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Formatting Hard Drives in Disk Management

You may have figured out that you will need to reformat your hard drives to make them available again in both Windows and the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard, Unfortunately, you won't be able to see the drives in File Explorer any more. So, to retrieve them, we will need to head to an area of Windows called Computer Management. Open up Windows search via the magnifying glass next to the Start button and type in Computer Management. You will be able to open it up.

Click the Computer Management link when it appears and a new window opens. In the left hand pane, select Disk Management.

We can now view all of our hard disks, and can see that the drives we released from the storage pool are listed without drive letters and have space reported as Unallocated. To rescue each, right click on the white bar next to each drive and select New Simple Volume.

A wizard will create the volume for you. You can take this opportunity to partition (split) the drive should you wish into multiple volumes, otherwise, when asked for the size of the volume, leave the default maximum in place.

Next, choose your drive letter:

Finally, choose your format settings - you can leave the defaults in place.

Hit Finish and the hard drive will be prepared. Complete that same wizard for each of the drives released from the storage pool and you should see them available again both in Windows File Explorer and the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard.

Storage Spaces is certainly a convenient feature in Windows Server 2016 Essentials that allows you to quickly and easily convert individual disks into larger storage pools. But it's not the only method available to you. Other options for creating high performance storage arrays that may well suit you and your organization better.