Vista - Restore from 1 drive to RAID 0

Using Vista's backup options, is it possible to restore from a single disk to a RAID 0 array?
I have all the drivers ready, and am aware of the the steps required in the BIOS to configure the array.
It's an upcoming project, so I'd like to be prepared.
Thanks for any advice offered.
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Yes is possible, just make sure the array is properly done.
  2. Thank you saint19.
    Will I be prompted to install the RAID drivers?
  3. I don't think, you made the RAID before the backup, but for be sure, have the driver near to you.
  4. Best answer
    I am assuming your RAID0 array is established / controlled either by the mobo's chipset or by an add-on card in the PCI slots - that is, it is NOT done by Windows' own software. Once you create a good array with that sort of controller system, it appears to Windows as just another hard drive - well, almost. Backing up and restoring data to it should not be affected by the fact that it is really a RAID0 array, not just one ordinary drive.

    The "well, almost" part is because, although it is just another disk to Windows, it is a disk of a type Windows does not already know how to handle in terms of communications. Hence, like some other types of devices (e.g., a SCSI drive), Windows needs a driver installed to handle the RAID0 array. Given that, there are two branches of where this goes next.

    Your stated problem is about Restoring from one drive to the array, and so I assume - maybe wrongly! - that you are trying to restore data to a data storage device only, and NOT trying to create a new boot device to be used as your C: drive. If that is the case, then Windows will be booting from a regular HDD it already understands, and during that process it can also load the required drivers so that a second HDD (in reality, a RAID0 array) can be used. That process is straightforward. You first create the RAID0 array using your controller and its built-in software tools. Then you follow the instructions that come with your RAID system to find the drivers necessary on a disk or website and install them in the Windows you're already running. Once you reboot, Windows will have everything it needs to deal with the array and it will show up in My Computer as a new drive, apparently just a single disk.

    Now, if I was wrong and you plan to have this new RAID0 array be your C: drive from which you boot the system, it gets more complicated. The dilemma is that Windows does not normally know how to deal with a RAID0 array, so it can't boot from such an array without help. That help has two parts, and one of those will require that you re-install Windows (unless you want to live with a work-around). The first small part is that, as you create your new RAID0 array, you must be sure to tell that RAID system that this will be your boot device so it can install the proper info in its Partition Table / MBR files on the disks. The other part is that you must re-install Windows, this time making use of the screen that asks if you need to permanently install some new drivers that become a part of this particular Windows installation. You hit the right key (F6) and must load the drivers from a removable device like a floppy drive (or maybe a USB "drive" - read your RAID manual). When installed this way, your Windows WILL know how to handle the RAID0 array for boot purposes and all is well.

    The "work-around" I mentioned for systems trying to boot from a RAID0 array without the drivers installed amounts to using a Windows feature that asks if you wish to load special device drivers from floppy disk EVERY TIME you boot up. So you can keep the device (floppy diskette?) in the machine and intervene in the boot process every time to install those drivers for this one boot. Not very convenient, but it does avoid a re-install.

    As I said, none of this latter re-install process is necessary at all IF you plan to use the the RAID0 array just as a data device, and will always boot from a non-RAID disk.
  5. Firstly, thank you for all the responses. I think I provided too little information in my original question, thus leaving available a multitude of variables.
    It has been 10+ years since I knocked a PC together, so I my knowledge of the Vista OS is limited. To summarize, I built by friends son a PC based on an ASUS P6 MB. I ordered two hard drives, but despite all odds, one was bad. Rather than disappoint the intended recipient, I built a single drive PC, using SATA as IDE. Now the kid has loaded all his games, docs and OS on the one drive. When the replacement drive arrives I would like to set it up identically using two drives in RAID 0, avoiding reinstallation of all applications and documents if possible. As I said, I know how to set the BIOS and have the drivers for the OS on a flashdrive. So, what problems to a face restoring from an image that does not contain RAID drivers? Thanks again.
  6. OK, this looks more difficult. I assume you plan to make an image of the existing HDD on a temporary HDD, then install the second new HDD and create the RAID0 array, then try to "restore" the original HDD contents from the image unit to the new RAID0 array. You are right to anticipate that this can't work because Windows done this way will not have any RAID drivers to access the array for loading.

    The only way I know to have Windows build a RAID driver into itself so it can boot from the array is to do that during the Install process when you use the F6 option, etc. But once you do that, you have a new installation of Windows on the RAID0 array, but no software installed under it. I do not know how you could "restore" everything from the image disk (except, of course, the Windows OS and its config files) and then get that version of Windows to recognize and "install" all that existing software and its config files. There may be ways, but let's hope someone else who has done this is participating here. It ain't me!

    The only other alternative I know is a work-around that requires that the RAID drivers you need are ALWAYS available on a removable drive medium at every boot-up. During the early boot process for a Windows already installed, there is a place where you can hit the right key to tell it you need to install drivers from some removable medium (NOT a hard drive). Up to XP, that medium HAD to be a floppy drive, but I think Vista has more options. You follow the intructions and supply the drivers and they are loaded and used for this session, but they are NOT a permanent part of Windows. So next time you boot you do the same thing. In this way you could put your non-RAID0 image from the temporary drive onto the RAID0 array, then provide at every boot occasion a way for Windows to load and use the drivers to access the RAID0 array so it can complete its loading and run. Not the easiest solution, but it's supposed to work.
  7. Thanks guys. Just to be safe, I'm taking the long route. I hope the little brat appreciates the performance increase while playing Call Of Duty when he should be doing his homework :-)
    Last question is about data security. People seem very opinionated about doubling the chance of failure. Are we talking about buying two lottery tickets instead of one, thereby doubling our chances of winning 500 trillion dollars? Again, you guys have been great, much appreciated.
  8. Yes, that's basically the logic, but with an important difference. If you double your chances of winning the lottery and it happens, you're ecstatic. If it does not happen, you may be bummed about spending money on two tickets. If you double your chances of losing all your data at once and it does not happen, you'll never give it a thought, but you may enjoy slightly faster disk access. If it does happen, you will be SUPER bummed unless you are a fanatic about keeping frequent back-ups up to date.

    By the way, the chance of a HDD failure is, unfortunately, much higher than your chance of winning 500 trillion bucks!

    As I've said to people before, in making these decisions you must look at the PRODUCT of the probability of an event times the seriousness of the consequences. Probability alone is meaningless. If I told you the consequences of a HDD failure, causing total data loss in a RAID0 array, are that the computer blows up with a 1 kiloton force, destroying you, your house, and your family, you really would not care what number they give you for the probability. No, it's not anything like that serious, but look at BOTH factors as you decide.
  9. Point duly noted, and very elegantly summarized. The risks have been outlined, and he backs up his documents as he creates them, so we're okay there.
    I am wondering, if history serves as a suitable model, we are about a year away from affordable SSD storage, so the whole point of gaining a modest speed increase using RAID0 may be a non-issue.
    In summary, all my questions have been answered, and I thank you.
  10. So I can install vista and the driver will stay there then I can overwrite the crap with my backup?
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