Your Solutions – Recover Data From a 2000/2003 Software Mirror


Sean Kearney (Toronto, Ontario)

Windows 2000 and 2003

Sean Kearney is showing his serious side again.  This is a great tip (and much easier than a post I wrote years ago) on converting dynamic disks back to basic.  As a field technician with more years experience than he cares to admit, he is full of tips like this.  Do you have a tip?  Why not share it with the rest of the community by emailing to us?


If you have a software mirror in Windows 2000 / 2003 and you need to recover data (AS LONG AS IT IS A SINGLE MIRROR!) Here's a trick I've used to undo the "Dynamic"

It may not be on the books officially but.

Go to - download Testdisk.

Get a good old fashioned boot floppy (

Use testdisk to Analyse the partition.  Let it "refind" the original NTFS structure to recreate the partition table.

Save it.

Of  course if you could just edit the partition table back to basic I think in THEORY that could work too

Now you can go back in (if necessary) to do a parallel install or whatever to undo whatever screwed up the o/s in the first place.

Of course I think if you manage to bring the original O/S back online through this method, there are registry references to the non existent dynamic drives.   But heck, it might get you enough config to build a new server or save a panic trip to CBLTECH.CA

Of course before doing this MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A BACKUP! (No duh!)  Get some program like Restorer2000 and possibly build an image of the drive, or any decent drive imagine program.

I ran into this problem when trying to do a parallel install on a software mirror.  O/S shows it as an Unidentified partition as I remember.    Mostly because the config that says WHAT it is is sitting inside the registry in the Dead O/S.   There's probably a more correct technical explanation.

XP Same thing if you happen to er...uh... make you bootable system drive a Dynamic partition or find somebody else who did that.

And this folks is why a good hardware mirror rocks.   Except of course if you delete the mirror and forget to say "No" to the question of "Blank the MBR?"

Editor's Note: Just to save my own butt, these methods are not supported by Microsoft (but they do work) 🙂 - RB

Comments (5)

  1. ye110wbeard says:

    Rodney you forgot to get out legal ramblings to, none of this is EVER guaranteed but if you’re STUCK.  Well, stranger things have happened.  

    Now keep in mind, I have no clue what happens if SOMEBODY sticks a software mirror with a span on the same drive.  THAT gets messy.

    Then you truly need software like Restorer 2000 Pro or FileScavenger to scan for the data that was in the spans.

  2. ye110wbeard says:

    Rodney… I prefer your method.  It SEEMS harder but it’s a lot more precise.   And when you’re trying to recover data, It’s a lot nicer when you can just "edit a byte" back and forth rather than throwing dynamite at it and hoping… 😉

  3. ye110wbeard says:

    And if you DO download testdisk and use it *Or Photorec* Throw this guy some dough.  It’s saved my bacon a few times and this guy is a genius on this stuff.

  4. Ed Braiter says:

    Your hyperlink to CGSecurity is a bit off. It shows…. {etc}

  5. Rodney Buike says:

    Thanks for the heads up Ed!  That was my bad as I copied and pasted from OWA 🙁

    Rodney Buike

    IT Pro Advisor

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