Windows 8 Storage Spaces feature shows up in new screens

Windows 8 screenshot leaks, particularly from China-based web sites, seem to be coming fast and furious now. A site called PCBetacom.com has now posted up some screenshots showing a new feature called Storage Spaces.  The option has been previous revealed back in September but has never actuallyy been seen until now. It seems this new option is being added for people who want to recover in case of a hard drive failure.

According to the screenshots, the Storage Spaces feature seems to require at least two hard drives in order to work. Windows 8 owners will have to select which drives to use. Then you can name the storage space as well as the drive letter. If you have two hard drives on your PC, you can select the 2-way Mirror selection from the Fault Tolerance menu. The idea is that your files in the Storage Space will be safe if one of the two main drives failed. If you have three hard drive you can select the 3-way Mirror option to protect your files if, by some massive bad stroke of luck, you have two of the three drives fail in your PC.

The screenshots also allow you to select how much your Storage Space can hold. After that's done the free storage capacity is used for the Storage space feature.

This is an interesting new feature, especially for those growing PC owners who have more than one hard drive inside their rigs. Obviously there's only so much info about Storage Spaces that one can figure out based on screenshots of menus but Microsoft will almost certainly discuss this feature officially in the coming weeks and months. Microsoft has already talked about how Windows 8 will handle large (over 2 TB) hard drives in a recent blog entry.

Thanks to FaiKee for the tip

Images via PCBeta.com

[Update] It looks like this information isn't entirely new, but hey, it's still pretty exciting!

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It IS software raid implementation to be familiar with the concept. However, if they also put Write Load Balancing it would be great. I'm having problems with overloads on high speed / multiple IO in torrenting

BTW This should also support USB drives. Which takes it far superior than HW XOR raid systems.

all the folks saying its simply software RAID, I think there maybe a little more to it that's simply not been revealed as of yet (ReFS stuff we don't yet know much about), and even if it is simply RAID, its giving folks an easy to use standard interface to set it up, rather than having to delve into disk management and know about it to start with.

We shall see, time will tell, who knows, insert your own uncertainty cliche here

duddit2 said,
all the folks saying its simply software RAID, I think there maybe a little more to it that's simply not been revealed as of yet (ReFS stuff we don't yet know much about), and even if it is simply RAID, its giving folks an easy to use standard interface to set it up, rather than having to delve into disk management and know about it to start with.

We shall see, time will tell, who knows, insert your own uncertainty cliche here


Whilst I agree that this could just be a way more user friendly UI for software RAID, I personally hope that this will work like DriveExtender: Pool with optional Duplication…

From what I have read, this is going to be a Server-only feature in the final builds. Hope it stays in the client as well.

Looks like software RAID to me, which Windows has been capable of since Windows 2000. Indeed Windows software RAID has advantages over hardware RAID that are useful in a domestic environment - you can pull the drives from one machine and drop them in another and they just work, can't always do that with hardware RAID.

I really hope this gets implemented in WHS at some point. I loved DE, and I find WHS a lot less useful without it.

Slugsie said,
I really hope this gets implemented in WHS at some point. I loved DE, and I find WHS a lot less useful without it.

Have you tried one of the replacements ( DriveBender, DrivePool, LDisk[?, not quite sure on that one, their website says "pooling" but there is no real information…] ) ?

MFH said,

Have you tried one of the replacements ( DriveBender, DrivePool, LDisk[?, not quite sure on that one, their website says "pooling" but there is no real information…] ) ?

Not yet. I'm actually still nursing my WHS2 beta install along with it's abandoned version of drive pooling. Simply need to change the system date.

Slugsie said,

Not yet. I'm actually still nursing my WHS2 beta install along with it's abandoned version of drive pooling. Simply need to change the system date.


Hope you have no critical data on it

Adan0s said,
Am I missing something or is this nothing more than a Software-RAID 1/5 implementation?

So far that is exactly what it seems to me too. Btw it is an interesting feature and I hope it will be added back to the next version of WHS.

Adan0s said,
Am I missing something or is this nothing more than a Software-RAID 1/5 implementation?

RAID-5 supports disks of different capacity? - assuming that this Storage Spaces works like DriveExtender…

MFH said,

RAID-5 supports disks of different capacity? - assuming that this Storage Spaces works like DriveExtender…

Not an expert but I do not think so.....

When we bought our latest server all the HDs in the RAID 5 ring had to be the same size.

