How to configure Storage Spaces in Windows 8By Lawrence Abrams on October 22, 2012 | Last Updated: December 11, 2012 | Read 14,763 times.
Table of Contents
Storage Spaces is a new feature in Windows 8 that allows you to pool together multiple hard drives into one larger drive or to mirror two different drives so that your data is protected against a drive failing. When Windows combines the drives they are placed into what is called a storage pool. These pools are then divided into storage spaces, or virtual drives, that can be accessed via a drive letter in Windows. When creating the storage spaces you can use the following methods:
If you tend to have a lot of spare drives, then using these extra drives as storage spaces can help to protect your data in the event of drive failure. This tutorial will explain how to setup the various storage spaces and manage them. If you have any questions, please feel free to discuss them in the Windows 8 forum.
First go to the Windows 8 Start Screen and type Storage Spaces. When the search results appear click on the Settings category as shown below.
Now click on the option labeled Storage Spaces and you will be brought to the Storage Spaces control panel.
Click on the option labeled Create a new pool and storage space. This will open up a new screen where you can select the drives that you wish to add to a storage pool.
Put a check mark next to each drive you wish to use for the new pool and then click on the Create pool button. The new storage pool will be created and you will be brought to a new screen where you can create a new storage space that is associated with that pool.
If you do not wish to create a new storage space at this time, you can simply click on the Cancel button, otherwise you can read about the different storage space options in the following sections:
A Simple volume is the equivalent of a Raid-0 drive array. This type of storage space allows you to take multiple drives and configure them as one virtual drive that has free space of all the combined drives. So for example, if you have three 1 terabyte drives and you use them to make a Simple storage space the new virtual drive would have a total storage of 3 terabytes. This type of storage space allows you to easily add more storage to a drive as it becomes necessary.
Below is an example of taking two 5 GB drives and combining them into a Simple storage space. Please note, that there is some overhead associated with this and you do not get the total physical space of the drive as usable space.
When you are ready, simply click on the Create Storage Space button and it will be created.
As you can see from the above picture, we have create a Simple storage space of 8.50 GB from two 5 GB drives. In the future, if you need to add more usable space to the Simple storage space, you can add another hard drive, which is outlined in the next section.
If you are using a Simple storage space and run out of room on the drive, you can add a new drive to the pool in order to increase amount of space available on the drive letter. To do this, open Storage Spaces and find the storage pool you would like to manage. Then click on the Add drives option to open a dialog box where you can add another drive to the storage pool.
Select the drive you wish add and click on the Add drives button. The third drive will now be part of the pool as shown below.
Now you need to modify the storage space so that it using all of the space that was just added. To do that, click on the Change option to open the storage space's properties screen.
In the field labeled Storage space size change the amount to the number reflected in the Total pool capacity row. Then click on the Change storage space button.
Your Simple storage space will now be using all of the space available on all the drives in the pool.
A two-way mirror, or Raid-1, storage space is when you use two drives and data is written to both of them at the same time. This synchronization allows your data to be backed up to both drives and if one drive fails, you do not lose any of your your data. All you have to do is remove the failed drive, install a new drive, and then add it to the pool. Windows will then synchronize all the data from the old disk to the new one so that they are mirrored again.
Please note that since each drive is a mirror of the other, you will only have access to half the space allocated to the storage pool. For example, if you have two 1.5 terabyte drives added to a storage pool, the storage pool will have a total capacity of 3 terabytes. If we now use that storage pool to create a two-way mirror, the drive letter that is created will only have 1.5 terabyte of usable space because half of the space is used as accessible storage and the other half is the mirror.
Below is an example of a two-way mirrored storage space:
Notice that though the total pool capacity is 8.5 GB , we only have usable space of 4.25 GB for the Two-mirrored storage space. When you are ready, click on the Create storage space button and the new mirror will be created as shown below.
As you can see above, we have created a 4.25 GB two-way mirror using the 8.5 GB storage pool.
It is also possible to create a three-way mirror that requires 5 physical drives. This type of storage space protects you against two drive failures at the same time. We will not be discussing how to create this type of mirror as it uses the same steps as above.
A Parity, or Raid-5, storage space is useful if you want to combine two or more drives together to make one large drive, while still protecting your data in the event that one of the drives has a hardware failure. When creating this type of storage space, your total usable drive space will be the total disk space of all the drives minus one of them. Therefore, if you have four 120 gigabyte drives and create a parity storage space, the total usable space will be 360 gigabytes (3 * 160GB) with the fourth drive being used as a backup in the event that one of the drives fails.
Below is an example of a Parity, or Raid-5, storage space using four 5GB drives.
When you are ready, click on the Create storage space button and the new parity storage space will be created as shown below.
Notice how the total pool capacity is 17GB (4 x 5GB minus some overhead), but the maximum size is 11.5 (3 x 5 GB with some space taken out for overhead).
If you are using a Parity storage space and one of the drives dies, your data will still be accessible and the storage space will continue to work. With the drive failed, though, you will no longer be fault tolerant, which means that if another drive fails you will lose all of your data. Therefore, it is important to replace a failed drive as soon as possible with a new one.
When a drive fails, Windows will issue an alert stating that there is a problem as shown below.
Click on the alert and you will be brought to the storage spaces control panel where you can determine which drive is having a problem.
Notice in the image above how Storage Spaces is telling us the particular drive that is failed. If you cannot fix the drive, you need to purchase and install a new hard drive in your computer. You should then click on the Add drives option for this storage pool and add the new drive into the pool.
Once the new drive is added to the pool, click on the Remove option next to the drive that has failed. Windows will then recreate the necessary data on the new drive. While the data is being written, you will see a warning symbol next to the storage space. When it has finished repairing the storage space, this warning message will disappear, and your parity drive will be fully functional and protecting your computer.
To delete a storage space, you just need to click on the Delete option next to the particular one that you wish to delete.
Once you delete a storage, all of your data will be lost, so be sure to make a backup of anything that you need to save. You can then use the storage pool to create another storage space or continue to deleting the storage pool.
Before you can delete a storage pool, you first need to delete any storage spaces currently using it. Once all the storage spaces are deleted, you can then continue with deleting a storage pool.
Once you find the storage pool you wish to delete, simply click on the Delete button to delete it.
Question:I ran out of space on one of my storage spaces and now Windows will not allow me to access the drive. What can I do?
Question: I noticed it was possible to add multiple storage spaces to the same storage pool, with each using up all the space in the pool, and each one will have its own drive letter. Why is that?
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