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Setting up RAID array

I have an HTPC that I've been using for a couple years now. Once it started to fill up with content I bought a simple 1.5 TB drive and an external enclosure and used it to expand my library. But now looking back I wish I had just setup a RAID array at that point so I had redundancy and could expand in the future. So the situation now is that I have now purchased a 4-drive bay and wired it up via the eSata interface. I've put two identical 1.5 WD drives in it and everything is showing up smoothly. One of these drives was the original external drive that I've been using for my library so it has probably 4-500 GB of data stored on it...the second drive is brand new and empty.

So my question is simply whether there is anyway to just now implement my desired RAID 1 configuration? In other words, can I just somehow tell the new drive to mirror the existing one and it will synch up? Or do I need to start with both drives blank from scratch and set it up like that?

thanks, much appreciated
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  1. I think there is a way that you can format the Hdd into the same partition as the larger hdd, which (when booted) will act as the same hdd. Not completely how you would go about it in the RAID format way tho..

    This partition solution should be a easy task when using partition magic like tools:

    http://download.cnet.com/1770-20_4-0.html?query=partition+magic&searchtype=downloads
  2. This topic has been moved from the section Windows 7 to section Storage by Area51reopened
  3. Combat Wombat said:
    I think there is a way that you can format the Hdd into the same partition as the larger hdd, which (when booted) will act as the same hdd. Not completely how you would go about it in the RAID format way tho..

    This partition solution should be a easy task when using partition magic like tools:

    http://download.cnet.com/1770-20_4-0.html?query=partition+magic&searchtype=downloads


    thanks but that's not what I'm asking
  4. Assuming you are running Windows XP or later version of that OS,
    try looking up the procedure for enabling an OS "software" RAID 1.


    > can I just somehow tell the new drive to mirror the existing one

    I believe so, but I haven't actually done that with a RAID 1 array.

    Since neither drive is currently hosting your OS,
    that should make it easier to enable an OS software RAID 1.


    Here's a YouTube video demonstrating creation of a RAID 1 "mirrored" array
    using Windows 7:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKDCmOBqNBY

    The main difference, of course, is that this demonstration
    uses 2 totally empty drives.

    But, I do believe there is a way to create a mirrored RAID 1
    even if one of the member drives already has data on it.


    MRFS
  5. Best answer
    Here's a pretty good article:

    http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/132877-2/how_to_set_up_raid_on_your_pc.html

    [quoting]

    Using Windows software RAID

    Windows XP, Vista, and 7 all offer software RAID which is a more than viable alternative to hardware, and easy to implement. Which levels are available with depend on your flavor of Windows

    The basic procedure for implementing Windows RAID is as follows:

    1. Open the Start Menu, right-click on Computer and select Manage.

    2. Scroll down the tree on the right to Disk Management (under Storage) and click on it.

    3. Right-click over the large drive icon to the left for operations that will affect the entire disk (extend, stripe, mirror, or RAID 5). Only what's available on your version and possible with your disk setup will be enabled. For some levels, a wizard will pop up. Follow the prompts. If the disk is not dynamic, this will automatically convert it.

    4. On dynamic disks, right-click over a volume on the drive and you'll see an option to mirror that individual volume (Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate, Windows 2000 Professional, and Windows server OS's only).


    Note: Depending on the amount of existing data, it can take an extremely long time for new Windows RAID mirrors to sync up, and disk performance will suffer till the process is completed. It's far faster to back up your files, create new mirrored volumes, then restore the data. If you do opt for letting Windows sync all the data, keeping Drive Manager open and on top will speed up the process.

    [end quote]


    MRFS
  6. thanks MRFS, you inspired me to give it a whirl and while it wasn't exactly like that, it was close...here's how it worked for me (btw, this is on Windows 7 64bit):

    for the purposes of this lets assume DRIVE1 is my original drive with the data on it and DRIVE2 is the new drive that I want to setup as the mirror to DRIVE1.

    1)following the cardinal rule I backed up all my data on DRIVE1 to an external drive before touching anything
    2)for me DRIVE2 was already mounted as a 'Simple Volume' so right-clicking on it showed the options (extend, stripe, mirror, or RAID 5) all grayed out. To use a disk as a mirror it needs to be raw, unallocated space. So for me I had to first delete the existing volume
    3)right click on DRIVE1 now and choose 'Add Mirror', it will bring up a popup asking which device you want to use, I select DRIVE2 and click OK
    4)it will setup the mirror but because there was data on DRIVE1 it needs to synch the two..this takes a LONG time, I let it run overnight so I don't have an exact time but I estimate it took about an hour per 100 GB to complete. If you plan to do this, you need to make sure you don't have a Power Plan selected that will put the machine to sleep. Thankfully I thought of this before going to bed and set it to never sleep and I had no problems.

    If I had to guess it would have been much faster to simply copy all the data off the original drive, then wipe it and create the RAID array from scratch before copying the data back but if that's not an option this seemed to work fine
  7. Best answer selected by snafu7x7.
  8. This topic has been closed by Maziar
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