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Manage Server Storage in Windows Server Essentials

Updated: March 26, 2014

Applies To: Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

This topic applies to a server running Windows Server 2012 Essentials or Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, or to a server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role installed.

Windows Server Essentials enables you to manage all your server storage (including hard drives and storage spaces) from the Hard Drives pages on the Storage tab of the Dashboard.

The following sections provide information that will help you increase your server storage, understand and use storage spaces, and manage your hard drives:

Windows Server Essentials allows you to manage all the hard drives that are connected to the server through the Dashboard. On the Dashboard Storage tab, Hard Drives displays all the hard drives that are available on the server for storing data and server backups. The server monitors the space available on each hard drive, and displays an alert if hard drive space becomes low. The Hard Drives tab displays the following information:

  • The name of each hard drive

  • The capacity of each hard drive

  • The amount of used space on each hard drive

  • The amount of free space on each hard drive

  • The status of each hard drive; a blank status means that the hard drive is operating properly

  • The details pane, which displays all the storage stack information (for storage pool, storage space, and hard drive) if the selected hard drive is located on a Storage Space (instead of a physical disk)

The following table lists the hard drive management tasks that are available in the Dashboard and their descriptions. Some of the tasks are displayed only when a hard drive is selected.

Available hard drive management tasks

Task Name Description

View the hard drive properties

Opens the HardDriveNameProperties page. This task is displayed when the hard drive is selected. The General tab of the HardDriveName Properties page includes the following additional tasks:

  • Drive cleanup:  Allows you to clean up unused files on the hard drive (this task is only available in Windows Server 2012 Essentials).

  • Check and repair:  Checks the hard drive for file system errors and attempts to repair detected errors automatically.

The Shadow Copies tab of the HardDriveNameProperties page allows you to enable shadow copies. This tab also displays the next time that shadow copies is scheduled to run.

Manage Storage Spaces

noteNote
For Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, this task is only displayed when there is an existing storage space.

Opens the Storage Spaces control panel, from which you can create and manage storage pools and storage spaces.

Create a storage space

Opens the Create a Storage Space Wizard, which allows you to use one or more hard drives to increase the capacity of a storage pool.

Increase storage pool capacity

noteNote
This task is only visible if the selected hard drive is located on a storage space.

Opens the Increase Capacity of a Storage Pool Wizard, which allows you to use one or more hard drives to increase the capacity of a storage pool.

To increase the storage on the server, you can add an additional internal hard disk to the server. To add the additional internal hard disk, you must shut down the server, add the internal hard disk, and then restart the server. You do not need to shut down the server if the hard disk is attached to the SCSI controller. In that case, the hard disk can be plugged in while the server is running.

Depending on whether the hard disk to be added is formatted, do one of the following:

  • Formatted   If the internal hard disk is formatted with NTFS or ReFS, the server assigns it a drive letter, and the hard disk appears on the Hard Drives tab. You can now create or move server folders to the new hard drive.

  • Not formatted   If the internal hard disk is unformatted, the following alert appears: One or more unformatted hard drives are connected to the server. Use the following procedure to format the hard disk.

  1. Open the Dashboard.

  2. In the navigation pane, click the alert icon to launch the Alert Viewer in Windows Server 2012 Essentials, or the Health Monitoring tab in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials.

  3. In the Alert Viewer or the Health Monitoring tab, click the alert, and then in the tasks pane, click Troubleshoot this issue.

  4. Follow the instructions to complete the Add a New Hard Drive Wizard.

  1. Open the Dashboard.

  2. In the navigation pane, click Storage, and then click Hard Drives.

  3. In the Hard drives section, select the drive letter that was assigned to the newly added hard disk, and in the task pane, click View the hard drive properties.

  4. In <Driveletter> Properties, on the General tab, click Drive cleanup.

The hard drives check and repair process verifies the health of the file system stored on the hard drives. It runs a chkdsk process on the volume that the backup files are stored in. The following alert issue can be resolved by running a check and repair on the hard drives:

  • One or more hard drives in Server Backup must be checked.

  1. Open the Dashboard.

  2. Click Server Folders and Hard Drives, and then click Hard Drives.

  3. Select the hard drive that is displaying the error, and then select View the hard drive properties.

  4. On the Check and Repair tab, click Check and Repair.

When an unformatted internal hard drive is detected on the server, a health alert guides the user through the process of formatting it. The Add a New Hard Drive Wizard walks you through formatting the hard drive and enables you to configure the hard drive in one of the following ways:

  1. Format the hard drive and automatically create a drive on it. If you choose this option, when the wizard is completed, one logical hard drive formatted with the NTFS file system is created.

  2. Format the hard drive and set it up for server backup. If you choose this option, the Set Up Server Backup Wizard is launched, and it walks you through the server backup configuration.

  3. If a storage space doesn’t exist, use the new hard drive to create a storage space. You must have at least two hard drives to create a storage space.

