Setup 1 SSD + 2 HDDs without RAID

This is a new build with one 64G SSD and two 2TB HDDs. The OS is 32-bit XP Pro, which I am locked into for the time being. The MB/BIOS is Asrock Extreme4Gen3.

I've read threads about using SSDs (for the OS) and two HDDs (for data). Some people have problems with setup. Concerns were also expressed regarding instability and drive failures (particularly for the SSD) and about data security with RAID-0. Using an internal HDD is much faster than external solutions, but internal RAID-1 solutions were discouraged for backup because of accidental erasures or other mistakes or viruses. I realize there are other RAID solutions that will improve performance and provide redundancy, but I want to use only two HDDs for the moment.

I am wondering whether the following setup makes sense:

The OS is relatively small, so install the OS on both the SSD and first HDD and set the boot order from SSD to HDD. Use the SSD normally as a system and program C drive. If the SSD goes down, detach it and boot from the HDD, and use the HDD as a system drive while sorting out the SSD situaition. Do manual or scheduled full and differential backups to the second HDD to backup the primary data disk without replicating careless errors. Use an external HDD or other service for less frequent backups.

Thanks for your advice.
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  1. Sounds to much work, I mean for all the backups wich you have to do.
    If you install a program on your ssd you have to install it on your first hdd also.
    If you make a windows update on ssd you have to make it on your fist hdd also.
    configurations, asociation, stored passwords on browsers, etc, etc.
    why dont you make an image (Acronis, Norton ghost, HDclone, clonezilla) of your hdd every time its possible and then copy it to a "save place". if something goes wrong
    clone the image to your hdd or to your ssd back.
    The cloning process for 64 gigs should take not more than 15 min's.
  2. Thanks for replying. The HDD is basically for data. I wouldn't keep the HDD up to date with programsor upgrades, etc, but I would have the initial installation of the OS on it so that it could become a boot drive if I had to take the SSD out. XP doesn't take up much space.

    Backups always seem like extra work, no matter how one does them. Automatic mirroring with a RAID-1 is not a backup solution. The external drives I have are too slow, so that is why I was thinking of backing up to another internal for my daily backups. Which of those cloning programs do you recommend?
  3. Right now at my work we are using HD-Clone its a realy great program and has many futures like multi-cloning (clone from one source drive to max 16 hard drives at the same time),drive to drive cloning, partition to partition cloning, image to image cloning (and all off them vice versa), smart 1:1 copy, you can boot it from dos (flash or cd) or even start it directly from the standalone windows version. Very nice program and good understandable GUI.
    I would recomend it but of course it's just a recomendation since others like acronis or the nice classic norton Ghost would be ok. Just go ahead download some free cloning tools(or trial), look which is most suitable for you.

    Be very carefull when it comes chosing your source and target drive you could accedantly delete your source drive.
    It would be wise to chose a cloning software where it reads the model and serial numbers of your drives (besides the vendor and size) so you can be more sure which is your source and which is your destination drive.
    By the way Hd-Clone has this feature, i think acronis too, Norton Ghost definitely not.
    Well give it a try, as I said Cloning is very fast and easy.
  4. Thanks copnas. I saw that the free HD-Clone would only work with physical disks and not partitions. I ended up using EaseUS Todo Backup which clones partitions and also identified them by drive letter and name as well as hardware model.

    The set up worked out fine. After doing my basic OS installation and adding a browser and anitvirus and some of the motherboard utilities, I cloned the 64Gb SSD to partitions on each of the two 2Tb HDDs. Since the 64Gb SSD was about 60Gb, I had 1.76T of available space on each of the HDDs: one for "work" and one for "backup."

    After going through installing and setting up most of my software, I was able to leave the original clean OS install on the 60Gb partition on the Backup disk and I was able to clone the current state of the SSD onto the 60Gb partition on the Work disk. If I put a lot more stuff on the SSD, I can clone a more up-to-date version of my boot disk any time while still having an initial OS installation without software.

    Acknowledging your point about deleting data, in order to make sure the cloning software didn't overwrite the full physical HDD, I first made a full backup of the data I had placed on the work disk, and that also went very quickly and without any problems to the backup disk.

    At this point I think I have a pretty good system. I have two levels of possible OS restoration. I have non-RAID HDD redundancy with a very quick internal backup drive. I have an external backup that the new motherboard's ports allowed me to switch from USB2 to eSTATA, and that device is also performing much better. I have nearly 50Gb remaining on the SSD so that I can still use it for the intensive phases of initial work with such files as large TIFF scans or video, and when I'm done I can dump them to the Work disk.

    Things went as smoothly as I had hoped they would. People who want to protect themselves against the risks of losing data either by a RAID accident yet also want to give their system some redundancy to protect against hardware failure might want to know how the setup worked out.

    Thanks again for your replies.
  5. Best answer
    it looks like nothing can go wrong like this.
  6. Best answer selected by lunzhegu.
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