Brand new to RAID 1 - need beginner advice

Hello all,
I'm on Vista Ultimate SP2.
Currently I have a C:\ drive, on Western Digital 640 GB internal SATA. It contains all my programs and some data. I have learned the hard way that I want to use RAID 1 internally for backup. I purchased another exactly the same Western Digital 640 GB drive to plug in another SATA plug inside.
I have searched these forums and Google of course to learn how to proceed first, but most everything I find is many years old or doesn't apply to RAID 1.

So I'm hoping for some basic install info. Particularly, I have read that I have to format BOTH drives to install the RAID... but obviously don't want to lose years of programs files, AppData, settings, etc. etc.
So I guess I'm wondering if I can use Acronis or something similar to save my current C:\ drive and then load that onto both 640's ?? I am completely confused about how to install RAID if I already have my main Windows boot drive all full of precious files, folders.

I can supply more info if needed... I am just about totslly blind as to how to procced here.
Thanks very much!!

2 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about brand raid beginner advice
  1. i need help too i have a thread on how to setup raid 0 without any answers...
  2. Best answer
    The first thing that you must do is backup all of you data. If you don't have a drive large enough, then you can be selective about it and just backup your entire user directory. This will have all of your bookmarks, contacts, preferences, etc.

    You could do one of 2 things...go the way you want and create a RAID, or just connect your new drive and have a JBOD. If you go with the JBOD, then I would copy all of your user data, music, videos, etc., to your new drive. Then clean your drive up and shrink it. Once you do this, then you can repartition the drive so that you have 100 Gb or so that will now be your root directory. In this partition you want to keep your OS (duh,) and any applications that you use on a regular basis or one's that you want to run at optimum speed. So, you now have a nice root drive with your OS and apps, and now you can create another partition to store your data (just move it over from the drive you copied it to earlier.) The idea is that by having a smaller sector from which to boot, that the machine will be able to access data faster since it will not be searching for it in such a large the "old" partition.

    At this point you have your boot/app partition and your data partition on your primary drive and you still have the other drive with all of your backed-up data. In our current model you can use the secondary drive in a couple of ways: use it to store data, and/or use it as the drive that Vista can use as a back-up. You can schedule it in Vista so that it is done daily.

    If you want RAID 1, then you need to set it up. Since both drives are the same then it should be a piece of cake. First, back-up your data. Once you have your data backed-up then you want to re-boot and go into the BIOS set-up. I don't know what type of mb you are using and so the BIOS may be a little different.

    Before you can create RAID set(s) you must first create a RAID item. For Intel Southbridge chip: you want to enter the BIOS set-up, and select IDE Configuration. From there you want to seled Configure SATA As and a list of configuration options should appear. You then want to select Onboard Serial-ATA BOOTROM then save and exit. From the utility main menu, create your RAID Volume. You will be asked to name the volumes, and determine a RAID level. All of it is pretty easy. Make sure you get your drives in the correct order so that your computer will boot. You will also want to check the boot-up order before you exit the BIOS. Be sure to "Save" it all before you exit.

    It is not as intimidating as it sounds once you get into the BIOS. I use hardware RAID and it was pretty easy to get it going once I overcame the "fear of disaster" head state. As long as you have everything backed-up and a system disk or restore disk then you are safe. The best thing for you to do is to check your users manual and it will have a section on how to set-up your RAID.

    The bottom line is that nothing should be erased as long as you do not partition the drives or format them, but then you can only do that in the OS. When creating RAID you are basically telling the system how the drives are set-up and that is it.
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