Hard Disk Management
A hard disk is a secondary storage device that is connected to a computer by
the Integrated Device Electronics (IDE) or Small Computer System Interface
(SCSI) controllers. It consists of inflexible platters coated with material in
which data is recorded magnetically with read/write heads.
Windows XP Professional supports two types of hard disk storage, namely basic
disk and dynamic disk. A basic disk is the traditional definition. Configuring
and managing user profiles in the Windows XP operating system default storage
type in Windows XP.
Every basic disk contains at least one partition. It is a physical disk that
contains the primary and extended partitions. Partitions created on a basic disk
are called basic volumes. An administrator can create more than one basic volume
by partitioning the hard disk for the purpose of organizing the files and
folders or supporting multiple operating systems on a single hard disk.
On a basic disk, three types of partitions can be created, namely primary,
extended, and logical. An administrator can configure a maximum of four primary
partitions on a computer running the Windows XP operating system. Although the
administrator can configure any of the created primary partitions as an active
or bootable partition, he can view only one primary partition with a drive
letter at a time since only one primary partition is active at a time. Other
primary partitions are invisible and are not assigned a drive letter.
An extended partition allows administrators to exceed the limit of primary
partitions that can be created on a hard disk. An extended partition serves as
a shell in which a user can create unlimited logical partitions. Logical
partitions are visible and generally used to organize files.
In addition to the basic disk, Windows XP Professional also supports the
dynamic disk, which overcomes the limitations of the basic disk. Dynamic disks
are actually physical disks that are created and managed with the Disk
Management utility in Windows XP.
Dynamic disks provide several new features that cannot be performed on basic
disks. Dynamic disks do not use partitions or logical drives. Instead, they use
dynamic volumes to subdivide physical disks into one or more drives. Three types
of dynamic volumes can be created on a Windows XP-based computer, namely simple,
spanned, and striped.
Simple volumes: Simple volumes contain disk space from a single hard
disk and can be extended, if required.
Spanned volumes: Spanned volumes combine areas of unallocated space
from multiple disks into one logical volume. Such volumes allow a user to
efficiently use all the hard disk space and drive letters on a multiple-disk
system. Spanned volumes contain disk space from two to thirty-two disks with
varying amount of disk space from each disk.