your post. After I accidentally converted my disk to dynamic lots of googling indicated that the only way back is to format and convert, then after some more searching I stumbled upon HxD, and found myself here. Despite your concerns I went with the Dynamic Disk Converter option, which worked perfectly.

    Once again, thanks :)

  37. Brennan says:

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    Here's my situation. Trying to make a Hackintosh I resized my 2nd logical partition (I have a C: and a D:) and made a raw partition of 40 GB. Then Windows threw up a little "Yo dumbass, wanna fuck up your computer by making the drives dynamic?" and I stupidly clicked yes.

    So I was afraid to restart or anything. Did nothing but use HxD, edit the "42"s I found to be "07"s, save and restart. It worked. Now I just have to remap my drive, which used to be D:, back to D:. Windows changed it to E: for some reason.

    Thanks so freakin much!!!

    • Strangely says:

      You'll probably find that you have a sliver of a 1Mb area left over in disc management. I think this may be something to do with Windows tripping up and making the D: into an E: drive.
      Glad it worked – as it did for me!

  38. Christopher MacCumbe says:

    I, as others have done, clicked 'yes' when trying to set up a RAID drive. Now my C: (OS) and E: (Recovery) drives are dynamic. Both are located on the same physical drive. I do have a secondary drive D: By resetting the '42' to '07' on the dynamic drives, will I lose all data, definitely or possibly. Must the drive be reformatted? Thanks

    • Brennan says:

      I would say it's pretty certain that you won't lose data. I did exactly what it said above, in my post above, and it restarted and worked just perfectly, no data lost.

    • Strangely says:

      @Christopher

      All the information I have is that everyone (including myself) who has done the process, has had no problem whatsoever. For me, all my data was okay, although I did back up before I twiddled the 42s to 07s.

      So the advice is to always back up, in case something goes wrong – but as far as I know, nobody has had anything go wrong… yet! ;-)

      Reformatting? You will need to if the drive loses data! It's a full re-install of all your OS, programs and data… hence the standard advice about backing up, anything you can't afford to lose.

  39. Pablo says:

    Thank you!!!!!!!

    It worked like a charm.

  40. Miguel says:

    My dynamic disk is a Serial ATA, and USB plugged into my PC. I found this workaround, without converting. As XP can see dymanic disks, I installed it in a Virtual PC, and then access the disck thru a mapped drive in Seven. Again, if you don't plan to have XP installed in Seven thru VPC, then this solution is "the long way".

    • Daniel says:

      I would be interested in knowing more about this. I have WinXP installed in MS Virtual PC 2007. How do I use the WinXP Disk Management on my physical disks? Sorry if this is unclear. I will try to elaborate if needed.

      Thank you for any help.

      • Strangely says:

        Hi Daniel.

        Virtual PC is just a (very big!) file stored on your main OS's drive. So disk management shouldn't come into it if you're trying to undo dynamic discs which is the point of this posting.

        If you've somehow set the virtual disk inside Virtual PC to dynamic, then I can't help you I'm afraid. You may have been fiddling like I was (doh!) or you may have been trying to increase disc space – the best way for the latter IMHO is to map drives into your virtual OS, which is what Miguel describes. This is very easily done.

        By the way, I've tried Microsoft's Virtual PC in Windows 7 (now called XP mode) but removed it in favour of Sun's (now Oracle's) Virtual Box which works much, much better. XPMode was very slow and took ages to load. It also used hods of memory and blocked Virtual Box from starting. Weirdly, Virtual Box does not stop XPMode from starting!

        Using Virtual Box allows me to use 2 WinXps separately for different reasons, a Win7 32 bit installation, Mandriva and the new Ubuntu. I've tried several other Linux flavours as well but they are currently removed. Only the memory in your box (I have 12Gb) and how much you assign to each virtual OS limits how many you can run concurrently. The most I've had is five. Give it a go. The screenshot is of my Virtual Box control panel which shows Win7-32 running a remote WinServer logon through Citrix, my work access. You may pick out VS2010 running inside the virtual machine…

        http://strangelyperfect.tv/wp-content/uploads/VirtualBoxPanel.jpg

  41. Steve says:

    THANK YOU!

    I have successfully reverted a dynamic disc to a basic disc simply following the instructions in this article, without data loss and my system rebooted with no problem.

    Since it's been so easy, I wonder why Microsoft itself is not offering the feature to revert dynamic to basic discs….

    Anyway i learnt the lesson… STAY AWAY FROM DYNAMIC DISCS!!!

    • Strangely says:

      You've got a point there Steve! It'd be an extremely simple thing for Microsoft to add to the management systems – adding the dread warnings of course which they do as a matter of course for almost any operation anyway!
      Glad it worked for you!

  42. ragnar says:

    I couldn't believe my eyes when after restart my disc was as before, ALL BASIC!!!

    just messed with the 42's

    THANK YOU!

  43. alittlecoyote says:

    Just tried this method and for all intensive purposes it worked.

    However, it wiped two partitions on my drive completely. They were both installed with the factory settings, one was a recovery partition and the other was HP tools.

    Neither are essential but this is just an extra warning to anyone with these partitions to make sure they are backed up before starting this process.

    • Strangely says:

      Hi
      It's likely (although I haven't tried it) that if you'd entered FOUR 42s (the maximum), then the other partitions would have appeared correctly. Did you try this or did you just add a single 42 for one partition, say your C: drive?

  44. Jesse MessianicCompl says:

    Strangely,

    I'm having a hard time following your simple but vague instructions. I have this 40 gig dynamic partition that I want to make into BASIC. It's already wiped with no data on it. So I run the HxD. You say change the portion of the disk drive you in your screen shot highlight to all 07's? Or do I search for 42's on the WHOLE FREAKIN' DRIVE? It's not like there's some kind of "find and replace tool", but there is this search tool In the search menu with the additional option of searching with "text string" "Hexadecimal" "Integer Numbers" and "floating point numbers". Most people don't care for ambiguous instructions. PLEASE BE MORE SPECIFIC

    • Strangely says:

      @Jesse

      If it's already wiped as you say, then there's no need to use the HxD tool or anything else – just format it afresh and off you go!

