Chat Topic: Disk and Volume Management
Date: Friday, August 18, 2006

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Thank you for joining today’s chat with the Disk and Volume Management Team.  We will begin the chat in 7 minutes.  Feel free to start queuing up questions!

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Welcome to today’s chat with the Disk and Volume Management Team.  We will try to answer as many questions as we can today. Participants should type their questions, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” Those posts will go into a private queue, from which our experts will draft answers and repost questions in the upper window with their answers. (To confirm: if you selected the “Ask the experts” check box when you posted, you don’t need to resubmit.  

 

At this time, I’ll let the experts introduce themselves.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Hi, I'm Dan Stevenson. I'm a Program Manager on the storage user experience team, which includes applications for file servers (like Disk Management) and client PCs (like backup and restore).

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Hi, my name is Deborah. I'm a Microsoft developer on Volume Mangement, VDS, mounted devices, etc.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Good morning, everyone!  My name is Wendy and I’ll be your host for today’s chat.  Exits are located over the wing and at the rear of the plane.  We’ll begin our beverage service shortly.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I was really happy to see volume shrinking and expanding in vista.  just wanted to say good job guys.
A: thanks.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Hi, I am Avinash. I work on testing Volume management and Virtual Disk Service (VDS)

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
`Hey, I am Anu. I am a dev working on the disk management UI (diskmgmt.msc).

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: My Vista betas show my two drives in various orders in Disk Management, depending on which beta I run.  How is the order of drive enumeration determined?
A: The disk order is deteremined by PNP, and is not guaranteed to be the same accross reboots. PNP runs asynchronous threads while enumeratng the devices, so the order may change accross reboots.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will defragging a volume before using the snap-in to extend or shrink a volume speed up the process - and is there any difference in the way a volume is defragmented when extending/shrinking as compared to running a normal defrag?
A: Not really. Defrag running normally (not for the purpose of shrink) is trying to reduce the fragmentation in your files, but isn't trying to clear up space at the end of the disk. For example, defrag will do a "partial defrag" to reduce the number of small extents, without actually pulling in blocks to the front of the disk. The shrink functionality uses defrag as a "block mover" to move blocks (only those that can be moved) from the end of the disk.

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I played around with diskpart a bit. I would like that "help" can be used always the same way. Example: if I type "select /?" it works fine, but not with "shrink /?" here I have to type "help shrink". Would it be possible to change that?
A: Yes, I will make a note of that. The help commands should be consistent.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Why does Vista always installs on drive "C:\", although it is installed on the drive 1, in a logical drive?
A: The Setup UI will always default to C:. You can script Setup with the unattend.xml file to change the drive letter.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: This am I was tryning to extend a volume on a w2k3 server, the disk is dynamic, but there is a 30mb utility partition because of that it will not allow me to extend the volume, is this the same in vista/longhorn?
A: Yes, extending a volume on basic disk works only if there is contigous space after the volume. For a simple and spanned dynamic volume, it can extend on any available space on a dynamic disk. It works exactly like it worked on w2k3.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Disk and Volume Management Team.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” That way, we can track which questions we still need to answer.

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How do I do a forced dismount in Vista.  The old way was to not lock the volume before calling FSCTL_DISMOUNT_VOLUME.  When I do that now, DeviceIoControl returns success but there are still handles open on the volume.  (This is with PE 2.0 from build 5472
A: Locking the volume before dismounting is the 'polite' way to dismount. When you lock, a PNP notification willbe sent to apps that are listening for PNP notifications, and it gives the apps the option of releasing their lock. If you choose to force dismount, it will succeed, unless some other app already has the volume locked. If some other app already has the volume locked, you will have to retry and wiat for the lock to be released. If you succeed in dimounting the volume, all open handles will be invalidated, and any calls on those handles will fail.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: VISTA workstations now require massive boot partitions and have VSS and Indexing going on all the time. In a multiple spindle Desktop are there any performance considerations in placing Shadow copies or search indexes on different volumes? Any  guidance?
A: I can't speak for search indices, but yes, you will get better performance if you place the shadow copy storage area for volume(s) on one disk on volume(s) on another disk. This is the recommended configuration for servers where the admin wants persistent shadow copies (e.g. a file server volume with user shares). On Vista, which is not intended to be a high-performance file server, we don't let you place the shadow copies on a different volume through the property page ("System Protection") or the command line (vssadmin).

