I just finished my first build a couple months ago and all is well. I want to add another hard drive in the interest of information security before i start law school. My plan is to buy another HD the same as the one I have and run it in RAID 1. Does anyone have any tips hints or websites i should check out first? Thanks.
Phenom x4 3.2
ASUS m4a88td evo usb3
WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"
Asus optical drive
Read the section on RAID in your motherboard manual, and install the appropriate RAID driver for your motherboard and OS (it's on the CD that came with the motherboard). RAID is much easier to install on a brand-new rig, than on a rig with an already-installed OS.
treefrog is right, installing RAID anything on an existing system can get tricky. It all depends on whether you want to be able to boot your computer from the RAID array, as you indicate you might want.
The trouble is that no Windows can work with a RAID array without having a specific driver for that array system installed. (This is because there are all sorts of minor variations on how RAID's are done.) So, to boot from a RAID1 array the Windows installed on that array must have a driver installed on it, too, in such a way that Windows can find and use it to access the array for boot purposes. This CAN be done. BUT the way it is done is to install the driver (from a floppy disk, a flash drive or a CD) VERY early in the process of installing Windows itself onto the RAID1 array. You have not done this in your Windows installation, of course. SO you would need to re-install Windows once you acquire the second drive and create the RAID1 array.
Now, there is an alternative IF you don't want to boot from the RAID1 array. For this you would buy TWO new HDD's (a pair of identical units), install them, and use ONLY those two HDD units to create the new RAID1 array. You leave your existing single HDD just as it is - a stand-alone drive that is NOT included in any RAID array. Within the RAID Management utility in your machine's BIOS (I am assuming you will want to use the "built-in RAID" feature of your mobo BIOS) when you go to establish a RAID1 array, ONLY the specific HDD units you specify will be used for a RAID1 array. Any you do not specifically assign to the array (like your old existing unit) remain as they were. Having set up your 3 drives this way you now will boot from the original drive that has Windows installed on it, and this will be the way it always works. The last step in getting it all set up is that, with the new RAID1 array Created and Windows running from the old drive, you then will Install into Windows the RAID driver it needs. Your machine or mobo manual will have instructions how to do this. Once you do this the RAID1 array will show up in Windows as ONE new "drive" that can be used for data, applications, etc. It just will not be used as the boot drive. And anything you store on the boot drive will NOT be automatically duplicated on a mirror unit (the way RAID1 does things) because the old drive is NOT part of the RAID1 array.
A final note: NO RAID system can substitute for a proper Backup System, and you must discipline yourself to USE that Backup System regularly.