Windows Home Server was designed to use external hard disk drives as additional server storage. One of the primary goals of Drive Extender™ was to enable people to reuse any existing hard drives for more space on their home servers. The paradigm is a little different than what people are used to doing with external hard drives – with Windows Home Server you plug them in and leave them attached to your home server until you tell your home server that you want to remove them.
There are two things you need to remember:
- After plugging in an external hard drive, you have to tell your home server that you want to add the hard drive to your ‘Server Storage’ by using the Windows Home Server Console. The drive will be formatted, so if you have any important files on the drive, plug it into one of your home computers and copy these files to your home server prior to adding it to your Server Storage.
- You need to tell Windows Home Server that you want to ‘Remove’ a hard drive from your Server Storage before physically unplugging the USB 2.0 or FireWire cable. Windows Home Server will move all of the Shared Folder data and home computer backups off of the hard drive that you want to remove (assuming you have enough space on the remaining hard drives, otherwise you will get a warning prior to proceeding).
If you unplug an external hard drive prior to telling Windows Home Server that you want it removed, the health of your home server will turn red (critical) and your home server will report the hard drive as ‘Missing’. If this happens, the best thing to do is plug the hard drive back in and tell your home server to ‘Remove’ it via the Windows Home Server Console or just leave it plugged in …
I saw a home server the other day with 8 external hard drives of varying sizes from 80 GB to 750 GB attached to it. The owner affectionally called it “The Octopus”.