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Woohooo!  Right out of the gate we have a "Best Question" Winner!!!  Congrats to MEdwards for asking "Will shrink be combined with calling shrink on a VDS hardware provider for an external volume to allow virtual storage to shrink ?"  Please ensure you email LBeta with your full shipping address, including phone number and reference this question.

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Are file/partition sizes on a NTFS volume the same as before?
A: Yes they are. For Vista we have changed the default alignment to be 1 MB. This can be changed by either using a registry value, HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\vds\alignment, or, by using diskpart at the command line and using the alignment parameter. This change results in better perf, by aligning the volume offset with the cache line size.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will shrink be combined with calling shrink on a VDS hardware provider for an external volume to allow virtual storage to shrink ?
A: Great question (I'll rephrase it as "can you shrink the underlying LUN after shrinking the volume?"). Right now, there is no API for shrinking LUNs in VDS, which is what hardware providers and our VDS apps (diskraid, Storage Manager for SANs) use, so you'd have to use a third-party management tool. Definitely something for us to consider for the future -- I know Microsoft's IT department has also asked for this functionality.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: Why are there 2 different additional switsches when using "extend size=" and "shrink desired="? It would be easier to remember to have the "size" switch for both commands - is it possible?
A: With extend the size specified is the size by which the volume needs to be extended. If it is not possible to extend it by the size passed in, the command would fail.

With shrink the desired size is what the user would like to shrink the volume by, but it may not be possible to shrink the volume by that size. The command would still succeed with the maximum possible size in that case.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: On my XP Pro desktop I run 4 160G drives and they stay around 50% used? Should I consider going to 4 300G or higher drives for VISTA?
A: This really depends on your disk usage -- how many new files do you bring in, etc. If you want to keep a nice shadow copy history, a bigger volume is always better.

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Re Optical drives - you showed DvD+RW. What other media will work? CD-RW, DVD+R, DVD-DL, etc? Assume hardware supports them.
A: I'm not sure exactly what you mean? You should know that with Vista, we have deprecated many driver. These drives are no longer supported by the OEM manufacturers, and so Microsoft will no longer ship these drivers 'in box'. For these devices, the drivers must now be provided by the user.

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: To Q2: Thank you!
A: Sure - we appreciate the feedback ;-).

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: Why do I have to sometimes shrink my volumes little by little, like 8GB at a time to reach my desired size instead of doing one big chunk? Perhaps just a bug? I am very grateful for the ability to resize volumes in Vista though, it makes XP harder to use:(
A: The size by which the volume can be shrunk is transient depending on the activities going on the volume. So, it is possible that you can shrink the volume multiple times by different chunks.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: has the defragging process been improved over XP in any way?
A: Yes, there are a bunch of defrag improvements. We had a feature focus on defrag the other week; I think you'll find the content posted in the usual places.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can you do a fake shrink to get defrag to create as much contiguous free space as possible or is there a defrag switch to force consolidation?
A: Sorry, I don't know the exact syntax -- can you post this on the newsgroup? (the local filesystems one)

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I have noticed that the descriptions of volumes seem to have a few more items ie: my main Vista volume on one machine is listed as (System, Boot, Page File, Active, Crash Dump, Primary Partition) is there a list somewhere of all the possible descriptions?
A: You should be able to find this list in the help file - try looking at the help for the diskpart.exe command line tool. In previous versions, we used a display 'hierarchy' such that if the volume was system, we did not display 'boot' or 'pagefile', if it wqas theboot volume, we did notdisplay 'pagefile', etc. We now display all these volume attributes  for each volume.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: I tried to run Diskraid.exe with the response that it is unable to find any hardware providers ... Is that because I do not have Hardware Raid or because I use 2 basic disks?
A: In order to use diskraid.exe, you need to have a VDS Hardware provider installed on the machine. It should be provided by the H/W vendor. You can use diskpart.exe to manage your basic disks.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If I create two or more partitions during Vista setup, only the OS partition is formatted. Is there a way to format all partitions during setup?
A: I think you can format the extra partitions using the Setup UI while still in Setup, before you choose the partition to install on to. But you can also use the unattend.xml configuration to script the disk configuration.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Disk and Volume Management Team.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” That way, we can track which questions we still need to answer.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: re: [4] - does the defrag when shrinking also combine file fragments, or does it only move blocks to the beginning of the disk? And is there any way to make a normal defrag do the moving as well?
A: It does both -- combining fragments (where appropriate) and moving blocks to the front of the disk.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How much disk space and what disk performance is reguired to get a 6.0 disp rating on the VISTA rating system? what is tha highest performance rating hardware tested in the lab so fa and can it be purchased?
A: Sorry, we're not really experts on the perf rating system. Can you post this to the newsgroup(s)?

