Microsoft Exam  70-290 Physical and Logical Devices

Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment.  Study Guide

3. Managing and Maintaining Physical and Logical Devices

Remember that you can use Device Manager on a local computer with full read write access.  However, on a remote computer, all you will get is read-only mode.

Use Device Manager to check if devices are working properly, set properties of devices, also try printing summary of your devices.  One of my favourite new features is Roll Back, however you can only roll back to one previous driver.

Note: the Driverquery command-line utility.  A useful tip is to print a list of devices to CSV file.

If the installation of a PnP device requires no additional user interaction, and if the driver is already on the computer, an authenticated user can connect and use the device. This applies to printers and also to any universal serial bus (USB), parallel or IEEE 1394 device.

Dynamic and Basic Disk

Basic disks have between 1 and 3 primary partitions and one extended partition.  An extended partition cannot be formatted, but you can create one or more logical volumes. Logical drives are logical volumes on basic disks.  If you do not use the extended partition then you can have 4 primary partitions on a Basic disk.

You cannot create any new Spanned, Striped or Mirrored volumes on Basic disk.  In fact you cannot do much of anything until you create a dynamic disk.

Dynamic Disk

To convert to Dynamic disk you need 1 MB of unallocated disk space.  This 1 MB database keeps track of disk information. All partitions on basic disks become simple volumes when you upgrade to dynamic. Dynamic disks are not supported for removable media, and are not supported on laptops.  Beware that once you convert to Dynamic disk you cannot dual boot the machine.

Information about volumes on basic disks is kept in MBR, whereas dynamic disks information is managed by LDM service.

While you can convert disk from basic to dynamic, it is impossible to revert to basic disk without losing all the data.  So backup before you contemplating reverting to basic disk.

Managing Volumes

Volumes: simple, spanned.  The disk space can be different on each disk, spanning does not provide extra performance or fault tolerance.

Striped disk also called RAID-0, data is written to all physical disks in the volume at the same rate, they provide higher I/O performance.  Mirroring, RAID-1, uses two identical copies of single volume, each on separate disk, can not be extended, provides only 50% disk utilization.  This does provide fault tolerance.  RAID-5, striping with parity needs a minimum of 3 disks (maximum 32 disks).  Parity is like redundant information which allow the operating system to carry on working if one disk fails (But not 2)

Hardware RAID appears as single disk.

RAID-5 is faster than RAID-1. You cannot boot from RAID-5.

Hardware fault-tolerance: more expensive however it provides faster I/O, hot swapping and hot sparing.

Use separate disk controllers (duplexing) for RAID, this gives better performance and removes the single point of failure. 

If one of disks participating in mirror fails, both portions of mirror are marked as Failed Redundancy.

Here is what you can do with mirrors: delete the volume (data is lost), remove the mirror (one portion is lost, volume is no longer fault-tolerant), break the mirror (both portions keep same data).

You must be a member of the Backup Operators group or Administrators group on the local computer to extend a basic volume or to format a volume.

When moving file or folder to another volume: compression is lost, encryption is kept (only while moving between NTFS volumes) and NTFS rights are lost.

If the disks in a mirror are SCSI disks on separate controllers, both controllers must have translation enabled or disabled.

If you implement a multi-booted system with Windows Server 2003 as one of the operating systems, you should install each operating system on a separate, primary partition.

Mount Points

Keep some unallocated free space so that you can create Mount Volumes or Mount points if you want to ‘Graft’ more space onto your existing volume, especially the C:\.

You can have only 26 volumes lettered (after that you have to mount volumes under specified paths).

Disk Manager and Diskpart

Use Disk Management snap-in for managing disks. If new disk is has not been detected using Disk Management, then initialise the disk by clicking on the Action (menu) and choose Rescan Disks.

You can create an extended partition on a basic disk using the DISKPART command. You can extend simple or spanned volume.

The basic partition must be formatted as NTFS, must not be the system or boot partition, and must be extended onto immediately contiguous space on the same physical disk that is either unallocated and unformatted, or formatted with NTFS (you can not expand primary partition or logical disk on the other physical disk).

Microsoft seem keen on the idea of cannibalising disk from other machines.A disk attached from another computer is marked as Foreign.

Diskpart is a command line equivalent of Disk Manager, my advice would be to use it for scripting repetitive tasks on multiple servers, however, I would want to test the scripts thoroughly, because one slip could spell disaster.

Chkdsk checks disk for errors, may recover bad sectors (exclude them from use, but can recover data only if volume is fault-tolerant).


Disk defragmenter optimizes performance by putting data in solid block.

Use Disk defragmenter or defrag.exe (use parameters: -v, -f or �a) if volume is fragmented in 10% or more (use Analyze to check it).

You need 15% of volume capacity for full defragmenting, otherwise volume will be partially defragmented.

You can not defragment remote disks.

You can not defragment disk while being backed up.

Only one copy of Disk defragmenter and/or defrag.exe can run at once.

If the disk is dirty use chkdsk first to make disk available for defragmenting.

Disk can be checked if it is dirty using fsutil dirty query c:.


Quotas are supported only on NTFS volumes.

Quota manager registers events in System log.

Administrators have No Limit configured as their quota entry.

Disk Quotas can be implemented per-volume and per-user only.

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Which command could configure the disk, e.g create a volume?
Disk Quota

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