Monday, December 10, 2007

Dynamic Troubles with Basic Drives

Did you know... that XP Pro sets up hard drives differently than the Home version?

I was finishing up that computer for my folks and moved their big data drive over to the new (but old) PC. Everything seemed hooked up right, but the second drive didn't show up in the My Computer. After much searching and raised blood pressure, I found the problem. The Home version of XP cannot see drives formated as "Dynamic" drives. The Microsoft solution around this problem is to convert the drive into a "Basic" drive... which wipes the drive.

Of course this isn't acceptable, and made me very upset. So after a soda break where my brain flopped around in the helplessness of it all, I started another search to find a better solution than Microsoft's. I flirted with the idea of installing Pro, but that would ruin all the work I'd already done and generally make things much worse. In the end I found a page describing the use of an open source drive fixing software called TestDisk.

TestDisk went in and rewrote the partition information turning the drive into a basic drive, and boom I was back in business. What a night of trouble for such a little return.

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