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Why isn't there an easy possibilty to create a raid 0 over several partitions on several disk, dynamic disks are quite unuseable in a mullti OS environment...?
A: We have deprecated the ability to create striped, spanned, mirrored and raid5 volumes on basic disks. We would be interested to know how you are usng this multi OS environment - for what purpose, etc.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: are multiple disk packs(groups) supported with dynamic disks in longhorn?
A: No. There is only one online disk pack supported on dynamic disks. The other packs will remain foreign.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Let's see some questions, folks. The team has lightening fingers this morning (must be all the sunshine we have)

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: In XP/2003, RAID1 (mirroring) is available only in the 2003 server versions. Will this restriction be removed in VISTA, or is it still implicitly assumed that mirroring is only needed on servers, not workstations? (Haven't tested VISTA yet on dual drives.)
A: On Vista, you can do stripe, simple, and spanned dynamic disks, but only on the Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate SKUs. Mirror and RAID-5 are blocked. So yes, the assumption/direction is that if you need/want mirroring, you should have a server OS.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If doing a fresh install of Vista with the intention to dual-boot XP, does it offer everything necessary to partition and dual-boot? Or do I need a seperate program like Partition Magic to do a proper job?
A: Yes. If you create 2 partitions during Setup, you can put Vista on the first one (it will be the system and boot partition for Vista). Then you can run XP Setup and install on the second partition. The second partition will be the XP "boot" partition, but the first volume will be the XP "system" partition. A handy mnemonic is "you *boot* from the *system* partition (the boot loader), but the operating *system* is on the *boot* partition (\windows directory)"

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: Why is that Vista partition is already C:\ ? I would like to be able to choose a drive letter to reduce the risk of virus attack because it needs more effort to find out the root drive of Windows.
A: Yes. C: is usually the default drive letter. You could change it if you boot into recovery console, but installed programs may have issues if the system/boot drive letter is changed.

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Are there any I/O performance enchancements just by software? Meaning will my hardware perform better in Vista than than it does in XP with reference to my hard drives.
A: We have reintegrated the volume management driver for better performance with PNP, which communicates with the hardware. We have added code to improve streaming for video and audio applications. We have also changed the default alignment for partitions on disks so that they are cache aligned - this results in a 50% imporvement in performance in most cases for IO to disk. We have also added a few other perf improvement to thevolume manager bases on performance analysis of the IO path for fault tolerant volumes. Improvements were also added to  the copy operation, basically we pack the stream so that long distance copy commands make better use of the network bandwidth.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: If I spanne a volume in Vista, can I use it under XP?
A: The dynamic disk would show up as foreign under XP. You will have to import the foreign disk and then it should work in XP.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Are there advances in disk hardware and other I/O that one can consider in trying to build a high performance VISTA workstation? Is there any thing quantitave or relative available to help evaluate purchase decisions?
A: That's a tough question to answer fully in this forum. You probably want to read up on some of the disk and storage technologies, and see what suits the particular workload you are trying to optimize (e.g. gaming, file serving, video capture). The new hybrid drives are good for laptop scenarios, for example. You could also look at an external disk enclosure with a PCI RAID card.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Disk and Volume Management Team.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” That way, we can track which questions we still need to answer.

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Changing disk structures always carries a certain amount of risk - is there any built in error checking that takes place when using the snap-in or diskpart when making changes to the partition structure?
A: Yes, these components do make internal verification checks to ensure that the operation is consistent and there is no corruption, before committing the changes.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: does MSCS in longhorn support GPT and dynamic disks?
A: Yes on GPT. For dynamic disks in clusters, you'll need a third-party volume manager.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: What is VDS hardware? What does the abbreviation mean?
A: VDS is the Virtual Disk Service, a COM API for managing internal and external storage. It's the API that Disk Management and Diskpart.exe use (for internal software volume management), and the same API that Storage Manager for SANs and Diskraid.exe use for managing SANs and external storage arrays. It requires the hardware to have a "VDS provider" -- a piece of software that connects the VDS API to the particular piece of storage hardware. Check out www.microsoft.com/storage for more information on our storage management architecture and solutions.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: What kind of programmatic API's are available to handle disk management in Vista ? ( IVolumeClient, IVolumeClient2, IVolumeClient3, IVolumeClient4 ? ) Will they be documented ?
A: Check out the VDS (Virtual Disk Service) APIs on MSDN. You can create volumes, extend, shrink, delete, etc.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: I run windows xp at home as well as vista, I found that I could not raid 5 my drives... This is definately a feature that I would like to see in perhapse a more professional version of vista.  Why is it not included?
A: Raid5 and mirror volumes are available only on windows server. It was just a business decision made by business management.

