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What is the difference between basic disk and dynamic disk?

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Basic disks use normal partition tables supported by MS-DOS and all Windows versions. A basic disk contains basic volumes, such as primary partitions, extended partitions, and logical drives. If you have any volume sets, stripe sets, mirror sets, or stripe sets with parity, you must back them up and delete or convert them to dynamic disks before you install Windows XP Professional. A basic or dynamic disk can contain any combination of FAT16, FAT32, or NTFS partitions or volumes. The disadvantage of a basic disk is that you are limited to creating only four primary partitions per disk or three primary partitions and one extended partition with logical drives. Windows NT based systems can support striping and software RAID sets for basic disks but Windows 2000/XP/2003 do not.

Dynamic disks are supported in Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003. Dynamic disks do not use partitions or logical drives. Dynamic disks were first introduced with Windows 2000. With dynamic disks you can create volumes that span multiple disks such as spanned and striped volumes, and you can also create fault tolerant volumes such as mirrored volumes and RAID 5 volumes. Dynamic disks offer greater flexibility for volume management because they use a database to track information about dynamic volumes on the disk and about other dynamic disks in the computer. Windows Server 2003 can repair a corrupted database on one dynamic disk by using the database on another dynamic disk. With dynamic storage, you can perform disk and volume management without restarting Windows.

Dynamic disks are not supported on laptop computers or on computers with Windows XP Home Edition installed. The number of volumes that you can create on a dynamic hard disk is only limited by the amount of free space available. Windows XP Pro, Home or 64 Bit Edition does not support mirrored or RAID5 volumes.

You can use both basic and dynamic disks on the same computer system.
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