Able to "partition" drives into multiple arrays?

Hey Guys,

I was recently upgrading my home media center (a little overkill on the storage, but I want it to last) to 4 1.5TB HDD's. Using my Silicon Image Sil3114 SATA controller chip I made a RAID 5 array showing the ~4.2TB. Once I installed my Windows Vista 64bit, I noticed that it was only using 2TB of this. My research showed me that that's the max size of a drive that Windows is installed on (helllooo Microsoft, time to fix that? :P).

Now, what are my options here? I would like to keep RAID 5, but don't want to dump a whole drive out of the array just to install windows on. Is there any way to make 2 arrays on the same set of 4 drives, ala windows paritions? A smaller one (say, 50 gigs) for Windows, and the rest as storage in a 2nd array?

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  1. I do beleive you CAN partion in a RAID5. I know you can in RAID 0.

    Why don't you use RAID 0+1, vs 5? I don't know much about RAID 5, even when reading about it. :pt1cable:

    "RAID 0+1 (or 01) is a striped data set (RAID 0) which is then mirrored (RAID 1). A RAID 0+1 array requires a minimum of four drives: two to hold the striped data, plus another two to mirror the first pair. It provides best RW performance."

    However, in RAID 0+1, you'd only see 3.0TB: 2 x 1.5TB "stripped" in RAID 0 (performance), as you won't see the 2 x1.5TB "mirrored" in RAID 1 (backup).

    But I see that RAID 5, one drive can fail, and you don't loose anything, just lower performance.

    Maybe this is it. Does your BIOS see al the drives? Does the RAID set up see all the drives?

    Anyway, you can partion/break it down how you like. Check "disk manager" to see if that didn't already happen. I would set up WIndows on it's own disk drive. Then RAID 5 the other 3. That way, your media stays on it's own disks (safer & backed up).

    But 1.5TB is way overkill for just an OS! I suggest another, way smaller drive: 60-120GB (like an SSD). :D

    Best of luck to you. :hello:
  2. Woops, I wasn't thinking.

    Ok, when I made a partition during Windows Install for just Windows (100 gig parition), it created 2 other partitions of ~2TB each. I figured I could merge them once I got into windows.

    Every got installed and I went to the Disk Management screen. It showed the Primary 100gb partition with windows and 2 unallocated partitions of 2Tb each. I can format the first one into a usable partition, but the second one is all grayed out.

    I would like to merge those into one 4TB partition, or not be able to do that, at least format them into 2 usable partitions of 2TB each.
  3. I believe you can in Windows 7. Me tinks me no how, but no garantez!

    Start/Computer/right click/manage/disk management

    Choose the drive, right click, and choose "Extend Volume"...

    The drive partition is "all greyed" out only when you click on it...

    Lemme no what happens.....BACK UP YOUR DATA FIRST, if you can! :hello:
  4. Nope, the 'extend' option is grayed out. I tried to do it manually using diskpart and the 'extend' command, but it told me that the MBR format limit is 2TB. I would need to convert to GPT to go over this.

    Unfortunately GPT is a drive-wide setting and my primary partition is on the same drive, meaning I can not use GPT. How can I, at least, format both 2TB partitions into usable formats. At this point, I could care less if they are one parition.
  5. Try "Extend Volume" on the volume BEFORE the one you don't want. I just tried it, and a "wizard" opens up, to help you thru it. :o

    If all else failes, I have, but never used, a utility called "Super FDisk." I think this might work, inside Windows, with out loosing info.
  6. Here, maybe this image will help:

    As you can see, I can't extend it. I also can not even format the extra space, all the options are grayed out. There is no drive letter even assigned to it, as seen here:

    I need to either extend the E: drive or format the unallocated space into a new drive letter. But, both options are grayed out.
  7. WOW! You are in a pickle.

    Here is a screen shot of mine, showing I can extend my drive "C" to more space. (But this is a SSD, and I need to leave the extra space unallocated, so the SSD can self-optmize (A whole other topic))

    If I could get it here. "How you did dat?"
  8. Ok , let's try this:

    It's really of no help. The only thing I can see, is that your "E:" drive states "Logical" and my "C:" doesn't. But I know what that is, and it's okay. Did you partion it with FDISK from another version of Windows, or during the Windows 7 install?

    Is your "Media" backed up? So you could delete the partition, an re-create the full sized larger one? Then copy your "media" back?

    If not, give up, create a simple volume on the "Unallocated" space, format it, and copy/break up your "Media" on to 2 drives (E: & F:).

    You can do that in Explore, just drag & drop the "User" folders you want on your media (i.e. Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Video) and this will tell Windows to set that folder on that drive as the default for that "media."

    That's all I got. :(
  9. Thanks for the help so far, but even when I delete the partition, it leaves them as 2 split unallocated spaces:

    Even at this stage, I am still unable to turn the 2nd unallocated space into a drive:
  10. Sorry to hear/see that! I hope nothing (but time) was lost. :(

    It might all be tied to the RAID5 setup.

    You may just have to start over, with a fresh Windows 7 install.

    Partion carefully, but I think you know that now. :D

    I think RAID 5 still will be okay, although I'g go with RAID 0+1. But what do I know? :pt1cable:

    One note: when you do the fresh install (called "Custom Install" under Windows 7), when you selet the drive(s) you want to install to, Windows will make a 100MB System partion/drive (without a drive letter), That's is okay! :)

    Best of luck to you.
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