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is there currently a native command or utility to easily back up and restore the mbr and mft for a specific volume/drive?
A: No we do not have native commands to do this, but be aware that one of the advantages of using GPT disks is that they maintain backup copies of the partition table, and the efi firmware tools allow new boot entries to be created during the firmware phase of boot. Your best bet is to always manitain backups of you volume data, and use ASR (Automated System Recovery) to backup your entire system configuration. ASR can be used to restore a machnes confguratiop to an entirely new machine. Many improvements have been made to ASR for the Vsta release, and also to backup - we use our 'snapshot' technology to improve the speed of backups and restores.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Disk and Volume Management Team.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” That way, we can track which questions we still need to answer.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If I have a 160G disk with 80G of programs and data in XP how much of the remaining 80G will recovery, VSS, and indexing take if all the VISTA features are turned on?
A: Bill, that will depend on a lot of factors. I've seen Vista take anywhere from 4 to 8 GB. Office is another gig or two depending on how much you install. Indexing won't take up a huge amount of space, and shadow copies are capped at 15% of your total capacity. 160 GB sounds like good enough for you right now; remember that the Complete PC Backup feature in Vista Ultimate will let you make a backup of that disk and restore to a new (bigger) one in the future, should the need arise.

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Deborah, Re 13, Monday's Live Meeting showed the use of a DVD+RW under Disk Manager - making it look like a Hard Drive. That's the context of the question. What other media will work? CD-RW, DVD+R, DVD-DL, etc? Assume machine hardware supports them.
A: Yes, any of those drive types will behave the same inthe Disk Manager as does a DVD+RW. Of course we only allow format on re-writtable media.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: Will there be multiple diskgroups in Vista ?
A: No. There is only one online disk pack supported on dynamic disks. The other packs will remain foreign.



Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: The bew backup uses the VHD format and this can be read and imported by Virtual Server, will Longhorn or Vista provide an add on to mount a Virtual disk ?
A: There are no plans to add a "mount a VHD" capability directly into the OS. However, Vista Ultimate does come up with a license of Virtual PC (I think) that you can use.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If I want to use diskpart to shrink an XP system volume, can I pass a parameter to defrag to move all possible blocks to the front of the partition or must I rely on a disk analyzer file map in determining the furthest left I can shrink?
A: I don't think there's a flag to run defrag in "shrink mode", but you should post that on the feature focus and local filesystems newsgroups, and someone should be able to answer.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Does MSCS support dynamic disks in LH?
A: No. You'll need a third-party volume manager with its own dynamic disk (or equivalent).

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: It would be nice to have the ability to keep a seperate drive mirrored on Vista as this would create the ability to just switch to the mirrored drive after a drive failure. Will this be a possible addition (i am running Ultimate edition).
A: Raid5 and mirror volumes are available only on windows server. It was just a business decision made by business management.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Moving paging file to different hard drive provide for faster boot?
A: 2 drives is good; 2 controllers is even better. It won't help as much during boot, but during regular operation, you should see an improvement.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Does anyone on the team actually use XP anymore?
A: We fired all of them.

