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How to setup Raid 1 on existing System 7

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November 19, 2009 2:09:56 AM

I have a smooth running Windows 7 system.
I want to convert it to a Raid 1 system.
I have a ASUS Rampage Formula motherboard with a Intel X48 chipset and ICH9R installed. It has 4gb memory, Core 2 Quadand a WD 640 gb drive.
I have purchased another WD 640 to setup the Raid 1 array.
I cannot find anyone who has installed it on a running system, they all
build a new system.
Can you install Rain 1 on a running system? If so how do you do it?
Any help would be appreciated.
a c 215 $ Windows 7
November 19, 2009 3:11:57 AM

Any time you configure a raid array, the hard drives involved in the array are wiped out and need to be reformatted.
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November 19, 2009 1:37:42 PM

JerryJonz said:
I have a smooth running Windows 7 system.
I want to convert it to a Raid 1 system.
I have a ASUS Rampage Formula motherboard with a Intel X48 chipset and ICH9R installed. It has 4gb memory, Core 2 Quadand a WD 640 gb drive.
I have purchased another WD 640 to setup the Raid 1 array.
I cannot find anyone who has installed it on a running system, they all
build a new system.
Can you install Rain 1 on a running system? If so how do you do it?
Any help would be appreciated.


What is the best way to rebuild it, other than an total reinstall?
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a b $ Windows 7
November 19, 2009 2:35:14 PM

There is no way to do that directly.

You would need to image your existing installation to a different drive/location. Completely wipe and reformat your current drives, set the current drives up as a RAID array, then restore the image you made in step one to the new RAID array.
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November 19, 2009 2:48:25 PM

Thanks Scotteq, Can I set up one drive, restore the image to it, test it, then
add the second drive?
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a b $ Windows 7
November 19, 2009 3:08:57 PM

NO


NO


NO


NO


NO


You must set up your RAID array with TWO CLEAN AND FRESHLY FORMATTED DRIVES. There is no way to "migrate" your current installation from the one drive you have so you can add another. You *MUST* save your current installation somewhere else. Then set up your RAID array. Then you can use the tool you made your image with to restore from the drive you saved the image over to the RAID array.

In short - You need a 3rd drive to hold your existing installation while you set up your RAID array.
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November 19, 2009 5:45:56 PM

Thanks Scotteq, I was afraid of that.
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December 23, 2009 3:22:35 PM

Hi,

I dont quite understand.

If I am correct then raid1 is used as a backup tool, you have 2 disks with the exact same data on it.
So if you write to one disk then the exact same data gets writen to the second at the exact same time/position etc.
The power of Raid1 is that if one disk fails you can take it out, trow it away, buy another disk, insert it and then it would automaticly convert the existing data to the new disk. Right?

Because else, if it couldnt convert, then you'd have to reinstall the entire system as soon as one of your harddrives crashes, isnt this exactly what Raid1 was meant to prevent?
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a b $ Windows 7
December 23, 2009 4:14:44 PM

The issue is that the system must be set up that way from the beginning. You can not directly convert a non-raid array to a raid array.
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December 23, 2009 9:26:53 PM

You sure about that?
I did some googling and I found that there are two types of Raid.
Software-raid and hardware-raid.

Hardware raid goes trough the motherboard and needs to be setup before the OS is installed trough the BIOS.

Software raid can be turned on after the OS has been installed (Actually it has to be since its part of the OS). Seems like Win7 prof and higher (So everything except home) has the software-raid possibility in it by default.

Its at:
Control panel / System management / Computer management / Disk management

Then u have to convert the disk to Dynamic and then you have the option "Mirror disk"

I am not sure if this does exactly what I think it does but it seems like its working just like Hardware-Raid.

Anyone got a clue if I am correct?
I dont wanne be working on a system of which I 'think' it works till the day one of my disks breaks down and it appears not to work atall.
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December 31, 2009 11:16:45 AM

Can someone please elaborate on what Damorian is getting at? Or can you yourself help enlighten me, mate. I have recently changed motherboards and cannot re-establish my RAID 1. The motherboard manufacturers themselves(Gigabyte) recommended starting from scratch by re-formatting them(2x 1TB Seagates with approx. 400GB of data) due to the different chipset/sata/raid controllers! I assumed i could just re-enable it in BIOS, match up the HDDs and remaking the array, then choose my boot disk(a separate 400GB HDD running Windows 7 OS). I did a similar thing before going from XP to Win7.

