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Best practices for Disk Management

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Best practices

Use the appropriate credentials

  • When using Disk Management, confirm that you are a member of the Backup Operators group or the Administrators group.

    If you have access to the administrator account and password, it is a security best practice to log on as a user that is not a member of the Administrators group and run Disk Management by right-clicking the Computer Management snap-in icon, and then clicking Run as.

    For more information about why you should not run your computer as an administrator, see Why you should not run your computer as an administrator.

Back up data

  • Because deleting or creating partitions or volumes destroys any existing data, be sure to back up the disk contents beforehand. As with any major change to disk contents, you should back up the entire contents of the hard disk before working with partitions or volumes, even if you do not plan to make any changes to one or more of your partitions or volumes.

    For more information on how to back up and restore data, see Backup.

Format volumes using the NTFS file system

  • Many features in Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 operating systems, such as file and folder permissions, encryption, large volume support, and sparse file management, require the NTFS file system format.

    For more information about file system compatibility and limitations, see Choosing a file system: NTFS, FAT, or FAT32.

Use dynamic disks

  • Several Disk Management tasks, including creating fault-tolerant disks, can be performed only with dynamic disks. You can use dynamic disks to create and delete simple, spanned, striped, mirrored, and RAID-5 volumes. Dynamic disks cannot be directly accessed by computers running MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT, or Windows XP Home Edition. As a result, you cannot start these operating systems on dynamic disks. Shared folders on dynamic disks are available across a network to computers running all of these operating systems, however.

    For more information about dynamic disks, see Dynamic disks and volumes.

Use disks and disk controllers that are the same model and size, and from the same manufacturer

  • When creating or repairing mirrored or RAID-5 volumes, it is best to use disks that are the same model and size and from the same manufacturer. This ensures that the disk geometries are the same and simplifies the processes of creating a new mirrored or RAID-5 volume or replacing a failed disk. It is also recommended that you have spare disks and disk controllers available so that if a disk or disk controller fails, you can quickly replace the faulty disk or disk controller with one of the same type.

Use Event Viewer to check the system log when mirrored or RAID-5 volumes fail

  • When a mirrored or RAID-5 volume fails, it is sometimes due to a faulty disk controller. Changing one of the disks that make up a mirrored or RAID-5 volume will not fix the volume if the problem is being caused by a faulty disk controller. Always use Event Viewer to check the system log to determine the true nature of the disk-related problem before changing a disk or disk controller.

    For more information on how to use Event Viewer to check the system log, see Event Viewer.

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