Cannot remove a "Retired" drive in Windows 10 Storage Spaces

****I asked this question in Windows Tech Net, but got no response. I am not an IT Pro, so maybe I posted in the wrong forum. This issue seems to be happening to others and the Windows Key + X.... solution I saw elsewhere on this forum did not work for me. Here is my question....*****

I have 16 USB drives pooled in Windows 10 Storage Spaces (mostly 3TB to 5TB drives). Most of the pool is used as parity storage volume. I also have small 2 and 3 way volumes and a simple volume with little data on them. The pool was at about 68% capacity before a 5TB drive failed. Storage Spaces automatically moved data off the failed drive and currently reports: 0.42% used, providing 4.54TB pool capacity. Error code for the failed drive in Physical Drives listing reads: Retired; add a drive then remove this drive.

The Parity Storage Spaces volume now reads: Warning, Low capacity: add 2 drives. Because when data was reallocated to the remaining drives, the parity volume is now over 70% full.

What I have done.

1. I bought a new 5TB USB drive and added it to the storage pool. Attempted to "remove" the failed drive in the GUI Physcial drives listing. Got an error with detail: "Drive could not be removed because not all data could be reallocated. Add an additional drive to this pool and reattempt this operation." I don't understand how adding a new 5TB drive to the pool was not large enough to reallocate the remaining 0.42% data used on the failed drive. Thought maybe the 70% low capacity error message had something to do with it. So....

2. I then added two smaller USB drives (200GB, 500GB) to the pool and the "low capacity" and "add 2 drives" messages were cleared. I attempted to once again remove the retired drive in the Storage Spaces GUI, but got the same message as before that the pool was not large enough to reallocate the remaining data on the failed drive.

After googling this issue of how to remove Storage Spaces retired drives, I believe I am not the only one with these concerns and I have yet to find an answer. I have effectively replaced one failed 5TB drive with three drives providing almost 6TB and yet Storage Spaces will not let me remove the failed 5TB drive.

The failed drive is only about 4 months old, so I would like to remove it from Storage Spaces, run diagnostics on it, and RMA it for a replacement. However, don't want to "crash" the Storage Spaces by just unplugging the failed drive and physically removing it on my own when the GUI says I can't.

Storage Spaces is still running fine despite the one failed drive, so no complaints. Just want to know how to get this retired drive off my pool. Have started learning how to use Powershell, so willing to go beyond the Windows 10 Storage Spaces GUI if needed. Any help appreciated.

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Hi George, 

Thank you for posting your query in Microsoft Community.

The issue that you are facing is more complex than what is typically answered in the Microsoft Answers forums. It would be more appropriate to redirect your query to the IT Professionals on TechNet Forums who are well equipped with the knowledge on this issues.

You can click on the link below to post your query in technet forum.

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/home?

Hope the information helps. Please let us know if the issue persist and we will be happy to assist you further.

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"****I asked this question in Windows Tech Net, but got no response. "

You didn't edit your post, so this was apparently already there when Nachappa read the post, but...

Yes, you were at the more appropriate forums the first time.

These forums are more for day to day, garden variety issues, and your use of  so many USB drives is

somewhat unusual, and complex.

If no one at Technet has answered it may be that people who have read the post don't have relevant experience

either. Even though the Technet forum is for more complex issues, it is still a community based forum.

- If your post has gone from the front page, maybe give it a little bump to bring it back to the top.

You may still draw attention from someone new.

Or, try the Ten Forums (the Seven Forums may also be worth a try). I've not used 10 yet, but they have some

very knowledgeable people (legendary, I reckon) on the 7 forums.

http://www.tenforums.com/

http://www.sevenforums.com/  

.

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Thanks for the replys, guys. I'm just trying to find the right forum to ask my question, understanding that Storage Spaces is relatively new and perhaps not "many" people are familiar enough with it to answer this question. I did originally post in the Tech Net and will try a little bump there on the post to see if anyone responds this time around. I really like Storage Spaces for my needs, but the program does not yet appear to be very mature. Storage Spaces works great most of the time, but small issues come up and it is difficult to find answers. I hope that, over time, these issues will be addressed and worked out to everyone's benefit. Again, thanks for the responses.

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Unfortunately, I never got a response from the Technet people. I ended up closing out the thread myself, as I will also do with this post here. Long story short, I had a Simple volume on my Storage Spaces pool and when one drive failed, that's when the retired drive issue started. After getting no responses from anybody, I just tried to manually remove that failed drive without permission from the Storage Spaces GUI, I crashed the ENTIRE Simple volume (about 1.8 TB of backup media files). So I ended up plugging the failed drive back into the pool (still read as retired) but then the Simple volume was back up and running. I transferred the entire Simple volume data to a Parity volume (about 18 hours). Then Storage Spaces would allow me to delete the Simple volume, and then I was finally able to remove the failed drive.

