Drive labeling confusion in Disk Management

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by Asker24, May 10, 2012.

  1. Asker24

    Asker24 Senior Member

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    I have four internal drives and an external Drobo drive. The internal drives are my concern in this query. All are working well and I could just leave well alone, but my sense of order requires me to get all these different descriptions into conformity with each other. Active/Not Active; Logical Drive/Primary Partition; Disk number vs. letter order?
    Can someone please give me a step-by-step way to get this all straight? For a start, the designation "Disk 0" always confuses me as there is no SATA slot on the motherboard for that. What is the correlation between motherboard SATA slot numbers and the disk numbers in the Disk Management table?
    Left-click on image to see the table.

    Drives.
     
    #1 Asker24, May 10, 2012
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  2. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    SATA drives are normally numbered depending of the SATA port. The lowest port number will probably be Drive 0, but it does not have to be port 0 or 1.

    Because a Drive shows as Drive 0, does not always mean it is the primary drive, which is set in the bios.

    A partition has to be Active to be used as a bootable partition. You normally have only one on you system, although having others will not normally cause a problem unless the drive order is changed.

    Primary partitions are the normal partitions on a drive. Windows will support up to 4 primary partitions on one drive (MBR system). A logical partition is used to add more that the alloted 4 partitions, but cannot be used as a boot partition. And in Windows 7 the designation of Boot or System would seem to be reversed. A system partition is where the boot files are. A boot partition is where the OS files are. Not all disk management software uses the same designations as the Windows Disk Management.

    This is not really a technical explanation, but hopefully, if it doesn't answer your questions, it will allow you to be more specific about other questions.
     
  3. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    Good summary of a potentially big subject by Saltgrass. I'd just add a couple of points - after the four primary partitions the remaining partition is called the extended partition and may contain one or more logical drives. Whilst a logical drive in the extended partition may not be set as the active boot drive it may, contrary to common understanding, still contain a bootable operating system. The attached image shows my triple boot system with Windows 8 residing on a logical drive.

    driveMap.JPG
     
  4. Asker24

    Asker24 Senior Member

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    Thank you for going to the trouble to lay this out. It looks as though my Drive D: (see image) that is labelled as "Healthy (Logical Drive)" should be better labelled as a "Healthy (Primary Partition)"? How do I do that?
    I am assuming I could change the order of my drives, in terms of drive number, by changing which SATA slots they are plugged into on the motherboard?
     
  5. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    You can't just "change" the drive D. Drive D is a logical drive contained within and extended partition (indicated by the green border ruond it). It will have defaulted to that because you already have 4 primary partitions set up (C, E, F and G).

    Yes you could, you could also of course change the drive letters if that suited you but that may have implications for existing software installations and configuration settings.
     
  6. Asker24

    Asker24 Senior Member

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    Sounds as though I should stay with what I have got, as it is working well.
    The Drobo (Drive G.) is a mystery. If you are not familiar with it, it is a drive enclosure into which one can plug any drive (in my [original] version, up to four x 1TB) and they are recognized and formatted. They function as one big virtual drive (or 2 depending on how much disk space is involved), which is how Windows sees it, reserving space for automatic backup. I have no idea how the firmware spreads the data around the drives, except that one can take a drive out and replace it at any time, without any loss of data! The two 500 GB drives that you see in my image attachment were in the Drobo and replaced by 1TB drives. So, they had been formatted by Drobo and I just left them as they were. The D: drive was one I formatted in the usual way some time ago but I cannot remember exactly what I did or what I was thinking at the time.
    Thank you for your help.
     
  7. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    Plus, there is nothing wrong with the way it is set up now too.

    Note as far as Disk 0 being the first disk, it is common in the computer industry to start numbering from 0, not 1. Sort of like "Patient Zero" - the first person in a disease outbreak to show symptoms is patient zero.
     
  8. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    Dup - sorry.
     
  9. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    I might add, just in case, that your logical partition in on a separate drive. Since you only have one partition, you would need to use a third party disk management software to change it to Primary, since Windows would need you to delete the partition first.

    I would be interested, since Windows 7 will not set up a drive as just a logical partition, what did you use to set it that way?

    But as was mentioned, there does not seem to be a problem with your set up now.

    Edit: Oh, one more thing. If you were to format a drive as GPT instead of MBR, you could put many primary partitions on it, if you ever wanted to. But you cannot use a GPT formatted drive as a boot drive, only secondary drives, for your install.
     
    #9 Saltgrass, May 13, 2012
    Last edited: May 13, 2012
  10. Asker24

    Asker24 Senior Member

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    This little episode started when I decided to remove two 200GB drives from my computer and put in 500GB ones. These were previously in a Drobo (Drobo Products) which, if you are not familiar with it, is an external drive enclosure that (in my Mark 1 version) takes up to four 1TB drives. It has a few unusual features, one of which is that you can plug in any drive and it will recognize and format it. Hence the configuration of this one. It spreads the data over all inserted drives and creates an image for backup. An interesting feature is that you can remove any drive and insert another without any loss of data. Drobo just re-distributes its backup and, in effect, starts again. Very clever, and a great add-on tool? I suppose I should have reformatted before I put data on the drive after including it in my computer. Just another lazy user. :)
     

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