How To's & Guides Windows Home Server 2011 Internal 3TB Hard Drive Support...

Windows Home Server 2011 Internal 3TB Hard Drive Support – Video Edition


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A valuable feature of Windows Home Server 2011 is the support of 3TB hard drives. If you have one of these large format drives you can add it internally to your WHS 2011 and easily add it through the Dashboard. There are a couple of tricks, and a few changes to the drive, so read on to find out more.

Windows Home Server 2011

During our Skype call, and a with a strong push by Diehard, I finally added my 3TB drive internally to my Windows Home Server 2011. As I worked on my Windows Home Server 2011, I had John Skype in Michael Martis from the BYOB podcast and he walked us through the backup limitations of Windows Home Server 2011.

The 2040GB Backup Limit

Windows Home Server 2011 uses the same backup technology as Windows Server 2008 R2. In order to avoid folder shares beyond the backup limit, Windows Home Server 2011 is designed by default to split a 3TB drive into two partitions. Again, WHS 2011 is designed to do this.

Windows Home Server 2011

This technology is limited to backup sizes of 2040GB. Microsoft says it best as:

Windows Server Backup uses the .vhd format for writing backups. The current virtual hard disk specification limits the size of a virtual hard disk to be 2040 GB, which can fit a volume of size 2040 GB – 2 MB, (i.e., 2088958 MB). Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2008 also limits the maximum source volume size to be 2088958 MB. In Windows Server 2008 R2, if you are not backing up a full volume and, instead, creating a backup of selected files/folders, your source volume size can be more than 2088958 MB, provided your actual data size is less than equal to 2088958 MB. If you are creating a full volume backup, the maximum source volume size limit continues to be 2088958 MB.

The full Microsoft article can be found HERE.

3TB Hard Drives

These large format drives are a great deal lately at around $170 but still not as cost effective per GB as 2TB drives. That being said, if you have a limited amount of space, or limited SATA ports, then you might want to look at 3TB drives.

The Hitachi model below is now under $200 at Newegg.


Adding a 3TB to Windows Home Server 2011

Since there is no longer a “pool” of drives, any new internal drive is added through the Alert Viewer to store server folders or server backups.

Windows Home Server 2011

Formatting a hard disk in Windows Home Server 2011 is very simple…

Windows Home Server 2011

…and just a matter of a few mouse clicks.

Windows Home Server 2011

Check out the full video!

Windows Home Server 2011 Internal 3TB Hard Drive Support

Windows Home Server 2011 Release Candidate

You can download Windows Home Server 2011 at:

Download WHS 2011

Windows Home Server 2011

The installation of Windows Home Server 2011 has only a few basic requirements.

Windows Home Server 2011 is a 64-bit only operating system.

You can install the server software either manually or unattended.

System Requirements

  • 1.4 GHz x64 processor
  • 2 GB RAM
  • At least one 160 GB (or larger) hard drive
  • NTFS is the only supported file system

Supported networking configuration:

  1. Your server computer must be connected to a router via a network cable
  2. Windows Home Server works best with a UPnP certified device, but it is not required
  3. The router works best in the 192.168.x.x subnet, but it is not required

Try Windows Home Server 2011 and download from Connect today!

Timothy Daleo
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.


  1. This sounds better than I first thought. If I put in a 3TB drive I can have it back up everything except when it would go over 2TB worth of data. This means I could backup all data except my recorded TV for example. Is this how you read it?

  2. Per MS "In Windows Server 2008 R2, if you are not backing up a full volume and, instead, creating a backup of selected files/folders, your source volume size can be more than 2088958 MB, provided your actual data size is less than equal to 2088958 MB. If you are creating a full volume backup, the maximum source volume size limit continues to be 2088958 MB."

    I have a 4-2TB RAID 0 Array,( Iknow RAID 0 is NOT the way to go but this would apply to RAID 5 also if it's larger than 2 TB) When I try to select folders on the raid array for back-up I get "The selected drive is larger than 2 TB and cannot be included in the server back-up. Consider deviding the Hard Drives into blah blah blah" So I cannot even select folders on the RAID array to backup that are smaller than 2 TB! There is no option I see that allows you to not select a full volume.

  3. Guys, all the DE fans who are horrified by WHS 2011 need to get a grip. WHS 2011 is FAR FAR better than WHS V1 from a drive management perspective as :

    i)I am using standard Windows technology so that is reliable and cannot be bypassed by some quirky bit of code like DE
    ii) It works reliably. With a RAID system I was getting so called “drive errors” with WHS 1 and Vail DE version, but moving to WHS 2011 RC, everything works perfectly.
    iii) I know where everything is and what drive is backing up what source e.g I could have a 2Tb drive for ripped BluRays and DVDs and a 2Tb backup drive in the same box. I just point the backup drive at the source and I am done. So twice a day my data is backed up properly and on to a disc I know and trust (DE spread stuff everywhere and you hoped it would work if a drive then suddenly failed).

    iv) Because WHS 2011 is effectively a slugged SBS 2011, it means that all bugs will be fixed promptly and the OS will be developed (as it is commercially viable to MS). What chance did we have for DE to be developed further when it is part of an “enthusiasts OS” from MS’s perspective ?
    As much chance as Windows XP Media Center Edition !!!!

  4. I still find formatting a 3TB drive into 2 partitions a curse.
    If you have around 10 disks, you end up with 20 partitions.
    and some dare to call this better disk management than DE.
    I’m sorry, but I’m an simple end user who want things to be simple: I plug a disk, I add it to the pool. done.
    with all these individual partitions, It’ll be a nightmare to manage.

    And don’t even start talking about RAID…

  5. Loosing DE is fine for me (didnt trust it anyway) but this 2TB limitation is a total joke.

    I want to RAID well over 3TB partitions, I want to use my 3TB USB3.0 external backup drive, with out needing to partition it WTF…. stupid stupid MS ruin something that was nearly great(WHS2011).

    Better be an update to remove this stupid limitiation as it dosnt seem reasonable, don’t servers use RAIDed volumes much larger than 10TB all the time, what on earth is this limitation for?


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