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How to Raid

I have an AMD FX 4100 Quad core 3.6GHz am3 CPU on a MSI 970a-G46 MB and a W8 Pro fresh install i have already transferred some data from another older pc that i'm upgrading from. I have a 1 TB HDD now and i've been reading about raid and would like to do a level 1 raid. I know i need another HDD same as what i have to do this. Will i lose my data or do I need to do this before i transfer data or in what sequence should i do this? Before the OS download or after? Or in the bios before OS download? Kinda new at this 1st time in forum any help is appreciated. Thanks
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about raid
  1. You need to setup the RAID before writing any data. It's not too late though. You can get backup software like Acronis that will image the hard drive and save it on something else. Like external HDD. Setup the RAID and then restore the image to the RAID. BTW, RAID-1 is not a substitute for backup. It won't save you from viruses or doing something stupid like formatting the partition.
  2. Best answer
    Your main problem is how to BOOT from a disk drive. With Win 8 installed, it has its own drivers for IDE and SATA drive types, so it uses your HDD just fine now. BUT it does NOT have any driver for a RAID array. In fact, since RAID is done differently by many suppliers, there is no universal RAID driver. Net result is that, if you bought another identical HDD, installed it, and used the RAID management system in your BIOS to convert your single HDD into a RAID array, you could NOT boot up from it!!

    The way this is supposed to be done is: when you are first installing Win 8 from the CD, one of the options offered is whether you want to install any special device drivers (like a RAID driver) from some external data storage device. It used to be that device had to be a floppy disk, but I think Win 8 will let you install it from a USB memory stick. Check the Win 8 documentation for what devices can be used for this driver install process. NOTE that this means you will need to re-do your entire Install process, thus losing all your old data. SO, that means you will need to make a complete BACKUP of your current HDD, then VERIFY that the backup is good and you can get the data back from it.

    The steps:
    1. Buy and install a new HDD identical to the one you have.
    2. Install (even if only temporarily for this process) some other storage medium. Make your backup on this, then verify it is good. Disconnect this unit until you need it again to restore from it.
    3. Find and READ the manual for the RAID system built into your mobo. Often it is a separate file on the CD that came with your mobo.
    4. In your mobo manual, you should be able to find a section detailing where to find the RAID driver for your system. Often it's on the CD of utilities that came with the mobo. You will need to make a copy of this driver onto some medium (like a USB stick) that you can use later during the Install process.
    5. When you're all prepared, place your Win 8 Install CD in your optical drive and boot up. Go IMMEDIATELY into BIOS Setup and set it so that the two HDD's are in RAID mode. Check the Boot Priority Sequence and ensure it will try to boot from your optical drive first. Save and Exit, and WATCH for the prompt about how to enter the RAID Setup system, and do that. In there, according to the RAID manual, configure those two HDD's to be one RAID1 array that you boot from. You might have to let it delete the existing Partition on your one older HDD. You will have to let it Partition and Format them, which takes time.
    6. After the RAID array is created, you can let it continue and boot from the Win 8 Install CD. Watch for the prompt that asks whether you wish to install any additional drivers, and you must press the "F10" key to do that. If you do not, it will wait a bit and proceed to the next steps.
    7. When you do press F10 there, it will prompt you to tell it which driver you want to install from what storage device. Do that, and it will install that RAID driver, customized for your mobo, that you copied to your storage device. This will become a part of the basic Win 8 Install in this machine, allowing you to boot from that device (the RAID1 array). This will also give the Install process a way to access that RAID1 array you created as a "drive" it can install Win 8 on.
    8. Proceed with the rest of the installation. When you're done, the RAID1 array will appear to be one "drive" called C:, with a capacity of ONE of your two HDD's - that is, 1TB (more likely, about 930 GB) because the second HDD is a complete mirror copy of the first.
    9. When it's all done, you can start to re-install all your application software - things like Microsoft Office, Firefox, Adobe Reader, an internet security suite, games, graphics software - whatever. You MAY run into snags when your software thinks you are trying to do a second (unauthorized) installation on a new machine, and that will require some discussion and help from the software maker.
    10. Once all your software is installed and it has created its preferred folders for files, shut down and re-install that backup device. Restore all your user data files from it to your C: drive. When done, disconnect the backup device and keep it safe for a few months. If you later find you missed restoring something, you can hook it back up and look for it on that device.

