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Thread: Installing XP on Dynamic disk

  1. #1
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    Question Installing XP on Dynamic disk

    Hi! from the cold and snowy Canadian north

    I dual boot on a Deskstar IDE drive with WinXP Pro - no SP1 and want to boot on my two Cheetah SCSI drives(17Gb each). After converting them to a Dynamic striped volume (17Gb) I tried to install from the CD-ROM (WInXP with SP1). Got the error message "Setup cannot install on this partition". Some searching on Microsoft revealed that the dynamic volume needs a MBR record.

    So I:
    1. deleted all volumes on both drives
    2. created new simple volumes 1Gb in size on both drives
    3. created a striped volume from the 16Gb remaining on both drives
    4. used the diskpart utility command "retain" to save a MBR on both simple volumes
    5. a message confirmed that retain was successful

    Tried installing XP from the CD-ROM but got the same "Setup cannot install on this partition" message. Looking at the drives in Disk Management they are still labelled as Simple Dynamic and under Status indicate they are healthy but nothing to denote them being a boot partition.

    What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    This information may help you:

    SYMPTOMS
    When you attempt to install Windows XP on a dynamic disk, you may receive the following error message:

    Windows XP cannot recognize the partition you selected.

    Setup cannot install Windows XP on this partition. However, you can go back to the previous screen, delete the partition. and then select the resulting unpartitioned space.

    Setup will then create a new partition on which you can install Windows XP.
    This error message also appears if the disk is corrupted or unrecognizable.
    CAUSE
    This issue can occur because Windows XP Setup cannot always install to a dynamic disk. Windows XP Setup can install only to a partition on a basic disk or to a volume on a dynamic disk that is a system or boot partition or that was previously "retained" by means of the Diskpart utility.

    This limitation occurs because a master boot record (MBR) partition table entry must be present before a dynamic simple volume or a member of a mirror can be used during setup. Dynamic volumes that are created by Windows XP do not place volume information about dynamic volumes into the MBR partition table. In a Windows XP-based computer, dynamic disks store their partition or volume information in a database at the end of each dynamic disk.
    RESOLUTION
    To resolve this issue, use one of the following three possible resolutions.

    Delete the Dynamic Partition and Recreate a Basic Partition

    When Windows XP Setup deletes a partition on a dynamic disk, the disk reverts to basic. All dynamic volumes are deleted, and data is lost. Before it deletes a partition on a dynamic disk, Windows XP Setup generates the following warning message:

    The partition you attempted to delete is on a dynamic disk. Deletion of this partition will make all other partitions on this disk unusable.

    Do not delete this partition if you need to keep any of the data on any of the partitions on this disk.
    Install Windows XP to a Partition That Resides on a Basic Disk or on a Retained Dynamic Volume

    If another disk is installed on the system, a disk that is basic or that is a dynamic volume that has been retained, you can use this disk to install Windows XP.

    When disks are converted to dynamic while you are running Windows XP, the only MBR information that is retained is information about current system and boot partitions. This is unlike Windows 2000, where all existing MBR information is retained upon conversion from basic to dynamic.

    Use the Diskpart Command RETAIN to Create MBR Partition Information

    If you have access to a Windows XP graphical user interface (GUI) that is already on the system, you may be able to use the Diskpart retain command to create the MBR partition table information.

    The retain command prepares a dynamic simple volume to be used as a boot or system volume by writing the flag that states that the partition is retained in the dynamic disk database and then putting an entry in the MBR partition table for that partition.

