Using Windows Home Server

All about Windows Home Server, the Digital Home and Security.

Posts Tagged ‘Hard Drive

Adding eSATA hard drives to Windows Home Server on a Friday night

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Equipment required:

eSATA external hard drive(s)

eSATA cable – Not SATA

eSATA connection or Add-On PC card (the HP MSS has this connector already)

2 Beers (not shown)

Windows Media Center streaming your favorite 365 station

Friday Night Kit


I have a Dell SC440 PowerEdge running WHS that I built last year. The server came with 6 USB ports to which I immediately connected three external drives (only one is part of the storage), one UPS, a mouse and keyboard. I have often wondered where I would plug in my next drive when the time comes. The release of Power Pack 2 now offers Windows Media Center support and I have decided I am going put the rest of my 120 DVDs on the server. I am going to need more space eventually and Seagate was having an outlet sale so here is the article. My wife wants to know what is in the boxes that keep showing up at our doorstep. I hope she does not look in the server closet any time soon.

I currently have 1.5 TB in the case and a 500GB Free Agent Triple connected via USB. I purchased a second 500GB Triple from the Seagate outlet store this week and for the new eSATA card, the drive and the two new cables, I spent $115. I know I could spend $150 on just one 1 TB eSATA drive but I like to buy drives in stages and replace the older ones. You probably have your own logic on how you like your drives. I am also wondering if I will get any increase in file transfer speeds since I am moving to a faster interface on the duplicated drives. I am going to run some times before and after to see if files transfer faster. It currently takes 1:17 to upload the Voyager 952 MB file.

I thought you might find some of the speed standards interesting shown in the table below:

Device Speed (bit/s) Speed (bytes/s)
USB 2.0 480 Mbit/s 60 MB/s
FireWire 400 393.216 Mbit/s 49.152 MB/s
eSATA (SATA 300) 2,400 Mbit/s 300 MB/s

All external Seagate drives that offer FireWire connectors use the FW400 standard. Over the years I was always led to believe that FireWire 400 was really fast. Who really checked? I guess if you want to be able to daisy chain then you can use FireWire. USB 2.0 is still preferred for most of my applications.

Enough of the specs. Lets touch some hardware. Let the good times roll.  Viva WHS.


The Dell Server was made for easy access and card installation. You can do pretty much everything you want inside the system without tools. I removed the cover and pushed two plastic pins to get the card bay open. As you can see I can also get to everything else in the same fashion.

Inside Dell Server

I bought the PCIx1 slot card since it had two eSATA connections and the 3.0 Gbps speed. Your hardware will be different of course. I added the card I bought from Newegg and it went in without any issues.

Adding the card to the Dell Server

Mental Note: I recently read about how much work is required to change the RAM on a HP MSS and I just about hit the floor. I hope my parents never decide to start streaming media with their MSS!

I put everything back together (without tools) and put the server back in closet. I connected all of the cables, including the two new eSATA cables on the card side and pressed the power button. Come on baby. Do your thing.

Ok, so my WHS booted back up and I am waiting for the CTL-ALT-DEL screen. For those of you with HP MSS you should have skipped all of these steps. You also skip the “normal” log in screen like those of us with the OEM version and a monitor. Personally I have a hard time trusting a system without a monitor. I need to see the boot process and log in. Yes, I know I am strange.

Great, my WHS actually found the new hardware without my help and is downloading the driver. Is this really going as smoothly as it seems? It is all done. Seriously?

I am now connecting the new drive. Sweet. WHS sees the new drive. Notice that it shows 76% free before I add the drive.

Windows Home Server Console

I select the new drive and click on Add. Here we go again…

Adding the new drive

I expect you and I appreciate the warning but just flippin add the drive already.

More adding the drive

Drive added. Thank you. 80% free? I totally expected more of a delta. We covered the math a few articles ago so I will now console myself with another beer.

Hey did you notice that my first Free Agent drive is now listed as Internal (SATA) also? Before the screen shot I just unplugged the USB and reconnected it with the new eSATA cable and the drive was recognized and the location was relabelled. How cool is that?

It is now time copy some files and check that everything is working on the client side. It is getting late and the wife will be asking questions soon so I better hurry.

I just copied my 952MB Voyager test file and there was no difference in the time from before I changed to eSATA. I am kind of bummed about not seeing any change but I guess the WHS balances the loads before it copies to external drives. I am ok with everything else. You can see my two eSATA drives below and my other USB Free Agent that I use for backup.

Tim's Hard Drives

You could also see in the Console shots earlier above that I also have a second backup drive that I keep in a small USB safe. I rotate this smaller drive off site by backing up the database and all folders BUT the videos folder due to space limitations. You can never back up too much. Seriously.

I have the extra space I need so it is time to start backing up my DVDs.

See you next Friday night.

Timothy Daleo

A good website that has all of the speed standards is at

If you go to the link above you can see that the new USB 3.0 is going to kick ass in the next few years. Seriously.


Written by Timothy Daleo

April 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Adding a new drive to Windows Home Server on a Friday night

with 2 comments

Equipment required:

1TB SATA Hard Drive

Phillips Screwdriver

SATA Cable,m


For the short version you can skip to the bold text.

This whole exciting activity started with the fact that the Seagate 500GB primary drive on my WHS has had problems during reboots.


When I entered the serial number on the Seagate website it responded with “Drive not affected”. Well there you go, it must be me. I think it is time for a new drive. Dell had a special on a 1TB Seagate SATA so I bought it to replace the 500GB. The plan was to dump the 500GB for the 1TB and reinstall WHS. After everything was reinstalled I would then erase the 500GB and put it back in the case to be added to the WHS. Subsequent to this plan I realized that I would have to recreate the users, preferences, backup information and reinstall the add-ins. With this plan now being a lot of work I figured I would try SeaTools for DOS, fix the primary and add the 1TB (excuse me, 931.5GB) hard drive to the WHS.

I had to order a 90° SATA cable ahead of time. When I replaced the original 80GB drive with the 500GB last year I thought I would just throw the 80GB back in the case. The SATA cable that came with the Seagate drive had a straight connector and when installed I could not close the case. I left the drive out and ordered the 90° cable. I never got around to adding the drive back in. I will take the drive to my parents and throw it in their HP MSS. They still have an open bay and I can use it to back up their backup database.

Let’s set this pig on fire.

Unplug all cables while following your user’s manual and open the case.


I love Dell manuals. They are comprehensive, easy to find online and simple to read. That being said, why do they show the SC440 on it nose? In addition, they did not label the SATA board connections by number. I have a feeling these missing labels will come back to bite me.


Install the drive following the manufacturer’s instructions and connect the cables.


The drive installation went too easy. No stripped screws and everything fit. Something has to go wrong. You would think for as many times as I have done this that I would not be so superstitious about the install.

Wife just called. She is coming home soon. If I am not done when she gets back she will ask why I added another drive. Crap.

Close the case, plug in everything and press the power switch. It is going to be a few minutes. I have time for a run to the fridge to get a soda.

Mental note: I should get one of those little fridge setups for the office.
Ok, back, and I have a little green house. Everything looks good so far.


Where is the drive? Crap. It is time to use the Advanced Admin Console and the Disk Management utility. I still do not see the drive. What did I forget? Crap. According to the Dell instructions, the ones I only partially read, I forgot to press F2 during boot to access setup and enable the drive. I am so used to plug and play I did not even think about it. SATA-0 was the original drive. SATA-1 must be the new one I just installed. Reboot. Drive not found. Crap. Must be SATA-2. F2. Change setup. Reboot. I see the WHS boot screen. Good to see you again my friend.

Adding a drive was easier on my parents HP MSS. Point for HP. If you have a HP MSS instructions for adding a drive can be found at:

The little green house is there but is my drive?


Oh yeah, I rock. It is time to make that little piece of pie even smaller. Open the WHS Console and in the Server Storage Tab click on Add.


Mental note: ALT-Print Screen does not work inside WHS.

I will now follow the prompts.


I hate the fact that the capacity is never what the drive is sold as. I am getting screwed out of 7% each time I buy a drive. I understand the math and reasons why, but come on people, make a drive that nets the 1TB.


From 73% to 86%? I expected more of a delta. It is time to check the math. Ok, 243GB used divided by the original 931GB equals ~26% used leaving 73% of the pie chart before I started. Ok, 243GB divided by the new 1820GB equals ~13% leaving 87% free. Ok, I just scrolled up to the first screen shot and the “available” pie is smaller. I should have just looked at the pie size. All this talk of pie makes me hungry. I wonder if my wife is bringing home dinner.

Mental note:  I just noticed that the icons have little USB cords and that the partitioned drive has a little Windows® icon. How many times have I looked at this?
Wife just got home and brought double wrapped tacos. Be back in a bit.

While we had tacos we watched Eagle Eye. Talk about computer integration. Well let’s not talk about that movie. The computer could manipulate and connect to every computer on the planet but could not change the time he left by 3 minutes? And his twin has the same biometrics? Please. I get my finger slightly sideways on my Microsoft fingerprint reader and it denies me. I digress. Back to the job.

Ok, for those of you who actually read this far, I am going to test the drives with Seagate Tools for DOS. I tried installing the SeaTools for Windows executable file last week and I kept getting an Active X error. I contacted Seagate support and they suggested the DOS version. On their website they should add WHS to their list of OS. I downloaded the ISO file and used Roxio to burn the image. Make sure you choose the “Burn Disc Image to Disc” option and not just the copy data and finalize route. I made another drink coaster the first time.


Shut down WHS and reboot to the CD ISO image. I am running SeaTools for DOS right now doing the short test and it said I need to run the long test. First long scan done. A whole bunch of errors. Did it stall out while running the test? It was not very long.


Let me run the long test again. How long can it take?

1% per minute. I am now glad that it is 7% smaller than advertised.

21 minutes and 21%. Wife is going to bed soon. 80 minutes to finish plus reboot and WHS outs me at 10:40 pm. I am so screwed.

I am bored so I ordered the IT Crowd box set from Amazon UK. I also ordered some knives via Techbargains. Wife is going to be pissed. An extra hard drive and an extra knife set. I just Googled Google. It did not break. I should have my IP address revoked.

Mental note: Do not give her the knife set as a gift.
By the way POH is 2098. Cool feature if anything else. 2098 divided by 24 hours means 87 days uptime on this primary hard drive. Why am I having errors with it already?

27% and 27 minutes. Crap.

47% and 47 minutes. I am waiting for 100 minutes to do my thing. I feel like Desmond. You can count on me my brutha.

It is getting late and my wife is pissed. So much for that. Abort the test and reboot. I see the Windows Home Server startup screen. Cool cause I hate missing a day of backups. I will run the tool again tomorrow when she is out playing Mahjong.

It is the morning and I did a reboot to the CD ISO image. I just finished running the test and it seems like all of the errors from the first test have been corrected.


My Dell PowerEdge SC440 is healthy and running smooth. I can now enjoy Windows Home Server and an additional 1TB of storage.

Written by Timothy Daleo

March 4, 2009 at 6:16 am