    NOTE: you can NOT simply Clone an image of your current HDD to another, and then clone that image back after creating the RAID 1 array. The Win 8 installed on your current HDD does NOT have the special RAID driver installed, so you would not be able to boot from that restored image. YOU MUST do the re-install of Win 8 with the addition of the driver. That also means you MUST re-install all your application software on that newly-installed Win 8 system.

    Now, a clone of your current HDD IS a useful backup form. It will contain everything, AND a typical clone made by Acronis True Image is NOT encoded in any way, so it is completely readable by your newly-installed Win 8. Thus you CAN use it as a way to copy all your user files back to your new C: drive. It's just not a simple a re-cloning back.
  3. UniqueName said:
    You need to setup the RAID before writing any data. It's not too late though. You can get backup software like Acronis that will image the hard drive and save it on something else. Like external HDD. Setup the RAID and then restore the image to the RAID. BTW, RAID-1 is not a substitute for backup. It won't save you from viruses or doing something stupid like formatting the partition.


    Paperdoc said:
    Your main problem is how to BOOT from a disk drive. With Win 8 installed, it has its own drivers for IDE and SATA drive types, so it uses your HDD just fine now. BUT it does NOT have any driver for a RAID array. In fact, since RAID is done differently by many suppliers, there is no universal RAID driver. Net result is that, if you bought another identical HDD, installed it, and used the RAID management system in your BIOS to convert your single HDD into a RAID array, you could NOT boot up from it!!

    The way this is supposed to be done is: when you are first installing Win 8 from the CD, one of the options offered is whether you want to install any special device drivers (like a RAID driver) from some external data storage device. It used to be that device had to be a floppy disk, but I think Win 8 will let you install it from a USB memory stick. Check the Win 8 documentation for what devices can be used for this driver install process. NOTE that this means you will need to re-do your entire Install process, thus losing all your old data. SO, that means you will need to make a complete BACKUP of your current HDD, then VERIFY that the backup is good and you can get the data back from it.

    The steps:
    1. Buy and install a new HDD identical to the one you have.
    2. Install (even if only temporarily for this process) some other storage medium. Make your backup on this, then verify it is good. Disconnect this unit until you need it again to restore from it.
    3. Find and READ the manual for the RAID system built into your mobo. Often it is a separate file on the CD that came with your mobo.
    4. In your mobo manual, you should be able to find a section detailing where to find the RAID driver for your system. Often it's on the CD of utilities that came with the mobo. You will need to make a copy of this driver onto some medium (like a USB stick) that you can use later during the Install process.
    5. When you're all prepared, place your Win 8 Install CD in your optical drive and boot up. Go IMMEDIATELY into BIOS Setup and set it so that the two HDD's are in RAID mode. Check the Boot Priority Sequence and ensure it will try to boot from your optical drive first. Save and Exit, and WATCH for the prompt about how to enter the RAID Setup system, and do that. In there, according to the RAID manual, configure those two HDD's to be one RAID1 array that you boot from. You might have to let it delete the existing Partition on your one older HDD. You will have to let it Partition and Format them, which takes time.
    6. After the RAID array is created, you can let it continue and boot from the Win 8 Install CD. Watch for the prompt that asks whether you wish to install any additional drivers, and you must press the "F10" key to do that. If you do not, it will wait a bit and proceed to the next steps.
    7. When you do press F10 there, it will prompt you to tell it which driver you want to install from what storage device. Do that, and it will install that RAID driver, customized for your mobo, that you copied to your storage device. This will become a part of the basic Win 8 Install in this machine, allowing you to boot from that device (the RAID1 array). This will also give the Install process a way to access that RAID1 array you created as a "drive" it can install Win 8 on.
    8. Proceed with the rest of the installation. When you're done, the RAID1 array will appear to be one "drive" called C:, with a capacity of ONE of your two HDD's - that is, 1TB (more likely, about 930 GB) because the second HDD is a complete mirror copy of the first.
    9. When it's all done, you can start to re-install all your application software - things like Microsoft Office, Firefox, Adobe Reader, an internet security suite, games, graphics software - whatever. You MAY run into snags when your software thinks you are trying to do a second (unauthorized) installation on a new machine, and that will require some discussion and help from the software maker.
    10. Once all your software is installed and it has created its preferred folders for files, shut down and re-install that backup device. Restore all your user data files from it to your C: drive. When done, disconnect the backup device and keep it safe for a few months. If you later find you missed restoring something, you can hook it back up and look for it on that device.

