how to set up RAID on multiple small hard drives onto 1 big hard drive

Im in the process of building a computer and my build includes 2 SSDs, one 2TB hard drive and a (probably 2.5TB) hard drive (for RAID). I want to set up RAID 1 so that anything i do on my 3 drives will be backed up to the 4th, largest hard drive.

For example, if my 256GB SSD or my 64GB SSD or my 2TB hard drive fails for whatever reason, I want to be able to get to my bigger drive ( my RAID drive) which will probably be 2.5TB and recover all data from any 3 of my drives incase of drive failure.

Is there any way to do this?

If there is, how is it done?
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. What you describe sounds more like a good reason for a backup drive, and that can be done by using any kind of copy utility, such as Robocopy or Richcopy - both free Microsoft tools. I wouldn't try to RAID1 any of those unless you RAID1 the two SSDs together and get another 2TB drive and RAID1 those two together.
  2. I'm not an expert in this by any means but I do know that RAID 1 will not provide any data redundancy. RAID 5 is probably more optimal and you will need 4 similar drives.

    According to what I understand in your post, you need a backup solution. You can setup the 2 SSDs in RAID 1. Use the 2 TB as a data drive or w/e. As long your data doesn't exceed the 2.5 TB drive you can designate that as the backup drive and setup processes to run a backup. There are tons of programs with different suites of features but the built-in Windows Backup feature works well.

    Hopefully someone with more RAID, storage and backup experience can chime in and provide some insight.
  3. You cannot run a 256 GB and 64 GB drive in RAID 1 either, sorry I missed that. If you are only looking for data recovery then the previous two posts suggest the best paths to go.
  4. If you are on Windows 7, the built-in backup program can be used to do on-schedule file backups of specified drives. Higher Windows version can also do image backups of the system drive. So, designate your 2.5tb drive as "backup" drive, and install / set-up a software to do regular backups of your important stuff.
  5. RAID 1 limits the size of the array to the size of the smallest, and the speed of the slowest.

    Additionally, it provides no actual data backup. It only provides a semi safeguard in the event of a drive fail. Any business that runs a RAID 1 also runs a dedicated backup situation.
    The RAID 1 faithfully mirrors the data, including accidental deletions, viruses, corruption, etc.
    It is not a 'backup'.

    64GB SSD, 256GB SSD, 2TB HDD results in a 64GB RAID array. Seriously. And as slow as the 2TB HDD.

    You just need a facility to copy your critical files to a second and/or third location.
  6. Best answer
    You cannot use one large HDD as a partner to several smaller HDD's, each as RAID pairs.

    This whole thread results from a very common misunderstanding. RAID1 is NOT an automatic backup system! It fails to protect against many types of failures that a proper backup system does do - like electrical surges, fire, etc. And it does several things that a good backup system would not do - like make sure that EVERY change is in BOTH places, so that you have NO backup before some mistake.

    What OP is really looking for is a good backup system. Backing up to a large HDD would make sense, and you might even want to set it up with separate partitions, one for each small HDD that you are backing up. Of course, you will need software to automate the process, and you'll have to decide how often the backups should be done. They really do not need to be instantaneous so that everything is backed up as soon as any change is made.

    OP, you should realize, however, that backing things up to another HDD in the same case is NOT a really good backup system. Power surges will threaten all of your components. A fire in the house will damage you backup drive just as much as the others. A virus in any HDD will likely spread to all other units in the system.

    You also should consider that a good backup system will have a capacity of two or three times the capacity of the drive being protected. Why? Because you want to keep a sequence of backups over time so that, if you have a problem that actually happened three weeks ago, you have a backup from BEFORE that to rely on. Now, that's why a good system will use both a complete backup and a series of incremental backups over time - you certainly do NOT do full backups every time. But that still requires significant storage space.
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