Everything You Need to Know About Windows 8 Storage Spaces

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Storage spaces will change the way we use our physically connected drives in home or office environment. But unluckily, there isn’t any guarantee that they will work and/or not imminently fail. Allow me to describe this amazing Windows 8 feature in detail along with its benefits as well as drawbacks.

Storage spaces: Fully explained

Storage spaces concept is originated from one of Windows home server functionalities called ‘Drive Extender’, which is used to collectively pooling all of your physically connected hard drives to let them read as a single logical drive with combined space by your operating system. Recently, drive extender feature has been revoked by Microsoft but the same functionality carried forward to Windows 8 while saying it Storage Spaces.

The main idea behind Storage Spaces is to group multiple hard drives of any type & size i.e., Flash Drive, External Hard Drive, SATA/IDE etc. into a single logical unit and you are free to partition it, format it or store data on it. However, Windows can no longer use the virtualized disks separately. You can create as many multiple storage spaces as you want and operating system will fetch them as logical drives. Storage spaces offers you resiliency levels to keep your files safe from failure or damages. Resiliency is used to duplicate data onto multiple disks across the pool so if one disk fails you are still able to access the data of it by replacing failed disk with any other disk of same size or space and access the data slab created by the corresponding resiliency level.

There are mainly three level of data resiliencies in Storage spaces,

Two Way Mirroring – It requires at least 2 disks, one to save the original data  and one for storing the exact copy of it.

Three Way Mirroring – Unlike two way, it uses minimum of 5 disks where first three disks are used to store the copy of data.

Parity –  Following RAID 3 mechanism, parity requires 3 disks to save the duplicate data using less space. But this method is recommended by Microsoft only for copying large files and folders which are rarely accessed.

One last words about storage spaces, you can freely add as many drives as you want and swap out the bad or failing drive. Though, you need to assign parameters of every disk in storage spaces separately.

Let’s build storage spaces on Windows 8

At first, make sure that you have more than one drives heterogeneously connected to your system i.e., via USB, SATA, IDE cables etc. For better speed and resiliency power, you are advised to use same version of make and models of connective media like USB 2.0 can works if the other drive is connected via same form of USB 2.0 connection. Explore in deep about implementing storage spaces step by step below:

  1. Open Control panel settings of your Windows 8 machine
  2. Navigate & find Storage Spaces options in control panel
  3. Click on the option ‘Create a new pool and storage space’.
    Note: You’ll need to create storage pool before implementing and using storage spaces.
  4. The next Window will lists all the currently attached disks and you need to choose at least 2 disks for creating basic storage spaces. click on ‘Create Pool’  to create storage pool of selected size
  5. You’ll be taken to the Window which asks you to  Enter the desired drive name, resiliency type, and size of the storage space. see image below for details.

windows 8 - create a storage space

Note that:

a) Resiliency type will be limited to Two-way Mirror if you are using only two disks and of course, can select three-way mirroring if you have chosen three drives to create storage pool.

b) Storage spaces have an interesting inbuilt functionality called Thin Provisioning, which keep the actual space reserved for your data only and when it is full, storage space will start to show warnings to add more drive or free up some space before the connections goes offline and might risk to loose your data.

Why should you be careful about Storage Spaces?

In case of running too many storage spaces on small capacity of physical disks, you should be careful because once it runs out of space, all the drives will immediately automatically be unmounted which may cause you to loose data you were copying or using in between. Moreover, connections to physical drive will be removed and you need to add more drives or free up some space by manually deleting the files to bring back the storage spaces online.

Windows 8 - Storage Pool

One another mishaps of Storage Space is that it doesn’t supports well to two different disks of various sizes and might eventually full without using the full capacity of either drives. For example, if you build storage space using 5GB and 25 GB of disks, the first 5 GB of disks will be used first and when it fills completely, storage space will asks you to add another drive regardless the space still available on your 25 GB of disks.

Windows 8 storage spaces is pretty good with bunch of functionality and gives you many advantages only when you know how to use it and can troubleshoot any addressed error. Otherwise, its much better to use your storage device as it is and stay away from Storage space bugs.

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading and good time here. Don’t forget to put your thoughts below.

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2 COMMENTS

    • He is simply performing the setup in a VMware installation.. the size of the drives are not relative it is shown for example purposes only….

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