How to create a Striped Volume

A striped volume (RAID-0) writes data in small blocks or stripes on two or more disks simultaneously. To create a striped volume you require at least two disks, however, having more than two disks participating in the striped volume will enhance further data access performance. That is, when data is written or read from a set of disks simultaneously the I/O bandwidth increases and hence, achieving better read and write transfer speeds. When creating a striped volume, the volume size is dependent on the disk with the smallest free space, as the portions of the disks included in the set need to be of the same size. I suggest to use full disks of the same size when creating striped volumes, otherwise, you end up with free spaces on some disks! While, the disks of a striped volume need to be converted to dynamic, remember that such volume is not fault-tolerant. If one disk fails, the entire volume fails.

To create a striped volume, perform the following steps with administrator privileges:

  1. Open the Disk Management console by typing disk management in the Start search text box and click Create and format hard disk partitions or from the Computer Management console found in Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Administrative Tools
  2. Convert disks to Dynamic if they are set as Basic, right-click a Disk (left-hand side) and select Convert to Dynamic – if you skip this step, you are prompted to convert the disks at a later stage
  3. Make sure that you have two or more disks with unallocated space. Right click a free/unallocated space portion of a disk and click New Striped Volume… – the New striped volume wizards starts
  4. On the Select Disks page, select the disks you want to add to the striped set – the wizard automatically sets the amount of space used on each disk, which is based on the smallest free space, however, you can reduce this amount
  5. Assign a Drive letter or path to the new spanned volume and format the volume – NTFS is the only option, to format with FAT or FAT32 use the Diskpart command line tool 
  6. If all set parameters are correct, click Finish on the final Summary page

When using the Diskpart command line tool, disks need to be converted to Dynamic in advance, otherwise, Diskpart create command fails. The size used from each disk and the disk IDs of participating disks are the required parameters.

For example to create a striped volume of a total size of 45GB using three disks with IDs 1,2 and 3, enter the following syntax at the Diskpart prompt:

create volume stripe size=15000 disk=1,2,3

The total size of the striped volume is the size parameter multiplied by the number of disks participating in the stripe set.