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Windows 7 Hard Disk Management Console Tool and Command Line

Disk Management in Windows 7

Proper disk management requires you to defragment your disks ( HDD, USB drives and VHD) at regular intervals to prevent your PC from slowing down and keep it running efficiently. Data backup and data loss prevention both contribute to the successful implementation of a data rescue plan.

Defragmentation runs on an automatic schedule (Default every Wednesday) in Windows 7 and the time it takes depends on the size of the disk or partition size. You cannot defragment network drives and the file system has to be NTFS.

When you look at the properties of a disk Windows 7 offers the Previous Versions tab enabling you to view files or folders created through volume shadow copy or Windows backup. Let’s look at how to partition a hard drive in Windows 7.

Command for Disk Management Windows 7 Parameters – Defrag.exe

windows 7 disk management tool

Disk Manager Windows 7 Tool

Sometimes it is necessary to prevent users from writing data to removable media like USN flash drives, CD- or DVD-Roms. You can accomplish this through configuring Removable Storage Access with group policy. WPD stands for Windows Portable Devices and enables an administrator to deny access to devices such as cell phones,  I-pods and Windows CE devices to deal with data security issues.

Partitioning for File and Disk Management – Disk Partition Windows 7

You can use the command line utility Diskpart or the windows Disk Management tool mmc snap-in to configure your disks or disk partitions. Remember that a basic disk with a traditional MBR can contain up to 4 partitions entries maximum.  MBR also only supports disks up to 2 TB in size.

If more partitions are required then one of these partitions has to be an extended partition which can be divided into one or more logical disks.

In disk partitioning the GUID Partition Table (GPT) which uses the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) instead of the more traditional BIOS interface allows a basic disk to have a maximum of 128 partitions when using the Windows OS.  In theory there is no restriction to the number of partitions a GPT disk can contain. For disks larger than 2 TB you have to use GPT.


Basic vs Dynamic Disk Partition Management

Dynamic Disks are more reliable than basic disks because they make use of a Logical Disk Manager (LDM) database which contains information on each volume. This LDM is replicated to every dynamic disk so that all disks know of each other which is why dynamic disks are called easier to recover than basic disks in case of disk failure.

When moving dynamic RAID disks to another computer make sure to move all the disks together otherwise the volume will become inaccessible. Also do not forget that if you move a GPT disk containing the Windows OS that you will be able to access the data on the disk but that you cannot boot from the volume.

Check that your disk has the status Healthy before moving it and then right click the disks you want to remove in Device management and the click uninstall. You then then rescan the disks on the destination computer and import any disks marked Foreign. When adding disks from different computers make sure to add them on a per computer basis.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to the dynamic vs basic disk debate as it pretty much depends on your computing needs as to which disk type is more suitable for you.

Move Disks

Simple Volumes  AKA Partitions

On an MBR basic disk the first 3 volumes or partitions are primary partitions while the last volume is created as an extended partition with a logical drive while GPT disks or dynamic disks can contain multiple simple volumes.

When you extend a volume over multiple dynamic disks it becomes a spanned volume. Boot or system volumes cannot be extended as they contain the operating system. Windows allows for a maximum of 32 physical disks.

  • Spanned or RAID Volumes – portions of the disks used need to be the same size
  • Striped (RAID 0) – No fault tolerance but improves disk read/write performance cannot be shrunk or expanded
  • Mirrored (RAID 1) – Provides fault tolerance and does not improve performance
  • Striped with Parity (RAID 5) – Best fail over protection and requires minimum 3 disks and cannot hold the OS or system files

So basically Windows 7 Hard Disk Management can be accomplished by using the Diskpart command line utility or the mmc disk management console GUI snap-in. Be very careful to back up your data if you want to change partition size like extending or shrinking.

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