      Remember though, that you cannot mix and match – the whole disc must be turned basic, not just one partition. That's why Microsoft call them "dynamic discs". The HxD tool kinda "reveals"the partitions for you…..

      Your tone suggests that you have had a hard time. However, the HxD tool is free and any suggestions for its efficacy should be directed towards the tool's author. 24,253 folks have read this article since I wrote it, and while some had had difficulty, no-one has had the trouble you've had. The really surprising thing is the actual ease of use and the very small changes that need to be done to get the disc back into a "normal" state.

      If you ever need to revisit the dynamic-basic conversion route (and my advice is don't dance with the devil ever again), read this article below which actually contains a better screenshot than mine of the HxD screen and the bits to edit.
      http://workinghardinit.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/u

      This a screenshot of the website below:

      http://strangelyperfect.tv/wp-content/uploads/UsingWindows2008R2BackupstoGoVirtualPartIIIWorkingHardInIT_1291025581139.jpeg

      You'll see that there is a maximum of four 42s, one for each possible basic Windows partition. Change them to 07 and action the change. If you only has two partitions, there'd just be two 42s.

      You'll see that the guy had to do a bit of a orphan partition clean up, the same as me. This is the residue from the storage system that Windows makes in its dynamic disc creation.

      You'll also see that I don't show any 42s at all – this is because I wrote the article after the disc was fixed – and there was no way in hell that I was going to possibly wreck my disc just to get better screen-dumps for a blog article!

      Get real.

      But I'll repeat what I wrote above:

      Specifically, all 42‘s must be converted to 07.

      The highlighted area contains the bit to edit and the numbers to edit in this area are those in column 02 that are 42. So change all the 42′s to 07′s in column 02 in the four highlighted lines. (n.b. The screendump was taken after I’d fixed the disc, so all the 42s are now 07 and some partitions have been deleted.)

      I don't find that vague at all – in fact that's exactly what you must do.

  45. Oliver says:

    I have mistakenly created a dynamic disk with 2 partition. One have a very important data and this data is big, it would be very long to backit up to another dirve. but the other partition, is empty. So i have 2 questions:

    1 Could i format the empty volume without loosing the information that is on the other one? And then merge this empty partition to the other?

    2 Is the method you describe 100% sure, not to lose data? I would like to aply it, but i´m so affraid about losing monthes of work…

    on th image you can see the small volume is199.08GB this is the one that is empty, the other one is almost full .

    http://strangelyperfect.tv/wp-content/uploads/PArtition.jpg

    • Strangely says:

      Hi Oliver

      2. Nothing is 100% – only death & taxes!

      1. My guess is that you'll have two 42s to change to 07s in HxD. Check if that's so.

      If it is, then do it and you'll probably find that you need some drive letter re-assigning as both partitions are F in your screenshot!

      You could also delete the empty partition as you suggest – however, beware! You seem to have two F drives!

      I'm not sure what's going on, and hopefully, this is something that applies to this disc alone, because Windows allows spanning across one or more physical discs to make "a partition" or "a virtual drive".
      What I mean is that there could be more of the F drive on your main system disc that's holding Windows, say, or even another disc. You don't say how many discs you have in the rest of your system, do you?
      If you have spanned across more than one disc, I don't know what would happen, so be careful. Even though your data size is huge, get another drive and copy the data to it – that's my advice for (1) above as well. I've used several backup methods. In your case, if you used the Windows "Easy Transfer Wizard"(ETW), you can copy all your data and settings to the other drive in a single compressed file. It isn't as big as your actual drive data.
      It copies data and settings but ignores specific drive manipulations, so that it just calls the data as a C drive, an F drive etc.
      In this way, if you have to do a re-install of windows, you can pick and choose which bits to restore from the ETW file and even re-assign drive letters in the process.

      I hope it goes well for you. As I said at the beginning, "don't dance with the devil". Like me, you did, and the result is a scary place to be. Fortunately for me, my tedious backups were not necessary and the process was quick and simple. But because you have two F drives and I cannot see the rest of your system, you may have more difficulty than me. I cannot even be certain that the "empty" F drive is really "empty". This spanning and dynamic disc thing is the pits. By this, I mean that you may have data in both partitions.

      Good luck.

      p.s.
      I've just had another idea (this issues of two F partitions is tricky). Copy the F drive as windows sees it, to a new drive. Just the files. Make sure the new drive is NTFS and "normal"! When the copying is done see if you can use the HxD tool. But this will only work if the F partition/drive is on this disc alone.
      Depending on the kind of data that the drive contains, you may have some registry work to do to fix file paths etc.

  46. Oliver says:

    Thank you very much for your answer.

    I understand that nothing is 100% shure, but i meant that this method is attempt to recover the basic disk without losing data, is it?

    You are write, I should have explained better the computer direves structure. So here is a screen shot with every disks.

    One more information: teher were two partitions on fF: drive, then I only wanted to merge them. I saw a tutorial on the net, I am not shure if i mess somthing or the tutorial was like this, but this how i ended up with dynamic drive. After them, i didnt wrote anything to that drive.

    My fear is, in the case i delete the small part, could i lose all the data on the other part?

    Yes i could save all data on another hrad drive, but this is gone be like 10 ours copying.

    At your opinion, what could be safer between deleting the small part? or using hex editor and change the 42 s to 07 ??

    http://strangelyperfect.tv/wp-content/uploads/Partitions2.jpg

    • Strangely says:

      @Oliver

      I can understand your fear! My gut feeling is that the data is probably spread across the disk even if you say that there has been no activity on it. This means that you'd probably corrupt it if you do a merge. If it's just photos and you are ABSOLUTELY sure that you've not written anything to the drive, then you may get away with it, but personally, I wouldn't try.

      If possible, copy the F data to your I drive if there's room. I think 10 hours is over the top and with the right copy software about 4 hours would do it, depending how full the drive is. If you use 7-zip or something like the Windows Easy Transfer Wizard, then compression is on the fly and the file size is much reduced than what you'd imagine.

