eSATA Drives Offline Because of Policy Set by an Administrator

I’m using eSATA drives so I can do server backup with BitLocker. I attached a couple of eSATA drives to a Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise machine. After booting the machine, the drives appeared in Disk Management as Offline:

eSATA and SAN policy 1

“The disk is offline because of policy set by an administrator”: Huh? I didn’t set no stinking policy about offline disks!

Set eSATA Drives to Go Online Automatically

While it is possible to right-click on the drive in Disk Management and set it Online, I wanted to understand and change the policy. Edward Haletky put me on the right track in this post. Apparently the Enterprise and Datacenter editions of Server 2008 set the default SAN policy to Offline Shared (see this TechNet blog post). For some reason, eSATA drives are treated as SAN disks, so they are also offline by default.

All that is needed is to use diskpart to change the SAN policy to OnlineAll:

diskpart
san
san policy=OnlineAll
san
exit

eSATA and SAN policy 2

Once that is done, the drive mounts automatically when it is attached:

eSATA and SAN policy 3

For more information on the offline modes, type help san while in diskpart.

The cited posts refer to explicitly disabling read-only mode, but I found that at least with eSATA drives, all that is necessary is to change the SAN policy to OnlineAll and to reconnect the drive.

3 thoughts on “eSATA Drives Offline Because of Policy Set by an Administrator

  1. Lighty

    Thanks so much for your post and the detailed description! We are using Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials in combination with some eSATA connected hard drives. I had exactly the same issue and could not really figure out what is the reason for marking any eSATA drive as as “Offline” when connected. Additonally, it seems to be a rare constellation to use Win Server in combination with eSATA drives… Didn’t come up with any useful/ helpful suggestion even after some time of googleing/ researching. Finally…I landed on your webpage and immediately could fix my problem! Again: Thanks so much!!

    Sending best wishes from Bavaria, Germany!

  2. Lighty

    Hui, traute meinen Augen nicht, als da jetzt eine Rückmeldung auf Deutsch angezeigt wurde ;-)! Ihnen ebenfalls alles Gute und nochmals besten Dank für’s Einstellen dieser Anleitung!!

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