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Old 10-19-2005, 02:57 PM   #1
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Dynamic disks not supported for laptops or XP Home?

Okay, so I had a situation on my Dell D600 laptop where ... before I had to format and reinstall I could initialize my USB hard drive case with a converted dynamic disk inside. Format and reinstall, now I can't do it.* I'm posting this in case it helps anyone else.

(PS:* Dynamic drives won't work in XP Home either, just for reference!)

When trying to use DISKPART, I also received the error "dynamic disks are not supported on this system". I knew they were supported previously, so I started exploring usenet and other places.

I found this page, then thumped Google a few more times with different terms. I found this MS KB article:

Option to Upgrade Basic Disk to Dynamic on Laptop Not Available: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/232463/EN-US


Then I found this one:

Dynamic Disk Hardware Limitations: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q254105

Which states:

Quote:
Dynamic disks are not supported on the following hardware:

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1394 serial bus (firewire)
Universal Serial Bus (USB)
Removable disks
Disks in laptop computers or laptop docking stations



So, I think to myself, "Windows XP knows I have a laptop .... but HOW?!"

I start dorking around. I know this works on my laptop, so I compared the Disk Management Service on my laptop with a desktop I have (both use Windows XP Professional SP2). Both files diff out to be the same size and everything.

So I go into the registry and look at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\Dmio to see what parameters the service starts up with, thinking it might be a parameter or flag causing the issue when the disk mgmt service starts.

(NOTE: DO NOT HACK THE REGISTRY UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, YOU CAN RUIN YOUR COMPUTER)

So, I compare the registry values between the laptop and workstation and notice the "Start" DWORD value is different between the laptop and the workstation for the dmio key. Strange. I wanted to know more, so I searched the Microsoft Knowledge Base at support.microsot.com for "dmio start". I found this article:

System or Boot Disk Listed as Dynamic Unreadable in Disk Management: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=236086&sd=RMVP

This KB article gives a list of related dmio keys. When plugging deeper into the registry, I notice there is a list of keys with start values, all are related to Logical Disk Management:

dmadmin
dmboot
dmio
dmload
dmserver


All of these keys have "Start" DWORD values.

So, I went into the Dekstop registry and jotted down the start values for each dm* service. They were:

dmadmin: 3
dmboot: 4
dmio: 0
dmload: 0
dmserver: 2


I applied those same values to the same keys on my laptop's dm* entries, then rebooted.

Well, when I opened disk management the next time, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the "activate disk" option was present again for the external USB hard drive. I converted the disk and now I'm up and running again happily.

I still do not know the purpose of the Start DWORD values and how they get the disk management to recognize if you're on a laptop or desktop, but ... changing these values worked for me, so I'm sharing with the world.

Hope this helps someone.
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Old 10-19-2005, 03:28 PM   #2
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good find!
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Old 01-12-2006, 01:59 AM   #3
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I knew this info would come in handle somedays. I'm trying to make a desktop behave like a notebook so that I can make it sleep or hibernate. This registry hack maybe just what I need.
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Old 01-12-2006, 09:11 AM   #4
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Actually Wes, do you think that sleep/hibernate protocol may be what is different between the two and why they might not want to have external HD's attached?

I am trying to think of why they would not want a dynamic disk to be available on a laptop as opposed to a desktop....


Shift, what are the key differences between the two (dynamic). (Just form my info).
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Old 01-12-2006, 10:44 AM   #5
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The registry hacks above I think only deal with the Disk Management service. So I'm not certain it will help you.

Hedge: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/pro.../10w2kadb.mspx
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Old 01-12-2006, 12:13 PM   #6
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Thx.
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