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Spanning External Hard Drives in Windows

Windows has a really nifty feature that allows you to span data across multiple drives. Basically, it combine multiple hard disks to look like one big one. You do this by converting your hard drive to a dynamic disk and add them to a spanning volume. It sounds really great until you look at its restrictions.

This awesome feature has so many restrictions, to accomplish this feat takes a miracle. For example, external hard drives can't be spanned. But today, I found a work-around to this limitation--use eSATA docks.

Windows see eSATA drives as internal drive, not external portable drives. So you can have multiple external eSATA drives, where Windows will think they are internal. In turn, you can turn them into dynamic disks and span volumes across the drives. The only catch is that when the eSATA drives are used in this manner, they are not hot-swappable. So they have to be plugged in before the computer is turned on.

This solution is perfect for a desktop computer, where it has multiple SATA ports and eSATA port multiplier is easy to come by on the motherboard. However, even though many laptops come with eSATA ports today, they usually supply only one eSATA port and it usually doesn't provide port multiplier functionality. That means you can only have one eSATA drive on these laptops at any one time, defeating the ability to span volumes across multiple drives.

Sun, 10 Feb 2013 07:50:03 +0300

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