Disk Management overview

Disk Management is a system utility for managing hard disks and the volumes, or partitions, that they contain. With Disk Management, you can initialize disks, create volumes, format volumes with the FAT, FAT32, or NTFS file systems, and create fault-tolerant disk systems. Disk Management enables you to perform most disk-related tasks without shutting down the system or interrupting users; most configuration changes take effect immediately.

Disk Management, which replaces the Disk Administrator utility used in Windows NT 4.0, offers many features, including:

  • Simplified tasks and intuitive user interface. Disk Management is easy to use. Menus that are accessible from the right mouse button display the tasks you can perform on the selected object, and wizards guide you through creating partitions or volumes and initializing or converting disks.

  • Basic and dynamic disk storage. Basic disks contain basic volumes, such as primary partitions, extended partitions, and logical drives. Use basic disks on portable computers or when you plan to install multiple operating systems in different partitions on the same disk.

    Dynamic disks contain dynamic volumes that offer features not available in basic disks, such as the ability to create fault-tolerant volumes. You can extend or mirror dynamic volumes and add new dynamic disks without restarting the computer.

  • Local and remote disk management. By using Disk Management, you can manage any remote computer running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or on which you are a member of the Administrators group.

  • Mounted drives. You can use Disk Management to connect, or mount, a local drive at any empty folder on a local NTFS-formatted volume. Mounted drives make data more accessible and give you the flexibility to manage data storage based on your work environment and system usage. Mounted drives are not subject to the 26-drive limit imposed by drive letters, so you can use mounted drives to access more than 26 drives on your computer.

  • Logical Disk Manager Service.Logical Disk Manager Service uses disk groups to maintain information about the current state of disks in your computer.

  • Support for MBR and GPT disks. Disk Management offers support for master boot record (MBR) disks in x86-based computers and support for MBR and GUID partition table (GPT) disks in Itanium-based computers.

  • Manage disks at the command line. Use the command-line tool DiskPart to perform disk-related tasks at the command line as an alternative to using Disk Management. With DiskPart, you can create scripts to automate tasks, such as creating volumes or converting disks to dynamic.