Adding Disk to Windows Home Server

The hardware and software in this post are obsolete. Obsolete images and external links have been removed.

One of the benefits of Windows Home Server is the ease at which disk space can be expanded. There’s no need to set up partitions, just pop the drives in and add them to the storage pool. The HP EX475 makes it easy to add disk on the hardware side of things by using hot swappable drive bays. (The HP EX470 is the same server hardware with one less hard drive.) I decided to max-out the internal drive bays by adding two Western Digital Caviar 500GB SATA drives.

HP describes the procedure to add the drives here and the entire process took me about 10 minutes. The HP EX470 comes with one drives so three drives can be added while the EX475 comes with two drives so it has two empty drive bays. If there’s a drive in the bay the the light bar will be lit.

Adding the Drive Hardware

The front door of the HP EX475 swings open revealing the drive bays. Drives are added from bottom to top so You’ll add drives to the lowest empty bay first. It’s not necessary to shut down the server when adding drives, but it can’t hurt.

To remove a drive bay push down the latch that holds the handle, lift the handle and pull the bay out. Be sure to push down the rear flap, as shown below, once the bay is removed. Just push out the side rails a bit to free up the flap.

Insert the left side of the new drive first (left – when the handle is toward you), it does make a difference and it’s much easier. The posts in the drive bay will fit the mounting holes in the drive. Then flex the right rail outward and put the rail pins into the right side of the drive.

Side the drive bay back into the server. Be sure not to accidentally lock the handle down by pushing on it when inserting the drive. (Yea, that’s what I did.)

Close the HP’s front door when all the drives are in. The LED’s should start glowing purple soon after the drives are inserted. Mine took less than 30 seconds.

Adding the Drives to the Storage Pool

Once the hardware is installed it’s still necessary to add the drives to the pools so they can be used. Start up the Windows Home Server console and go to the server storage tab.

You’ll see the unused drives listed under “Non Storage Hard Drives”. Select one of the unused drives and click the “Add” button. The Add Drive Wizard will run. There’s not much to do beyond clicking through the wizard.

Once the drives are added the Server Storage tab will reflect them. Once the drives are part of the storage pool the light bars will glow blue.

The Aftermath

I found that the original two drives continued to be used for new files for quit awhile. Then the system drive stopped getting new files but the original second drive continued to accumulate files until it exceeded 90% in usage. Then the two new drives started to use space in tandem, growing at the same rate.

I eventually deleted a large amount of files which shrunk usage on the original drives, with the system drive seeming to have the lowest priority as it’s now the once with the most free space, even with 20GB dedicated to the system partition.