      My opinion about deletion or to use HxD it equal – they're both dodgy in your case. Backup or copy elsewhere. You know it makes sense, then try one of the options.

      • Oliver says:

        Thanks again for all your attention. It is really a very positive thing to find a person like you now a days.

        This is what i am going to do:

        1 I will follow your advice and backup avery thing from this drive.

        2 to make sense to your and my effort, i will try to use the hexedit method and i´ll come back to tell the result.

        Thank you again, have a ncie day

  47. Strangely says:

    Thanks Oliver. I hope it goes well for you – and yes; please get back and tell us your results. That extra F partition could spring some useful information for people.

  48. Oliver says:

    OK, i have now, backedup all the data on drife F: I begun to edit the hard drive with HxD hexeditor, but after 10 minutes looking for 42s i saw i had´nt done 3% of the drive. Is tehere any trick to know to fasten the replacement of 42s by 07s?

    • Strangely says:

      @Oliver – STOP!

      You only need to edit FOUR 42s at most!

      http://strangelyperfect.tv/wp-content/uploads/UsingWindows2008R2BackupstoGoVirtualPartIIIWorkingHardInIT_1291025581139-1.jpeg

      This screen-dump (from another website) shows the area exactly! For myself with my screenshot in the main article, I say:

      The highlighted area contains the bit to edit and the numbers to edit in this area are those in column 02 that are 42. So change all the 42′s to 07′s in column 02 in the four highlighted lines.

      http://strangelyperfect.tv/wp-content/uploads/HxD_Screenshot.jpg

      I would come out of HxD immediately, ensuring that you do not save anything.

      Then open it again in edit mode as before and change any 42 in the red area (it's just in the single column, column 02, and in the four offset rows C0 to F0) to 07. It's like Excel rows and column references, OK?… Don't do every single 42 that you can find as that will break everything!

      Then hit the go button and everything is done with NO UNDO.

      Then reboot and fix the partitions if extra ones have appeared or whatever. You can then play with them aas normal using Windows or any third party tool, like Acronis.

  49. Oliver says:

    Sorry, i didnt undurstand that it was only from C0 to F0. (The column 02 yes i understood). Any way, when i start looking for 42 in this column there where not together in the column. I finaly lost patience and, as i had my data backed up, i have deleted the first smal volume on the disk. The result was that i lost all information on disck and the partition. I had to format the disk.

    But to be loyal to your effort, i want to give another try to the method. So, i have another disk, with 2 partition. One is from an old win 7 instalation, the other one is for data, but it is not filled yet.

    I could merge again both with the same BAD method that leeds me to the problem, and then aply your method to see the result.

    Only one thing, the old system partition is giving problems to be formated. I cant find a way to fomat it.

    • Strangely says:

      Ha!

      At least we know that the two F partitions were intimately related now. This should help others in future, I think.

      I applaud your continuing experimentation, but this time with a non-critical disk! I look forward to the results.

      As for the format, it is probably because windows sees it as an operating system still.

      It'll be a combination of the partition being "active" and maybe the reserved system partition also.

      BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN TWIDDLING WITH THE MAKE ACTIVE option in Windows' disc management! It's like the dynamic disc option – i.e. deadly.

      I'd be inclined to do a safe boot and use Acronis, Partition Commander or similar to wipe the disc completely and start afresh.

      You can also blast away old discs into pristine state using tools from the disc manufacturers…. Even if the disc is not made by the disc tool's provider, as long as you have at least one disc in your system from the tool's provider, it'll work.

      I've found these tools to be the best as they always seem to completely clean and format the disc how you want, no matter what.

      Just go to the maker's websites for Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung or Hitachi and find "support tools" or similar, downloading the right tool you need.

      You'll find that the tools go "off windows" to do the dirty work – so make sure that you choose the correct disc to work on!

      I had a lot of Maxtor discs at one time in the past, so their tool (MaxBlast) I used a lot, even up until a couple of years ago. Later tools were based on this when Maxtor got bought out.

      The last tool I used was from WD to check and set the new 2Tb discs I got for my Synology backup station – see http://strangelyperfect.tv/10155/what-is-the-best… As it was, I didn't need to do any adjustments and the discs "just worked".

      Once the disc is blitzed and prepared by the tool, you can format as you want.

      See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_defunct_hard… which also lists the current makers.

  50. pit says:

    Why I can't change the value from "42" to "07"? "the request could not be performed because of an I/O device error", this message appeared. how could I solve it?

  51. eckhard says:

    May be I am too inexperienced, but the HxD has no instruction manual.

    Whenever I try to overwrite the value it says read only and flashing in the bottom bar

    there is no edit working

    Why?

  52. Strangely says:

    eckhard. This is the state of my hard discs currently as they appear in the "Open Disc" dialogue box of HxD.

    http://strangelyperfect.tv/wp-content/uploads/HxD_ReadOnly.JPG The Read-Only setting is right there in the bottom left – I've ringed it in red.

    So you need to re-open your discs but un-tick the box when you are ready and sure that you can do your edits in the right place!

    In my current screenshot, you'll see that the named drives are at the top and two physical discs are below. For me, my C drive and S drive are on hard disc 1, and if it was dynamic as before I'd select it, un-tick the read-only and then proceed as I did before.

    In HxD, the disc-altering area is not under File-Open as you'd expect but under:

    Main Menu –> Extras –> Open Disc…

  53. Mr Darkman (Paul) says:

    So how come a google of

    "convert dynamic to basic"

    hits upon page after page of (differing) instructions along the lines of

    "download this, do that, do this, turn around (twice), touch your toes, do this and that (at the same time) , place head in hands"

    ..and each comment section is full of users posting "tried this, it doesn't work :-( "

    Then you go and give simple "bish bash bosh" instructions and ever one is a winner.

    I am happy to award you the maximum 500 internet points .

  54. benArrayx says:

    Hi there I've successfully converted one disk this way, but I have another to do which seems to have totally different bytes from those expected. I uploaded a screenshot here: http://screencast.com/t/y8KkueXdKKxt

    Is there anything I can do?

