Convert single HD to RAID 1?


G

Guest

My computer currently has a single 160 GB SATA hard drive with Windows XP Pro
on one partition and data on the second partition.

I want to create an ICH7 3rd-party software-based Raid 1 (mirror) set from 2
new blank 500 GB SATA drives and copy the entire contents (including the
operating system) of the old 160 GB drive to this new set. I do NOT want to
have to reinstall Windows XP to the Raid 1 set during this process.

Is there a way to image the old drive and restore it to the Raid set? If
so, what is the procedure? For example, do I first restore the old disk
image to one of the Raid drives, then configure the set for Raid? Or do I
first configure the set for Raid, then restore the old disk image to the set?

Thanks,
Scott
 
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S

Shenan Stanley

Scott said:
My computer currently has a single 160 GB SATA hard drive with
Windows XP Pro on one partition and data on the second partition.

I want to create an ICH7 3rd-party software-based Raid 1 (mirror)
set from 2 new blank 500 GB SATA drives and copy the entire
contents (including the operating system) of the old 160 GB drive
to this new set. I do NOT want to have to reinstall Windows XP to
the Raid 1 set during this process.

Is there a way to image the old drive and restore it to the Raid
set? If so, what is the procedure? For example, do I first
restore the old disk image to one of the Raid drives, then
configure the set for Raid? Or do I first configure the set for
Raid, then restore the old disk image to the set?

Being a software RAID1 - this will suck in all cases.

In order for the SOFTWARE RAID to work - Windows will have to be up and
running (so the software RAID can work) - so making an image of the old and
putting it on the new would just be moving the old install to a new drive.
Easy enough. Then you install the software RAID - watch your performance go
to the crapper (software RAID - horrible performance) for no real benefit...
IMHO

Most trouble with Windows systems are software related. Unless this
Software RAID has some delay you can set - everything will be duplicated
real-time and the moment drive A's software get's FUBAR'd - drive B's setup
is duplicated to the FUBAR'd state. The only time you *might* see a benefit
to a mirror array is if the drive dies outright and you want to be able to
boot back up to the second drive... (And that assumes that the Drive A died
pretty instantly and did not corrupt any files and duplicate that corruption
to Drive B while you were innocently using the system - not knowing it was
about to die.)

I'd personally either just get one 500GB and one external 500GB to backup my
important files to (or even make periodic images of the system onto) or buy
the two and stripe them (hardware RAID) for some performance benefit (along
with some external backup procedure as mentioned before.)

So - essentially - to do what you want:

- Image 160GB drive to external source or directly to one of the 500GB and
change the hardware so the 500GB is the boot drive.
- Setup the software RAID1 inside Windows XP.
- Continue using the same system you had before (with a little performance
hit, 340GB extra space and a replicated system 'just in case Drive A dies
instantly.)
 
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G

Guest

Shenan Stanley said:
Being a software RAID1 - this will suck in all cases.

In order for the SOFTWARE RAID to work - Windows will have to be up and
running (so the software RAID can work) - so making an image of the old and
putting it on the new would just be moving the old install to a new drive.
Easy enough. Then you install the software RAID - watch your performance go
to the crapper (software RAID - horrible performance) for no real benefit...
IMHO

Most trouble with Windows systems are software related. Unless this
Software RAID has some delay you can set - everything will be duplicated
real-time and the moment drive A's software get's FUBAR'd - drive B's setup
is duplicated to the FUBAR'd state. The only time you *might* see a benefit
to a mirror array is if the drive dies outright and you want to be able to
boot back up to the second drive... (And that assumes that the Drive A died
pretty instantly and did not corrupt any files and duplicate that corruption
to Drive B while you were innocently using the system - not knowing it was
about to die.)

I'd personally either just get one 500GB and one external 500GB to backup my
important files to (or even make periodic images of the system onto) or buy
the two and stripe them (hardware RAID) for some performance benefit (along
with some external backup procedure as mentioned before.)

So - essentially - to do what you want:

- Image 160GB drive to external source or directly to one of the 500GB and
change the hardware so the 500GB is the boot drive.
- Setup the software RAID1 inside Windows XP.
- Continue using the same system you had before (with a little performance
hit, 340GB extra space and a replicated system 'just in case Drive A dies
instantly.)
Thank you, Shenan. The consensus seems to be that backups are a better
solution than RAID1 for my purposes. I have a utility called DiskCopy&Clean
that will move the old drive contents to one of the new drives maintaining,
or proportionally expanding, the partition allocation. After that process,
I'm considering using the second new drive as a "mirror" backup using
"Backup4all" (http://www.backup4all.com/mirror-backup.php), but I'm not sure
if it will support my need to essentially clone the primary drive --
partition structure and all -- to the backup drive uncompressed for minimal
recovery time in case of failure. Do you have any better ideas or
suggestions?
 

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