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I plan to have 2 identical SATA drives attached via SATA configured in a 2-way mirror Windows storage space created in Windows 8.1 or later.

If I were to unplug those drives later, put them in a single multi-drive USB / eSATA external enclosure OR in 2 USB external enclosures and then reconnect them to:

  • The same computer (via USB3 / eSATA)
  • Another computer running Windows 8.1 or later (via USB3 / eSATA)

    1. Will the storage space be automatically recognized in both cases (connectivity will be different - drives are no longer directly connected to SATA controller on the mainboard)? Or will it be recognized only on the original computer?

    2. Does encrypting the storage space with BitLocker affect this in any way?

Explanation: Basically, for now i have a desktop, so it makes sense to have 2 drives connected directly to mainboard using SATA. However, in the future I plan to use a laptop. So instead of buying a new set of external hard drives and copying the data, I would like to simply unplug the 2 existing hard drives configured as a storage space from my Desktop computer, put them in a USB3 enclosure and connect them through USB3 to my laptop computer.

Thank you.

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This probably isn't the answer, but I've just tried something similar that may be of help.

I created a Storage Space pool on windows 8.1 using a 2x Disk USB enclosure. I then unplugged one of the drives in the enclosure and attached it directly to the SATA controller on the motherboard. The result was that the disk was unreadable by Windows 8.1 (same PC and windows instance). It said the disk was uninitialized and offered to initialize/format it. Plugging the disk back into the USB enclosure, it showed up fine as the Storage pool.

I haven't found much information about this, but it appears the problem is that if you create the pool using disks in an external enclosure, it needs to see those disks through an external enclosure (or interface, such as USB) or will fail to identify them as part of any storage space/pool.

In your case, if you created a pool using internal disks only, then I'm guessing you'd have the same problem. They would not be identified as a storage space if they are plugged in using an external enclosure.

I'm not quite sure what would happen in the case of having a pool with a mix of external and internal disks, but I'm guessing it would be a bit better in terms of accessibility/recovery since you could have more options then based on the setup of the pool in terms of parity, etc. You'd probably still need the majority of the disks to be initially added with the same type of connectivity you are trying to recover from.

I was trying to mitigate the risk of an enclosure failure by assuming that storage spaces will happily read the disk data if connected in any manner to another windows 8.1 machine since the disk data is meant to be stored on the disks themselves. Unfortunately, this has failed me and I'm still researching for alternatives or a way to recover the data from an alternate type of connection (external/internal).

  • Thanks for the excellent info! But I wonder how the disks in your external enclosure are reported to Windows, and which settings (if any - such as JBOD, RAID, etc.) you have set on the enclosure, as some of them do come with such settings? I was concerned with a setup where each disk is seen as a distinct, separate drive, but simply happen to reside together in one enclosure connected to PC with one USB cable (USB3 is more than enough for the simultaneous usage of 2 mechanical disks). – Fit Nerd Jul 7 '15 at 11:55

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