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Migrating a Raid 0 array

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September 30, 2009 6:56:54 PM

I've done a little research on this and all answers have said No, no, no, not possible.

I have 2 150gb Raptor X's in raid 0 using my motherboards on-board raid. I want to move these hard drives to another computer... and would like to not have to spend and extra 3,4, 5+ hours re-installing software!

I was just thinking...>

Would it be possible to do a Repair installation on the new computer. Plug the hard drives in, set the mobo to raid0, and enter windows xp setup and do a repair installation?

Or is it going to want me to format the disks when I enter the raid menu on my new motherboard?


I was just wonder about that because I did that with a single disk last week because I'd moved it from one box to another and I just ran a repair installation to let it boot fine on the new hardware.

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a b G Storage
September 30, 2009 7:16:27 PM

You heard right the first time. Unless you're moving to the exact same chipset, I don't think it's possible. The array depends on the chipset that controls it. A different chipset may control it a different way thus forcing a reformat. I'm sure there is a much more technical answer, but that's about the gist of it. Besides, why would you want to do a repair install of Windows? Moving to a different chipset, even on a single-drive setup, usually works best with a clean reinstall. There are so many platform variables that are set when you install Windows that it's possible some of them would be missed on a simple repair.
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September 30, 2009 7:25:29 PM

I just want to save the time of reinstalling every single thing. I've never gotten into imaging or anything. It just gets tedious sometimes reinstalling everything from scratch.
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a b G Storage
September 30, 2009 7:57:32 PM

I'm fairly sure that you'd have to image the hard drive onto a single drive, then put the two drives into the new computer, rebuild the array through the BIOS, then image the data back onto those drives.

Seems more hassle than it's worth. A fresh install is ALWAYS better, and you'll definitely feel the difference.
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September 30, 2009 8:26:58 PM

there is metadata writen to the HDDs and the controller. the only way this would work is if you had a raid controller that supported this function. the raid controllers on most desktop motherboards are trash.

FYI, i've done what you are asking, but only on server level equipment. e.g. old server dies, grab next "like" server, plug drives in, pray, turn on.
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September 30, 2009 8:45:52 PM

I guess windows 7 here i come !

Thanks for the answers.
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a b V Motherboard
a c 127 G Storage
September 30, 2009 9:30:49 PM

Does the new computer have the same brand chipset? If so, you generally can just move your HDDs to the new system and the RAID array will be recognised (just be sure to enable RAID in the system BIOS by looking at the SATA transfer mode setting, can be: IDE, SATA/AHCI and RAID.

If you don't have the same chipset, you need to re-create your RAID array. If you know all settings (stripesize, disk order, offset) you can re-create the RAID from any RAID mechanic (software RAID, hardware RAID, onboard RAID) and it should give you access to the existing data on the volume.

So its not true you can't migrate a RAID to a completely different RAID manufacturer/system, but you do need to do this manually. For example, Intel RAID drivers can't read how nVidia stores its RAID configuration data, and vice versa. But if you know what settings to use, and do this manually you can have your data on the new system again.

Of course, such a manual procedure is not without risks and should only be attempted with FULL backups! It can help you prevent to re-install everything. But frankly, a reinstall now and then doesn't hurt. It keeps the system fresh and removes any residual junk (old drivers; old DLLs, etc).
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