    NOTE: you can NOT simply Clone an image of your current HDD to another, and then clone that image back after creating the RAID 1 array. The Win 8 installed on your current HDD does NOT have the special RAID driver installed, so you would not be able to boot from that restored image. YOU MUST do the re-install of Win 8 with the addition of the driver. That also means you MUST re-install all your application software on that newly-installed Win 8 system.

    Now, a clone of your current HDD IS a useful backup form. It will contain everything, AND a typical clone made by Acronis True Image is NOT encoded in any way, so it is completely readable by your newly-installed Win 8. Thus you CAN use it as a way to copy all your user files back to your new C: drive. It's just not a simple a re-cloning back.


    WOW I didn't know what i was in for here. So much great info I'm gonna try it since its a new system anyway and all the data is still on the old PC so i don't have to worry about losing what I have moved so far. Thanks alot ;o)
  4. UniqueName said:
    You need to setup the RAID before writing any data. It's not too late though. You can get backup software like Acronis that will image the hard drive and save it on something else. Like external HDD. Setup the RAID and then restore the image to the RAID. BTW, RAID-1 is not a substitute for backup. It won't save you from viruses or doing something stupid like formatting the partition.


    Thank you
  5. If you are going ahead, two suggestions:
    1. Do find and read the RAID software documentation for your mobo. If you can't find it on the CD with your mobo, check the mobo maker's website. Or, sometimes if you know the mobo chipset maker and the South Bridge chip model - the South Bridge controls hard drives among other things - you can get this info from that manufacturer's website. It will really help you understand what can be done with your specific RAID system. If you're concentrating on RAID1, ignore the stuff about other types of RAID - it can only be confusing, since all RAIDs are different.

    2. That Acronis True Image software referenced above MAY be available as a free try-out version from Acronis. There are other free versions for some, depending on your circumstances. IF you bought your two HDD's from Seagate, download their free utility called Disk Wizard and install it on your current HDD. On the other hand, IF your drives are from WD, download their free utility Acronis True Image WD Edition, and install that. Both of these are customized versions of Acronis True Image made available free to help you migrate your existing system to a new HDD. Their cloning limitation is that they will only make clone copies TO an HDD manufactured by the supplier of the customized version - they don't care whose old HDD you are abandoning. IF your HDD's are by some other maker, check their website for free cloning tools.

    And I'll repeat UniqueName's note: RAID1 is NOT a substitute for a backup system. Many things that can corrupt or destroy one HDD will do the same to BOTH drives of a RAID1 system.
  6. Paperdoc said:
    If you are going ahead, two suggestions:
    1. Do find and read the RAID software documentation for your mobo. If you can't find it on the CD with your mobo, check the mobo maker's website. Or, sometimes if you know the mobo chipset maker and the South Bridge chip model - the South Bridge controls hard drives among other things - you can get this info from that manufacturer's website. It will really help you understand what can be done with your specific RAID system. If you're concentrating on RAID1, ignore the stuff about other types of RAID - it can only be confusing, since all RAIDs are different.

    2. That Acronis True Image software referenced above MAY be available as a free try-out version from Acronis. There are other free versions for some, depending on your circumstances. IF you bought your two HDD's from Seagate, download their free utility called Disk Wizard and install it on your current HDD. On the other hand, IF your drives are from WD, download their free utility Acronis True Image WD Edition, and install that. Both of these are customized versions of Acronis True Image made available free to help you migrate your existing system to a new HDD. Their cloning limitation is that they will only make clone copies TO an HDD manufactured by the supplier of the customized version - they don't care whose old HDD you are abandoning. IF your HDD's are by some other maker, check their website for free cloning tools.

    And I'll repeat UniqueName's note: RAID1 is NOT a substitute for a backup system. Many things that can corrupt or destroy one HDD will do the same to BOTH drives of a RAID1 system.


    OK thanks alot that sounds like really good advice.
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