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Move Windows XP software RAID 0 to new PC w/ Windows 7 RAID 5

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June 8, 2010 4:52:50 AM

This may have been answered, but I can't seem to find it. My principal uses are storage of music, pictures, video, and occasional HD editing.

I need to move a 3 disk (WD 2TB caviar green) RAID 0 array from a Dell 8300 running XP, to a newly built PC using a Gigabyte p55a-ud3, i7/860, Windows 7 64bit, and make it a RAID 5 at the same time. The drives are currently hooked up to an add-on PCI SATA expansion card using a Silicon Image 3114 chip. I did NOT use the Silicon Image software/chip to control the RAID as it gave me problems, it's in "pass-thru" mode. I'm using XP to do a software raid.

I was reading this post about converting RAID0 to RAID5 and it seems to work but I have a slightly different scenario by also having to move the array.

At this point do I just swap the drives to the new PC and Win 7 will recognize it? or is it better to use the onboard Intel raid controller. If I use the onboard Raid will I need to save all the data somewhere else, built the array then move the data?

Please take it easy on me, I don't want to say I have no idea what I'm doing, but it's my first build and I'm learning as I go along. ;) 
a b G Storage
June 8, 2010 4:43:11 PM

First, you are very trusting to use an xp raid 0 to store anything you care to keep. You were correct in stating it would be better to build using the intel matrix storage manager.

Second, please backup everything you hold dear before you do anything.

Third, put those 3 WD greens in a NAS. Use ZFS zraid or something more substantial than raid 5 for 4GB of storage.

Sorry that I can't help with the actual change from xp to 7 as I have not used windows soft raid but.. if you have a good backup I say go for it? But much better if you do one or more of the above.
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June 9, 2010 3:58:12 AM

I'm in the process of backing up as I type. I guess I should have stated this pc will also serve as a NAS for ps3 with the majority of space dedicated to movies, music, etc . Only on occasion will it be used to edit hd video or pictures.

What do you mean by something more substantial than RAID 5? In the end I will have 4 2tb drives. I figured raid 5 would be my best option for my use assuming anything I "hold dear" is properly backed up, yet still have a safety net if something fails I wouldn't have to re-backup 300+ dvds to store on the nas.
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a b G Storage
June 9, 2010 2:51:50 PM

Check the wiki article on RAID. Especially the Atomicity section. Here's an excerpt:

Increasing disk capacities and large RAID 5 redundancy groups have led to an increasing inability to successfully rebuild a RAID group after a disk failure because an unrecoverable sector is found on the remaining drives. Double protection schemes such as RAID 6 are attempting to address this issue, but suffer from a very high write penalty.

Next look at this "Data recovery in the event of a failed array" section.

Basically it's getting at the fact that drives are getting huge and so the chance of a bad sector being on a drive are pretty good. If you have one bad sector on one drive and another drive fails... the array is gone. There are ways to help protect against this using write caching, ecc ram, etc. But zraid writes on an 'open' sector, and then checks the write using a parity bit. It's RAM intensive but works well for larger drives and larger arrays.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of these data integrity freaks. Its just important to keep ALL the technology going forward rather than grab the 2TB drive and use the RAID 5 which was developed in the era of 9MB drives. At the end of the day drives don't fail that often and your RAID 5 will probably work fine for years. We just have to choose the level of safety we're comfortable with and go with it.

At least you have a good backup. This is the most important piece of the puzzle.
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