    Cheers, Ben

    • Strangely says:

      It looks like you have one partition on that disk with a code of EE. If you can read the disk data then shove it somewhere else and reformat your disk to match your current setup. If you want to hex-edit, check these two links (which I'll enter into the main article above as they're so useful).

      http://www.win.tue.nl/~aeb/partitions/partition_t

      http://www.viralpatel.net/taj/tutorial/partition_

      You'll see that "EE" is described as:

      "Indication that this legacy MBR is followed by an EFI header" in both links.

      This suggests to me that the disk was an old one imported into your system that was later mucked up by Windows when it was set up using the new GPT file system, probably when you went for the Dynamic Disk option – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUID_Partition_Table (I experimented with this but then reverted to NTFS).

      The key bit to read is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUID_Partition_Table… It is full of dire warnings and says that type "EE" enables the OS to leave it alone.

      You'll also see that several partitions could be hidden by this "protection mechanism". So if your OS can see these, then beware. I think that if this is the case you'll need more than a simple edit to "07" especially if extended partitions come into play. As you haven't shown Windows' view of your disk I'll leave it at that.

      It may be possible to make the table entry "07" as above in the main article, but I certainly cannot guarantee it as I've not done it before. I have done successive disk edits swapping 42 to 07 and back again and it didn't harm my data. So by all means try the 07 option. If it fails, my experience is that you can probably revert it back to EE so at least you're at the same starting point if it doesn't work.

      Please get back with your progress as I'm sure it'll help someone else along the way. But like I said, if you can – backup the data before you start. Clone the disk first if the data is really valuable.

  55. benArrayx says:

    Thanks for the most detailed response :) At the moment I can’t read the drive in Windows because it’s marked as inactive. I *believe* that I got everything I need off the disk previously, but there’s a nagging doubt hence I wanted to check again before I wiped it. Not sure if that’s going to be an option now…

    So I updated the EE to 07, and now Windows recognises it but says I need to format it before use. I guess that makes sense since it’s not actually a valid partition and just putting 07 there isn’t going to make it so… So I reset it back to EE and once again Windows doesn’t recognise it.

    I don’t know if this is relevant, but there are actually 2 partitions on the disk (HxD ‘open disk’ dialog here: http://screencast.com/t/gFxA4OWn). The first ‘disk’ already has 07 in the appropriate block but is not recognised by Windows. Does this give any clues?

    • Strangely says:

      Careful how you go…! From the two physical disks in your screenshot I assume that one contains your current working Windows OS. So make sure the adjustments are on the “duff” disk.

      From my twiddling I know that sticking “07″ makes a partition on the disk visible to windows but there are only four places to do this. This is why there is a four (standard) partition limit in all Windows up to now, and that is if you don’t use the newer GPT file system.
      So for myself, I had four partitions at one point and I entered four “07″‘s in the spaces to get them visible. (I’d changed this by the time I wrote this article which is why they’re not in my screenshots…)

      With this in mind, and as you know that you had two partitions on that disk, why not try inserting one or more “07″s to see if the partitions re-appear? (As part of my twiddling after I got everything working properly, I tried adding an extra “07″ and ended up with a tiny sliver of extra partition! I later removed it.)

      Failing that, have you considered using a partition recovery program? There are many about (Acronis, Partition Commander etc) and they may repair some entries in the partition table structure of which I’m unaware.

      Also, you may want to read up on the definition of “active” as it relates to disks and partitions as it’s not immediately obvious what it all means (at least to me!).
      My Win7-64 has a 100 Mb System partition that is “Active” and is the only active partition. It’s where the equivalent of the old ntldr files etc are now stored and where on startup the system looks for the boot files. This is the default behaviour on a Windows install nowadays. However, it’s possible to make the C partition (although Windows does not need to be on the C any more) the active partition as it was in times of yore… There is a prompt about this during the initial Windows install process.
      It’s also possible to hide drives and partitions from casual usage but so that they’re still detected by the OS and it’s also not necessary for partitions to even have a letter (like C, D etc) for them to work correctly. Saying this, some programs need drive letters to work properly, if at all!

      For all of this, the problem for me is in the definitions and shorthand that you’ll find on the web, which is why I’m saying have a read up on it so that you’re clear about the problem.


      DiskPart. This is a tool you access from within the Windows Recovery Console. You may need to use this. It’s a bit arcane as you dig up and down through its levels of working, but it does much of what the Disk software does and may fix your problem. Again – you’ll have to read up on it. If it’s not installed you’ll need your Win7 disk to get it. There are copious instructions on-line with some of the best being in Microsoft’s own website. I’ve used it when I did a “Windows Repair Install” which is essentially the “Windows Upgrade” process. This is all detailed on the Microsoft website.

      Q. Why did I need to do this? A. I was trying to get rid of annoying scandisk behaviour which came after a disappearing C-drive as seen in the Windows Defragment Tool …. My hunch was that the disc setting process as detailed here left a little hole in something. Then I read about the Windows Repair which was supposed to keep all programs etc intact.
      Result? Well the annoying defrag & scanning behaviour has gone and virtually all programs worked as before. All data was left. In essence, I made everything the Microsoft default except for moving all my personal user data to a different partition. Sometimes the defaults are made default because it’s the best and most practical way of doing stuff!
      Live and learn, eh?

      • benArrayx says:

        Hmm, the thing is that this disk was never an OS disk, just a data disk that was seperate from the OS disk. Also it only ever had 1 partition on it when it was in it’s old machine. Unfortunately I’ve now wiped the OS disk and re-installed a different OS so I can’t just plug it back in where it was in order to recover the data. I’ll probably give your idea to try putting in the other 07s a go and see what happens, and if that doesn’t work then I think I have Acronis somewhere, or maybe I should do that first! Will have a think and play and report back…

        Thanks a lot for the help!

