The Windows Disk Management utility can be used to resize, partition, format, and configure RAID arrays. In this video, you’ll learn how to use Disk Management to perform these functions and more.
<< Previous: Using Windows Task ManagerNext: Windows Migration Tools >>
The Windows Disk Management Utility gives you a very nice graphical front in to understand exactly what drives are configured in your system, what their current status is. And you can make changes all from the single interface. You’ll find this in Computer Management, under Storage or Disk Management. Or, you can run Disk Management as a separate utility.
Inside of Disk Management, you’ll notice the drives have an associated disk status message. If it says healthy, then the volume is working perfectly normally. There’s nothing to worry about. But it could show that it’s healthy and at risk, which means there been input output errors while that drive has been operating. So there could be problems with that drive in the future.
I might also say that the drive is initializing, which is a normal message you get when the drive is starting up. Or, it may show that the drive has failed, which means the system cannot start the drive because the drive is not operating properly, and you could have damage to the disk or damage to the file system.
If you configured a raise in the operating system, some of the disk status messages may be that it failed redundancy, which means that you have a drive that has failed, that is part of a RAID 1 or RAID 5 array. It may show that the array is re-syncing, which means that you have a mirrored volume with RAID 1, and the volume is currently re-syncing information between those two drives.
You may have replaced a bad drive, and it has to re-sync all of the data between those two systems. If you’re running RAID 5, the disk status may show that it is regenerating, which means it’s now recreating the data based on the parity information contained in the rest of the array. Here’s my Disk Management screen in Windows 8.
You can see that I have a disk 0, 1, 2, 3, and a CD-ROM in this particular system. You can see the disk 3 has a system reserved volume for Windows. There’s a drive C– that’s where I’m booting from– and a drive E, where I have some data. Drive D is assigned to my CD-ROM.
And I’ve added three additional physical drives into this system. I have a disk 0, and a disk 1, and a disk 2. But none of these have been formatted yet within the operating systems.
It’s very easy to format them. I can right mouse click on any of these drives, and choose the type of volume that I’d like. In this case, let’s choose New Simple Volume. It gives me a new simple Volume Wizard.
I’ll click Next. It asked for the size of the volume I’d like. I’d like to use everything. So we’ll choose the default of 990 megabytes. And then I can assign a drive letter to this particular volume.
And I’ll go ahead and format this volume with NTFS and use the volume label of new volume, which is the default, and click Finish. And now it’s got a new drive that’s available. It has formatted that drive with NTFS. And I can see that the colon is available. And now I can start saving data to that volume.
If this volume is not the right size, I might want to change this, I can right mouse click, and I can modify this value by extending it, shrinking it, adding a mirror, or deleting the volume. Let’s say that we’d like to make this volume a little smaller.
So we’ll choose Shrink Volume. And maybe I’d like to shrink it by about 300 megabytes. And I’ll click Shrink.
And you’ll notice that it now splits this volume into two pieces, one that has my original drive F, and another piece that is 300 megabytes that is currently unallocated. To extend this drive back to full size, I can simply perform the same process, but choose Extend The Volume.
And in this case, I can even specify to extend it across multiple drives. In this case, I’ll keep everything on the single drive. I’ll choose that extended of 300 megabytes. Choose Next, and now my drive F is back to its maximum size of 990 megabytes.
Whenever you’re working with these drives, you’ll notice that it has separate drive letters for all of these systems. But sometimes you’d like to extend the storage space that’s available. But you don’t want to use a separate drive.
It would be nice if all of that data just appeared as a separate volume that was within our existing file system. We can do that by using a feature in Windows called Mounting A Drive. This allows you to extend the storage space and mount it as a separate folder that’s already in your file manager.
This is very seamless to the user. They simply see that a new folder has appeared. And inside that folder is all of this available disk space available to store files.
On my computer, I have a documents folder which has Mission Reports folder, a Ship Diagnostics folder. There’s a file called [? Naquita ?] Generator Schematics. And this is where I would like to add a new folder that incorporates all of this new drive space that I created on this single drive.
What I’ll do now is choose right mouse click. And I’m going to change the drive letters and paths associated with this volume. I’m going to add a drive access here. And I’m going to choose to mount this in an empty NTFS folder.
And let’s browse for this folder. This one does happen to be in the C drive. It’s under my users. I am the administrator. And it’s in the Documents folder.
And I’m going to create a new folder called Pegasus Galaxy, and click OK, and click OK. And now it’s going to mount this folder as part of that particular area. And if I go back and look at that folder now, I see that there is a new folder.
It’s called Pegasus Galaxy. And now I have all of this extra room that I can use to store this information, seamlessly now added into my file system. But it’s really an entire extra drive that I’m now able to access without having a separate drive letter to deal with.
It’s also very easy in Disk Management to configure multiple drives in a RAID array. For example, I have two drives here that are about 3 gigabytes in size each. And maybe I’d like to create those as a single mirrored array.
If I right mouse click on either of these, I can choose to create a new mirrored volume. And it takes me to the New Mirrored Volume Wizard. I click Next. It says, what disks would you like to use for this volume?
And I would like to use this disk one and the disk two. You can see they are exactly the same size, which is perfect for a mirrored volume. Let’s click Next. It says, assign a drive letter. We’ll assign drive G to this particular mirror.
And I’ll go ahead and format it with NTFS. And click Finish. And now it tells me that this will convert the selected basic disks to now dynamic disks, which are required when you’re doing any type of drive arrays. And let’s click Yes to go ahead and convert those.
It will begin the process. You can see they’re now called a Dynamic Disk, instead of a Basic Disk. And it’s doing the formatting of the drive, setting them up as a mirror. And now I have drive G, my new mirrored volume.
We’ve been looking at managing disks scan on a single system, where I have separate individual drives that are inside of a single computer. But what if you have a large data center that has a large cloud infrastructure that needs a lot of storage space? In this case, where we need multiple tiers of control over the storage, and we need some administrative access as well, we can use a technology called Storage Spaces.
You would begin this process by creating what’s called a Storage Pool. This is where you are grouping together multiple physical drives and having them all appear as a single large pool. With this technology, it’s also very easy to remove physical drives and add physical drives to this pool.
Once you’ve pooled all of these storage devices together, you can now create storage spaces. These are virtual disks that you’re carving out of space that is within the existing pool. You can also create multiple mirrored drives for redundancy.
And it’s going to use different physical drives from within the pool. You also have the option for some hot spare availability, so that if you do lose one of those mirrored drives, it will automatically use your hot spare so that you can be assured that your systems are always going to be up and running.