    On an x86-based computer, the retain command creates an MBR partition entry on the dynamic simple volume with focus. To create an MBR partition, the dynamic simple volume must start at a cylinder aligned offset and be an integral number of cylinders in size.
    Pay special attention the to diskpart RETAIN resolution as I think that will most likely be the key that unlocks the door to success.
    TAKEN FROM HERE

    Keep us updated on your progress.
    BB

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by Big Booger
    This information may help you:

    Pay special attention the to diskpart RETAIN resolution as I think that will most likely be the key that unlocks the door to success.
    TAKEN FROM HERE

    Keep us updated on your progress.
    BB
    Thanks Big Booger. Definetly "retain" is the key, as when these two drives were converted from BASIC to DYNAMIC when I installed W2k on them, everything worked fine. But now my conversion of them to the NTFS of XP is not setting the MBR correctly and as a result I cannot install XP on these drives. Still trying to get more info on the proper use of "retain" as info is sparse from MS.

    Thanks again,
    hdtvguy

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    June 17, 2002
    Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week: Getting to Know the Disk Management Tools

    DiskPart

    The command line tool DiskPart is also available in Windows XP Professional. DiskPart allows the administrator to handle disk administrative tasks from a command prompt.

    You start your session at the command prompt by typing the following:

    H:\Documents and Settings\JZANDRI>diskpart

    Microsoft DiskPart version 1.0
    Copyright (C) 1999-2001 Microsoft Corporation.
    On computer: P42GHZ

    DISKPART>

    This will put you into the DiskPart program session. If you needed to get a little more information on DiskPart before starting your session and tried the standard <DRIVE LETTER>:\diskpart /?, this is all you would get:

    H:\Documents and Settings\JZANDRI>diskpart /?

    Microsoft DiskPart version 1.0
    Copyright (C) 1999-2001 Microsoft Corporation.
    On computer: P42GHZ

    Microsoft DiskPart syntax:
    diskpart [/s <script>] [/?]

    /s <script> - Use a DiskPart script.
    /? - Show this help screen.

    However, if you started the program and then typed HELP, you'd get much more information:

    H:\Documents and Settings\JZANDRI>diskpart

    Microsoft DiskPart version 1.0
    Copyright (C) 1999-2001 Microsoft Corporation.
    On computer: P42GHZ

    DISKPART> help

    Microsoft DiskPart version 1.0

    ADD - Add a mirror to a simple volume.
    ACTIVE - Activates the current basic partition.
    ASSIGN - Assign a drive letter or mount point to the selected volume.
    BREAK - Break a mirror set.
    CLEAN - Clear the configuration information, or all information, off the
    disk.
    CONVERT - Converts between different disk formats.
    CREATE - Create a volume or partition.
    DELETE - Delete an object.
    DETAIL - Provide details about an object.
    EXIT - Exit DiskPart
    EXTEND - Extend a volume.
    HELP - Prints a list of commands.
    IMPORT - Imports a disk group.
    LIST - Prints out a list of objects.
    ONLINE - Online a disk that is currently marked as offline.
    REM - Does nothing. Used to comment scripts.
    REMOVE - Remove a drive letter or mount point assignment.
    RESCAN - Rescan the computer looking for disks and volumes.
    RETAIN - Place a retainer partition under a simple volume.
    SELECT - Move the focus to an object.

    DISKPART>

    For the most part, this command line tool is highly effective when you are using any of the above commands via scripting. The only other time it is easy/necessary to use it is from the Recovery Console, as it is one of the commands available from the console.

    [NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - Do not modify the structure of dynamic disks with the DiskPart command line tool because you might damage your partition table within the dynamic disk structure.

    To exit the DiskPart program simply type EXIT at the program prompt.

    The Diskpart Command Line Utility is available for download from Microsoft for Windows 2000 and is part of the Windows 2000 Resource Kit Tools as well. (It is included as part of Windows XP Professional.) As with any software available for use from any version of the Resource Kits or the download site, it is not supported under any Microsoft standard support program or service. In other words, you use it at your own peril.
    TAKEN FROM:
    http://mcmcse.com/windows_xp/guides/...nagement.shtml

    I found that to be very applicable to your situation. I am assuming you have use of the windows XP GUI, installed on the other HDD, with the two Simple Dynamic drives installed as well.
    I would guess that you would run the DISKPART using the command prompt.
    From there it is just a matter of selecting the right drive and using the RETAIN command to create the MBR so that it will allow you to install XP on your Simple Dynamic Volumes.


