RAID 1 with existing setup

Hi, my system currently has:

Vista Home Premium x64
1x 500GB SeaGate Barracuda HDD
P5N-E SLI mobo

I recently had the misfortune of my hard drive failing, with the loss of all my data (including a half-finished website). I didn't back up, and I've now learnt my lessson the hard way, and so I am looking to setup a RAID 1 array.

As soon as the drive stopped working I ordered another one, and that's what I currently have, with Vista installed and most of my programs back up and running. My second, identical hard drive will arrive next week, as a replacement as soon as my RMA has been processed.

I've never set up RAID before, so I've been researching, and I have two questions.

Firstly, I am unsure whether or not I can setup RAID 1 without losing data on my current drive. Quoted from the "RAID FAQ V1.3 !" topic:

"The stripesize or stripewidth of a level 0 or level 0+1 array can not be changed without rebuilding the array. This will cause all data to be lost. For level 1 and level 0+1 additional mirror drives can added to provide additional data security. This will not cause any data to be lost."

So that means I can put in the second one, set the two up in RAID and it will mirror my files?

Secondly, I'm wondering what I need to do for the setting up. I'm assuming the second drive can just go in any SATA port. Do I just go into the BIOS on boot and set it up in there?

I will definitely be backing up before trying anything :)
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More about raid existing setup
  1. Well first of all dont confuse redundancy with backup. They are 2 very different things. Redundancy will save you if you have a hard drive failure but will not do anything if you have data loss due to any number of factors (delayed write failure, virus, delete a file by mistake, theft, etc). This is where a backup comes to play. Is always a good idea to have both if you can and even keep a DVD or some other method of storage for your really important files such a pictures of the family and such.

    As to your questions; First if setting up a RAID 1 will delete your data on the existing drive. This depends on the behavior of the controller. Some will allow you to keep the data and some wont. Most enterprise controllers will wipe the drives. You will need to check with the controller you are using. But whatever you do backup first just in case. As for the second question the setup is fairly easy If the controller is on the motherboard go into bios and enable RAID (if you have it and it sounds like you do). Then during POST you will see the RAIS bios and a key combination to enter it. There are many different bios screens but most are very easy to configure. Then during the OS load you may need a driver for the controller so that the OS can "see" the controller. This is found at the controller manufacturers website and commonly used on a floppy although vista can use a flash drive.
  2. Ok well as far as an actual backup is concerned, I might backup those files that I really care about to an external drive.

    As I'm now having problems with not being able to install nVidia drivers (my computer freezes during installation) I'll probably need to reinstall Vista anyway, so I'll just backup and start fresh with two blank drives.
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