Deborah [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: If I want to use diskpart to shrink an XP system volume, can I pass a parameter to defrag to move all possible blocks to the front of the partition or must I rely on a disk analyzer file map in determining the furthest left I can shrink?
A: Shrink calls into the defrag engine, so there is no need to defrag before calling shrink. Shrink will be limited by the existance of immovable files on the volume, such as a page file, crash dump file, hybernation file, Shadow Copy files, or other FS metadata files. Also, because there may transient file locks happening during calls to get the max amount the volume may be shrunk by, running shrink multiple times may get you more space than running it once.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: What has changed in Windows Vista to insure higher reliability in the case of a power failure?
A: Well, a lot of things can break during a power failure, so there are a lot of aspects to this question. First, we have turned shadow copies on by default, so you can expect more reliability out of System Restore, and to be able to get to older versions of potentially corrupted files. Second, there are some improvements in NTFS to "self-heal" metadata corruption. Backup is better and easier to use, so you're more likely to have a good backup around (I hope) in case things get fried. I'm sure there are other improvements, but I don't know of them first-hand -- might be a good question for one of the main newsgroups.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Why when trying to build a RAID in Vista on a VIA chipset, is it not requinzided (sp) by vista thus not completing the install??
A: This is probably more of a Setup question -- I suggest you post in the setup newsgroup, with as much info as you can provide.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Disk and Volume Management Team.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” That way, we can track which questions we still need to answer.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: Will be easy in Vista make a dual volume installation, one for OS & Apps, and another for User Data?
A: Yes. It is possible to set up two volumes one for OS and Apps and other for user data. You could use shrink feature to create space for the data volume if you have to.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Why doesn't Vista installation allow me to choose root drive letter anymore? Or why doesn't it changed based on the partition it was installed which is the behavior for XP.
A: This is probably more of a Setup question -- I suggest you post in the setup newsgroup. I think the unattend.xml file will let you script the disk configuration.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I just want to clarify...Vista can now support resize the Hard Drive partition? Can I do it dynamically? any limitation? thx...
A: Previously, you could extend; we added shrink, including for the OS volume. There are some limitations based on immovable files.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: With previous versions of Windows, if you created two partitions (e.g. on new disk) during setup (question 32), the second partition was always a Logical Drive in an Extended Partition. Can Setup with Vista/Longhorn create two Primary Partitions?
A: Another good one for the setup newsgroup -- I don't know exactly what rules they have going on.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: Are there any functions of the snap-in console which cannot be done from diskpart?
A: No. The snap-in doesn't have any functionality that is not exposed from diskpart. Although the snap-in (computer management) can be used to remotely administer diks on remote machine.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is it recommended to use 3rd party software such as partition magic to 'modify' the hard drives or can Vista Ultra do the same functions???
A: I can't (or at least shouldn't) comment on third-party apps. I will say that the functionality we provide in the OS is tested, documented, and supported by Microsoft. For shrink and extend, you should not need anything but Vista. For something like moving a partition, you won't find tools in Vista, so something external might be necessary. It's worth checking that third-party tools use the published, documented APIs for the volume management infrastructure and NTFS, so that what they're doing is in turn deemed safe/supported by Microsoft.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Second Best Question Winner goes to jrfree for asking "Are there any functions of the snap-in console which cannot be done from diskpart?".....Congrats!!!  Please ensure you email me at LHBeta with your complete shipping address, including phone.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will this partitioning software be able to handle etx3 or Reise formatted partitions?  Sorry if this has been asked, but I was late joining the chat.
A: We only support NTFS, FAT, and UDF.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Re. Q24: I build all my workstations with mirrored disks. Many el cheapo MBs have HW RAID. So the policy to block mirroring in VISTA workstation seems... well, petty and customer-unfriendly. Any hope we can persuade you to change it?
A: Well, to be frank, that kind of thing isn't decided by the product team; it's a business/marketing decision. Wendy suggested you post it in the beta program newsgroup and she'll get someone from marketing to take a look.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: Is diskpart built into setup so that during a XP to VISTA upgrade the doot partition can be resized if it is too small for VISTA?
A: Yes. Diskpart should be available during setup to partition disks.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: years ago when I managed NetWare, it had an awesome way of dealing with recovering deleted files.  you guys familiar with the way it works, and any chance of copying that idea?
A: Well, you should check out the Shadow Copy feature in Vista (previously in Windows Server 2003). It keeps a block-level change history, clumped into "snapshots" for specific points in time, which you can use to roll back to an earlier version of a file. Right click on a file and go to "Restore previous versions" to see it in action.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Why is it that I am always disappointed when I defrag in XP?  I mean when I defrag a Vista partition in XP. The blocks seem to be scatered and fragmented, many out to the outer edge. Is it looking worse than it really is?
A: Marty, it's not quite as bad as it seems. Can you check out the chat transcript from the defrag feature focus a couple weeks ago, and if you still have questions, post on the local filesystems newsgroup? We don't have the defrag folks online today, so that's the best route to get an answer.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Have there been any major changes to the WMI Shadow Copy provider or Storage Volume provider in Vista, and is there a current source of documentation available for these?
A: No, no changes to the WMI providers. You will get better mileage from the COM APIs (VDS for volume management and VSS for volume shadow copies).

