Windows 10's May 2020 Update borks pooled Storage Spaces

If you use Microsoft's venerable storage technology to create a pool of shared storage, don't update to the Windows 10 May 2020 Update.

storage spaces direct Windows Server 2016
Rand Morimoto/IDG

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If you’re a fan of Windows 10’s Storage Spaces technology, Microsoft offered you a piece of advice on Wednesday: don’t update to the Windows 10 May 2020 Update yet.

Storage Spaces is a feature that was introduced years ago, dating back to Windows 8.1. The nifty storage technology takes a collection of internal and external hard drives and/or SSDs and creates a shared “pool” of storage between them. It essentially offers some RAID (Redundant Array of Disks) protections, mirroring content on one drive to another to help save it in case it fails.

Granted, Storage Spaces (or RAID) might not be as critical in an age of cloud backups, digital licenses, and reliable storage. But for those who still use them, you should hold off upgrading to the Windows 10 May 2020 Update. 

Why? Because the May 2020 Update doesn’t properly recognize a Storage Space as an actual disk, showing up as RAW in Disk Manager and making it inaccessible. Worse still, there’s no true workaround for this issue, Microsoft said in a support document today. 

Instead, Microsoft is offering a way to turn your Storage Spaces into essentially big old virtual DVD-ROMs for the time being, granting you read access to the Spaces but without the ability to write data. (It also recommends that you do not run the chkdsk command.) Here are Microsoft’s instructions, verbatim:

  1. Select Start and type: powershell
  2. Right click or long press on Windows PowerShell and select Run as administrator.
  3. If prompted by a User Access Control dialog for Windows Powershell, select yes.
  4. Within the PowerShell dialog, type the following command and press enter: get-virtualdisk | ? WriteCacheSize -gt 0 | get-disk | set-disk -IsReadOnly $true
  5. Your Storage Spaces should now be set to read only, meaning you will not be able to write to them.  Your device will still be usable, and any volume not seen as RAW should be readable.

Microsoft is still working through its list of issues with the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, solving bugs that included the inability of Windows to find Office applications. (This was due to an issue with the Avast antivirus software, Microsoft said.)

The Windows 10 May 2020 Update is still being rolled out slowly to users, with Microsoft saying on June 16 that it is “beginning the training of our machine learning (ML) based process used to intelligently select and automatically update devices approaching end of service.” 

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