    • Strangely says:

      You could try something like this, http://www.paragon-software.com/home/rk-express/ , which is one of a host of similar free things to try and recover the partitions…

  56. Strangely says:

    Thanks benArrayx. I look forward to it. Really accurate information on the subject of drives, partitions, file systems and the like seems hard to pin down, at least to be understood in layman’s terms…

  57. tomtom says:

    Nobody seems to have mentioned hidden partitions. My laptop has four partitions, two hidden, including the first. If I change all to 07 I fear that computer will try to boot from first partition.
    I suspect hidden partitions should be changed to 17. Has anyone tested this?

    • Strangely says:

      Hidden to 17 – probably…. But I’ve been reading a lot round this topic recently.

      The active partition contains the operating system startup files.

      This is a key sentence. It means that this partition contains the files necessary to start your OS into action. It can be anywhere, effectively, and not necessarily on the 1st partition and not necessarily on the partition where Windows is located.
      What does come first is the MBR on an MBR disk. This is always on the 1st SECTOR, which is a totally different thing to a partition. The MBR is a library on the first sector of the disc that tells the BIOS & OS where the boot files are and how the disc is partitioned.

      Now, as to “17″…. There are two ways of dividing and cataloguing the partitions on a disk. The legacy MBR which is what you’ll find on most PCs, and the newer GUID (GPT) way of doing things. The reason the latter was invented was that the original specification for MBR disks, invented by IBM, some years back started being abused and modified by various manufacturers. So “17″ may or may not refer to a hidden partition. Probably, that’s all. IBM dropped all support for the system quite a few years ago.

      The way forward is to use GUID disks which have many benefits, not least a consistent way of doing stuff, but also it can handle huge hard drives. Unfortunately, you really need a UEFI BIOS to be able to use a GUID disk to boot from. Only a few motherboards currently have this in place (mainly the later ASUS ones from my checks). Some manufacturers like Gigabyte (say) have a kludge system to meld old to new and Seagate, the disk drive maker has a similar kludge to enable users to use the full 3Tb of it’s newest disk in their systems.
      The reason I’m looking is that MBR disks are limited to 2.1Tb and as the first 3Tb discs have been out a while now, and they’re using the faster SATA 6 for file transfers, it’s the way to go for my next upgrade.

      The bad thing, for me, is t6hat I can’t find a way to move my system from my current MBR disks to newer GUID disks without having to do a full re-install, which I’m loathe to do as my system works fine currently….. hmmm?

  58. Pebblerun says:

    I did have the same problem. Adding an additional (5th) partition changed my disc to “dynamic”.

    The solution for me:

    1. Backup all data from the 5th partition to an external hard drive.

    2. Delete the 5th partition (Windows 7 disk management)

    3. Extend the partition (left side of unallocated space) to its maximum (Windows disk management).

    4. Convert the dynamic disk to a basic disk using the free EaseUS Partition Master without data loss!

    5. In case other partitions are converted to “logical”, you can use EPM again to revert them to “primary” (if necessary).

    6. Now you have four primary partitions again on a basic disk.

    7. If you need more than four partitions, use EPM to convert a primary to a logical drive (again). Within a logical drive you can create several partitions (using EPM or Windows disk management).

    Here my present configuration:

  59. drew says:

    thank you so much!!! it  works:)) no need for partition wizard and aoei dynamic disk converter.. i really appreciate it..

  60. Alman says:

    What if there’s no 42?
    Hi i’ve been googling and seaching in all places for like 4 days and finally i found your post and i decided to apply this but.. i have no “42″ in mi 02 column, actually i can see only one 42 in all the Sector 0.

    http://i51.tinypic.com/312yflk.jpg

    link for image if you can’t see it

    My question is what should i do? i can’t found a safe method that don’t make me loss all my data

    • Strangely says:

      @Alman

      It’s the entries in offset 1C to 1F on column 02 you need.  In your case you have (in order):

      • 4F
      • 73
      • 2B
      • 61

      This link lists the partition types (it’s at the end of the main piece at the top as well as some others).  We know that there’s not absolute table for these numbers as they developed ad-hoc over the years.  But the link shows that yours are probably:

      • QNX4.x 3rd part or Oberon partition
      • Reserved…? !!
      • SyllableSecure (SylStor)
      • SpeedStor

      To me this suggests that either massive corruption has been happening, possibly by twiddling with the various figures or that it’s a disc that you’ve acquired and wish to access to see the data or maybe just for experimentation before using it for something else?

      The reason for this is that most of the partitions are obsolete (indeed one has only a single page on the internet describing it).  Some types are used by disc recovery programs.  It doesn’t look like Microsoft’s Dynamic Disc has anything to do with this….

      So, do you have some history to accompany the disc and does any of the above ring any bells with you?

  61. Strangely says:

    Since writing this article, I’ve found that some free software, Easeus Partition Manager Home Edition, will revert a dynamic disk to normal.  I’m using version 9.1 currently, and it’s on the menu system!

    The software is easy to use, however, I’ve not had to do the reversion process again, so for me at least, it’s untested!

    See http://www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm

    • Paul B. says:

      Bless you, bless you, bless you.

      May your children bless you, may your wife bless you. May you enjoy a good long life. :)

      You are right about it being frighteningly easy to convert to dynamic. I did so via a fleeting dialog when I created one partition too many for the basic disk – which happened to be my Win7 system disk. Then I find out I can’t do a simple imaging of the system.

      Thanks, MS, for another absolutely stupid setup, this one a dangerous one-way trap.

      Also, bless the good folks at EaseUS for their excellent software. It had a nifty low-graphic facility that effected the change upon reboot. Then when I rebooted again the system suddenly went down. I thought I was in trouble. But the next time it booted fine. Guess it had to plow its way through some renaming or something. Maybe a chkdsk /f would be a good idea.

      Thanks again.

  62. Meet says:

    I have dynamic partitioning on my HP Pavilion notebook. I want convert it to basic. But i have a doubt that I might have more than 1 Hard disk inside. I read one of the pages and it says the conversion procedure is not recommended if the dynamic partitioning spans more than 1 hd. So how to know the actual number of physical HDs in my notebook?

    • Strangely says:

      @Meet

      Sorry about the delay replying – I’ve been away!