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: when extending a partition - does it do it in the same manner as XP - where a I understand it one logical partion is two physical partitions or does extend like partition magic and actually 'grow' it?
A: Extend will grow the partition in its size as long as there is space available at the end of the partition.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I was informed that with Vista we can only use BitLocker to encrypt the C: Drive and no other drive.  If this is true and I'm the person who likes to create several partitions to seperate the OS and my data, how would I go about in doing this?
A: I'm not sure -- I think that was in scope at one time, but I haven't tried it recently. Can you post that on the security newsgroup and someone from the BitLocker team should be able to answer.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is there any measurable difference in disk performance with the same disk hardware for a 64 bit vs 32 bit VISTAsystem?
A: The short answer is probably not. We have a perf expert in-house, so if you post on the newsgroup, we can pass it along and see what he says.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
We will need to wrap up this chat in about 10 minutes. Please post any other questions (select the “Ask the experts” check box) that you would like us to answer.

 

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Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: are there any more improvements to the VSS feature?
A: Do you mean from XP, or from Vista Beta 2?

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: There must be some relationship between disk performance and available ram. Any guidelines on where adding more ram has little or no additional performance effect?
A: Bill, this a good perf question. Certainly, the more RAM you have, the more effective/efficient your memory paging can be. And the new hybrid disks use an on-board flash chip to cache I/O to save power and/or boost perf. I suggest you ask the perf questions on the feature focus newsgroup, and we can see if some other folks can help out.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: What VIA Raid drivers are supported with Vista Ultra and what is the easiest way to 'load' them ??
A: I actually don't know, sorry. Can you post this to the drivers newsgroup? You can load drivers during setup via the Setup UI.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Anu:

Hey guys, it was nice to get to chat with you. I have a meeting to attend. Bye.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: as home users tend to use more and more disk space, are there any features targetted for them for data management?
A: Great question. In Vista, we made it easier to extend disks (we auto-convert to dynamic disks if disk spanning is required). And we improved backup to make it easier to protect all that data. We have some longer-term ideas on making it easier to clean up stale and duplicate files, but nothing specific is planned as of now.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Re 35, Does space on DvD+RW (etc.) become available imediately when a file is deleted or must the disk be reformatted?
A: If the media is RW and the reader supports it, then the space should become immediately available. If it's "R", then you don't get the space back, of course. (I assume you're formatting via UDF, which is a "live" file system for DVDs).

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I mean from xp?
A: Yes, there are singificant improvements to VSS from XP. VSS in Vista is a direct descendent of VSS in Windows Server 2003 -- it has persistent shadow copies, the full VSS writer infrastructure, etc. Plus we added some performance optimizations in Vista, and now all the in-box backup and restore apps sit on top of VSS. If you had specific questions about VSS, I suggest you post to the local filesystems newsgroup and someone can follow up.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
As we only have a few minutes left, I have closed down further Q&A for this chat.  Before you leave the chat, don’t forget to let us know how we’re doing!  To the right of your emoticon pull-down box is a “Chat Feedback” option.  If you don’t feel the chat was helpful, please ensure that you provide verbose comments on why you didn’t feel it was helpful and what we can do to improve the experience for you!!  If you would like to provide more feedback than the 1000 characters will allow, feel free to eMail us at LHBeta@microsoft.com.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Can I use Bitlocker on a dualboot XP/Vista, and will XP be able to boot?
A: Can you ask that on the security group? I think that if the XP partition is the "system" partition for Vista (which BitLocker keeps unencrypted), then you should be fine. But the BitLocker team should know more about this.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: What about removable volumes (disk, pen-drives, etc.) and security?, Vista will have better control tools to enable/disable that? it will be some enhancements on it?
A: I think there are some group policy settings on allowing access to USB devices and the like -- that's so that IT admins can block folks from walking off with data on a USB stick.

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Q: How much would happen if a power-down occured during modification of a partition an how much can be recovered by Windows Vista? Will there be any recovery feature like this in Vista?
A: There is no new recovery feature. Some of the modifications are done as transactions and so the partitions should be in a consistent state after reboot.

Dan Stevenson [MSFT] (Expert):
Thanks folks! See you in the newsgroups.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Thanks, everyone--see you in the NGs!!!!

Disk Mgmt Team (Expert):
Avinash: It was good to chat with all of you. Thanks!