By AOMEI / Last Updated August 2, 2019

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Dynamic Disk Discussion

For Windows business operating system, you can free choose the disk as either a basic disk or a dynamic disk. A basic disk is used by most common of users, it just a normal hard drive with no special features. A dynamic disk contains dynamic volume (also called dynamic partition), if you convert a basic disk to a dynamic disk by windows built-in disk manager, you will get a serious performance boost. Dynamic disk supports data redundancy, fault tolerance and some level of properties.
Dynamic Disk can be applied to the following operating system:

  • Windows 2000 All Editions

  • Windows 2003 All Editions

  • Windows 2008 All Editions

  • Windows XP Professional Edition

  • Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, Enterprise Edition

  • Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, Enterprise Edition

The following operating system does not support dynamic disk:

  • Windows XP Home Edition

  • Windows Vista Home Basic Edition and Home Premium Edition

  • Windows 7 Home Basic Edition and Home Premium Edition

Through dynamic disks, you can do things like spanning volumes between multi-disks (this is useful function when you find your data volume is running low disk space). You can also stripe a volume to help the volume spans multiple hard drives but that on the volume each files is actually spread over the disks in the stripe set. Obviously, striping volume can dramatically increase the IO performance because all files and data are read from and written to simultaneously multiple hard disks. For instance, if you make a striped volume that consist of four hard disks, then one four of the file would be on each disk. Thus, the file could be read in one four the time that it would take, because all disks are being simultaneously accessed.

In addition, dynamic disks provide a fault tolerance for protecting your data. One fault tolerance mechanism is called mirroring disk (it must consist of two disks). This means is that anything will be written simultaneously to the two disks. So, if disks fail or corrupt, you have a backup to replace the corrupted disk. Another fault tolerance volume is RAID-5 (that is striping volume with parity; consist of three disks at least). It is a combination of striping and mirroring volume, and you will find it not only can be fault-tolerant and also improve the read/write speed of data.

Why Do We Need to Resize Dynamic Disk?

Dynamic disk resizing will be a great benefit to your computer performance and disk space management. For example, we want to add more free space to volume, especially for system partition, to solve low disk space problem. In order to make good use of disk space, we need to reduce large or unused volume to free up some unallocated space for small partition.

Dynamic Disk Partition Management and Restrictions

You can press WIN + R, enter DISKMGMT.MSC in the run dialog to launch the Disk Management Console. This console will allow you to view current disk configuration and configure or manage your basic disk and dynamic disk. You can also upgrade your existing basic disk to dynamic, and then you can do the following works on dynamic disks:

  • Create, delete and format dynamic volume.

  • Extend and shrink simple volume or spanned volume.

  • Expand a simple volume to become spanned volume.

  • Add mirror for dynamic system volume and each of simple volume.

  • Break or remove mirrored volume to simple volume.

  • Add, remove and change drive letter for each of dynamic volume.

  • Import foreign dynamic disks.

  • Reactivate missing or failed dynamic disks.

  • Explore dynamic disk properties (e.g. total space, free space and used space etc).

  • Convert an unallocated or empty dynamic disk to basic.

According to different Windows Versions, you can use the above features which are different too. Moreover, you could run AOMEI Partition Assistant Server to process the following tasks, but Windows built-in disk manager is unable to allow you do below:

  • Extend dynamic system/boot volume in Windows 2000/XP/2003.

  • Directly convert dynamic disk containing dynamic volumes to basic.

  • Extend and shrink striped volume and RAID-5.

  • Directly resize mirrored volume.

  • Move dynamic volume from one location to another.

  • Repair unreadable or invalid dynamic disk.

On dynamic disks, you can create a various volumes including simple, spanned, striped, mirrored and RAID 5 volumes to meet your different requirements. You could assign a drive letter and volume label to differentiate them.

Extend, Shrink and Resize Dynamic Volume with AOMEI Partition Assistant Server

AOMEI Partition Assistant Server is specially designed for users who want to remove the limitation from built-in Disk Management and are looking for better solution to resize dynamic disk. The "Resize/Move Volume" feature will help you:

  • Extend dynamic partition and volume, including system/boot/striped/mirrored/RAID-5 volume, to maximize computer performance as well as better dynamic disk partition management.

  • Shrink dynamic partition and volume (support all types of dynamic volumes) to redistribute free disk space.

Case: The first dynamic disk is partitioned into a small system volume(C drive, simple volume) and a large data partition (D drive, simple volume). The detailed configuration is as below screenshot:

The following will provide you with step-by-step instruction to resize dynamic disk with AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

Step1: Install and launch the software, click "Dynamic Disk". Then, right-click volume D and select "Resize/Move Volume" in the drop-down menu.

In the pop-up window, drag the left slider rightwards to shrink dynamic volume. Then, click "OK".

Step2: After completing the steps above, there will be some unallocated space behind system volume. Then, right-click C drive and select "Resize/Move Volume". In the pop-up window, drag the right slider rightwards to extend system partition into unallocated space. Then, click "OK".

Step3: You will preview the extended C drive and shrunk volume D in the graphics view. To save the changes, you need to click "Commit" on the toolbar.

After clicking commit, a window will pop up, listing the pending operations. Then, click "Proceed" to perform.

The operations need to be completed under Reboot Mode, namely, restarting is required.

Resize Dynamic Partition (Volume) with Built-in Windows Disk Management

In some cases, you can resize dynamic disk without third-party software, however, the followings you should pay attention to:

  • Firstly, you must be aware that only simple volume and spanned volume can be resized. Windows built-in disk manager is unable to resize a striped and RAID-5 volume and mirrored volume, but AOMEI Partition Assistant Server can resize and handle them.

  • Secondly, under Windows XP/2000/2003, Windows built-in disk manager is unable to shrink dynamic volume, but you can extend dynamic simple volume by the only way that uses spanning multi-disks. Meanwhile, the existing spanned volume can be extended again when it is too low disk space or you want to increase more free space for it.

  • Besides, under Windows 7/8/Vista/2008, you can extend dynamic volume as well as shrink, in other words, you can resize dynamic volume via the free disk manager. The following is an example to help you clarify.

Similar to Vista, Windows 7 and Server 2008, they have the option to resize dynamic partition/volume, this means you can shrink or extend partition on the dynamic disk. At the first, enter DISKMGMT.MSC to open Windows disk manager as follows.

Dynamic Disk Partition Manager

If you want to extend dynamic volume, right click on it then choose "Extend Volume" and then next step you need to specify the amount of space by which you want to extend the dynamic partition.

Extend Dynamic Partition Volume

To resize dynamic volume to smaller space, right click the volume you desired to shrink and select the menu option "Shrink Volume" as above screenshot. This will pop up the Shrink Dynamic Volume Dialog and you also need to specify the amount of space that you want to shrink.

Resize Dynamic Volume to Smaller

You could practice this in order to find more valuable things. You also indirectly resize mirrored volume, the particular method is that break the mirror before resize it, after completing the resize, you can again add mirror for the volume.


Dynamic disk provides some features which basic disk does not have. We can create simple volume, spanned volume, striped volume, mirrored volume and RAID 5 volume to suit your all kinds of requirements. Also, it can better protect data and enhance read/write performance by fault tolerance and striped volume.

Compared with Windows Disk Management snap-in, AOMEI Partition Assistant Server is much more advanced to resize dynamic disk, extend dynamic system volume and expand/shrink dynamic partition. At the same time, it also supports for resizing dynamic disk that contains striped volume, mirrored volume and RAID-5 volume.

Tips: Choose the right version according to your needs or operating systems.

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