Seems like a lot of manual, and time consuming work, to do for just one failed disk in the pool. The lesson I took away from this experience was NOT to use any Simple volumes on my Storage Spaces pool. All the Parity and 2 and 3 way mirror volumes automatically reallocated data to other pool drives without any problem by Storage Spaces itself. If I did not have that Simple volume on my pool, I would have saved about 2 weeks of troubleshooting and the expense of 2 additional USB HDDs I purchased to throw into the system.

What I think we need is some kind of "vacate drive" command that will allow us to tell Storage Spaces that we want to remove a selected drive, and Storage Spaces can get on it's business of reallocating all data on that drive to other drives in the pool. For example, if I want to remove an older 1TB HDD, I would like to tell Storage Spaces to vacate the 1TB drive and reallocate the data to the other drives in the pool. That just seems to be a more civilized way of conducting business than having to unplug/disconnect/manually remove a drive to cause an error state that triggers Storage Spaces to rebuild. I would hate to think what might happen if you have another drive fail while Storage Spaces is rebuilding the system from the drive you just manually removed.

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Thanks for reporting back with your solution.

"The lesson I took away from this experience was NOT to use any Simple volumes on my Storage Spaces pool...

If I did not have that Simple volume on my pool, I would have saved about 2 weeks of troubleshooting "

Duly noted. While a painful experience, at least you recovered the data, so you're still ahead.

"What I think we need is some kind of "vacate drive" command"

I wonder if there is a 3d party specialized disk management program for this sort feature, or maybe

something in Win Pro/Ultimate ?

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After spending a few more hours on YouTube looking at everything about Storage Spaces, I found one video where a guy shows how to use the Powershell commands to "retire" a specific drive in the Storage Space pool of drives. This essentially tells Storage Spaces to reallocate the data on the selected drive and prepare it for removal. The reallocation works on Parity and 2 and 3 way mirror volumes, but NOT for Simple volumes, which he added in his comments section. Since I no longer use Simple volumes in my Storage Spaces pool, the "retire" Powershell command would do everything else I wanted in my proposed "vacate drive" command. I can live with the Powershell retire command until the Storage Spaces GUI adds a method to retire a drive.

BTW, I talked to a few other local computer guys who tried Storage Spaces on their systems. Both said that they had used Simple volumes as part of their pool, and everything was great until it wasn't. Both reported that they lost ALL their data in their Simple volumes when one drive failed. Fortunately for me, my failed drive was still seen by my Storage Spaces and was automatically "retired." I was able to manually transfer all the data on the Simple volume to a Parity volume. If the drive had totally failed and was no longer recognized by Storage Spaces, I guess I would also have lost everything!?

I was under the impression that if you had a Simple volume on a multi drive pool, and one drive failed, you would only lose data on that drive. What I think people are experiencing, is that the ENTIRE Simple volume, spanning multiple drives, will lose ALL data when the Simple volume becomes inaccessible due to a drive failure (Storage Spaces no longer sees the failed drive at all).

At best, if you need faster read/write times than a Parity or Mirror volume on your server, then a Simple volume should only be considered as a limited TEMP file storage solution. For me, it's no longer worth it and if I need a simple backup of my data, I'll just use a standalone USB HDD not associated with Storage Spaces.

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" I found one video where a guy shows how to use the Powershell commands to "retire" a specific drive in the Storage Space pool of drives."

              

"..., and everything was great until it wasn't."

He, he....

- Thanks again for the updateThis has been an informative thread for me.

Cheers, BD

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We just released a couple of new Storage Spaces features with the Windows 10 November update that should help deal with removing and adding drives:

  • Optimize drive usage to make the best use of all of your drives after adding drives
  • Safely remove a drive from a pool by automatically moving data off the drive and onto other drives in the pool.

To make use of these features you'll have to install the Windows 10 November update. Our latest Help content briefly covers the new Storage Spaces functionality:

Storage Spaces in Windows 10.

Cheers!

Jason Gerend - Senior Content Developer for Storage Spaces

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Looking forward to the November update with the new Optimize and Remove drive feature for Storage Spaces. Not yet available for my system, but will download it as soon as it comes available (auto update checked). Good to hear you guys are looking at problems we end users are having and coming up with solutions. Thanks.

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Looking forward to the November update with the new Optimize and Remove drive feature for Storage Spaces. Not yet available for my system, but will download it as soon as it comes available (auto update checked). Good to hear you guys are looking at problems we end users are having and coming up with solutions. Thanks.

Hi George,

Curious to know how this all panned out after you applied the November update?

This seems to be a major issue (not a minor one) and deserves some special MS attention to rectify.

Thanks.

Mklemens--

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Last updated April 28, 2021 Views 4,252 Applies to: