Managing local Windows Storage

This post covers basic provisioning operations against local Windows storage resources using the Storage module for Windows PowerShell.

Note: I will cover using the Storage module in combination with a Storage Management Provider to manage a storage subsystem (array) in a subsequent post.

The Disk, Partition, and Volume objects are associated as shown in the figure below. When starting from a new (blank) disk, you first initialize the disk to create a partition, and then you create a Volume with a file system such as NTFS.

 

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The following sections discuss the operations that you can perform with each type of object – Disk, Partition, and Volume. They also discuss setting the policy of whether to automatically mount new disks, and how to use the various cmdlets to format a new disk for use.

Disk

A Disk object represents a disk as seen by a Windows computer, and does not require an available management provider. An example of a Disk object is a disk displayed in the Disk Management snap-in.

Listing all disks in the system

To list all Disks visible to the operating system, type:

Get-Disk

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Listing only the system disk or all disks except the system disk

To list only the system disk, type the following command:

Get-Disk | Where-Object IsSystem -eq $True

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To list all disks except the system disk, instead type this command, which pipes the output of the Get-Disk cmdlet to the Where-Object cmdlet:

Get-Disk | where-object IsSystem -eq $False

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Listing all disks for a specific storage bus

To list all disks attached via a specific storage bus, type the following command, replacing <BusType> with the bus you want to query:

Get-Disk | Where-Object -Eq <BusType>

For example, to list all of the Storage Spaces that are connected, query disks connected via the “Spaces” bus. This method can also be used for other bus types, such as iSCSI and USB:

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Clearing all of the partitions and volumes from a disk

To clear all partitions and volumes from a disk, backup all data on all volumes on the disk, and then type the following command:

Warning: This is operation cannot be undone; it will clear all partitions and volumes from the disk and allows the disk to be re-initialized and create a new partition and volume.

Clear-Disk 6 -RemoveData

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Note: If the specified disk contains an OEM partition, such as for system recovery, it is also necessary to specify the –RemoveOEM switch when using the clear-disk cmdlet.

Initializing a disk

To initialize a disk to allow creation of a partition and volume, type the following command, where <DiskNumber> is the number of the disk to initialize:

Initialize-Disk <DiskNumber>

Note: All disks are initialized as GPT by default unless otherwise specified.

To initialize a disk as MBR, use the –PartitionStyle parameter. For example:

Initialize-Disk 4 –PartitionStyle MBR

Listing all disks that are offline

To list all disks that are currently offline, type the following command:
Get-Disk | Where-Object IsOffline –Eq $True

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Bringing all offline disks online

To bring all disks that are currently offline back online, type the following command:

Get-Disk | Where-Object IsOffline –Eq $True | Set-Disk –IsOffline $False

Partition

A Disk object can contain one or more logical regions called partitions, which are represented by a Partition object. With the exception of special purpose partitions such as a Microsoft Reserved (MSR), or OEM recovery partition, Microsoft recommends creating one data partition per disk.

Listing all of the partitions on all disks

To list all partitions on all disks, type the following command:

Get-Partition

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Listing all of the partitions on a specific disk

To list all partitions on a specific disk, type the following command, replacing <DiskNumber> with the number of the appropriate disk:

Get-Partition –DiskNumber <DiskNumber>

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Creating a new partition on a new disk

To create a new partition on a blank disk, first use the Initialize-Disk cmdlet, then type the following command, replacing <DiskNumber> with the number of the appropriate disk:

New-Partition –DiskNumber <DiskNumber> -UseMaximumSize -AssignDriveLetter

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Volume

A Volume object is the highest level object in the Disk-Partition-Volume hierarchy and represents a Partition object that has been formatted with a file system such as NTFS or ReFS and is available for data storage.

Listing all volumes

To list all volumes accessible to Windows, type:

Get-Volume

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Listing the volume for a specific drive letter

To list the volume for a specific drive letter, type the following, replacing <DriveLetter> with the letter of the drive you want to view:

Get-Volume –DriveLetter <DriveLetter>

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Formatting a volume

To format a volume with the NTFS file system, type the following, replacing <DriveLetter> with the letter of the drive you want to format:

Format-Volume -DriveLetter <DriveLetter>

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Storage Settings object

The new disk policy (previously known as the SAN Policy) is the policy Windows uses to determine whether Windows should automatically ‘mount’ disks that are detected as new.

Viewing the new disk policy

To view the new disk policy, type the following command:

Get-StorageSetting | Select-Object NewDiskPolicy

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Set the NewDiskPolicy

To set the new disk policy, type the following command:

Set-StorageSetting –NewDiskPolicy OfflineShared

 

Note: The default setting for NewDiskPolicy on Windows 8 is OnlineAll. The default setting on all Windows Server 2012 editions is OfflineShared.

Policy Setting

Effect

OfflineAll

All new disks are left offline by default.

OfflineInternal

All disks on busses that are detected as internal are left offline as default.

OfflineShared

All Disks on sharable busses, such as iSCSI, FC, or SAS are left offline by default

OnlineAll

All disks are automatically brought online.

Combined Example: Format a New Disk

To format a new disk that has not been initialized, first we should get all Disk objects and then pipe the objects to the Where-Object cmdlet to select only disks with the RAW partition style (which indicates that the disks haven’t yet been initialized). To do so, type the following command:

Get-Disk | Where-Object PartitionStyle –Eq "RAW"

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Then, use the Initialize-Disk cmdlet to initialize the disk. After that, use the New-Partition cmdlet to create a partition on the disk, and pipe the output to the Format-Volume cmdlet to format the volume with the NTFS file system. To do so, type the following commands:

Initialize-disk 3

New-Partition -DiskNumber 3 -UseMaximumSize -AssignDriveLetter | Format-Volume -NewFileSystemLabel "Mirror" -FileSystem NTFS

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Bruce Langworthy

Senior Program Manager – Windows Storage and Filesystems