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Replacing Data Partition on WHS RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    I am planning to install WHS onto a 160gb drive, which will format the drive into a 30(or so)GB System partition, and the rest as data storage.
    Later, I plan at add a RAID5 array (4x1Tb disks) as the primary storage for WHS.

    Am I able to remove the Data partition on the 160GB and extend out the system drive to take up the whole of the 160GB? And just use the RAID5 as the main Data storage for WHS?

    Thanks,
    Michael
    • Edited by Bassist Tuesday, May 12, 2009 5:13 AM mistype
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 5:11 AM

Answers

  • Hi Michael.
    Windows Home Server does not support RAID (and as soon as the volume size would be larger than 2 TB the remaining space would be wasted). See also the Blog entry Why RAID is not a consumer technology.
    Instead it has a feature named folder duplication, which allows you to ensure, that the content of selected shared folders is stored on two physical disks.
    So use your data disks as single drives, and only use as much drives as you really need for shared data, duplication and backups. (Unnecessary disks will stay empty as long as not needed and spin idle all the time.)

    Also removing the DATA volume from the system disk is not supported and (even if it could eventually be done) will lead to problems in scenarios like WHS updates or a necessary server reinstall. If you wish to increase the size of the system volume, this is done the best after the initial stage of installation before the first reboot. Swap the WHS DVD against a Vista DVD, boot from it and use the diskpart command in the repair environment command prompt to increase the system volume by a selected size, i.e.:
    diskpart
    select volume C:
    extend size=30000


    (would increase the volume by 30 GB - given it is detected as C: at this stage, otherwise you have to select it after issuing the command list volume)
    After that exit the diskpart prompt, swap in the WHS DVD again into the drive and reboot.

    Be aware, that this also is not supported (even f it works painless) and that the only official recovery scenarios for the system volume are the Server reinstallation/New installation. So reinstalling/configuring all software and add-ins as well as recreating the user accounts would be the mimimum tasks to do after that.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 8:38 AM
    Moderator
  • Do you mean that any volume >2TB, WHS will only be able to see a maximum of 2TB?

    Yes, exactly. Windows Home Server does not support GPT disks, which would be necessary to address larger single volumes.

    Best greeetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 9:42 AM
    Moderator

  • I understand WHS uses something like a RAID, where the data is spread out over the disks you add. But it is a software based setup where if I take the OS away, the data is unusable.


    The data is still usable without the operating system.  Please see the Technical Brief on Drive Extender.

    From the brief:

    Windows Home Server Drive Extender does nothing unique to the secondary data partitions or the files on them, which enables you to recover most of the lost data—even in worst-case scenarios. If the home server fails completely, all the surviving drives can be attached to a computer that is not even running Windows Home Server Drive Extender, and you can copy the files from the drives to that computer. Because the files retain their original names and paths (under the \DE directory), the files can be used with no specific recovery steps.


    Lara Jones [MSFT] | Program Manager
    Community Support and Beta | Windows Home Server Team
    Windows Home Server Team Blog
    Connect Windows Home Server
    Windows Home Server
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 12:46 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi Michael.
    Windows Home Server does not support RAID (and as soon as the volume size would be larger than 2 TB the remaining space would be wasted). See also the Blog entry Why RAID is not a consumer technology.
    Instead it has a feature named folder duplication, which allows you to ensure, that the content of selected shared folders is stored on two physical disks.
    So use your data disks as single drives, and only use as much drives as you really need for shared data, duplication and backups. (Unnecessary disks will stay empty as long as not needed and spin idle all the time.)

    Also removing the DATA volume from the system disk is not supported and (even if it could eventually be done) will lead to problems in scenarios like WHS updates or a necessary server reinstall. If you wish to increase the size of the system volume, this is done the best after the initial stage of installation before the first reboot. Swap the WHS DVD against a Vista DVD, boot from it and use the diskpart command in the repair environment command prompt to increase the system volume by a selected size, i.e.:
    diskpart
    select volume C:
    extend size=30000


    (would increase the volume by 30 GB - given it is detected as C: at this stage, otherwise you have to select it after issuing the command list volume)
    After that exit the diskpart prompt, swap in the WHS DVD again into the drive and reboot.

    Be aware, that this also is not supported (even f it works painless) and that the only official recovery scenarios for the system volume are the Server reinstallation/New installation. So reinstalling/configuring all software and add-ins as well as recreating the user accounts would be the mimimum tasks to do after that.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 8:38 AM
    Moderator
  • My main reason to attempt RAID5, was because I don't want to be tied down to WHS, as I might move on to bigger and better things later down the track.
    If I was to use RAID, then I would just be able to take out the OS drive if needed, and throw in something else (let's use linux as an example). And not have to worry about removing the OS and my data being available.


    I understand WHS uses something like a RAID, where the data is spread out over the disks you add. But it is a software based setup where if I take the OS away, the data is unusable.

    With the comment you mentioned at the start:
    'and as soon as the volume size would be larger than 2 TB the remaining space would be wasted'

    Do you mean that any volume >2TB, WHS will only be able to see a maximum of 2TB?
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 9:39 AM
  • Do you mean that any volume >2TB, WHS will only be able to see a maximum of 2TB?

    Yes, exactly. Windows Home Server does not support GPT disks, which would be necessary to address larger single volumes.

    Best greeetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 9:42 AM
    Moderator

  • I understand WHS uses something like a RAID, where the data is spread out over the disks you add. But it is a software based setup where if I take the OS away, the data is unusable.


    The data is still usable without the operating system.  Please see the Technical Brief on Drive Extender.

    From the brief:

    Windows Home Server Drive Extender does nothing unique to the secondary data partitions or the files on them, which enables you to recover most of the lost data—even in worst-case scenarios. If the home server fails completely, all the surviving drives can be attached to a computer that is not even running Windows Home Server Drive Extender, and you can copy the files from the drives to that computer. Because the files retain their original names and paths (under the \DE directory), the files can be used with no specific recovery steps.


    Lara Jones [MSFT] | Program Manager
    Community Support and Beta | Windows Home Server Team
    Windows Home Server Team Blog
    Connect Windows Home Server
    Windows Home Server
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 12:46 PM
    Moderator