Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Sapnning Disks in W7 / W8 - good for Music libraries etc

  1. #1


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10

    Spanning Disks in W7 / W8 - good for Music libraries etc


    Hi everyone

    Rather than have a load of disks such as Vol C, D, E, F etc why not use SPANNED Disks and the Library feature in conjunction with each other.

    This allows you to span volumes so that you can have music / video / other libraries which can span across up to 32 physical disks.

    Provided you have 1 MB (yes ONE MB) space left at the end of the volume you can create or convert existing Disks to Dynamic Disks without losing data.

    Control panel==>computer management==>administrative tools==>disk management

    right mouse click on the Disk (left hand box) and chose convert to dynamic disk.

    To create a spanned volume chose create spanned volume and a box will appear listing the dynamic disks -- click the disk volumes you want spanned.

    Windows will now treat this is ONE disk -- assign your library etc to it.

    Remember though -- YOU CAN'T INSTALL THE OS on a dynamic disk -- I have a separate SSD where I've installed windows.

    Backup -- you need to re-structure your backup strategy -- backup the library rather than physical volumes.

    Remember also that since you have multiple volumes which the system thinks is a single disk -- errors get more complicated to resolve -- but with excellent hardware reliability coupled with a decent backup strategy this really makes library and database management much easier.

    For example you might have 2 TB of music -- it's much easier to manage this as a single music library (or disk) rather than MANUALLY spread it over 3 or 4 separate 500 GB disks.

    Screenshots show a created single spanned volume from two disks -- and windows explorer now shows windows thinks it's a 1.04 TB single volume.


    Using this feature with a library or a database system (MySQL for example) allows you to bunch a whole set of smaller disks into a decently sized large one without you having to worry where the data is physically located -- also provides a decent use for some of your older disks as you upgrade to bigger ones without running out of volume letters.

    Only one drawback is if either of the disks fail the whole thing fails -- but with decent backup and usually very good HDD reliability this type of system makes managing large multimedia libraries and databases very worth while.

    ALWAYS THOUGH HAVE RELIABLE BACKUPS WHATEVER SYSTEM YOU CHOOSE.


    Hope some of you find this useful.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails span1.png   span2.png  
    Last edited by jimbo45; 06 Jan 2013 at 12:24.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Spanning a bunch of disks has a serious side-effect, however. Let's say you have 6 disks spanned, and you have no more room for disks, so you want to swap out one of the disks for a larger one.

    how do you do that while keeping your data? You basically have to wipe out the volume and restore it from a backup. That's a huge pain. You don't know which files are stored on which disk, so even if you managed to swap out the drive, you couldn't figure out which files needed to be copied back to it.

    This is one of those scenarios where Storage Spaces starts to make a lot more sense.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere View Post
    Spanning a bunch of disks has a serious side-effect, however. Let's say you have 6 disks spanned, and you have no more room for disks, so you want to swap out one of the disks for a larger one.

    how do you do that while keeping your data? You basically have to wipe out the volume and restore it from a backup. That's a huge pain. You don't know which files are stored on which disk, so even if you managed to swap out the drive, you couldn't figure out which files needed to be copied back to it.

    This is one of those scenarios where Storage Spaces starts to make a lot more sense.
    Hi there
    Storage spaces are a good idea but Spanning is usually the FIRST stage in organising huge libraries and data bases.
    Storage spaces takes a little more "Learning curve" -- and a disadvantage is when a storage space gets full it immediately "Unmounts itself". -- Not a good idea if you are using it as an online DB. !!

    I use spanning for spanning a whole slew of 250 and 500 GB older drives -- these are easily backed up on to 2 / 3 TB external units.

    eventually I'll chuck out the older drives and go to storage spaces completely but spanning initially makes a decent use of loads of smaller capacity disk drives.

    Most home users rarely have more than a few TB -- backing up 3 TB these days with a proper backup program like Acronis doesn't take long on a decently powered machine with some decent backup disks or USB3 external drives -- note these commercial backups will prompt for a new device when the first one gets full so you could backup to say 3 or 4 external USB3 drives. (USB2 will work as well but USB3 is so much faster) I have 5 small self powered passport 2TB external USB3 drives I keep for this purpose.

    Note things like Acronis etc will take FILE backups too -- so you don't have to worry where the file is located in the storage pool. That's the whole point of it -- DEVICE INDEPENDENCE. On Restore it will just restore anywhere in the storage pool -- doesn't matter. So if I have a 100TB "D" Drive that's really volumes D,E,F.G,H,I.J.K it doesn't matter since the restore will just plonk the file back anywhere and Windows will pick it up from what it sees now as a 100 TB "D" drive.

    Whatever your storage scheme -- always ensure you have reliable backup.

    I backup my files regularly -- say files beginning with A to E one day, F-S say another day etc.

    Windows 8 History handles incremental file changes too so you don't need to backup the whole kybosh every day. Once you've got a full backup set just use incremental backups for a few months -- on say a 100TB drive you won't have too many files changing a lot every day.

    Like all things there are pros and cons -- however HDD failure is very rare (it DOES happen) and provided you have a sensible backup strategy it's not a disaster to re-create the "Volume pool" again with some different drives.

    Of course don't attempt to define dynamic disks / spanned volumes with removable USB drives though !!! Should be obvious -- but in my experience -- "There's always one .... ".

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Last edited by jimbo45; 07 Jan 2013 at 04:55.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Sapnning Disks in W7 / W8 - good for Music libraries etc
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