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Basic Disks and Volumes Technical Reference

Updated: March 28, 2003

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

Basic disks and basic volumes are the storage types most often used with Microsoft Windows operating systems. The term basic disk refers to a disk that contains basic volumes, such as primary partitions and logical drives. The term basic volume refers to a partition on a basic disk. Basic disks, which are found in both x86-based and Itanium-based computers, provide a simple storage solution that can accommodate changing storage requirements. Basic disks support clustered disks, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1394 disks, and universal serial bus (USB) removable drives.

In x86-based computers running Windows Server 2003, basic disks use the same Master Boot Record (MBR) partition style as the disks used by the Microsoft MS-DOS operating system and all previous versions of Microsoft Windows.

Itanium-based computers also support basic disks, but you can choose from two partition styles (MBR or GPT) for each basic disk. You can create up to 128 volumes on an MBR or GPT disk. The partition style determines the operating systems that can access the disk.

The following topics within the Basic Disks and Volumes Technical Reference describe how basic disks and volumes work, their architecture, and the tools you can use to manipulate them.

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