MicrosoftWindows Home ServerAdding a new drive to Windows Home Server with...

Adding a new drive to Windows Home Server with the Disk Management Add-In on a Friday night

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Starting Blog Picture 

Background

I do not have a lot of time to write tonight so I am going to talk briefly about something cool that Disk Management Add-In can do. I want to show you how you can add a WHS disk and make the Wireframe modification through the Disk Management Add-In. Usually with Windows Home Server you must use the Server Storage tab to add new drives. Read on to find out how you can use the Disk Management Add-In as an alternative to the Server Storage tab.

Adding new drives never gets old to me. I love to back up my Windows Home Server. Seriously.

Equipment Needed

External Hard Drive

One Beer (optional)

One episode of IT Crowd v3

WDC 320GB Passport 

Add-In Description

Windows Home Server Disk Management Add-In was created by Sam Wood at Tentacle software. The Tentacle website is at:

http://www.tentaclesoftware.com/

According to the website it features:

  • Detailed information for each disk in your Windows Home Server
  • Real-time temperature and activity monitoring
  • Capacity indicators for individual disks
  • Customizable disk names
  • Customizable 3D wireframe representation of your server

Download and Installation

You probably already have the Add-In but a full description of the download, installation and my first Disk Management article can be found at:

https://moviesgamesandtech.com/2009/04/19/installing-the-disk-management-add-in-on-windows-home-server-on-a-friday-night/ 

Configuration and Setup

I have an external drive from a previous life that I want to attach to my WHS. I have drives from every stage of my life actually. One of my favorites is a Caviar 1365 from WD that I have from 1995. 365.3 MB in a 3.5” form factor. The cheap video card I just bought has more memory. Boy how things have changed. Anyway I have this drive, a WD 320GB USB drive, and I want to use it for off-site backups. I mention backing up every few articles because I feel it is so important. With WHS backup and the BDBB you can store your WHS backup AND all of your PC images on an external drive and then take that drive away from your network. I rotate two drive to my parents house. Every time I go and see them I take my latest drive and change it with what ever drive I had last left with them. Seriously, for like $120 for both drives I am totally covered with backups.

I digress. Back to adding the drive…

I Made a Boo Boo

Once I attached the drive it showed up immediately with “Attention Required” in the Disk Management Add-In. WTF? I select the drive anyway and click on the “Add” button near the top left.

Disk Management Screen 

You get the choice to add it to the pool or keep it as a backup disk. I choose backup. Come on baby…

Add selected disk 

I click on Next but I get an error message. The error says that the selected disk is not mounted or has no valid partition. Crap. I forgot to initialize the drive and format it before I connected it to the WHS.

When I store a drive from a “previous life” I always write ones and zeros to the drive to prevent data from ever being recovered. The drawback to this process is that it requires initialization prior to being used again. My bad. Sorry WHS and Disk Management.

Add a disk for server backups error 

I have two choices at this point for initialization and formatting. I can use the Advanced Admin Console or I can just disconnect the drive and do a quick format on my desktop PC. I will choose the desktop option and be right back.

Ok, I am back. Drive quick formatted. It was actually faster to use my PC then to use the WHS.

I now see the drive under “Unmanaged Disks”. Very cool. You can see red in the picture below since I disconnected the other drive. I select the new drive and click on “Add”. Let the games begin.

Disk Management Screen 

I have a choice of adding the drive to the pool or as a backup again. I choose backup.

Add selected disk 

I will have WHS format the drive. Why could it have not done it for me?

Add a disk for server backups 

I get to choose a name now. I like names with the drive location, manufacturer and drive size but feel free to name your drive something easy to remember like “ShietBox500”, “SlowAss”, “HotMamaPics” or even “MyLilGBMoFo”.

Name the server backup disk 

Confirm that only you are responsible for what is about to happen.

Confirm disk operation 

You drive is now ready after seeing a quick progress bar. Speaking of a bar it is time for another beer. My beer to screen shot ratio is improving. Is that something to be proud of?

Disk Management Screen 

Now that your drive is added to WHS it is time to update your Wireframe. Once you click on the icon in the upper right that says “Open Settings dialog” the Wireframe Diagram box opens. This is basically the same as clicking on Settings and scrolling down, by the way. If you have a current Wireframe then click on “Edit Current Wireframe”. If you do not have a current Wireframe, then, well, I guess you are done.

Wireframe Diagram 

You should see your current Wireframe. Click on “Add a new drive bay” then check the Advanced Mode check box and click on the little arrow to the right.

Add, Edit or Remove a drive bay 

Mental note: Did you click on the OK button and have to start over? It is “OK” cause I do it all the time! 

The next step is to choose the drive bay type, then click on “External drive bay” and finally click on the arrow again. I hope in future versions of this Add-In that they would change the arrows to “Next” or “Back”.

Drive bay type 

The next step is to choose the drive closest to where you want the new drive. Choose the “Drive bay position” and then use the Movement arrows to move your drive to the right orientation. Speaking of Orientation, did you all see Lost on Wednesday? Is Faraday really dead? If so, will he talk to Miles to save the Losties?

Drive bay position 

Now here is the cool part of the Wireframe. When you click on the drive path you should see the actual path to your drive with the name. I love this part. I am easily impressed. Seriously.

Click the right arrow. Stop trying to click “OK” already.

Drive bay contents 

We are almost done. Do not quit on me now. Only four more screen shots.

You should now see a new green drive and need to name it again. Not sure why you need to use the “Name/text” but if a field is blank I always try and fill it in. I am programmed and have issues I guess. Need a few more beers before I bring those issues up. Click on the right arrow. Stop trying to click “OK” already. Seriously.

Confirmation 

You should now see your new drive in the Wireframe diagram. Congratulations you are the proud owner of a brand new baby Wireframe.

Disk Management Screen 

Now you can finally click “OK” to complete the process. I can see the new drive right where I wanted it.

Disk Management Screen Completed 

I will now click on the Server Storage tab to verify everything is correct. Of course it will be correct but I am programmed to check everything.

Server Storage Screen 

Looks marvellous Lucy.

Conclusion

I like using the Disk Management Add-In to add drives because it helps me remember to update my Wireframe while I am actually in the Add-In. I have had wonderful time using it and it requires very little resources. This is a great Add-In and I hope if you do not have it already that you go and get it. Go get it now. Seriously.

See you next Friday night.

Timothy Daleo

Timothy Daleo
Timothy Daleohttp://usingwindowshomeserver.com
Timothy Daleo is a Project Resource Analyst and Oracle Applications Trainer in Pasadena, California. In addition to financial analysis, Tim has been developing training materials since 2003 and supporting direct projects through various auxiliary databases since 2005.

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