How to manage Storage Spaces in Windows 8

Mange Storage Spaces Windows 8

Once you’ve created a storage space, your media library: music, movies, photos, and files, will continue to expand, and although virtualizing the ever-growing collection of USB drives will help you, not only to prevision available capacity and to keep files organized, but also to keep your precious memories protected from hardware failure. And for all this to work, you still need to know the basics on how to manage Storage Spaces and pools.

If you need more information on this new disk pooling feature in Windows 8 visit this previous article.

Now, you already connected one or more drives to your PC and created a pool with one or more spaces, next is to learn how mange the new feature, and there are various aspects that you can control with Storage Spaces. We are going to start with “Storage Pool” and its options:

Managing Storage Pool

The new storage virtualization technology in Windows 8 allows you to create one or many Storage Pool (This is the way in which we group different physical drives together, but they are not yet usable by the operating system), and then inside you can create as many Storage Spaces as you need (virtual disks that behave just like physical disks) — to create a new storage pool and space, check our previous article.

The first thing you’ll notice in the Manage Storage Spaces page is that all the options are grayed-out or unavailable, to make the options available again you need to click the Change settings button in the top-right corner.

Storage Spaces management page

From the Storage pool, you also have the option to add more capacity when needed with the Add drives link. Additionally at anytime you can change the name of the each pool by clicking Rename Pool.

Note: You can connect SATA, USB, and SAS hard drives of 250GB, 1TB, 4TB or any other size and mix them up in any way you want, but it seems that you cannot use pocket USB flash drives.

Finally you’ll see the green status bar displaying free space available. Here don’t get confused, the status is only for the total capacity on the physical drives, not for the total capacity of all or each individual spaces (virtual disks). If you want to know how much free space there is in each space, you can do that like you would with any media, through the Windows Explorer.

Virtual Storage Windows 8

Managing Storage Spaces

The options to manage spaces are limited, but they are enough to what you need to do. You can View files, which essentially is the same as accessing a drive via Windows Explorer. With the Change option, you can change the name, drive letter and the maximum size of the storage space. Here you can also expand the maximum capacity, but remember that you cannot reduce the size of it — When you are done making all the changes, simply click the Change storage space button.

If you need to change the size of a space to a lower capacity, one way to do this would be deleting and recreating the space, for this or just to get rid of it, you have the option Delete, which is the third option in each virtual disk.

In the event you start running out of capacity or a physical disk fails, a notification like the image below will appear.

Notification Storage Spaces Windows 8

 Just click on the notification to see information about the problem and how to fix it.

Viewing warning information - Storage Spaces

Or you can check for problems in the Windows Action Center under Maintenance section.

Replacing a failed disk - Storage Spaces

That is all there is to it. 

Things you need to know

  • Storage Spaces doesn’t use defrag or CHKDSK tools. If a physical disk becomes corrupt, you’ll need to  treat like a failed disk — remove from the pool, try to repair it and if the disk is OK, you can re-add it to the pool.
  • If you have configured two-way mirrored space, you have two copies of all files. If you configured three-way mirrored space, you have three copies of all files.
  • Decreasing the logical size of a space is not supported. But you can increase at anytime.
  • Yes, you can move a storage pool from one PC to another — simply connect the physical disks that are part of the group in the new Windows 8 PC but not in a Windows 7 PC, and you can plug them in any order.

Last note

As you can see from the image below, the new virtual drives behave as if they were normal drives, you can take them offline, format, partition, shrink or delete volumes, just like you would expect from any storage media. The exception is that you cannot boot from a space. And you can even encrypt a storage space by using BitLocker.

Storage Spaces Disk Management Widows 8

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.