Setting up different versions of software RAID on a Windows Server 2012 system with 3 HDDs

What is RAID?

Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks
Redundant Array of Independent Disks

Versions of RAID available in Windows Server 2012

RAID 0 - Simple Volume
Provides striping alone. Striping will write data across all disks. This set-up provides maximum storage space, but provides no data redundancy.

RAID 1 - Mirror Volume
Provides mirroring alone. Mirroring will write the same data to each disk in the array. This set-up provides data redundancy should one drive fail, but limits storage capacity to the size of the smallest disk in the array.

RAID 5 - Parity Volume
Provides striping with parity. Data is striped across all disks. Parity data is added so that any one failed disk can be recreated. This set-up requires at least 3 disks and offers a balance between storage capacity and data redundancy.


RAIDs allow the system to read and write from each drive simultaneously. This configuration can lead to improved read/write times. Adding parity data will somewhat reduce this effect for writes.

Storage efficiency will vary depending on the type of RAID. For RAID 5, storage efficiency will increase as disks are added.

- RAID 0: ~100% of total disk capacity
- RAID 1: ~50% of total disk capacity
- RAID 5: ~66% of total disk capacity (3 disks)


• Windows Server 2012
• 3 HDDs

Create a storage pool

• Select "File and Storage Services".

Figure 1

• Select "Storage Pools".

Primordial is the default group for disks. In this example, there are 3 - 20GB physical disks in the Primordial storage space. To create a volume that spans these 3 disks, they must be placed in a new storage pool.

Figure 2

• Initiate the "New Storage Pool Wizard" under the tasks dropdown menu.

Figure 3

• Click next to continue.

Figure 4

• Name the new storage pool.

Figure 5

• Select the physical disks to be added to the new storage pool.

Figure 6

• Physical disks can be allocated as "Hot Spare". This will put the disk in reserve to replace a disk that fails.

Figure 7

• The storage pool properties show a capacity of 60 GB. This is the total of the 3 - 20GB physical disks.

Figure 8

• Check the "Create a virtual disk when the wizard closes" box, then click close.

Figure 9

This storage pool can now be used to create a virtual disk. Select a type of RAID below to continue.

RAID 0: Simple              RAID 1: Mirror              RAID 5: Parity

Reference Links:

Thin vs. Fixed provisioning

Can I setup a software RAID in Windows Server 2012 R2 using Virtual Hard Disks?

Windows Server 2012 Storage Virtualization Explained

Windows Server 2012 Storage Spaces: Is it for you? Could be…

Thin provisioning explained and defined

Setting up Windows 2012 storage virtualization. A software RAID solution or more?

©Robert Benn, 2017
Last Updated on 3/18/2017