Ok, so my system has the OS on the SSD and the other programs, photos, etc on a second HD. I'd like to replace this HD with 3 drives using RAID 5 to make the system a little faster and protect against a drive failure.
How do I move all the data from the second drive to the three set on Raid5 so the OS knows no difference? Since many programs were installed on the second HD, I don't want screw ups or have to reinstall all the software. Let me know, and thanks.
It's pretty straightforward. You'll probably want to make sure to disconnect the old drive before you boot up or it could confuse Windows. You might need to assign the new drive (partition) the old drive's letter to keep everything working. I can't guarantee you that you won't run into some programs having trouble, but this worked perfectly for me with a boot drive the one time I did it.
So if you've got 2TB on your RAID 5 and you're cloning a 500GB drive to it, you'll end up with a 500GB partition on the 2TB drive and 1.5TB that you'll have to do something else with.
Are you familiar with disk partitioning? You split a disk into parts, each formatted separately, that programs read as if they're each their own disks. Your bios & Device Manager will see the physical disk, but Windows and other programs let you access each partition as if it's separate.
The limitation would be that because they're physically on the same disk, operations such as copying and pasting between two partitions on the same disk will be slower than copying between different disks because they have to share the hardware.
Mirroring creates a partition of data that is identical to the data on the original partition being mirrored. So if you have a 500GB drive that has only 1 partition that you mirror to an unformatted & unpartitioned 1000GB drive, the mirror will take up the first 500GB of that drive to create a new partition identical to the original drive. Then you can boot from the new partition if the original partition was bootable.
Sometimes, the bootable sector may be on a different partition than you expect and you'll need that to boot. If you're not mirroring your system drive (since that's on your SSD), that shouldn't matter.
I want to move all the data off the current HD and move it to another (which is located on another computer on the same network). Then, I'd like to install the data onto the RAID drives (after setting them up through the BIOS and Win7).
Is there any chance I will lose or miss some data that is hidden during these moves?
The data will transfer. The only way to get programs to transfer is to mirror the drive and rename it to the same drive letter--and it has to be to a computer with the same (or cloned) Windows installation.