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Here is my scenario; Windows 2008 server on a VM. Two VM disks;
Disk1> OS (Basic )
Disk2> Data and an Installed Application. (Basic)

During the weekend, I was playing with this VM, I wanted to add some space to the Disk2. I created a new disk (disk3), converted it to a Dynamic volume and added this to disk 2 (disk 2 also converted to Dynamic volume) and for some reason these now are spanned volumes.

Disk1> OS (Basic )
Disk2> Data and an Installed Application. (Dynamic) (part of span with D3)
Disk3> Data and an Installed Application. (Dynamic) (part of span with D2)

Just like an IDIOT, I haven't taken any snapshot of this before I've made the changes.

My question, is there a way I can re-convert this again to Basic?

I don't want to delete and recreate the disk volumes because of the application installed on the disk 2.

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Painfully, partitionwizard.com is not free for conversion of Dynamic to basic disks and don't work with Spanned disk –  PaulRM Nov 18 '12 at 17:41
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2 Answers

Since you still have all your data on the span with disk 2 and 3, you can:

  1. Create a new BASIC disk (disk4)
  2. Copy all data from the span to the basic disk 4.
  3. Shutdown the VM
  4. Remove disks 2 and 3.
  5. Remove disk 4 (remove from VM, remove, not delete!)
  6. Add the disk file back as disk 2

How to do this precisely depends on your software. VMware? Qemu, virtual PC, ... ...

And as always, make a backup before you do this. Better safe than sorry.


An alternative is to copy the VM.

  • Create a new VM with two basic disks.
  • Copy the disk file for from the working install (OS disk only!)
  • Use the network to copy files from the other VM to this one.

Effectively you do the same, but you keep the old VM around rather than making a backup.
If you do this you might want to double check how your VM software allocates MAC addresses and you might get a duplicate name on network problem. (The latter is a guess. I know Xp and win7 will throw that, but I never needed to do this with server 2008).

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As an alternative you may be able to use the method described here How to non-destructively convert dynamic disks to basic disks

This method uses a free utility called TestDisk, which I have used several times with great success. However, I have never tried using this with spanned volumes.

It's also worth taking a look at the utilities here http://www.partitionwizard.com/ there are several to choose from including a boot disk, which is free and allows coversion of Dynamic to basic disks.

As always, if you have any data you need to keep, make sure you take a copy first. You may not need it but...

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Playing with software that will do a possibly destructive, unsupported operation on your data? A backup isn't just a good idea, it's absolutely required unless you like losing stuff. By the time you get that done, it would probably take less time, effort, and money to just repartition the disks and restore than it would to purchase and run one of these tools. For a single volume TestDisk may work okay, but with a spanned volume you'd probably face data loss. –  afrazier Jan 5 '11 at 19:10
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