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Install Win7 64 from W7-32: Will I lose my RAID-1?

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June 27, 2012 6:13:47 PM

I have Win-7 32-bit and I want to overwrite it to Win-7 64 bit. It is currently set up with RAID-1. If I fresh-install Win-7 64 bit, do I need to do anything special to preserve the RAID-1? I did not set this up originally: It came this way from the seller, and I'm not all that tech savvy. I just need to know what, if anything, I need to do when installing Win-7 64 over the Win7-32 to keep the RAID-1 going.

Thank you!

More about : install win7 lose raid

a b $ Windows 7
June 27, 2012 6:25:10 PM

If the raid was setup at the firmware level then no, you do not need to do anything
a b $ Windows 7
June 27, 2012 6:58:10 PM

Hi :) 

You realise you are going to format the drive to install 64 bit ?

You cannot upgrade...

All the best Brett :) 
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June 27, 2012 7:45:01 PM

tl;dr: Dump the raid1 array, format and install one of the disks and you're good to go.

You mentioned you're not tech. savvy, so I am guessing that someone talked you into/convinced you to use RAID1 as a backup. RAID1 isn't a data backup solution, and it shouldn't be used as such. It's only good for minimizing system down-time due to hard drive issues--for something like a system that needs to be running literally all the time (server, etc.). What RAID1 does not do is any data integrity verification as it performs the mirroring of data. What that means is that if you have corrupted data on one disk, it will get copied to the other in a very "dumb" way. Meaning if you get something like a power surge that ends up corrupting some/all of your primary drive, all of those corrupted sectors will get mirrored to your mirror drive, and then you'll have two worthless disks and no way to retrieve your data. What you should do, if you want to upgrade to 64-bit is backup all of your data (this could be simply disconnecting the mirror drive since it should contain all of your data), formatting the primary drive and installing windows on the primary disk. Don't bother with the RAID array, and just use the other disk as a manual backup (external enclosure, etc.).
June 27, 2012 8:45:26 PM

Pinhedd said:
If the raid was setup at the firmware level then no, you do not need to do anything


Thank you. All I know is that when it starts up, the screen briefly shows what looks like a BIOS list that states on it RAID-1. This occurs before the Windows screen comes up. So I'm presuming that's a firmware level setup.

Thank you!
June 27, 2012 8:46:56 PM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

You realise you are going to format the drive to install 64 bit ?

You cannot upgrade...

All the best Brett :) 


Thank you, Brett. Yes, I understand I lose everything on the drive in order to install 64-bit. I'll do a backup of important files first, then reinstall programs after Win7 64-bit is done.

Thank you for your help!
June 27, 2012 8:50:20 PM

teh_chem said:
tl;dr: Dump the raid1 array, format and install one of the disks and you're good to go.

You mentioned you're not tech. savvy, so I am guessing that someone talked you into/convinced you to use RAID1 as a backup. RAID1 isn't a data backup solution, and it shouldn't be used as such. It's only good for minimizing system down-time due to hard drive issues--for something like a system that needs to be running literally all the time (server, etc.). What RAID1 does not do is any data integrity verification as it performs the mirroring of data. What that means is that if you have corrupted data on one disk, it will get copied to the other in a very "dumb" way. Meaning if you get something like a power surge that ends up corrupting some/all of your primary drive, all of those corrupted sectors will get mirrored to your mirror drive, and then you'll have two worthless disks and no way to retrieve your data. What you should do, if you want to upgrade to 64-bit is backup all of your data (this could be simply disconnecting the mirror drive since it should contain all of your data), formatting the primary drive and installing windows on the primary disk. Don't bother with the RAID array, and just use the other disk as a manual backup (external enclosure, etc.).


That is an elegant solution: Just unplug one of the drives and format the other. Won't that cause me to have to change something on the startup BIOS screen to tell it it's not a RAID-1 anymore? If I do that, what do I tell it to do?
June 27, 2012 9:42:08 PM

I think I was simplifying things a bit too much--apologies. If it is going through a hardware RAID controller, you'd probably need to back up all of your data before removing the drive from the array (data is written to the drives through the RAID controller--unless it's read through the same controller, it will not be able to be read by another one, so my simplifiaction of just reading from the mirrored drive as your backup of data may not--probably won't--work. Sometimes in software RAID it can. Intel controllers are also okay for being able to do this, but it's not universally true).

If your data is all backed up on another drive, all you'd need to do is either enter the RAID controller set-up (usually there's a prompt that says something like "press f1 to enter RAID set-up") where you can delete your array. You should also have to change a setting in your BIOS to tell the computer what mode your SATA ports are functioning in (IDE/SATA or RAID). If you change this back to IDE/SATA (this will vary depending on your BIOS), it should automatically skip the RAID set-up during boot, and you'll essentially see both of your hard drives in the BIOS, and they'll appear to be unformatted drives in windows set-up.

If you do choose to keep the RAID1 array and upgrade to 64-bit, you'll still need to manually back-up your data to a drive and format the disks. Windows 7 is exceptionally good for recognizing RAID hardware and being able to use it without a 3rd-party driver during the OS installation process. If you keep your array and it's recognized by the installation files, you can just format it during the OS installation process and proceed with the install process.
June 28, 2012 2:15:01 AM

teh_chem said:
I think I was simplifying things a bit too much--apologies. If it is going through a hardware RAID controller, you'd probably need to back up all of your data before removing the drive from the array (data is written to the drives through the RAID controller--unless it's read through the same controller, it will not be able to be read by another one, so my simplifiaction of just reading from the mirrored drive as your backup of data may not--probably won't--work. Sometimes in software RAID it can. Intel controllers are also okay for being able to do this, but it's not universally true).

If your data is all backed up on another drive, all you'd need to do is either enter the RAID controller set-up (usually there's a prompt that says something like "press f1 to enter RAID set-up") where you can delete your array. You should also have to change a setting in your BIOS to tell the computer what mode your SATA ports are functioning in (IDE/SATA or RAID). If you change this back to IDE/SATA (this will vary depending on your BIOS), it should automatically skip the RAID set-up during boot, and you'll essentially see both of your hard drives in the BIOS, and they'll appear to be unformatted drives in windows set-up.

If you do choose to keep the RAID1 array and upgrade to 64-bit, you'll still need to manually back-up your data to a drive and format the disks. Windows 7 is exceptionally good for recognizing RAID hardware and being able to use it without a 3rd-party driver during the OS installation process. If you keep your array and it's recognized by the installation files, you can just format it during the OS installation process and proceed with the install process.



Thank you VERY much. That is really clear and extremely helpful. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to explain this!
!