Clearing Disks on Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct

Clear out old storage pools, virtual disks and meta data left behind on hard drives on Storage Spaces Direct infrastructures.

This article provides instructions to clear out old storage pools, virtual disks, and metadata left behind on hard drives on infrastructures.


When inserting disk drives into servers, and the disk was pulled from a server that had been configured with a Storage Spaces Storage Pool, the drive will have remnants of the prior Storage Pool.  When displaying existing storage pools, the storage pool from the prior server will show up as an “Unhealthy” storage pool and the disk will display as “not poolable”.  Disk drives will have any of several error states in the OperationalStatus or the HealthStatus.

The when decommissioning a Storage Spaces system is to remove the Virtual Disks, and then the Storage Pool. This will release the disk drives and remove the Storage Pool metadata.  When removing single disks and leaving the Storage Pool intact, you will simply retire the disk.  This is not always possible, especially in lab situations. When trying to clear a disk with Storage Pool metadata, Storage Spaces will protect the old Storage Pool by preventing the disk from any operations such as initializing and formatting the disk.

When displaying the physical disks, you might see unhealthy disks such as this:


On the screenshot above, the physical disk list shows 48 disks on a server that only has 12 disks. The server has been part of a 4-node Storage Spaces Direct .  The server was reimaged without touching the 12 disks. still has the memory of the prior Storage Pool with 48 disks.

Sequence of Steps

Step 1 – Remove any Virtual Disks

Display any existing Virtual Disks. Virtual Disks that are carried over from a different server will display with an error state.

List the existing Virtual Disks


Remove the Virtual Disk

Remove-VirtualDisk -FriendlyName 

Step 2 – Remove the Storage Pool

List the physical disks. The disks may be in a healthy state, or they may still be unusable.

Step 3 – Reset the Disks

Run a Physical Disk Reset to set the Operational Status of the disk.  This will remove the legacy pool information from the disks.

Run: Get-PhysicalDisk | ? OperationalStatus -eq "Unrecognized Metadata" | Reset-PhysicalDisk

Step 4 – Initialize Disks

If the OperationalStatus is Healthy the system is ready to use.

If there are disk drives are in an unknown state, the disks can now be initialized.

Commands to initialize disk to a raw state, set the disk to read/write, change the disk to online, then initialize the disk.

Get-PhysicalDisk –CanPool $false | Get-Disk | Set-Disk -isReadOnly $false
Get-PhysicalDisk –CanPool $false | Get-Disk | Set-Disk -isOffline $false
Get-PhysicalDisk –CanPool $false | Get-Disk | Clear-Disk -RemoveData -Confirm:$false

6 thoughts on “Clearing Disks on Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct”

  1. jesse Crowther

    Thanks for this post. Very helpful 🙂

    I was wondering if you knew how to overcome a permissiondenied error?
    We took down the lab domain and tried to format the S2D disks and found we couldn’t.


    1. Robert Keith

      This generally happens if you have disks with existing Storage Pools, etc., but do not have the S2D software installed and active.

      If you mount the disks to a system with an active S2D environment, you should be able to follow the procedure documented in this article.

  2. I was trying to find how to release Disks From S2D so that it appear in Windows Disk Management, but none of the blogs have this. I discovered the command below from Microsoft site.

    Set-ClusterStorageSpacesDirectDisk -CanBeClaimed:$False -PhysicalDiskIds serial_number

    PS C:> Set-ClusterStorageSpacesDirectDisk -CanBeClaimed:$False -PhysicalDiskIds “55CD2E404B75A3FC”,”50014EE05950DD7C”

    1. Doesn’t work.

      Set-ClusterStorageSpacesDirectDisk : The term ‘Set-ClusterStorageSpacesDirectDisk’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function,
      script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.
      At line:1 char:1
      + Set-ClusterStorageSpacesDirectDisk -CanBeClaimed:$False -PhysicalDisk …
      + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      + CategoryInfo : ObjectNotFound: (Set-ClusterStorageSpacesDirectDisk:String) [], CommandNotFoundException
      + FullyQualifiedErrorId : CommandNotFoundException


        This reference provides cmdlet descriptions and syntax for all failover cluster-specific cmdlets. It lists the cmdlets in alphabetical order based on the verb at the beginning of the cmdlet. If these cmdlets aren’t available in your PowerShell session, you may need to add the Failover Cluster Module for Windows PowerShell Feature, using the following PowerShell cmd: Add-WindowsFeature RSAT-Clustering-PowerShell.

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