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Adding 1TB drive to WHS

Published to Blog on 5 Mar 2009

This is part 6 in a series about building an Eco-Friendly Economical Windows Home Server.
Part 1: In search of an Eco-Friendly Economical Home Server
Part 2: In search of an Eco-Friendly Economical Home Server 2, Electric Boogaloo
Part 3: A Cheap and Green Windows Home Server
Part 4: Ordered parts for Eco-friendly Economical Windows Home Server
Part 5: Can I get a Mulligan on the Case Order?
Part 6: Adding a 1TB Drive to my WHS

Last night I mentioned on Twitter that I was feeling a little nostalgic after buying a 1TB drive for under $100 dollars. The drive is a much needed addition to my Windows Home Server. I started out with two 500GB drives (I knew I should have went with two 1TB drives!), but the space is getting eaten up quickly. I’m down to only about 20GB of free space, which may seem like a lot, but realize that with 1TB of drive space 20GB is only 2%. Only 2% free – I need to add another drive!

MicroCenter has Western Digital Caviar Green Power, a recent preference of mine for things like file servers, 1TB drives on sale for $89.99.
I picked one up in the store last night, but you can order from their web site, too. This appears to be a little-advertised special. It was included in an email to customers and it is listed on the front page of their web site, but it wasn’t shown in the snail mail flyer I got earlier this week. And the sale price wasn’t displayed on the shelf. This is for the consumer packaged version of the drive. MicroCenter also has an OEM version of the drive on sale, but it is actually $5 more. A saleperson told me that the drives will only be available at that price for a few days.

So far the only gripe I have about these WD GP drives is that they run a little warm. I’ve had to really pay attention to their location inside the case and to the system’s fan/cooling setup. In fact I’ll be adding a new drive bay intake fan along with this new drive. The other two drives are doing okay, but I’m worried that the addition of a third in such a confined space will be detrimental to all three. I’m learning that it’s difficult to build a PC that will be energy efficient, quiet, cool, small, powerful enough and decent looking. There’s always a compromise somewhere. 

I’m planning on adding the new drive today after work, so I figured while I was waiting for a meeting to start that I’d do a quick Google search to make sure I knew what was required. I was hoping it was as simple as plugging it in and then WHS would do the rest. But do I need to format it? Do I need to partition it? Do I need to do anything on the Windows Home Server Storage tab?

In my quest for knowledge I found the following post, which may be one of the most entertaining “how-to” hardware posts that I have ever read:
Adding a new drive on a Friday night

It’s good to see that I should expect nothing unusual. Open up the PC, plug in the drive and button everything back up, once I’ve rebooted I should open up the WHS storage tab where I should be able to add the newly found drive to the storage pool. Let’s hope things work out so easily.

Dan Hounshell
Web geek, nerd, amateur maker. Likes: apis, node, motorcycles, sports, chickens, watches, food, Nashville, Savannah, Cincinnati and family.
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  • On 5 Mar 2009 "Karthik"" said:
    Funny, I added the exact same drive to my home server setup a few weeks ago. Works great and WHS picks it up with no trouble at all. But yes in a small chassis the heat is a problem. I think my next drive purchase will require a new case to go with it.
  • On 5 Mar 2009 "Paul M."" said:
    I also added this same drive to my frankenserver two weeks ago. Regarding temp, my WHS is reporting it at 89.6F whereas my system drive (500GB Western Digital) is 91.4F and my two Seagate 200GB drives are at 105.8F and 104F. So, I'm actually showing the Green 1TB drive to be a bit cooler (whew). I have a slightly different problem. While the drive got added to the pool (I now show 58% free), it seems like WHS isn't writing to it. My other drives (the 2 Seagates and 1 other WD) are 84-90% full. It doesn't seem like the storage is balanced among the drives. Any ideas?
  • On 6 Mar 2009 "Dan Hounshell"" said:
    Karthik, definitely was as easy as described. Plugged the hardware up, rebooted the computer and on the Storage tab of Home Server Console I just had to choose to add the newly found drive to the storage drive pool. Definitely an issue in small cases. Funny, I was originally looking for something smaller and "cuter" than what I ended up with. I've never really needed to worry about heat management in a PC before. I had two of the 500GB drives stacked on top of each other. Normally I wouldn't have thought a thing about it, but the drives were running at 108-110 degrees Farenheit under just a little load. I had to start paying attention to the space configuration and airflow. Just separating the two drives (leaving an empty bay between them) dropped the temps down to 100-103 degrees F under light to moderate load. Paul, that's good to know that the WD GP drive is running fairly cool. I think that the temps that I saw were because of using a fairly small case that is light on fans. I only had a small rear exhaust fan, no front intake case fan. And the fans that are in place are running at variable rates defined by the CPU fan. The drive bay fan that I added blowing down on the 3 drives helped a bit, too. It is big and quiet. Currently I'm seeing 95F, 98F, and 103F for the three drives (from the top of the stack down) under light load. Paul, I'm seeing the same thing in regards to adding data to the new drive. I added mine less than 24 hours ago, but it doesn't look like there has been much of an attempt made to level the storage amongst the 3 drives. The two old 500GB drives are about 90-95% full and the new 1TB drive is practically empty. I assume that since the data is already mirrored across the two existing drives there is no reason to bring the new drive space into the mix. I guess that the new drive will start getting used as it's needed. Thanks for the feedback gents!
  • On 7 Mar 2009 "TrackBack"" said:
  • On 10 Mar 2009 "Kevin"" said:
    Very timely post, I'm going through the exact same thing as well! When I built my WHS I chose an overly large case and two 250GB internal HDDs. Later that year I was regretting the case decision, seemed to large. But now that I'm running out of disk space I'm glad I got a large case and regretting getting "only" 250 GB drives. ) I had to plugin an external 250GB USB drive last month to avoid getting to 0% free space. Now I'm wondering if I should get a single 1TB drive to add as an additional (third) internal, or get 2 and replace one of my 250 GB drives (the non-system one) with a 1TB. But not sure how to do that without data loss, doesn't sound too easy. P
  • On 1 Aug 2009 "Building a Eco-Friendly Economical WHS « MS Windows Home Server"" said:
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