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Combine two physical hard drives to one logical drive

Posted on 2007-07-28
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hi All,
I have a 250GB hard drive where my company's client data is stored and this drive is mapped as the O: drive on all company computers. However now we are running out of space on this drive and I've got another 500GB hard drive that I will be using to make my disk space 750GB. My question is how do I combine the two physical drives to the one logical drive so I can still share the O: drive and let everyone have access to the full 750GB instead of having two drive letters.
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Question by:meperera
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Expert Comment

by:LeeTutor
ID: 19586303
What you are looking for is a "spanned volume" which is possible only with dynamic disks under Windows server systems.  See this page:

http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/efdfa6aa-4077-45c7-a24c-894df9102b6a1033.mspx?mfr=true
Create a Spanned Volume

Here is a page about dynamic disks:

http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/efdfa6aa-4077-45c7-a24c-894df9102b6a1033.mspx?mfr=true
Dynamic Disks and Volumes
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Expert Comment

by:KCTS
ID: 19586402
You can indeed to this by converting the disks to dynamic disks and creatinf a spanned volume, alternativly you could create a volume mount point http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windows2000serv/reskit/prork/prdf_fls_ogex.mspx?mfr=true

Be aware that both of these methods share a fundamental weakness - if either drive fails you lose all data so regular backups are essential.
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Author Comment

by:meperera
ID: 19586606
Thanks,
   I failed to mention that this machine is a WIN XP SP2. Both the above articles talk about Win 2000 and 2003. how do I implement this in XP ?
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 19586907
XP Professional supports spanned volumes.
XP Home I would doubt it does.

Please NOTE after converting to a dynamic disk which spanned volumes needed, the road back to a simple disk if you need to is not easy. Make sure you have a backup regiume in place.

Converting to Dynamic disks in XP
http://www.theeldergeek.com/hard_drives_10.htm

Creating the spanned volume.
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/dm_spanned_volume.mspx
.

Terry
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 19586913
A word of warning though with spanned volumes.
If any one single disk in the whole entire spanned volume fails, all the data in the entire volume is lost.
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scrathcyboy earned 900 total points
ID: 19586966
YOU DO NOT ***NOT ***  ***NOT**** ***NOT**** WANT TO CONVERT TO "DYNAMIC DISK"

This is microsofts FAILED attempt at disk spanning -- software emulation of true hard disk joining via RAID, and it will ALWAYS  ***ALWAYS*** FAIL on you.  I cannot give you any more warning than that.  DO NOT DO IT -- you will live to regret it 100 times over.  Dynamic disks are irreversible, and too failure prone.

Simply COPY ALL THE DATA from the 250 to the 500, remove the 250, and replace it with the 500.  KEEP IT AS A SINGLE DRIVE -- it will work for as long as the drive lasts that way, it is not prone to software encryption and spanning algorithms that M$ uses which are flawed.
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by:meperera
ID: 19587040
Are there any software packages that can do this without failure ?
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by:Erik Bjers
ID: 19587070
The only good way to do RAID (what you want to do) is with a hardware RAID controler, all software RAID controlers are less reliable and will fail on you.  I agree with the others DO NOT SPAN YOUR DRIVES.  

Copy everything to the 500GB and use that.  If you want the aditional 250GB install it as a secondary drive.  You can then map that second drive to a folder on the main drive if you want http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307889

SPANED VOULMES ARE BAD... IF EITHER DRIVE FAILS YOU WILL LOOSE EVERYTHING ONCE AGAIN YOU WILL LOOSE EVERYTHING.

eb
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Assisted Solution

by:qz8dsw
qz8dsw earned 600 total points
ID: 19587082
Using spanning via software (Event the OS) is inherently risky.
As once you span you turn off the option of RAID and fault tolerence in Windows.
It would still come down to if a single drive in the span fails then your spanned volume is no longer valid and poof goes your data.

Hardware joining via raid as mentioned by scrathcyboy is more reliable and still leaves the option of fault tolerence being used if you have enough disks in there to do disk mirroring.
For the risks unless you had a nightly backup regiume in place that was as solid as a rock and had generations (I.E daily backups for weekdays, a full backup once a week) I'd not head there myself.
If I was you I'd use the 250 as a backup drive, and migrate to the 500 gig as scrathcyboy suggests.
Use Windows backup to backup to flat file on the 250 or use it as you wish.
The price of hard drives today I'd not risk spanning/joining disks. Just migrate to the newer drive and if essential data put in a second same size and mirror for fault tolerence.
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by:nobus
ID: 19587585
here some info on raid :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID
if you want redundancy, i would select a raid 1 or raid 5 setup, for fault tolerance.
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Expert Comment

by:Erik Bjers
ID: 19588126
Can't do raid 5 with only 2 drives, and raid 1 would only get 250GB as it takes the size of the smallest drive.  I don't think RAID is what the asker is looking for.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 19588468
yes he can buy drives . . .
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Expert Comment

by:Erik Bjers
ID: 19589450
And a RIAD controler that can do RAID 5, that can get quite costly.
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