I am presently running vista with two 300 gig sata hdd in a raid 1 config. on a Intel D975XBX2 mobo with four sata connections.Would like to know if I could install two 1 TB drives in the remaining two connections and let raid make copies of the original drive so that I could then remove the two smaller drives without affecting operating system and programs ?Could it be this simple?
No, unfortunately it isn't. your best bet is to copy your existing files to another hard disk, remove your old drives, install the new ones and build a new array, then copy the files back to that new array. I wouldn't even recommend plugging in your new hard disks while the old ones are on board: that could cause some problems with your RAID 1 array.
Sometimes it's hard to "copy" absolutely everything, especially all the OS files. A utility to "clone" a hard drive does this job nicely, but I am not confident you could do this to clone one RAID1 array to another.
However, I can suggest a five-step way to do it. We start from knowing you have a good RAID1 array running, and you want to end up with one good RAID1 array, only larger, at the end.
1. Whatever hard drive pair you plan to buy for the larger array, go to their website and find and download their free utilities that are used for cloning and migrating your system from an older drive to their new larger drive. Seagate calls theirs Disk Wizard. WD calls it Data Lifeguard. There usually are several versions, so download the one for your situation. I would install that software on your existing drive so that it can be run from there. That way the cloning software will know all about your OS's capabilities. Note that Seagate's Disk Wizard will make a clone only TO a Seagate drive - it does not care which drive you are using now. Similarly with WD.
2. Use your RAID utilities to "break" the RAID1 array so that it becomes a non-RAID normal disk, plus a second hard drive that also is non-RAID and contains a good copy of your system. Immediately after that is finished smoothly, shut down and remove the second hard drive.
3. Install ONE of the new drives and boot up from the old drive. Run the disk cloning utility. Be VERY sure you identify clearly that the Source disk is your old one. If it offers options, you want it to do this:
(a) make the clone (Destination) drive bootable;
(b) use all of the Destination drive as one volume (unless you really want otherwise);
(c) when Formatting, use the NTFS file System;
(d) Do a Quick Format only, not Full Format. (This is only to save you many hours of waiting.)
4. When the clone operation is done, shut down, uninstall the old drive, and hook up the new drive to that same port. Boot from the new drive and verify it's working as a single Non-RAID C: drive.
5. Shut down and install the second new drive. Boot and use the RAID utilities to create a RAID1 array by adding this new drive to the existing one. It will copy everything over and set up the array. When done, reboot into your new system with a larger RAID1 array operating as your C: drive.
Later you can re-install the old drives and use Windows Disk Manager to delete their Partitions, then create new Primary Partitions on them, Format them, and use them as extra drives.