How to create Storage Spaces in Windows 8 (Step-by-Step)

Storage Spaces Windows 8

Storage Spaces is a new feature in Windows 8 that allows you to group many physical disks together into a storage pool to then create a large storage space (or virtual disk); most importantly, you can use them like any other drive and you don’t have to worry in which drive you save your files; all is in one place, easy to use — even the operating system itself believes that all the disks are a single giant drive.

One of the coolest thing is that you can carve a large storage space without even having the total amount of physical disk capacity, and later on you can add more drives when you start getting low on capacity. Fault tolerance is built right in to the feature if you have two or more drives in the storage pool. You’ll be able to create storage spaces that won’t lose information when a drive fails, or two if you have three or more drives.

Physical media don’t even need to match in size or interface, which means that you can use SATA, USB, and SAS hard drives of 250GB, 1TB, 4TB or any other size and mix them up in any way you want.

Requirements

  • One or more internal or external drives; this is in addition to the drive that has the Windows 8 installation.

Instructions

Follow these step-by-step instructions to create a storage space in Windows 8.

1. Connect or install all drives that you want to use with “Storage Spaces” to your computer.

2. Hit Windows 8 Logo Monochrome, go to the Start screen, type and select Storage Spaces.

3. Click on the Create a new pool and storage space link.

4. Pick the drives you like to include, and then click Create pool.

Warning: If the drives you want to add contain any files, don’t forget to make a backup of those files, because Windows will format (erase) the drives in order to use them.

Create a storage pool

5. Now configure the new storage space, choose a name, drive letter. In Resiliency choose the form of protection, Windows 8 Storage Spaces offer four types:

  • Simple (no resiliency) or no protection, the drive fails and you’ll lose all the data, you can prevision future space and add more drive later.
  • Two-way mirror, requires at least 2 drives, and it keeps two copies of your data.
  • Three-way mirror, requires at least 3 drives, and it keeps three copies of your data, helping to protect you from 2 simultaneous drive failure.
  • Parity (or software RAID 5), requires at least 3 drives, it writes your data with parity information, helping you to protect from a single drive failure, and allows to increase the physical storage, which is double from the three-way mirror type.
Tip: For best results and to optimize space usage, try using identical drives for mirror and parity options.

Enter the maximum size of capacity that you’ll allow it to grow, and then finish by clicking Create storage space.

Create a storage space

Note: The maximum capacity is not limited to the amount of physical disk space, here you are technically creating a virtual drive, so you can assign almost any amount. Later when you start running low on physical disk capacity, you’ll be notified to add more space — this can be done easily by simply connecting another external drive.

Once the drive(s) have been formatted and configured, you can access the new storage from Windows Explorer. If everything is working the way it should, you’ll see a green flag and the word “Okay” like in the image below.

Storage Spaces manage - Windows 8

Things to keep in mind

When using Windows 8 Storage Spaces consider these things:

  • The maximum size of a storage space must be 63 TB or smaller.
  • You can change the name or drive letter of the ‘space’ at any time.
  • You can increase the capacity of the ‘pool’ at any time, but you cannot decrease the size of it — Make sure you provision accordingly.

For more information read this previous article — Storage Spaces is the New Disk Pooling Feature for Windows 8 [All You Need to Know].