      It’s unlikely that you’ve more than a single physical hard drive in your notebook because of space considerations.  However, you can easily find out what’s inside by using “Device Manager” in the unlikely event that you have two….  Your drives show up in the default view right under “Computer” in the tree view.  This is mine below, today.

      I always go the route of right-click “Computer” -> Manage from the main screen to get to all the internal gubbins seen in the screenshot above.

      You’ll see that my machine has two – a Seagate  one and a Western Digital one.  These are both 2TB devices which in the current hard drive climate means that the value of these two things is more than double or even treble  the rest of the machine!

      I could also check under the “Disk Management” section (screen-shots in the main article) which would show me the same information.  It’s visible in the left column and expandable from there.

      So there we are – two ways to check your physical drive count (and more info on the drives as well).

      Easeus Partition Manager Home Edition

      Since I wrote the article, the above free software has entered the fray and claims to do the reversion to simple disk all from a nice GUI.  I haven’t actually tried it although I’ve used other functions of the software very successfully and without any hitches whatsoever.  So I’m pretty confident it’ll do what it says it’ll do correctly.  If you’re wary of playing with direct sector editing then I’d give it a shot.

      If you give it a try, let me know how you get on.

      Otherwise, HxD works.  Diskprobe is a similar tool which does the same thing essentially.  If you don’t have the know-how to find out the number of drives in your machine, I suggest that you leave it well alone as it’s a more confusing user interface IMHO altogether.  I’m not being harsh or critical so please don’t be offended, just pragmatic.

      The easiest way for you that I can see to get you out of the devil’s brew that Microsoft invented called Dynamic Disks, is to use the Easeus software above, because even HxD by itself is quite scary-looking for newbies.

       

      I hope this helps.

      Rees

  63. Meet says:

    Also, we just hv to modify the values in the Hex Editor?? What abt that dskprobe thing??

  64. Gilbert says:

    ok so i only have 1 hdd with 4 dynamic partitions
    now to convert to basic i should only change 42′s to 07′s ?

     

    • Strangely says:

      Yep Gilbert. That’s all. But only columns 02 in the designated area.
      It worked for me and quite a few others here as well. Some folks’ disks have been more complicated and it hasn’t worked for them, and anyway, as always, back up stuff you can’t afford to lose before you start!

  65. Ario says:

    can u look at this please…..

    i dont know what to do…..

    i cant find the 42 thing…..

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2739460001348&l=1f083938df

    • Strangely says:

      @Ario
      If you check the comments above you’ll see that some people (like @Alman) have had what might be called “non-standard partitions”. If you can’t see any 42′s and you’re looking in the right place then it’s likely that yours are non-standard as well.
      I can’t see your image as you’ve linked inside a Facebook profile. Maybe in your case it’d be best to use the easier-to-use Easeus Partition Manager software?

  66. Strangely says:

    Excellent @Ario!! – And it’s good to know that the free Easeus option worked because I haven’t actually tested it.

  67. F+ says:

    I was installing XP with 7 and accidentaly converted to dynamic disc, your fix worked!

    windows xp booted again YAY :)

    F+

  68. amirali says:

    i had a dynamic disk with 2 partitions but all i can see is only one 42 and when i changed it to 07 it shows only one partiotion the second is missing or hidden … how can i bring back the second one… PLEASE HELP

    • Strangely says:

      @amirali

      Sorry about the delay but I’ve been away from a PC for a month…

      My advice now is to use the free Easeus software mentioned a few comments back.  Failing that, put 07 in all four positions to see if that will return the partition visibility.  Earlier comments have shown that if there’s no 42 it tends to suggest a non-standard partition which will be harder to fix.

      Make sure your data is backed up before you proceed.

  69. Michael says:

    Hi Strangely,

    I experienced the same situation as most other people in the comments; I tried to make the fifth partition from my Windows disk using the built-in Computer Management console but accidentally converted the entire Windows disk into a dynamic disk.

    I tried to convert it back to basic disk but it was not possible in the Computer Management console. I was scared about the unknown possibility of outcome to my action, and quickly searched the Internet for a solution to the problem.

    I found a webpage which suggests a solution. It instructed me to use the Hxd software to alter only the first of the four lines which you instructed on this page. I hadn’t found your solution yet, and I tried the suggested solution and restarted the computer. The Windows logo froze after a few seconds and then the BSOD appeared. Now I can’t boot into Windows and make the necessary changes to convert the Windows disk back to basic.

    However, I haven’t backed up my valuation data and programs installed on this disk, so I could like to retain all of them while being able to boot into windows again and to convert the disk to basic. Please help me solve the problem and also give me instructions, if possible, on an alternate method of converting the dynamic disk into basic disk without booting into Windows ASAP. Many thanks.

    Best regards,

    Michael

  70. Strangely says:

    It’s a shame you didn’t come here first…  I’m now recommending folks use the free Easeus software, http://www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm as it’s simpler than HxD for general users.

    To access the disc from your position, you’ll either have to:

    • Boot into your machine using an external operating system using a simple recovery disc or similar.  Windows makes one for you and there are loads of downloads which will provide one as long as you have access to another machine if you haven’t made one yourself.
    • Remove the disc and put in in another machine to do the necessary editing, being VERY careful not to try booting from it as it may muck up this machine too!  If it is a SATA disc, you can boot the other machine first and then carefully plug in the disc.  This will only work with SATA, not EIDE, as SATA can be hot-plugged.

    Once you have access to the disc you can edit it and hopefully get it back the way it was.  I can’t guarantee it as Windows, using some self-protective mechanism, may have actually ripped into the sector information or done other things to the partitions (such as scandisc etc) which will fix files it thinks are broken.

    The second option above is my preferred one, especially if the disc is SATA.

    If you cannot do this, then Windows has disc editing (Hex) software as part of it’s recovery console (which has to be manually installed).  This is essentially a more-confusing version of HxD.

    The crucial thing for you is to ensure the disc stays intact and that you don’t try to boot from it.  It must be fixed from without, not within. If you don’t do this then all your data is in limbo-land and only very expensive data recovery solutions will retrieve it.  The last time I looked it was nearly £1000 for a disc and that was when discs were just a few Gb!

