Moving a Dynamic Disk to a New System

9/5/2010 9:30:47 AM

An important advantage of dynamic disks over basic disks is that you can easily move them from one computer to another. For example, if after setting up a computer, you decide that you don't really need an additional hard disk, you can move it to another computer where it can be better used. Before moving disks, you should complete the following steps:

  1. Access Disk Management on the computer where the dynamic disks are currently installed and check their status. The status should be Healthy. If it isn't, you should fix any problems before moving the disks.


    Drives with Bit Locker Drive encryption cannot be moved using this technique. Windows Vista Enterprise and Ultimate editions include Bit Locker Driver Encryption that wraps drives in a protected seal so that any offline tampering is detected and results in the disk being unavailable until an administrator unlocks it.

  2. Check the hard disk subsystems on the original computer and the computer to which you want to transfer the disk. Both computers should have identical hard disk subsystems. If they don't, the Plug and Play ID on the system disk from the original computer won't match what the destination computer is expecting. As a result, the destination computer won't be able to load the right drivers, and boot might fail.

  3. Check whether any dynamic disks that you want to move are part of a spanned, extended, or striped set. If they are, you should make a note of which disks are part of which set and plan on moving all disks in a set together. If you are moving only part of a disk set, you should be aware of the consequences. For spanned, extended, or striped volumes, moving only part of the set will make the related volumes unusable on the current computer and on the computer to which you are planning to move the disks.

When you are ready to move the disks, complete the following tasks:

  1. On the original computer, start Computer Management. Then, in the left pane, select Device Manager. In the Device list, expand Disk Drives. This shows a list of all the physical disk drives on the computer. Right-click each disk that you want to move and then select Uninstall. If you are unsure which disks to uninstall, right-click each disk and select Properties. In the Properties dialog box, select the Volumes tab and then choose Populate. This shows you the volumes on the selected disk.

  2. Next, select the Disk Management node in Computer Management on the original computer. Right-click each disk that you want to move and then select Remove Disk.

  3. Once you perform these procedures, you can move the dynamic disks. If the disks are hot swappable and this feature is supported on both computers, remove the disks from the original computer and then install them on the destination computer. Otherwise, turn off both computers, remove the drives from the original computer, and then install them on the destination computer. When you're finished, restart the computers.

  4. On the destination computer, access Disk Management and then select Rescan Disks from the Action menu. When Disk Management finishes scanning the disks, right-click any disk marked Foreign and click Import. You should now be able to access the disks and their volumes on the destination computer.


The volumes on the dynamic disks should retain the drive letters that they had on the original computer. If a drive letter is already used on the destination computer, a volume receives the next available drive letter. If a dynamic volume previously did not have a drive letter, it does not receive a drive letter when moved to another computer. Additionally, if automounting is disabled, the volumes aren't automatically mounted and you must manually mount volumes and assign drive letters.

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