Convert dynamic disk to basic? I’m smart. But, sometimes I am just smart enough to be dangerous. In my efforts to promote the viability of my one-man operation and to install two new Western Digital hard disks for a new span of data integrity life, I reinstalled Windows 7 Professional because Windows 10 just isn’t my cup of tea. This was the beginning of a 48-hour nightmare.
In Windows 7, there is a handy dandy little tool that allows mirroring of your drives. In my case, I had partitioned four drives plus an unallocated section on my Basic hard disk. To protect my data should a hard disk fail in the future, I thought that I would just mirror, create an exact duplicate, of my primary hard drive. By doing so, the disk changed to dynamic. Warned by all the Windows popups, and scorned by all the Windows techies for not paying attention to those popups, I still didn’t believe that I could not change the dynamic disk back to basic, so I clicked OK, because, after all, I was a …er…smart chick.
I was happy for about an hour until my further research regarding dynamic disks enlightened me to the fact that restoring my information from the dynamic disk unscathed, should the need arise, would be risky. So, I decided to revert back to the basic disk. That decision is why I have bald patches on my scalp due to my clenched fists, tugging and tugging and tugging.
For the next 48 hours, I tried everything to convert my new dynamic disk back to basic. After backing up the 700GB of data to the secondary new hard drive, I was able to delete all volumes, using Disk Management, except the C: drive, where the System Volume Information was stored. The secondary hard drive, Disk 1, also had Windows 7 installed, so I was able to use Disk Management from there to affect the infamous Disk 0. Everything was a vicious cycle. Disk conversion was not possible because it contained a used volume. Volume deletion wasn’t possible because it was a system partition, and, by golly, there’s a hole in the bucket Dear Henry, the OS doesn’t permit system partition deletion.
I purchased Paragon Partition Manager which did nothing because their software doesn’t do Dynamic Disks. (Gosh, I wish that had been clear before purchasing!) Losing hope and at a loss for ideas, I called my brainchild nephew, Jake, and asked for his input. He pointed me toward Linux and Ubuntu utilities, but after researching, I decided I didn’t want to pursue a new learning curve at this juncture. My three-inch PC repair book also informed me that the phrase ‘dynamic disk’ didn’t merit a listing in the Index. That was the point at which I knew I was in trouble.
To make an already long story shorter, it hit me like a flash to go to the manufacturer’s website, Western Digital, to see what they offered. It was as though the heavens opened up, with the stars shining brightly upon me, when I opened the web page and saw a download button for software that would erase my dynamic disk and its stubborn system volume information. Their software would, supposedly, perform a low-level format and return the disk to the state it was purchased. With newly found hope and inspiration, I downloaded the software, performed a Quick low-level format, and in a few minutes my previously set-in-concrete dynamic disk was a brand new bouncing basic disk! I then performed a clean install of Windows 7 and re-partitioned my brand new BASIC disk to fit my needs! The rest, they say, is history!
You know, it’s funny how things work. . . Out of major technical catastrophes, such as this, comes a wealth of newly gained knowledge and respect for warnings. As I raise my glass to you, here’s to hoping that my adventure will make your journey less painful!