I have bought a removable hard drive enclosure and a 1TB hard drive to fit in it. Its pretty cool; it has a little handle at the front of the caddy that allows you to take out the hard drive and stick into another caddy - or swap it for another hard drive, whatever you choose.

The manual talks about converting your dynamic disk to a basic disk if you want the ability to be able to use the "Swap Manager" software (some 3rd party software to allow swapping out of hard drives).

Can anyone explain to what the pros and cons are of having a basic vs dynamic HD?


Basic is just that - a basic disk, you can remove and add it as will.

Dynamic disk is an enhanced partition table in Windows that enables enhanced features such as software raid. However, In Windows XP it only works in Professional, and I guess it is also locked out of the home editions of Vista/7 (although not tested).

Also, every time you want to use it on a new computer, or even if you just remove and put it in, you will have to manually import the disk.

Personally, unless this is very good software or it has very big benefits, I would leave it is a basic disk - I deal with many removable disks and I use basic on all of them.

  • Nice answer cheers
    – Vidar
    Sep 23 '09 at 18:41
  • 2
    I agree. Every disk I have made dynamic I have lived to regret that decision. If you like to swap/replace/re-purpose disks, keep them as basic. Sep 24 '09 at 4:15
  • I accidentally converted to Dynamic Disk (using Disk Management), it was very quick and no need to restart. But is there any way to undo that please? I will try AOMEI PartitionAssistant Professional
    – Top-Master
    Mar 15 '21 at 23:30
  • The Dynamic Disk Converter (which can be found in All Tools section) of AOMEI PartitionAssistant Professional was great and without data loss (but needed restart).
    – Top-Master
    Mar 16 '21 at 0:08

Main advantage of basic partitions is 3rd party software support.

Main advantage of dynamic partitions is that Vista/Windows7 can manage partitions (create/expand/contract) more easily. The built-in functionality sometime fails badly on static disks (e.g. shows that there's enough contiguous free space but refuses to shrink or create a partition).


For Basic Disks and Dynamic Disks, they have their own differences and similarity. Here is a complete article to compare them through several aspects on: http://www.dynamic-disk.com/difference-between-basic-and-dynamic-disk.html, you could know it.


Pros and Cons: (that I can remember but not an all inclusive list)

Dynamic Pros:

  1. Can expand a full a volume to unused non adjacent (same disk) space or space on separate physical disk.

  2. Muti-disk span , mirror or stripped sets capable.

  3. Can break through the 26 drive letter limit and handle unlimited number of disk volumes. However Basic disk using GPT can break the 26 drive letter limit and use manage 128 disk volume. (How many do you need)

  4. Can manage and make changes to volumes without rebooting system.

Dynamic Cons:

  1. Not easy to revert back to Basic. (have to back up all data)

  2. Can not run Windows or Linux from Dynamic disks.

  3. Can not read disk data from Windows Home. (issue if your dynamic is shared to a network with XP home clients on them)

  4. May be issues with moving to another machine.

  5. No 3rd party disk management tool support (proprietary Windows)

My opinion - Its only good for say.... 3 reasons

1. Have a 1TB drive (say drive M:) with movies on it and you run out of space. You can convert drive M: from Basic to Dynamic and and add another 1TB disk and span or include it in the same volume M: making it 2TB. That is if you really need or want all of your movies in one volume or directory.

2. You need more than 128 disk volume that GPT manages. (Who really does?)


Lastly 3. Want to do spanning such as software RAID, stripping or mirrored sets through Windows. If you have a basic system doing basic computing you may get away with this as multi-core cpu's may handle the overhead of running the software RAID but....

A. Performance gains of stripped sets are minimal as Gamers, Video and graphics pro's and CAD users don't generally use software RAID and usually will implement RAID cards and/or SSD's to eliminate as much cpu overhead as possible.

B. Mirror sets while providing fault tolerance, eliminates the ability to manage these volumes via 3rd party disk management tools or backing up said disks with any 3rd party backup which could be set for automatic, which in my opinion would be a more customizable and manageable giving the home user more control.

Note: One last possible pro as I understand it, you can create a RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 using Dynamic disks and divide one physical disk into several volumes and being able to pick and choose which volumes to use as long as they are equal in size. ie: an equal size volume from 1-5 separated disks that do no take up the whole disk space on each. I don't think there is any possible way to implement software RAID in Windows using Basic disks without converting to Dynamic but I believe you can do so using some form of hardware RAID controller but you have to even then use the entirety of each Basic disk in the array without partitioning.

Conclusion: To me it does not seam like that great of a choice on a small home system or home NAS. I am not sure what benefits there are for the enterprise market in the real world. Maybe there are some if you are running a Windows based server with 100's or 1,000's of physical disks.

  • 2
    If you have a server you have hardware raid. If you don't you're doing it wrong.
    – Tonny
    Jun 20 '13 at 20:29
  • I wasn't talking about servers and O don't think the OP was either. Mar 15 '19 at 2:17

Another very important difference: Dynamic disks do not support Bitlocker.

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