  4. If a storage space already exists, use the new hard drive to increase the capacity of a storage pool. This option is only displayed if there is an existing storage space created on the server. If you choose this option, the wizard will add this hard drive to the storage pool.

When you plug a new hard disk drive into a server running Windows Server Essentials, you can:

To use the new hard drive to store server folders, you can add a new server folder to the hard drive or move an existing server folder to the hard drive.

  1. Open the Dashboard.

  2. Click the STORAGE tab, and then click Server Folders.

  3. In the Server Folders Tasks pane, do one of the following:

    1. To add a server folder, click Add a folder.

    2. To move a server folder, select the folder that you want to move to the new hard drive, and then click Move a folder.

    noteNote
    If you browse to the hard drive and select it as the server folder location without creating a folder, the following error message appears: A root directory (such as C:\, D:\) cannot be added as a server folder. Create a new folder or select an existing one under the root directory, and then try again. To resolve this error, create a new folder in the newly added hard drive, and then select the new folder as the location to store server folders.

  4. Follow the instructions to finish the wizard.

For more information about moving server folders, see Add or move a server folder.

You can use the newly added hard drive to store server backups.

  1. Open the Dashboard.

  2. Click the Devices tab, select the server from the list pane, and then from the task pane, do one of the following:

    1. If Server Backup is not configured on the server, click Set up Server Backup.

    2. If Server Backup is configured on the server, click Customize Server Backup.

    The Set Up Server Backup Wizard appears.

  3. In the Select the Backup Destination page, select the new hard drive as the backup destination.

  4. Follow the instructions to finish the wizard.

When your storage pool capacity is low, you receive an alert stating that you can increase the storage pool capacity by adding a new hard drive to the storage pool by using the Increase Capacity of a Storage Pool Wizard.

noteNote
You can perform this procedure only if you created a storage pool on the server.

  1. Open the Dashboard.

  2. Click the Storage tab, and then click Hard Drives.

  3. Select the drive that is showing a low capacity.

  4. From the task pane, select Increase storage pool capacity. The Increase Capacity of a Storage Pool Wizard appears.

  5. Follow the instructions to finish the wizard.

Storage Spaces lets you group disks together in a storage pool. You can then use pool capacity to create storage spaces. Storage spaces are virtual drives that appear on the Hard Drives tab of the Dashboard. You can use storage spaces like any other drive, so it’s easy to work with files on them. When you run low on pool capacity, you can create large storage spaces and add more drives to the storage pool. If you have two or more disks within the storage pool, you can create storage spaces with a two-way mirror that won't be affected by a drive failure—or even the failure of two drives—if you create a three-way mirror storage space.

To create a storage space, all you need is one or more extra drives in addition to the drive on which Windows is installed. These drives can be internal or external hard drives, or solid state drives. You can use a variety of types of drives with Storage Spaces, including USB, SATA, and SAS drives.

noteNote
If you configure Storage Spaces on a server running Windows Server 2012 Essentials, you cannot perform a Factory Reset with the Clean Data option. The workaround for this issue is to first remove Storage Spaces and then perform a Factory Reset with the Clean Data option.

For more information about Storage Spaces, see Storage Spaces Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

To begin working with Storage Spaces on server, the following minimum requirements must be met:

  • The server running Windows Server Essentials must be attached to additional physical drives (not just the boot drive), the drives must not host any volumes and must have a minimum capacity of 10 GB. One physical drive is required to create a storage pool; a minimum of two physical drives is needed to create a resilient mirror storage space.

  • A minimum of two physical drives are required to create a storage space with resiliency through parity or two-way mirroring.

noteNote
If you configure Storage Spaces on a server running Windows Server 2012 Essentials, you cannot perform a Factory Reset with the Clean Data option. The workaround for this issue is to first remove Storage Spaces and then perform a Factory Reset with the Clean Data option.

  1. Add or connect all the drives that you want to group together with Storage Spaces to the server running Windows Server Essentials.

  2. From the Dashboard, click Advanced: Manage Storage Spaces.

  3. Click Create a new pool and storage space.

  4. Select the drives you want to add to the new storage space, and then click Create pool.

  5. Give the drive a name and letter, and then choose a layout. Two-way mirror, Three-way mirror, and Parity can help protect the files in the storage space from drive failure.

  6. Enter the maximum size the storage space can reach, and then click Create storage space.

In Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, you can create a two-way mirrored storage space by using the Create a Storage Space Wizard from the Dashboard.

  1. Add or connect all the drives that you want to group together with Storage Spaces to the server running Windows Server Essentials.

  2. From the Dashboard, click Manage Storage Spaces. The Create a Storage Space Wizard appears.

  3. Follow the instructions to complete the wizard.

For information about increasing storage pool capacity, see Use the new hard drive to increase storage pool capacity.

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