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Adding and removing a hard drive into a Windows Home Server


I quickly realized that my new Windows Home Server “Vail” workstation had no extra disk to be used for the nightly (if configured so) backups of each workstation I have connected to it from the warnings that were popping up on the workstation and laptop I had connected to the Vail side of the house.  It just so happen to turn out that Micro Center was having a sale on 1TB drives so I quickly took advantage of that so that I could remedy this situation as quick as possible!  Can’t be having all these errors showing up on screen shots I’m using for other articles now can we?  😉  However, I didn’t quite want to throw a brand new drive into my test workstation because who knows how long I was going to keep my new install of Windows Home Server Vail.  I opted to put the 1tb drive in my production WHS1 machine and pull out one of the smaller drives set up for Server Backup.  Figured I take some notes for anyone else interested.

Installing the Drive

I’m somewhat assuming that anyone reading this article most likely has the ability to physically installing a drive.  If you need to ask a question, don’t be afraid to hit up our forums.  With that being said: After physically installing the drive, ensure it is ready to be used by the server by going into Computer Management and adding the drive to the Operating System.  Rick-click “My Computer” and select Manage”


In the left hand panel, click Disk Management.

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Find the Drive you just added, it most likely will say “Unallocated”.  Right click, and select New Partition.

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The New Partition Wizard will come up, click Next.

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Select “Primary partition and click Next.

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Unless you feel a need to reserve some space, just leave the default and click Next.

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You don’t need to worry about a drive letter, select that and click Next.

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Format the partition with the default settings, though I like to rename the Disk. To perform a quick format, click Next.

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Complete the process by clicking Finish.  Piece of cake.

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Your new drive will show Online and Healthy.

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And now also shows up in your Windows Home Server Console>Server Storage.

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Adding the Hard Drive to a Storage Pool

At this point we are ready to let Windows Home Server do it’s thing and add the Drive to either your Storage Hard Drives disk array where all of your data, media, etc. is stored, or add the drive to the Server Backup Hard Drives disk array.



Add new drive by clicking Add in top left of your window, or right-clicking and then selecting “Add”  When the “Add a Drive’ Wizard starts, click “Next”


Decide if you want to use the disk to increase the Storage capacity, or to expand your Backup capacity.  As I stated before, my disk is being used to increase my backup ability, but also to free up that smaller disk for my Vail test box.

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The Wizard will ask if you want to format the drive, best practice would be to do so, making sure you didn’t have old data on there still if it was used.

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Name the Disk, and I suppose it’s a pretty good tip to create a label to put on the actual hard drive and mark it., it’s not too hard to forget down the road which slot you used.

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Go ahead, do it…click Finish.

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Go grab yourself a refreshment as it could take awhile depending on the size of the drive you install.

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You’ll be given word when the process is finished and your new Hard Drive has been added to whichever group you chose.

At this point you are finished!  The drive you just installed was added into the pool you chose and automatically made that pool larger.  You don’t have to mess with anything beyond getting the drive installed physically and helping the Operating System see it.  Windows Home Server Drive Extender provides the following functionality providing peace of mind with very little effort:

Windows Home Server Drive Extender is a file-based replication system that provides three key capabilities:[16]

  • Multi-disk redundancy so that if any given disk fails, data is not lost
  • Arbitrary storage expansion by supporting any type of hard disk drive (Serial ATA, USB, FireWire etc.) in any mixture and capacity — similar in concept to JBOD
  • A single folder namespace (no drive letters)

[*Source: Wikipedia]

If you’re really wanting to know the ins and outs of Drive Extender, you can download the 22 page Word document here.  Or…you can just follow my directions and just let the system work, totally up to you!

Now like I said, most of you are finished, I wasn’t because I still needed that smaller drive for my test Windows Home Server Vail system because I had no Backup disk at all and my workstations were complaining about no backups.  It’s actually pretty cool that Windows Home Server will tell you that your particular PC or laptop has not had a proper backup in however many days.

Removing a Hard Drive from Windows Home Server

This one’s going to be easy.  In the Windows Home Server Console, under the Server Storage Tab, right-click the drive you want to remove and click…Remove.

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After deciding whether to remove it temporarily or permanently, click OK

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Now you are truly finished!  Button back up that case and keep filling up those drives with your favorite media content!

Finished Product

If you have any questions whatsoever, and ESPECIALLY if you have some pointers, shortcuts, or any other constructive input, please feel free to ask them here in the forum topic created.

Stay tuned for more tutorials, but if you’ve got something you’d like help with feel free to drop me a line or send an article request to any time!


About the Author

Tom AbellPut simply, Tom loves technology! Having been involved in the IT world since leaving the US Navy Submarine Force in 1992, Tom has moved his way up to the top as an IT Systems Engineering. But having spent some time in the Home Automation industry early in his career, he’s never been able to shake his love for creating integrated Home Technology environments and has been running HTPCs and Windows Home Servers for years. With 17 years of IT Systems Engineering experience, Tom's recent OIF 08-09 deployment has rekindled his love for the Connected Home Industry and hence, the website. We hope you like the site, please share it with your friends and follow us on your favorite Social Networks! Read more about Tom on the "About Us" page.View all posts by Tom Abell

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    Now, How to replace the primary(OS) disk? Or is this a trick question?

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