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Can I Setup Raid5 from existing hard drive? Please help

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  • NAS / RAID
  • Hard Drives
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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October 30, 2007 4:37:17 PM

Can I Setup Raid5 from existing hard drive? Please help.
Hello,
Is it possible to setup Raid 5 from my existing hard drive which contains my O.S. and other software.
I have everything installed on 1 hard drive and just purchased 3 more hard drives.
I also purchased a Raid Controller card (3ware 9650SE 4LPML).
I would like to create the raid 5 without having to start over.
Any help is appreciated.
Thanks :hello: 

More about : setup raid5 existing hard drive

October 30, 2007 5:42:27 PM

Creating a RAID array from this should destroy your data. I'd have to look into the specifics of your controller, as some do allow the conversion from a single HD to a RAID array, though this tends to be RAID0 or RAID1 only. With a hardware controller, you should really look into the manual for any mention of this -- and if it says it can do it for RAID0, then assume it can't for RAID5 unless stated specifically.

My suggestion would be to obtain a copy of Ghost or something similar, and make a backup of your hard drive. You'll need something large enough to hold this, though. Perhaps you haven't used so much space as to exceed the capacity of an old IDE drive or something you have spare. Some programs allow you to backup to an FTP server, preferably on your network, if you have another PC with a large enough array/drive to hold your content.
a b G Storage
October 30, 2007 6:00:34 PM

Short answer No. Long answer Yes, but its not a straightforward process.

Short answer No - because as soon as you create and intialize the array it will erase whatever data you have on any of the 3 drives.

Long answer Yes - because you can create an image of your existing drive, create the array, and then image the array. You would want to use dos bootable disk cloning software like Ghost, Drive Image, or TrueImage. There is other disk cloning software out there, but these are the 3 that I could think of off the top of my head.

Longer answer Yes - You will want to install the controller in your existing system, load the drivers for it, and then create the image. This is to ensure that your OS (Windows?) recognizes the card and knows how to use it and have the latest hardware and drivers as part of the new array image. Power down the system and disconnect the existing hard drive, then connect all the hard drives to the controller, go into the controller's BIOS to create the array, then go into the system BIOS and set the array as the 1st bootable drive, and the use the disk cloning software to re-image the array. If you attempted to install the controller card and then image the array the without having previously installing the drivers or setting the array as the 1st bootable drive, the OS (Windows?) would not know what to do with the new hardware nor would it know to boot the OS from the array.

My opinion, buy one more drive so you have 4 (3 for the RAID5 array and your existing drive), install the controller card, create and intialize the array, create an image of your exising OS, image the existing OS onto the RAID5 array, and then set the RAID5 as the 1st boot device. After you're sure you can boot into the new array and none of your data has been lost, you can reformat the old drive and use is it expand the RAID5 array or as JBOD for extra space.

But most importantly, BACK UP ANY IMPORTANT FILES AND DATA!!!!

Good luck!
October 30, 2007 7:33:31 PM

It looks like your controller does something called Online Capacity Expansion. This is good. You can use this feature to do the following:

* Install the controller card, making sure Windows recognizes it.
* Install the three new hard drives, and create the RAID5 array across those three.
* Image your Windows partition onto the array using something like Acronis TrueImage.
* Remove your current boot drive, and set the RAID5 array as first boot device in the BIOS.
* See if the Windows boots up and works fine.
* If so:
* * Reinstall your old boot drive onto the controller, alongside the three new ones.
* * Tell the RAID controller to integrate the old drive into the RAID5 array, absorbing it and increasing your array capacity. Done.

* If not:
* * If Windows is recognized and tries to boot but fails:
* * * You can perform a "repair installation" using the Windows XP install CD. This is NOT THE SAME as the recovery console also accessible from that disc.
* * * Run the installation same as always, using a floppy drive to load the drivers for the controller along the way.
* * * Tell Windows to install to the RAID5 array. It should recognize the partition with a Windows installation in it on the array from when your imaging software copied the boot drive onto the array.
* * * It will tell you it's going to perform a repair installation. This looks the same as a clean installation minus the drive format.
* * * Follow regular Windows installation and update procedures. Everything should be roughly intact. You will need to redownload all the windows updates as if you'd installed a clean Windows w/SP2 or whatever disc you're using. However, your registry should still contain information about all your programs and settings.

* * If the computer doesn't know what the hell to do:
* * * Start over and reinstall Windows to the RAID5, along with all your programs. Recover any data from the old boot drive before integrating it too into the RAID5.
!