How To Add a Hard Drive to Your Windows Home Server

Here's how to add an extra internal hard drive to your Windows Home Server.

David McCabe

June 18, 2011

3 Min Read
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BYTE -- Whether it's a preconfigured MediaSmart Server or a Windows Home Server (WHS) you built yourself, it's easy to increase your storage space for WHS.

First, turn off your server and make sure it's unplugged.

Next, remove whatever panel you need to get access to the storage compartment where the hard disks are located. Here I'm using an HP Media Smart Server, where storage is easily accessible. Remove any empty drive tray.

Insert the drive into the tray. Here you see how I've placed it in the tray. Make sure it's snug.

Insert the tray with drive back into the server. Close the cover and power the server back on. For a MediaSmart Server, that's all there is to it except for configuring drive in software, which I'll show you a few screens down.

If you don't have a preconfigured WHS server like MediaSmart Server, you'll need to add storage the way your computer requires. First, power off and unplug it.

Below, notice I'm removing the side cover on a server I built from scratch, which you can check out at my build at the Home Server Show.

Next, locate an open drive bay. And slide the drive in.

Secure the drive to the case with the screws that came with your drive.

Now connect your drive from the power supply with the appropriate cable. Check the manual if you’re not sure where to disconnect it.

Attach the data cable to the standard 7-pin connector on the motherboard and connect it to the drive.

Reattach the side cover and plug in and power the server back on. Note: WHS Console screens will be identical on WHS client machines, regardless of which type of server you connected them to.

Now, it's time to start the WHS Console on a client connected to your home network. Just right-click the WHS Server icon in the Windows tray onscreen. Selecting the WHS Console displays this dropdown.

In the WHS Console, click the Server Storage tab along the top, highlighted here in blue.

Now click to select the new drive. Click Add.

The Add Hard Drive wizard will start. Click Next. The rest of this How To for adding storage to your WHS Server applies to either MediaSmart Server or your own build.

The system will present two choices. Add your new hard drive to your server storage. This will increase your server's storage capacity. It can also double as a backup. Here, I'm increasing my storage and I chose the first option. Click Next.

Now, the Wizard will format the drive -- before it installs it and adds it to the storage pool.

NOTE: This step will completely wipe the new drive clean. Save any data you want to keep now or it'll be gone. When you're done, click Finish.

The Wizard will begin the Add New Drive process. It takes 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of your new drive.

When WHS completes adding the drive, the system will now present the drive information. Check it out. Close out the Wizard and hit Done.

Now check a client on the network to see your drive in the WHS Console. At right, you’ll see there’s a lot more server space!

To add an external drive to a WHS setup to add space, check out our article on that.

Based in Helenville, WI, David McCabe is a senior contributor at BYTE. Follow him @homeservershow, or email him at [email protected].

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