Thursday, January 14, 2010

New uses for DiskPart CLI

So, here I am, reading new email (at 10pm I might add) from within the Exchange Master and Architect Community when I came across a thread started by one of the other long time Exchange Masters (thanks Derrick!) around the topic of using DiskPart for automation.  Now, many of us remember using DiskPart or DiskPar in older versions of Exchange when we were running it on Windows 2003 and earlier Operating Systems.  We used to use it to align the disk offset with the recommended settings from the disk subsystem manufacturer, often 64 or 128 instead of the default for Windows back then of 63.  And to be honest, I haven’t really thought much about DiskPart lately since we don’t require it for Windows 2008 (the default now in Windows is 64 – Yeah!).  

As the email pointed out, DiskPart now supports a Command Line Interface (CLI) that can be used for automation of Disk subsystem configuration and management.  Way cool eh!?

Microsoft has posted a TechNet article called “DiskPart Command-Line Options”.

So, what is new in the current release of DiskPart?  Read on:

1. One nice addition to diskpart scripting file is they finally have the NOERR parameter, so when a single typo dumps you out like before causing the user to create a second file with the fixed entries minus everything that worked.  Major Pain.

Ex: assign [{letter=d|mount=path}] [noerr]

2. Format: you can now format from inside Diskpart.  So the need for a second script file to Format all those drives is no longer needed. 


3. AUTOMOUNT: be careful.  This could really mess up clustering (if not in exchange) if used at the wrong time.

How does this make your life simpler?  If you have lots of drives, having to do each one manually, creating partitions, then assigning mount points through disk manager UI takes forever. Formatting through the UI (selecting each drive and waiting) also takes forever.  Now it all can be done in one place, and you are sure that you are selecting the correct drive for naming since its in the same command set.

To run the answer file with diskpart


Diskpart answer file example: 

select disk 10

online disk noerr

attributes disk clear readonly noerr

create partition primary noerr

select partition 1

assign mount C:\EXCHANGE_MOUNT_POINTS\MDB1 noerr

FORMAT FS=NTFS unit=65536 LABEL="New Volume" QUICK noerr




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