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joining multiple hard drives to look like 1 BIG drive to the network

Posted on 2008-10-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I have a couple of 1TB hard drives that i want to start to store my movies on, i want to add more drives in the future but i want the network to see all the drives as just 1 large drive so i can map just 1 point and access all my movies. how would i do this in xp? ( the drives are separate to the OS drive  )
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Question by:cblzaccie
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12 Comments
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:ccns
ID: 22705907
in windows explorer, right click the 1tb drive, goto sharing and security and set the security to that everyone can read only. also check the security tab and make sure this is the same.
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Expert Comment

by:Carsontl
ID: 22705919
If you are using linux you can create a Logical Volume drive by combining multiple drives, however i don't believe there's a way to do it in xp.
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:zephyr_hex (Megan)
ID: 22705933
partition spanning.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308424

"A spanned volume is created from free disk space that is linked together from multiple disks. You can extend a spanned volume onto a maximum of 32 disks. A spanned volume cannot be mirrored and is not fault-tolerant."
from here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314343
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Expert Comment

by:razorwoods
ID: 22705941
Right click on MY COMPUTER > Manage > Storage / Disks

Then if you can see all these drives you can nuke the existing partitions (all data will be lost) and re-setup the drives as a RAID 0 Stripe.  Then you'll have 1 big drive.

Here's the BIG downside to this... if you lose a drive (one goes bad and dies) you'll lose EVERYTHING.

You're much better off getting a RAID controller card of some type and setting up RAID-5.  You'll need at least 3 drives but you can lose one and your data is still safe.

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Expert Comment

by:Carsontl
ID: 22705944
That's why he's the guru and i'm not :)
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LVL 59

Expert Comment

by:LeeTutor
ID: 22706784
You can also do this with the "mounted drive" facility of XP:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;307889&sd=tech
How to create and use NTFS mounted drives in Windows XP
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Expert Comment

by:zephyr_hex (Megan)
ID: 22706862
mounted drives itself will not make 2 physical drives appear as one, which i think is a requirement.

you first need to manage the partitioning so the physical disks appear as one...  if you only did drive mounting, you would need 1 mounting point for each physical disk.
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Expert Comment

by:zephyr_hex (Megan)
ID: 22706873
i may be wrong on that point, so LeeTudor, please clarify if there is a way to achieve this with only drive mounting.
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Expert Comment

by:LeeTutor
ID: 22707191
You're correct zephyr_hex, I just tried it, and while it does make the old drive with a mounted drive in it add on all the space of the mounted drive, it doesn't make the two drives appear as one.
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Expert Comment

by:memed77
ID: 22718420
For the drives to appear as one, you've got to create a spanned drive. First convert the discs to dynamic disc. Note that this cannot be done with USB drives. Then right click on one dynamic volume and create the spanned volume.
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Expert Comment

by:razorwoods
ID: 22723000
As I first responded... you have to create a RAID 0 stripe.  This is the RAID Type that spans multiple drives as one single large drive.  This is something you can do from within Windows as a software RAID.  You can also do this or an even better RAID 5 with a hardware solution (Raid Card).

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Accepted Solution

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ComputerGeekJsy earned 1500 total points
ID: 22736233
There is one part of the question which you all seem to be missing:  He wants to be able to add to the drives to increase space as and when he deems fit.  As far as I know, there are only 2 (safe) ways to do this:
1.  Attach the drives to a sophisticated array controller, which will allow for drive additions.  This is probably the option to go for as you can add at least RAID 5 redundancy into the mix for some level of data continuity in the event of drive failure.
2.  Use DFS, but this will obviously require the use of a server platform.
If you are talking TBs of data, then DO NOT even think of RAID 0!  1 drive fails, you have lost everything.
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