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Windows 7: Is there a way to "combine" drives?


05 Apr 2011   #1

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 
Is there a way to "combine" drives?

No, not a RAID. Something more like a logical RAID0.

Basically I have one drive (Call it E nearly full and I want to get another one BUT I don't want to have another drive letter showing up on My Computer.

I want to put some files in the new drive but have it combined with drive E: so when I click on E: drive, I can see all the files from E: and the new drive.

Something like have both drives share the same root directory so ONE directory can see from both. In a way, the library kinda does that already... but is it possible anyways?

Thanks.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Apr 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

How about adding a drive let's say F:, creating a shortcut to that drive nn your E: drive naming it for instance Files on F, then hiding F: drive. This tutorial shows you how to hide a drive.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

How about a Dynamic Volume that includes both drives into one large volume.
Also known as Spanned volume.
Create a Spanned Volume

Not sure if your version of 7 supports this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Apr 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Shootist View Post
How about a Dynamic Volume that includes both drives into one large volume.
Also known as Spanned volume.
Create a Spanned Volume

Not sure if your version of 7 supports this.
Better idea than mine . If OP has Pro or Ultimate, I would rather do this. OP's system specs say he / she has pro so this would IMO really be a good idea.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #5

Windows 7 64 bit SP1
 
 

You can do this by combining them into a spanned dynamic disk. Go to my Computer -> Manage -> Disk Management and look for dynamic disks in the help -> disk management -> manage Dynamic Volumes and -> Manage Disks.

Ooops, already been said.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #6

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

This seems to be what I'm looking for.

So I can extend my E: volume to include a new drive F:? And if one of them fails, I can continue to use the remaining drive with data intact?

To create a spanning volume, do both partitions have to be unallocated? It says to create a new spanning volume on an unallocated partition but I want to extend an existing partition (extending volume is greyed out) with the data on it to include the new one.

Also, will be compatibility issues if the drives have different sector sizes? The new drive will be an advanced format drive with 4k sectors while the old one has 512 sectors.

Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #7

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Cyborg31 View Post
This seems to be what I'm looking for.

So I can extend my E: volume to include a new drive F:? And if one of them fails, I can continue to use the remaining drive with data intact?

To create a spanning volume, do both partitions have to be unallocated? It says to create a new spanning volume on an unallocated partition but I want to extend an existing partition (extending volume is greyed out) with the data on it to include the new one.

Also, will be compatibility issues if the drives have different sector sizes? The new drive will be an advanced format drive with 4k sectors while the old one has 512 sectors.

Thanks.
That's the thing. To do this you might have to move your data off of your E drive then delete that volume (making the space unallocated), install the new drive with no partitions and then SPAN those two unallocated spaces into one big volume.

I've never done this and only read part of the link I posted so take what I'm saying with a grain of salt.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #8

Windows 7 64 bit SP1
 
 

Quote:
After a spanned volume is extended, no portion of it can be deleted without deleting the entire spanned volume. Spanned volumes cannot be mirrored or striped and do not offer fault tolerance. If one of the disks containing a spanned volume fails, the entire volume fails.
Dynamic Disks and Disk Groups
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Cyborg31 View Post
This seems to be what I'm looking for.

So I can extend my E: volume to include a new drive F:? And if one of them fails, I can continue to use the remaining drive with data intact?

To create a spanning volume, do both partitions have to be unallocated? It says to create a new spanning volume on an unallocated partition but I want to extend an existing partition (extending volume is greyed out) with the data on it to include the new one.

Also, will be compatibility issues if the drives have different sector sizes? The new drive will be an advanced format drive with 4k sectors while the old one has 512 sectors.

Thanks.
Yes, you must have unallocated space on both drives. You can shrink the volume on the original drive to free up space.

I'm not sure about the sectors, but the sector option is not greyed out.

Both disks will become Dynamic and if you need to create a Dual boot in the future, both disks must be converted back to Basic.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2011   #10

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
Quote:
After a spanned volume is extended, no portion of it can be deleted without deleting the entire spanned volume. Spanned volumes cannot be mirrored or striped and do not offer fault tolerance. If one of the disks containing a spanned volume fails, the entire volume fails.
Dynamic Disks and Disk Groups
So there's no benefit in using a spanned volume at all... it's like a RAID0 but worse.

And if I shrink the volume on the original and create a spanned volume from that, wouldn't that just make a second partition on the original that spans to the new drive, separate from the first partition on the original?

Hmm, not sure if I should use it.

Thanks for the help guys.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Is there a way to "combine" drives?




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