    Let me know what you’ve got and any plans or outcome of plans you have in mind.

  71. Michael says:

    Hi Strangely,

    Thank you for your quick response. I believe that my hard disk is a SATA hard disk, but it is embedded inside a laptop. Also, I don’t know how to take it out and connect it to another computer. Therefore, I would prefer the first method instead of the second method.

    I booted the laptop from a Windows 7 DVD and chose the repair option in the Install Windows screen, because my laptop has the Windows 7 OS installed. However, the program was not able to detect the presence of my OS installed on the machine, and therefore I could not proceed to the next screen. Does this denote that the first option you mentioned is not possible? If it is still possible, can you please advise me with more details or appropriate links on how to achieve the first option, probably using other software? Also, I would like to know how to install the recovery console and use its disk editing software to fix the disk, if this is still a valid solution.

    Finally, I would like to know how much possibility of revival of my partitions and data from your knowledge, based on the situation that I converted the entire disk to basic disk and then changed from 42 to 07 only on the first line of the four lines which you suggested. I’d be very thankful if I could revert successfully the state of my computer to one before I made a fifth partition from my disk. Please reply to this comment. Many thanks again.

    Best regards,

    Michael

    P.S. I’ll be offline for a few hours, so please don’t expect me to reply to your comment soon (if you do reply). But I’ll reply when I come back online. Thanks.

  72. Strangely says:

    Michael.

    Sorry for the delay – I see you’re in Oz so we’re 12 hours difference. If at all possible get the disk from the laptop and plug it into a working system, then use the Easeus software on it as it looks to me to be by far the safest option.  Just plug your laptop’s maker & model name into Google and you’ll soon find a work through about how to change the hard drive.  There are heaps of YouTube videos on it, you’ll find.

    It’d be helpful to know what the exact error message you had on the BSOD was, what you did before, and what you did just after the message.

    The reason for this is the large amount of unknowns with your disc & system.  Assuming it’s Windows 7, usually on larger discs NTFS is the file system used, if the disc is on the small size then FAT(32) will have been chosen.  There are different methods to recovering for each, and some of the things you’ve done may already have removed some of your recovery routes.  On top of this, you were attempting to make a 5th partition and have also had a BSOD.

    Since I’ve never been in exactly your situation, then the Hex Editor you’re after is actually part of the WinXP support tools.  It’s called Dskprobe.exe: DiskProbe, see this link on how to use it, say.  This run-through from the Win7 forums gives lots of links and information as well.

    This Microsoft KB article gives pretty convoluted instructions on using Disk Probe as well.  As you’ll see, it’s not straightforward, and a lot depends on what your disk was originally, and if you can actually remember that bit…

    As well as this, check this Major Geeks article on creating a bootable rescue disk with the required tools on it.

    You’ll find several articles on-line about fixing the boot sector of your hard disc.  IMHO, these will likely make more corruption because the actual partition table has been jiggled in your editing process or afterwards.  Fixboot & FixMbr etc will only fix the bit that’s being read before the table is read, and currently your table makes the partitions invisible.  Like this article here, it gives the proper commands to use, but these may need to be done after the Hex Editing process.

    Now before you go away depressed, take a look at these two websites which provide free recovery tools and the discs to use them!

    Particularly read the bit on TestDisk for both the above links!!  It could be a winner for you!

    Hopefully following all these reads you’ve got enough information to decide what to do.  Personally, I’d whip the drive out and access it in a non-bootable state using the Easeus software, as I said earlier.  To me, that’s the simpler option.  However, using the (untried by me) Test Disk tool on a bootable disc provided either of the two links just above will be the next best option for you, and if you are at all nervous about attacking your machine with a screwdriver then one of these options will be best for you, as I currently see the problem.

    One thing to bear in mind is that even if you can’t get back into Windows, as long as you can read at least some of the partitions you’ve created (and lost) you’ll be able to copy the data off onto another drive.  This may be the best that you can manage, but it’s better than losing everything.  Following this you’ll wipe the drive completely, install a fresh copy of Windows, then your programs, then put the data you’ve recovered back.  You obviously just didn’t have everything plonked into one C-Drive, so if Windows is there as it is by default and if it’s corrupted or lost then the stuff you’ve put on other partitions may be okay.

    Hopefully your machine uses the old-style BIOS and not the newer EUFI and GPT formatting because that is all new to me.  Using FAT or NTFS limits the disc to 4 standard partitions.  You were attempting to make 5 so presumably you made one or more of the four an Extended partition?  As you can see, there are a lot of unknowns when viewed by myself & any others who may want to help you.  So don’t write anything to the disc until you’ve read more about it, and when you do write to the disc, make sure it’s not trying to boot.

    Rees.

    • Strangely says:

      UPDATE:

      I’ve been testing the Test Disk program from Christophe Grenier and it all appears to work, at least in a live environment.  All the steps here, http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step work in my system, which is Win7.  This is it working on my system as it’s currently running.  It’s on the second screen.

      You’ll need a Windows XP install disc, (I used an old XP-SP3 iso from my MSDN subscription which I extracted into a folder using 7-zip), and made the boot disc from it using the download from UBCD4Win.  It will just fit on a CD on the default settings although I used a DVD.  You’ll probably need to deselect lots of the addin program options to reduce the ISO size.

      Then make the ISO and burn it to CD/DVD disc.

      This is a bootable disc which contains the Test Disk program.  You’ll either need a keyboard selection to get your machine to boot from it or preselect the boot order in your BIOS.

      Read the process fully here (link above is the same but repeated for emphasis) for the usage of the program. It has extensive example screen-shots.

      http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

      The program claims to be able to recover all sorts of lost partitions – obviously, I don’t have any now -  and since I’ve given up dancing with the devil, I’ll leave the real testing to you  ;-)

      Good luck!

