How to replace two existing hard drives in a Raid 1 XP operating system

I have a Dell computer with Windows XP Professional that has 2 Seagate hard drives that came originally from Dell with the 2 hard drives set up as a Raid 1. I would like to change the 2 hard drives with 2 new ones. Can I do this by just unpluging the 2 hard drives, pluging in the 2 new hard drives and then reinstalling the Operating system. Is there anything else I need to do? Will the 2 new hard drives need to be configured or partioned in any way first or will installing the XP operating system take care of any partioning or configuring as it is being loaded?
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  1. If you replace the two drives, you will need to go into the RAID bios and configure the raid. During the XP install, you will need to use the F6 key to install the raid drivers.

    Another way to do this is to image the OS partiton onto a 3rd drive. Replace the 2 drives and restore the image to the raided drives. You will need backup/imaging software that can run from a rescue CD/DVD in order to do this. Later you can use partition software to resize the partition if needed.
  2. I am not familiar with the Raid bios or the F6 key. What I have done in the past only was to reformat the 2 existing hard drives by booting from the XP operating system disc and going thru WINDOWS SETUP. At what point do I get into the Raid bios and use the F6 key and how is it done? Do I go into the Raid bios now with the 2 existing hard drives or do I install the 2 new hard drives first and then boot from the XP OS disc. The 2 new hard drives as far as I understand will not be partioned or formatted and will be completely blank. You also stated I need to install the Raid drivers. When I reformatted before, I got the various drivers I needed from the Dell Resource CD but I don't recall seeing Raid drivers on the CD. Where would these drivers be?
  3. Pete123456 said:
    What I have done in the past only was to reformat the 2 existing hard drives by booting from the XP operating system disc and going thru WINDOWS SETUP.

    If this is true, then you don't have raid as XP doesn't come with native raid drivers, which is why they need installed during the windows setup/install. Are you using a slipstreamed install CD or a retail/OEM install CD?

    The raid bios is accessed before windows even starts just like your motherboards bios. During boot, you should see a combo-key on your screen, something like CTRL-A to access RAID or CTRL-I RAID SETUP. If you are not seeing this, then you don't have raid.

    During windows setup, you'll come to a screen and it will read, "Press F6 to Install a Third Party Driver". This is where you install the raid drivers that came with your computer or motherboard.
  4. When I ordered my computer (Dell Precision 380 Workstation), I had it set up as Raid 1. Three items on my invoice are:

    Item # 341-2928 160GB SATA II Hard Drive for Raid Part# UD302

    Item # 341-2929 160GB SATA II Additional Hard Drive Part# UD301

    Item # 341-2340 C5-All SATA Hard Drives, Raid 1 for 2 Hard Drives, Dell Precision 380 Part# NC100

    With the computer Dell sent me a Reinstallation CD of Microsoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2. On the disc it states, "The software is already installed on your computer. Only use this CD to reinstall the operating system on a Dell computer. This CD is not for reinstallation of programs or drivers.", also "For distribution only with a new Dell PC."

    Dell also sent a resource CD which contains the Device drivers.

    I have reformatted the computer a few times before using the existing 2 Hard Drives and it always worked. When I reformatted and then used the Resource CD to add the drivers, I never added any Raid drivers. When I reformatted the Hard Drives, didn't I clear the Drives and in a sense start off with 2 new Hard Drives? Wouldn't it be just like installing 2 new Hard Drives? Or was there something left on the Hard Drives that I didn't have to do anything with the BIOS or the F6 key because the computer could tell that the Hard Drives were not new but just being reformatted?
  5. Does disk management (not device manager) show one drive or two? If it shows 2 drives, then it's not running in RAID. It's possible that Dell's Windows CD already has the raid drivers slipstreamed in allowing you to bypass the F6 option. If you had to format two drives instead of one, then the drives are not in RAID. When RAID is successful, multiple drives will appear as one drive within windows, unless of course you partitioned the RAID volume.
  6. Disk management shows one drive. It is labeled Disk 0 149.00GB

    It is further broken down as:

    55MB FAT Healthy (EISA configuration)

    (C) 148.95 GB NTFS Healthy (System)

    When I did the formatting, I formatted one drive.

    Do the 55MB and 148.95 GB segments indicate these are the partioned areas of each drive?

    If that is the case, am I correct in assuming the XP operating system is in partition C? If that is true what is in the 55MB FAT Healthy partition or did both of these come from the XP disc?
  7. The 55 meg partition is a utility/diagnostic partition put there by Dell. On bootup, before windows loads, you may see an option, something like F12-Recovery or F11- Diagnostics. I can't remember the exact wording. This will boot from that partition and it contains a few diagnostic programs. C is your OS partition and contains your OS, programs, and data.

    Now that we've determined you do indeed have RAID, there are two ways to go about this. The 1st and in my opionion, the better way, is listed in my first post, regarding backing up.

    The 2nd way is to take advantage of what raid does. Shut down your computer and remove one of the drives. Reboot so that the RAID shows up degraded (versus healthy). Now shut down and install a new drive where the one you removed was connected. Now reboot and allow the RAID to rebuild. This may take a while depending on the size of the drive and the amount of data you have on it. When it's done rebuilding, shut down and remove the remaining old drive. Reboot and allow it to show degraded again. Shut down and put the remaining new drive where you removed that last drive from. Reboot yet again and allow the RAID to rebuild itself. Once done, you may need to use partition software to expand the RAID volume to the new size of the drive. I'd check with your RAID management software 1st though. It may have an option to expand the RAID volume.
  8. I want to install 2 new Hard Drives because my 2 existing Hard Drives were used in my business and there is information on the Drives that I wanted deleted. Even though I reformatted, I understand the data is really not deleted and the only way to be sure is to replace the Hard Drives and install 2 new ones and then destroy the old Hard Drives.

    If I did put in the 2 new Hard Drives I guess I would lose forever the 55 meg partition put in by Dell with its diagnostics but that would be OK I think. I'm more interested in having new Hard Drives with none of my old business information present.

    What would happen If I installed the 2 new Hard Drives and then inserted the Dell Windows XP operating system CD into the CD drive and started the computer to start the Windows XP Setup program as I did before. When I did this before, it detected the existing Windows OS and asked if I wanted it repaired which I didn't so I pressed ESC. Then it asked if I wanted to install Windows XP on a partition that contains another operating system and to continue the setup using this partition by pressing C or to select a different partition by pressing ESC. I pressed C with the old Drives installed and it installed the OS on partition C right over the existing XP OS. But now if I had the 2 new Hard Drives with no partitions, if it asked to repair I would press ESC again also. Then if it asked to install Windows XP using this partition (which would now be the whole non-partioned space), could I then press C to continue the setup as before when I had the old Drives installed. Do you think this could work?
  9. If your goal is simply to destroy the old data, then just reinstall Xp to the old drives. During the installation you'll be given the chance to format the drive. Writing data over top of old data effectively destroys the old data. You'll most likely lose you recovery partition which isn't a big deal as long as you have the Dell install CD's and make good regular backups.
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