RAID 1 in Windows 8.1 set up help


I am looking into setting up a RAID 1 (mirrored configuration) on my system, but I've never done it before and figured I would simply ask the community what the best approach for my specific system would be.

Here's what I have: Windows 8.1 (not pro), a 120 gb SSD (OS and a few programs), WD 1tb HDD (about 50% filled with files, programs, and games), a blank Seagate 1tb HDD.

I want to mirror the WD to the Seagate. In other words, I want the WD to be the drive I use (since it's newer and faster) and the Seagate to simply be a backup of the same data in case the WD were to suddenly fail. At this time, I'm not interested in backing up the SSD. I do not think my motherboard has RAID functionality built-in, and I would rather not add a RAID card, so I'm pretty much looking into software-based mirroring, but my understanding is that only the Pro version of Windows 8.1 has mirroring within Disk Management and I'd have to resort to the new Storage Spaces program.

What do you guys recommend? If I use Storage Spaces, it appears I have to back up everything on the WD as it will delete the volumes on the drive. I have a 500gb external that I could use for
this, but, since I have a lot of programs on the WD, would transferring them back and forth cause any problems for Windows? Can I choose which drive in Storage Spaces is the drive I'm always reading from, or does it always use both? Is Storage Spaces even a good option? Is it my only option?

8 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Kerabastos said:
    I want the WD to be the drive I use (since it's newer and faster) and the Seagate to simply be a backup

    Then don't use RAID 1. RAID is not a backup. If you want a backup I recommend something like Crashplan.
  2. Best answer
    I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of storage spaces, but RAID 1 is a real time copy and the drives act as one as far as the OS is concerned. That said, Your RAID's read/write speed will be that of your slowest drive, so you wanting the WD being the drive you use and the seagate being a backup use is moot. This is why it's recommended that you use the same make/model drives in RAID if possible. Either drive will act as the backup in case one of the drives fail.

    Also, as Gopher siad, RAID is not a backup. A virus or accidently deleted file will be mirrored to the other drive.
  3. Windows 8.1 has a backup utility built in, just search backup. I would use that. It would be less wear and tear on the backup drive.

  4. Windows also has built in software raid (equivalent to motherbd raid which is still software)
  5. Ok, thanks. Both drives are technically 7200 rpm and work basically the same but it seems like it will be easier and better suited for me to use a backup utility. One other thing though: Isn't the point of a RAID 1 to have a second drive ready to go in case one fails? Which is kind of like a backup (albeit a backup that isn't safe from viruses and whatnot)? And what do you use it for if not as a backup? Just trying to clarify, thanks.
  6. With the exception of RAID 0, the point of all other RAID types is system uptime. Some RAID types will even allow for 2 or more hard drives to fail simultaneously before the system stops. A RAID won't protect your files from corruption, viruses and user error.
  7. Kerabastos said:
    One other thing though: Isn't the point of a RAID 1 to have a second drive ready to go in case one fails?

    Yes, exactly, so for example if you are running a web server 100% up-time is important. RAID allows a harddrive to fail but the server continue to function. You can then swap out the failed drive and rebuild your RAID array at your leisure.

    A backup is completely different. For example if you accidentally delete an important file a backup will allow you to restore that lost file.

    So a server would normally have both RAID and a backup running simultaneously.

    edit: Just realised I've basically repeated the post above me. You beat me to it Psy!
  8. And excellent answers from both of you! Cudos!
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