Fritzly said,

Not an expert but I do not think so.....

When we bought our latest server all the HDs in the RAID 5 ring had to be the same size.

They do, RAID needs all disks to be the same size. They don't physically have to be but it'll use whatever the smallest disks space is on all, so you'll lose space etc.

GP007 said,

They do, RAID needs all disks to be the same size. They don't physically have to be but it'll use whatever the smallest disks space is on all, so you'll lose space etc.

Which is why it is more than reasonable to expect it to be a RAID 1/5 arrangement, if you are going to have a mirror set up then obviously it would have to use the smaller drive.. Otherwise one of the drives would be missing content should the amount of data exceed that on the smaller drive.

It would be stupid to use two different sized drives, but not impossible and it certainly doesn't rule out software RAID 5 as being a possibility.

Looks like DriveExtender doesn't it? If this is really included in Win8, I bet those companies that developed DriveExtender replacements (e.g. DriveBender and DrivePool) will be pretty angry.

I recently thought about migrating to WHS2011 and buy DriveBender, but now I'll have to wait…^^

MFH said,
Looks like DriveExtender doesn't it? If this is really included in Win8, I bet those companies that developed DriveExtender replacements (e.g. DriveBender and DrivePool) will be pretty angry.

I recently thought about migrating to WHS2011 and buy DriveBender, but now I'll have to wait…^^

I think this is better than driveextender, I don't remember DE being able to automatically fix errors on it's own and plus we're getting the new ReFS as well, so who knows how much better it'll end up being. Remember DE had it's own problems which is why MS ditched it in WHS v2.

GP007 said,

Remember DE had it's own problems which is why MS ditched it in WHS v2.

DE had no problems for the environment it was originally designed. Microsoft just entered a world of hurt when they tried to use it in an environment it was never designed to work.

I hope this thing is not locked to ReFS, as that will sure as hell prove as a problem if there is no support for any OS that preceded Win8. I wouldn't trust my (critical) data to a FS that can't be read by a different OS.

BTW: did I miss something or how do you know that this thing can fix errors?

MFH said,

DE had no problems for the environment it was originally designed. Microsoft just entered a world of hurt when they tried to use it in an environment it was never designed to work.

I hope this thing is not locked to ReFS, as that will sure as hell prove as a problem if there is no support for any OS that preceded Win8. I wouldn't trust my (critical) data to a FS that can't be read by a different OS.

BTW: did I miss something or how do you know that this thing can fix errors?

Fixing errors is where using ReFS comes in, and it's an option, storage spaces can use normal NTFS as well.

I dunno about everyone but some people liked DE for basic use and at the same time even in WHS v1 some found problems with it.

Edited by bdsams, Dec 5 2011, 12:50pm :

GP007 said,

I dunno about everyone but some people liked DE for basic use and at the same time even in WHS v1 some found problems with it.

Like? That's not quite it, "love" would be appropriate Main reason I will stay on WHSv1 as long as possible: DE. It was the main reason for me to buy WHS to begin with…

nik louch said,
Basically, what they removed from WHS 2011?

In a sense, but this one will automatically fix data errors as well, plus the new FS which wasn't in WHS probably adds to the speed and ability of Storage Spaces in general.

GP007 said,

In a sense, but this one will automatically fix data errors as well, plus the new FS which wasn't in WHS probably adds to the speed and ability of Storage Spaces in general.

Fair comments. I'd still love this in my WHS box.

Wasn't DE too instable to use on Home Server?
So they removed it, basicaly THE main feature of the OS... and now it will be back on every OS they make, except WHS?

aristofeles said,
Wasn't DE too instable to use on Home Server?
So they removed it, basicaly THE main feature of the OS... and now it will be back on every OS they make, except WHS?

They might work it in to the next version or something. It seems to me like maybe they needed a new File System in order to get this to work and be stable... If that's the case and stability was an issue, I have no problem with them taking it out until they can get it right. Who wants problems with that?

aristofeles said,
Wasn't DE too instable to use on Home Server?
So they removed it, basicaly THE main feature of the OS... and now it will be back on every OS they make, except WHS?

Storage Spaces is a Win8 Server feature, it might be on Win8 Ultimate at best I'd say, there's also been talk that ReFS is for the Server versions as well. I honestly don't expect people who buy a desktop with whatever version of Windows 8 that comes with will be able to have this feature as well.