The thought of formatting both disks seems totally unfeasible and making the whole point of employing RAID totally pointless!?! Surely i can re-format just one and re-establish the mirror? Otherwise i am thinking it is more advantageous running them both separately and trying to remember to back-up to both, forgetting about RAID altogether...

I can see my RAID disk in 'my computer' as i used to but there is no proof of it being "healthy". On startup my BIOS would display the HDDs and whether they were "healthy" or "degraded" and i also have an nVidia control panel that shows storage/RAID which is now blank were it used to display the HDDs :( 

Please any help is much appreciated!

PS - Happy New Year!
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January 2, 2010 5:08:08 PM

Hi Cainus,

I am no expert on raid atall so someone else might be better to help you in this matter,
However I will tell u as much as I can.

As far as I know there are two kinds of raid. Software raid and hardware raid.

Hardware raid needs a special motherboard which is compattable with raid or else a raid-card (Like a graphics card).
To setup hardware raid (So to choose which disk gets mirrored with what) you have to go trough the bios or some kind of bootable media. (Since it has to be set up before anything is installed on either hdd.)
Now here is the part which I dont know and where your problem lies; what to do if one of your hdd's breaks down and you want to re-complete your raid array with a new hdd? I think there should be a solution but I sure havent found it yet, I would say there is some way to 'restore raid-array' since else the entire point of raid 1 would be useless. However I do think its very possible that this 'restore raid-array' option is only useable when you use the same hardware, which isnt possible in your case.

Anyways, my solution for this previous problem turned out to be software raid.
Software raid is setup completely different then hardware raid, it doesnt need a compattible motherboard or raid-card and can be setup trough the operating system. Therefore you have to have an OS installed before you can set it up, which meens you have to have data on atleast one hdd and that meens you can keep one hdd intact. (The other one does need to be empty)

How to exactly turn on software raid is described in my other post. Just remember whenever there are two solutions to a problem there also are diffrent pro's and con's just like hardware and software raid.
If you use software raid you have to change your hdd to 'dynamic' in doing so most image programs like ghost and acronis wont recognise it anymore and wont be able to restore an image.
Also they say that hardware raid is more reliable then software raid, but then again they also say that overclocking is a bad idea :p 

I hope this helped you and I am sorry I cant give you any more information on your specific problem.
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January 6, 2010 10:02:10 PM

Thanks for the reply Damorian!

I think i'm going to have to purchase a backup hard disk specifically to re-configure my RAID array :(  But after looking into the software side of things its quite possible that my OS is controlling the RAID at this moment? As it seems to be configured the same as you explained.

At least if i have a full backup of my data i can experiment by formatting one... i'll be sure to post the results!

Cheers!
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April 5, 2011 4:55:25 PM

Cainus said:
Thanks for the reply Damorian!

I think i'm going to have to purchase a backup hard disk specifically to re-configure my RAID array :(  But after looking into the software side of things its quite possible that my OS is controlling the RAID at this moment? As it seems to be configured the same as you explained.

At least if i have a full backup of my data i can experiment by formatting one... i'll be sure to post the results!

Cheers!


I've been doing research lately, since I purchased a Seagate 1TB drive last December and it has now failed me. I can sometimes boot into Linux safe mode but Windows 7 Pro hangs every time. In Linux Ubuntu, the disk says "Imminent Failure, please replace" in its disk management utility. Anyway, I bought a Samsung Spinpoint 1TB and used Linux to mirror the partitions from the bad drive and copy the data over (though even with "show hidden files" and "select all" there was a drop of roughly 1GB for every 55-60GB copied). I'm hoping to pull the bad drive, run the Windows 7 Pro "Repair Windows" function off my install disk, boot it, then install a 2nd Samsung Spinpoint 1TB (just ordered) in RAID 1 mirrored configuration. By definition, I have to go with the software RAID 1 solution. I had a motherboard die on me about 10 years ago, and my mother's died just last year. Replacing motherboards can be a pain, and so is reinstalling everything after a hard drive dies (I'm an online gamer with my desktop, use my laptop for school and business), so I'm going to go with software RAID 1 in case I need to replace my current motherboard or want to upgrade to a new one in the future (where I'll have no restrictions in what hardware I want to try next).

From the research I have done, you needed to get another motherboard from the same manufacturer (doesn't have to be the same model, so long as its not older than the one that broke) to re-enable your existing hardware RAID 1 configuration (or at least have the certainty to be able to do so). If you use your system for a business where it has to be "always on" during business hours, invest in a RAID controller card. Otherwise, consider software RAID instead.
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a b $ Windows 7
April 6, 2011 4:05:24 AM

This topic has been closed by Buwish
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