By Michael / Last Updated June 25, 2021

“Can I add drives to a RAID 5 array?”

I have an old PC and there are currently 3 500GB drives in RAID 5 and I need to add 1 more 500GB one. How can I do it without deleting the current RAID 5 array? Can anybody provide a solution?

Why add hard drive to RAID 5?

RAID 5 (Redundant Array of Independent Disks Mode 5) is a data storage virtualization technology that combines multiple physical disk drive components into 1 or more logical units for the purposes of data redundancy, performance improvement, or both. By using RAID 5, you can avoid data loss when there is only one disk failing. Although RAID 5 storage space is large, sometimes, users can still run out of space quickly. In this case, it’s necessary to add an extra hard drive to RAID 5 array.

How can I add drive to RAID 5 array?

Generally speaking, there’re 2 types of tool you can apply to add drive to RAID 5 – Disk Management and third-party software. But first of all, you must initialize the new disk that has been inserted to your computer.

Solution 1. Use Disk Management

Disk Management is a Windows inbuilt utility that helps manage your hard disks in various ways including adding a disk to RAID 5. However, if you use Disk Management to perform this operation, you’re doomed to suffer from data loss for all existing volumes in RAID  5 need to be deleted in the process. The reason why I place this tool in the first place is simply because it’s totally free and compatible with every PC.

1. Right-click on “This PC” on the desktop and select “Manage”.

2. On the left side, select “Disk Management” to launch the management window.

3. Right-click on any of the volume in RAID 5 and select “Delete Volume”. Then, all volumes on RAID 5 will be deleted and the dynamic disks will be automatically converted to basic disks.

delete volume

4. Right-click on each of the basic disks including the new disk and select “Convert to Dynamic Disk” to convert them to dynamic disks.

5. Click on any of the dynamic disks and select “New RAID-5 Volume”.

6. Follow the onscreen wizard, select the all dynamic disks including the new added one you want to embody in RAID 5 until hitting “Finish”.

The conversion process may take several minutes. Just be patient.

Solution 2. Make use of powerful third-party disk manager (recommended)

As you can see above, Disk Management is not the best choice to add drive to RAID 5 for its complexity and data loss risk. So, here, I’ll introduce a much better alternative – AOMEI Partition Assistant Server – to help you finish the process. With this software, you can directly add a hard drive to RAID 5 Windows PC and Server, rather than deleting any existing RAID 5 volumes and then adding the new disk to the array. Moreover, this software also enables you to remove drive from RAID 5 and make conversion between dynamic and basic disks.

Can I add drives to a RAID 5 array? Download the demo of the most powerful disk management software to have a try.

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Step 1. Install, launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Server and click on “Dynamic Disk >>”.

dynamic disk

Step 2. Hit “Add Drive to RAID” on the left.

add

Step 3. In the popup window, select the RAID 5 volume you want to expand and then, hit “Next”.

select

Step 4. Tick the new disk you want to add to the RAID 5 array and hit “Finish”

select-2

Step 5. Click on “Commit” on the upper left to start the adding process.

start

If you don’t have an extra new disk to extend RAID 5 volume but there is unallocated space on the current dynamic disks, you can upgrade RAID 5 drives to large capacity by merging these unallocated space into the RAID 5 volume.

Note: The 2 solutions above are used for the Soft RAID 5 array only. If you want to add a new disk to a HardRAID 5 array, keep reading.

You may also want to learn: add drive to HardRAID 5 array

A HardRAID 5 array is faster in reading and writing speed and more stable than a SoftRAID 5 array. Adding a disk to a HardRAID 5 array is another story as well.

Remember to back up the RAID 5 array beforehand. Since many people ask “How do I add a disk to my RAID 5 Dell Poweredge”, here, I’ll take Dell for example to show you how to upgrade RAID 5 disks’ capacity by adding a new drive.

1. Plug drives into the server via RAID controller and boot up the server.

2. Hit F2 to enter the System Setup menu.

3. Select “Device Settings” after entering the system setup menu.

device settings

4. Select the RAID Controller > Main Menu >Physical Disk Management.

physical disk management

5. If all items are “Ready”, roll back to the previous window.

ready

6. Select “Configuration Management” > Select “Create Virtual Disk”.

create

7. Click on “Select RAID Level” and select “RIAD 5” in the dropdown menu.

raid 5

8. Click “Select Physical Disks” > Then, tick all the physical disks under the “CHOOSE UNCONFIGURED PHYSICAL DISKS section.

9. Select “Apply Changes” to finish the operation.

apply changes

10. Select “Create Virtual Disk” > Check “Confirm” and click on “Yes”. In this step, all data on the drives will be lost.

select

11. You’ll be prompted that the operation has been completed successfully. Hit “OK” to confirm.

After this, you can restart your Server machine and then, you can launch Disk Management to check whether your RAID 5 array volume is now extended.

Conclusion

To manage RAID 5 is never an easy job. How to add drive to RAID 5 when there is not enough storage space left? To answer the question, in the above tutorial, I have walked you through every step in detail and hopefully, you can perform those operations on your own by following on my lead.