All the editions of Windows 8 and 10 are capable of doing one thing and that is mirroring data across multiple drives to reduce the redundancy. Basically, what Windows does is, it clumps various physical hard drives and converts them into a single virtual Storage Spaces which can be used by you.
But before getting into the nitty grittiness of how it is done, let’s look at the basics. Storage Spaces are created in the device with the presence of two hard drives which might either be internal in nature or external. There can also be internal and external drives which are connected via a USB.
Storage Spaces: What is It?
Storage Spaces are basically the creation of “storage pools” by the utilization of more than one physical storage which can then be utilized in three major ways.
1. Simple Space
Ideal for temporary data, Simple Space allows you to store your data just once across all the hard drives. Windows will just copy the data once on the “storage pool” and if the drive fails, then the data will be lost or it will be corrupted as there is no backup for the data stored.
2. Mirror Space
This is more suited for the storage of permanent data as the data is stored across the drives in multiple copies. Hence, even if one or multiple of your drives, which creates the storage pool, fails, your data will still be intact.
3. Parity Space
If you have a habit of archiving your data without having to use them very frequently, then Parity space is ideal for you. This is usually slower than the mirror spaces and the Windows creates a single copy of your data along with a parity of the information. But this kind of storage pool will provide you with a bigger Storage Space as compared to mirror space.
When you are formatting your Parity or Mirror space with the help of ReFS or Windows Resilient File System, then your files are usually protected against corruption.
How Exactly you Create Storage Spaces
Creating Storage Spaces are really easy and consume very little time. Let’s see, how can it be done by checking the below method.
1. Connect all the drives which you want to clump together to create the Storage Spaces.
2. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > Storage Spaces or simply type Storage Spaces in your Start menu.
3. You will get a link which states Create a new pool and Storage Space, select the same.
4. From the available menu, select all the hard drives that you want to join together to create the pool and click on the Create Pool option.
5. Once you do the above steps all the data available on the selected drives will be erased hence you need to create a backup before pooling them.
6. Once your pooling is done, you will be allowed to name the new storage you have formed and assign a Letter to the drive, once done, your new storage will appear on your device by the said name and drive letter. Depending on the type of space usage you can either use the NTFS file system or switch to ReFS in case you are going for a mirrored or parity space.
7. If you are creating the file in the resiliency mod, you have to choose the type of resiliency you want to use while using the drive. You can select between:
- Simple which will maximize your Storage Space without any backup,
- Two Way Mirror which will allow you to create two copies,
- Three Way Mirror which will create three copies and “Parity” which will protect the data from a single drive failure.
8. Next, on the type of storage that you have created, you will also need to decide upon the amount of storage that you need and that will depend on the type of storage pool that you have created. Once the available space on the physical drive has been filled up, you can simply add another physical storage and use the same.
9. Once you have configured the amount of Storage Space required, you now need to click on Create Storage Space to create the pool.
Using the Storage Spaces
Using Storage Spaces is no big deal as it appears as a normal user space just like any other physical drive that is present on Windows. It will appear with the name and the letter you have assigned to the drive you have created. You can use it like any other drive present on your Windows device.
Managing Storage Spaces
Once you are done creating Storage Spaces, you can always head back to the control panel and create more Storage Spaces. You might as well have as many Storage Spaces as you please to. The limitation comes in the form of the number of physical storage spaces that are available to you.
1. You can also change the name of the storage pool created by going to the Rename Pool option.
2. In case you have been using the storage pool on your Windows 8 device, you can easily use Upgrade Pool option to upgrade the storage pool which can now only be used on a Windows 10 device. Once you are upgraded, you can now use the pool to remove drives as and when you wish to which will in a way optimize the available storage space with the pool.
3. Just go to the Add Drives option in order to add new drives which will increase the whole space related to your Storage Spaces.
4. Windows 10 also has an Optimize Drive option which allows you to optimize the Storage Spaces. Although it is a new feature added to the Windows 10 version, a pool created in Windows 8 can be optimized after upgrading.
5. In case you want to remove a particular physical storage creating the pool, all you need to do is expand the physical storage and select the drive you want to remove and click on the Prepare for Removal link which is present with it. Once the Windows has moved all the files to some other space it will show Ready for Removal message when you can remove your physical storage.
6. The Disc Management can be utilized in order to partition the empty spaces available.
7. A storage pool that has been created can be removed from the system completely by the clicking on Delete option. But you will lose all the data saved in the pool once you delete the Storage Spaces. Also, you have to click on the Delete Pool option in order to delete the pool that has been created.
Thus, you are completely briefed about how to go about creating, using, managing and deleting Storage Spaces. Go ahead and have fun with unlimited Storage Spaces created by putting a host of physical drives in connection to each other.