Windows 7 / Getting Started

How to Create a Spanned Volume

A spanned volume uses the free space on more than one physical hard disk to create a bigger volume. The portions of disk used to create the volume do not need to be the same size and can actually include more than one free space on a disk. A spanned volume provides no additional speed benefits and increases the risk of catastrophic failure leading to data loss. The failure of any disk involved in the spanned volume will make the entire volume unavailable.

Note To achieve a speed benefit with multiple disks, you must use striping, such as that provided by RAID 1 or RAID 5. With striping, every file on a volume is evenly distributed between multiple physical disks. With striping, files can be read from or written to multiple disks simultaneously, increasing throughput. Spanning simply appends one disk to the next, so any given file is probably stored only on a single disk. The best way to add striping is to use a computer or add-on card that supports hardware RAID.

If you still want to create a spanned volume, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Disk Management snap-in.
  2. Right-click a free-space segment that you want to include in the spanned volume and then select New Spanned Volume from the shortcut menu. The New Spanned Volume Wizard appears.
  3. Click Next. On the Select Disks page, select from the available disks and then click Add to add the disks to the spanned volume. Select each disk in the Selected column and set the amount of space to use on that disk for the spanned volume. Click Next.
  4. On the Assign Drive Letter Or Path page, the default is to assign the next available drive letter to the new volume. You can also mount the volume on an empty NTFS folder on an existing volume. Click Next.
  5. On the Format Volume page, choose the formatting options for the new volume. Windows Vista and Windows 7 support only NTFS formatting from the Disk Management snap-in. To format with FAT or FAT32, you need to use the command line. Click Next.
  6. Click Finish on the summary page to create the volume.

Creating a spanned volume using DiskPart is a somewhat more complicated process than creating a simple volume. You can't just create the spanned volume in one step; you need to first make sure that the disks to be used are converted to dynamic. Then you create a simple volume on the first disk of the spanned volume, extend the volume to the second disk, and then add any additional disks involved in the span. Finally, you must assign the volume to a drive letter or mount point.

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In this tutorial:

  1. Managing Disks and File Systems
  2. Overview of Partitioning Disks
  3. How to Choose Between MBR or GPT
  4. Converting from MBR to GPT Disks
  5. GPT Partitions
  6. Choosing Basic or Dynamic Disks
  7. Working with Volumes
  8. How to Create a Simple Volume
  9. How to Create a Spanned Volume
  10. How to Create a Striped Volume
  11. How to Resize a Volume
  12. How to Delete a Volume
  13. How to Create and Use a Virtual Hard Disk
  14. File System Fragmentation
  15. Backup And Restore
  16. How File Backups Work
  17. File and Folder Backup Structure
  18. How System Image Backups Work
  19. How to Start a System Image Backup from the Command Line
  20. How to Restore a System Image Backup
  21. System Image Backup Structure
  22. Best Practices for Computer Backups
  23. How to Manage Backup Using Group Policy Settings
  24. Previous Versions and Shadow Copies
  25. How to Manage Shadow Copies
  26. How to Restore a File with Previous Versions
  27. How to Configure Previous Versions with Group Policy Settings
  28. Windows ReadyBoost
  29. BitLocker Drive Encryption
  30. How BitLocker Encrypts Data
  31. How BitLocker Protects Data
  32. TPM with External Key (Require Startup USB Key At Every Startup)
  33. TPM with PIN (Require PIN At Every Startup)
  34. TPM with PIN and External Key
  35. BitLocker To Go
  36. BitLocker Phases
  37. Requirements for Protecting the System Volume with BitLocker
  38. How to Enable the Use of BitLocker on the System Volume on Computers Without TPM
  39. How to Enable BitLocker Encryption on System Volumes
  40. How to Enable BitLocker Encryption on Data Volumes
  41. How to Manage BitLocker Keys on a Local Computer
  42. How to Manage BitLocker from the Command Line
  43. How to Recover Data Protected by BitLocker
  44. How to Disable or Remove BitLocker Drive Encryption
  45. How to Decommission a BitLocker Drive Permanently
  46. How to Prepare AD DS for BitLocker
  47. How to Configure a Data Recovery Agent
  48. How to Manage BitLocker with Group Policy
  49. The Costs of BitLocker
  50. Windows 7 Encrypting File System
  51. How to Export Personal Certificates
  52. How to Import Personal Certificates
  53. How to Grant Users Access to an Encrypted File
  54. Symbolic Links
  55. How to Create Symbolic Links
  56. How to Create Relative or Absolute Symbolic Links
  57. How to Create Symbolic Links to Shared Folders
  58. How to Use Hard Links
  59. Disk Quotas
  60. How to Configure Disk Quotas on a Single Computer
  61. How to Configure Disk Quotas from a Command Prompt
  62. How to Configure Disk Quotas by Using Group Policy Settings
  63. Disk Tools
  64. EFSDump
  65. SDelete
  66. Streams
  67. Sync
  68. MoveFile and PendMoves