Windows Disk Manager - Initialize Disk... destructive or not?

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by ColKurtz, May 10, 2010.

  1. ColKurtz

    ColKurtz Senior member

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    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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  3. RebateMonger

    RebateMonger Elite Member

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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.
     
    #2 RebateMonger, May 10, 2010
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  4. corkyg

    corkyg Elite Member<br>Super Moderator <br>Peripherals
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    Destructive.
     
  5. hanspeter

    hanspeter Member

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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.
     
  6. Nothinman

    Nothinman Elite Member

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    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.
     
  7. hanspeter

    hanspeter Member

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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).