The Storage Spaces feature built into Windows allows you to combine multiple hard drives into a single virtual drive. It can mirror data across multiple drives for redundancy, or combine multiple physical drives into a single pool of storage. Storage Spaces is similar to RAID or LVM on Linux.
This feature was added in Windows 8, and was improved in Windows 10. It’s available on all editions of Windows 8 and 10, including Home editions.
What Are Storage Spaces?
To create a Storage Space, you need at least two physical drives on your PC. These can be internal drives or external drives connected via USB.
Storage Spaces allow you to create a “storage pool” of two or more physical drives, grouping them together. Once you’ve created a storage pool made up of two or more physical drives, you can create three types of “spaces” using that pool:
- A simple space is designed to give you the most storage possible, but doesn’t provide any protection against drive failure. Windows will store only a single copy of your data across all the drives. If one of these drives fails, your data will be lost and corrupted. This is ideal for temporary data.
- A mirror space is designed to protect you from drive failure by storing multiple copies of your files. A single drive—or more than one drive, depending on how you configure things—can fail and you won’t lose any data. This is ideal for protecting important data from hardware failure.
- A parity space is designed as a compromise. Windows will keep a single copy of your data along with parity information. You’ll have more space and you’ll be protected if a single drive fails. However, parity spaces are slower than simple and mirror spaces. This solution is ideal for data archival, and not data you use frequently.
If you choose to format a mirror or parity space with the Windows Resilient File System (ReFS), Windows will automatically monitor and maintain file integrity to prevent file corruption.
How to Create a Storage Space
You can create a Storage Space from the Control Panel. First, connect the drives you want to group together to your computer. Then, head to Control Panel > System and Security > Storage Spaces. You can also just search for “Storage Spaces” in your Start menu.
Click the “Create a new pool and storage space” link to get started.
Select the drives you want to add to the pool and click “Create Pool” to create a storage pool from those drives.
Warning: All data on the drives you select will be erased, so back up any important data before continuing!
After creating a pool, you’ll be prompted to configure your new storage space. Type a name for the storage space and select a drive…
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