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Old 05-10-2010, 06:46 PM   #1
ColKurtz
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Default Windows Disk Manager - Initialize Disk... destructive or not?

If I have a disk with existing data and move it to a new system, do I *initialize* the disk within Windows Disk Manager when the wizard launches? I thought I remembered that the wizard prompted you to write a signature to the new disk, but Initialize to me sounds like a separate, destructive option. But looking around a bit I see several posts implying that Initializing a disk is simply writing the signature, and will not delete data.

I have a customer who migrated a SAN volume over the weekend. He stated that he initialized the disk within Disk Manager on the new host, but after doing so the drive had no data. They had a backup and will try again next weekend.

Initializing a volume in SAN terminology is destructive. Does MS have a different definition... is initializing within Disk Manager a non-destructive process?

The previous host was Windows Server 2003. I believe the new server is running 2008 R2... if that matters.

Thanks for any info.
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:10 PM   #2
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Don't do a Windows "Initialize" on a disk with data on it. You won't be able to find the files anymore without data recovery software.
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:52 PM   #3
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Destructive.
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Old 05-13-2010, 06:35 AM   #4
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An uninitialized disk means that Windows was not able to find a valid MBR (for whatever reason). If you initialize it, it will try to write a new MBR along with an empty partition table.
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanspeter View Post
An uninitialized disk means that Windows was not able to find a valid MBR (for whatever reason). If you initialize it, it will try to write a new MBR along with an empty partition table.
Yea, it shouldn't touch the actual data but the partition table will be blank so you'd need to recreate the partition table exactly as it was before with a 3rd party tool that's non-destructive like fdisk or a data recovery tool like gpart that will attempt to rebuild the partition table for you.
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Old 05-14-2010, 03:25 AM   #6
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To add a bit. An invalid mbr is not caused by foreign boot strap code or something. It validates the mbr on the 2 byte end marker (0x55 0xAA).
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