There seems to be a lot of people who are still a little unsure about adding or removing drives on their Windows Home Servers, so I figured some simple walk-throughs would help here.

In this next walk-through, I will discuss adding a hard drive to the storage pool.

ADDING A DRIVE TO THE STORAGE POOL

You can easily add a new hard drive to your server storage pool by literally just plugging it in and making a few clicks with your mouse.

Make sure that you have enough spare ports on your Windows Home Server for the new hard

drives. For example, if you want to add a new internal hard drive, you will need a spare power cable and the relevant cable for attaching to the motherboard, along with a spare port on the motherboard to connect the cable. If you want to connect an external hard drive, you will need spare USB or FireWire ports.

Here’s the procedure for adding a hard drive:

1. Connect the new hard drive to your Windows Home Server. If you are connecting an internal hard drive, you will need to first power off your Windows Home Server.

2. When the Windows Home Server has been powered back on, using one of your home computers, launch the Windows Home Server Console.

3. Click the Server Storage icon to display your available server storage.

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Your new drive will be listed in the Non Storage Hard Drives area, with a status of Not Added. As you can see, I have installed a drive with the details ST315003 41AS internal ATA drive with a capacity of 1.3 TB. For those of you who are interested, it’s a 1.5 TB Seagate drive.

There might be situations, such as an application or Windows Home Server add-in needing its own hard drive, where you don’t want to add the new hard drive to the server storage pool. In these instances, you can just leave the new hard drive in the Non Storage Hard Drives area. This just means that the hard drive is not used as part of the Windows Home Server storage pool, even though it can be used for “other” storage outside the storage pool.

You can also use it to backup files from your Windows Home Server, but that is the subject of another walk-through, so for now, let’s just assume you want to add the drive to the storage pool.

4. Click the newly added hard drive, and then click the Add button above the list, or right-click the hard drive and select Add from the context menu.

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This will start the Add a Hard Drive Wizard.

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5. Click Next to start the Add a Hard Drive wizard. You will be offered the choice to add the hard drive to the storage pool to increase the storage capacity of your home server or you can use it to back up files that are stored on your home server. For this walk-through, leave the default selection and click Next to continue.

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The next screen in the wizard warns you that if you click Finish, the hard drive will be formatted, and any files stored on that drive will be deleted. You can also see information about the drive on this screen so that you can be sure you have selected the correct drive.

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If this newly added drive contains any data that you want to keep, stop the process now!

Remove the drive from the Windows Home Server, connect it to one of your other home computers, and copy the data off before starting the process again.

6. If you are sure that you want to format the drive, and that you have copied any data you want to keep to another storage location, click Finish. The hard drive will be formatted, and then it will be added to the storage pool.

Depending on the size of the hard drive you are adding, the formatting process may take a few minutes, so be patient.

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adding drive to pool

When those two things have taken place, you will see the screen that tells you that the new hard drive was successfully added.

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7. Click Done to finish. Your new hard drive has become part of your available storage pool.

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You will now be able to see the new drive, along with any other drives you already had as part of your storage pool. As you can the status of my new drive is healthy, and my server storage pool total is 2.73 TB.

You will notice that the total server storage size may not be a rounded-off number. This is because you can add all different size drives to your server storage pool. You can add any drives you have lying around at home to increase your server storage—and believe me, you will soon want to do this!

The procedure for adding a USB or FireWire hard drive is the same as just described. I also added a USB hard drive to the pool.

usb drive in pool

You will notice that the icon of the USB drive is slightly different, in that it shows a cable attached to the drive to indicate it is an external drive. You can also see that the Location column indicates that it is External (USB).

You should consider using only USB 2.0 or FireWire external drives. Do not use USB 1.1 external drives, as they are slow and will cause your Windows Home Server to perform slowly, which you really don’t want to happen.

After you’ve added the new hard drive to your Windows Home Server, it becomes part of the total amount of shared server storage. Under no circumstances should you just disconnect it and use it for something else, as this will cause major problems to your storage.

If you want to know how to safely remove a hard drive from your storage pool, click here to read the walk-through.