      Rees

  73. Michael says:

    Hi Rees,

    Sorry about this much delayed message… but I managed to fix my laptop’s dynamic disk problem using your suggested program! I would like to let you know how I achieved the solution. Firstly, I booted into the computer using a live USB, and then used the HxD program to change the remaining three 42′s to 07′s. After reboot, the disk was successfully converted back to basic disk. Then, I used the Test Disk program and was able to recover all of my partitions successfully.

    The reason of why it took me a while to fix the problem is because I failed to create a live CD using ubcd4win (I kept receiving the BSOD error). Later however, I discovered a possible alternative called Windows To Go. It is a new feature in Windows 8 Consumer Preview and makes a live USB using the OS’s image. I tried this feature and fortunately, I was able to boot into the laptop successfully using my USB drive.

    Finally, I would like to thank you for your suggestions and advises.

    Best regards,

    Michael

    N.B. Originally, I intended to post this comment a few months ago, but I could not authenticate my comment using Sweet Captcha.

    • Strangely says:

      Thanks @Michael. Glad it all worked out in the end. I’ve tried the Win8 releases and there are a lot of inbuilt tools that are backwards compatible, probably to speed the upgrade process… ;-)

      Another user told me the Sweet Captcha wasn’t working for them so I’ve disabled it. It always worked for me, and on my other websites, yet after copious checking against these working sites I could find no difference at all! Weird. At least you and others can comment now.

  74. ritin says:

    mere laptop me all partition basic se dynamic ho gaye h to me kya karu plz jaldi meri id per information send kar do plz i req u

  75. AAK says:

    Dear SP,

    I followed your procedure, and after lots of efforts (my mistakes) i successufully turned the partition from dynamic to basic. But he problem is now the partition after rebooting messed up and the drive D: is also not there menas the real one and it seems the HD space reduced as it is not showing full memory. i took back up of important files but due to limited space in USB drive could not took full.  So now struggling to recover my lost partition.

    waiting for you guidance and reply

    Best Regards

  76. Strangely says:

    I can’t help @AAK

    Your explanation doesn’t give me enough detail about what you’ve done apart from when you said,

    “i successufully (sic) turned the partition from dynamic to basic

    If you’d actually been successful then you’d have no problem!  But your later words are confusing to me so I need more clarity and explanation about what you did and what you ended up with.

    • AAK says:

      i was trying to say the partition converted to Basic but the HD partition was messed up and lost. I did backup of important things not all as limited storage resource in usb. So was struggling to restore my partitions , if partition is restored they data hopefully be also restored. I hope i cleared myself. Hope you can shed some light on my issue

      • Strangely says:

        @AAK

        It’s the disk, not partition that gets converted from basic to dynamic and vice-versa, not a partition.  So if the disk is okay now, then you need to recover your partition (or partitions).

        First thing to do (bizarrely) is absolutely nothing!  It makes it easier to recover your data.  So don’t do any disc access on the disc.  I now use Easeus’s software, Partition Master which has a free Home Edition.  This has a partition restore function which you can see in the top left of my screenshot below:

        • Hopefully your OS is on another disc.  If not, get one temporarily set up.
        • Boot from this OS and use it to look, but only look, at your old disc with the lost partition(s).
        • Install Partition Master Home Edition onto the running OS and use it to recover your partition(s).

        Your data should be there on the partition(s).   If it’s not, not all is lost.

        I’ve found that the Data Recovery Wizard actually works!  This is another free Easeus tool and will find 1Gb for you for free. This may be all you need to get the missing data files, I don’t know your situation.

        I actually tested it and it worked, but I needed quite a bit more than this so then bought the paid-for product.  It recovered ISO files I needed that had been on partitions that had been doubly remade and moved, so I was very impressed with it. It cost me £57 including tax, but the files it recovered are worth much more!

        I hope this helps.


         

        The screenshots above are from my system which now runs Windows 8.  I still run Windows 7 but only in the virtual environment for the special conditions running software needed by my work.

        If I get time, I’ll describe the way that I, an experienced computer user, managed to wipe a disc using Windows 8′s “Create a Recovery Drive” application…..!

        Essentially, I read “drive” as “partition” as I’d previously been doing a lot of partition and data movement work so had “partition” at the front of my mind.  When it said “All data on this drive will be deleted” – I still clicked the Okay button!  What an idiot!

  77. lastinline1969 says:

    Thank you very much,

    Replacing the 42′s with 07 worked perfectly, I had an ‘old’ 500GB HD from a cashed HP-Laptop with 4 partitions and Windows 7 didn’t recognize the partitions at all. After editing with HxD I had access to the partitions etc., I recovered all without data – loss. After partitioning it with EAUse now it is running perfectly as extarnal backup drive.

  78. brice says:

    Hey,

    You say

    The highlighted area contains the bit to edit and the numbers to edit in this area are those in column 02 that are 42. So change all the 42′s to 07′s in column 02 in the four highlighted lines. (n.b. The screendump was taken after I’d fixed the disc, so all the 42s are now 07 and some partitions have been deleted.)

    But did you notice it remains a “42″ in the position 1D0C ?
    It confuses me !!
    BTW, thank you for this post!

  79. Strangely says:

    @Brice
    “change all the 42′s to 07′s in column 02″ – do just that.

    You are pointing out the 42 in column 0C. Leave it alone. Just change any 42 in column 02 in the four highlighted rows (1C0 to 1F0) to 07

    BTW, since I wrote this piece the prevalence of EUFI BIOSs has increased, so be especially careful if you have a new machine.

    Personally, I now just use the free partition software which leaves all of this hex editting well alone. The links are in the article and in some later comments, but this is it here:
    http://www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm

    Also, since then, I’ve found two other tools that I now use which have slightly different functionality as well as managing dynamic disks! They also do stuff like aligning partition boundaries correctly and SSD stuff.
    Between the three (and carefully using Windows’ inbuilt tools) you can do most things – and for free!
    http://www.partitionwizard.com/
    http://www.disk-partition.com/free-partition-manager.html

    Hope this helps.

  80. brice says:

    @Strangely,
    Of course it helps ! I will try that because I didn’t see any 42 in this column on my dynamic volume (created with Windows Server 2012, but I thought it was MBR) Anyway, thank you again and sorry for my misreading !!

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