    If you need more help, just ask. I will do my best to find the solution.
    BB

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by Big Booger
    I am assuming you have use of the windows XP GUI, installed on the other HDD, with the two Simple Dynamic drives installed as well.
    If you need more help, just ask. I will do my best to find the solution.
    BB
    Whoa Nellie! Are you psychic or what. Thats exactly what I did. After I converted the two Cheetahs from BASIC to DYNAMIC DISKS, created the two SIMPLE VOLUMES, one being the SYSTEM VOLUME for the system files and the remaing space on both drives were configured as one 16Gb STRIPED VOLUME to be used as the BOOT VOLUME for the OS itself.

    All this was done while on the XP OS run from my IDE drive. I then opened a command prompt and ran the retain command on both SIMPLE VOLUMES. It should have worked but didn't, hence my post. I started doubting this morning that this would be possible with XP but then I found these:

    Reference 1: http://support.microsoft.com/default...b;en-us;309044
    states "You must have at least 1 megabyte (MB) of free space on any master boot record (MBR) disk that you want to convert.
    This space is automatically reserved when the partition or volume is created in Microsoft Windows 2000 or
    Windows XP Professional."
    1 is a good thing.

    Reference 2: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/tre...b_cnc_ploo.asp
    states "You can convert basic disks to dynamic at any time. In most cases, you do not need to restart your computer to complete the
    conversion. However, you must restart the computer if the disks you are converting contain any of the following volumes:
    System volume (x86-based computers only).
    Boot volume.
    Volumes that contain the paging file.

    When you convert MBR disks that contain the system, boot, or paging file volumes to dynamic, you are prompted to restart
    the computer two times. You must restart the computer twice to complete the conversion."

    2 is a good thing.

    Reference 3: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/tre...b_cnc_pbxa.asp
    states "Although you can convert a basic disk to dynamic without losing data, you cannot convert a dynamic disk to basic
    if the disk contains volumes. You must delete all volumes on a dynamic disk before you can convert it to basic."


    3 is a good thing.

    So if for some the "retain" thingy isn't working does this mean that I have to start with a BASIC primary partiton as a SYSTEM VOLUME and a logical partiton for the BOOT VOLUME. Then once XP is up and running convert the whole mess to DYNAMIC?

    Then I found this tidbit: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/tre...b_cnc_opkt.asp
    it states "You can install Windows XP Professional on the following dynamic volumes:
    * Any basic volume that was present on the disk when you converted the disk to dynamic by using Windows 2000.
    * Simple volumes on which you run the DiskPart command retain. This command adds a partition entry to the
    partition table so that you can install Windows XP Professional on the simple volume.
    * An existing simple volume that is the boot or system volume.

    I checked my SIMPLE VOLUMES by right clicking the drive label and the "Extend Volume" option is grayed out indicating that a partition entry exists in the table.

    I am determined to get this working. When I ran W2k off a STRIPED VOLUME it flew, dying to see how XP would perform.

    My brain is starting to throb now, I think I'll go watch some DVD's. Tackle this again tomorrow.

    Thanks again B&B

  6. #6
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    Thumbs up

    Well I finally found the answwer. MS says you cannot make a STRIPED volume a BOOT volume.

    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/tre..._partition.asp
    The system partition can never be part of a striped volume, spanned volume, or RAID-5 volume

    So just put all the Program Files on the striped drives and XP flies. I suppose I could have installed the BOOT on a second SIMPLE volume and got a basic install of XP working. Then go into my IDE installation of XP, backup the SCSI's BOOT volume and convert that to a STRIPED volume and restore the data back. Well maybe next time.

    P.S. the "retain" command does work and is essential to get the XP installer to recognize the drive as an installable partition.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    Well glad to see you got your answer. Any more woes let us know. We will do our best.
    BB

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