Help Me Find a Program to Manage Multiple HD's
May 5, 2012 8:13 PM   Subscribe

Is there a program that I can manage multiple harddrives as one large virtual HD?

I need a program that will view multiple HD's as one and allow me to move files around.

In Windows, when you move files around on the same HD it is instant, just moving not copying. The program I have in mind would let me do that virtually, then when everything is in place commit to that and have it copy/move/cut things around to make sense on the HD's.

I'm on Windows 7 by the way.
posted by millerizer to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:25 PM on May 5, 2012

Sounds like disk spanning which is built into Computer Management in Windows itself.
posted by etc at 8:29 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Will either of these delete any files already on the HD?
posted by millerizer at 8:46 PM on May 5, 2012

Also, it would be preferable to have something that would not change anything on the HD's until I commit to the arranging.
posted by millerizer at 8:48 PM on May 5, 2012

There are various types of RAID but many enable you to swap disks in and out so it would not delete files already on the disks. It's advisable to back the data up beforehand because things can (and do) go wrong with any operation of this nature.
Disk spanning involves formatting the drives from scratch so you would have to start with blank drives or be prepared to lose whatever's on there.
posted by etc at 9:30 PM on May 5, 2012

I don't think the OP wants a solution to actually combine multiple drives into one virtual unit.

I think what he wants is software that allows him to plan out file move/copy/rename actions involving multiple drives, view the plan, and then have it run the steps to make it happen on the individual drives.
posted by sbutler at 9:40 PM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

RAID and spanning are not at all what the OP described. It sounds like he wants a file manager to move stuff around quickly, then to use the hard drives as separate drives again.

I'm not aware of any apps that do what you want. Emacs can do something like it in "dired" mode but I wouldn't recommend emacs to anyone who wasn't already in our crazy tribe of LISP people.

Under Windows you can also mount drives under directories, a la unix. This makes them appear as a unified directory but filesystem actions still take place as you ask for them. Moving files from one physical filesystem to another will still require copying time.

You might take a look at Midnight Commander or any other similar file management packages.
posted by chairface at 10:09 PM on May 5, 2012

What you want to do is to tell the computer what copies, moves, and deletes to perform, queue them up, and then later perform the actions (while you do something else, even away from the computer). The "treat it all as one big drive" is a red herring. The solution you want is a batch file. You can either write one by hand or use a utility like this one to write it for you based on copy operations you specify.
posted by kindall at 11:59 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not sure if this is exactly what you are looking for but you might want to check out Drobo as a simplified home RAID-esque solution that is designed for ease of use and simplicity for layman.
posted by jameslavelle3 at 6:55 AM on May 6, 2012

Absolutely, disc spanning mentioned by etc does exactly this thing.

However, iirc, the disks must be empty for the span to be created across the disks (or, only the freespace can be spanned; if you have enough room, you can span all the freespace, move your data, and expand the spanned disk into the now freed space).

Also, if one HD fails, it takes out all of the data.
posted by porpoise at 12:53 PM on May 6, 2012

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