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Windows 7: Win7 Software RAID

30 Aug 2011   #1
mbc362

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Win7 Software RAID

I am currently using my motherboard's fakeRAID capability (AMD 890FX chipset) to create a RAID1 array (separate from my boot drive, of course). I was considering switching to a win7 software RAID implementation, the idea being if I switched motherboards or addon cards I wouldn't have to recreate the RAID array (plus, I've heard that software RAID tends to be slightly better than fakeRAID at throughput and cpu load). However, one of my friends told me that, at least in previous versions of windows, RAID arrays created in win software were specific to that particular windows installation. So, if I lost my boot drive, I would lose my RAID array as well. Can anyone comment on this? If I create a software raid array in win7 and later reinstall the operating system or move the array to another computer with the same operating system, would it still properly recognize the array?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Aug 2011   #2
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

You might have a slightly better chance of moving the array, but I still wouldn't ever bother with software RAID at all. The golden rule always used to be to never let software do the job of hardware.

If you really want to be able to move your array, get a cheap PCI-E RAID controller card and then you'll always be able to move the array. I am running a RocketRAID 2300 in my Home Server 2011 box, and it was well under $100.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Aug 2011   #3
mbc362

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I understand that in terms of performance and mobility, a true RAID controller is preferable. Unfortunately, the good ones cost a fair amount of money. My understanding was that those cheap RAID controller cards (such as the RocketRAID 2300) were really just SATA controller cards that could do fakeRAID, so it would be more mobile than what I currently have, but not any better performance, still cost me money, and if the card failed for whatever reason I wouldn't be able to use my array until I got a replacement card. If win7's implementation of software raid is not installation specific, then that would be my best option for right now. Does it have this capability?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2011   #4
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

I doubt it does and I wouldn't trust it. If you have an issue with "fakeRAID" then software RAID is a step down from that. Since all you want to do is mirroring anyway, why not just put one drive in and one as an external. Then use any number of free programs to sync the drives on a schedule. Mirroring isn't a backup anyway, so you'd actually make your data more safe. Before I starting using WHS, I did this same thing. I backed up my important data from C to my D drive, and then once a week I had an image of D created on an identical drive in an external cage.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2011   #5
mbc362

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

whoops...That was a typo. I have a RAID0 array, not a RAID1 array. I'm disappointed that windows' software raid doesn't include this functionality as, from what I've been told, the software raid in linux does. Anyways, thanks for your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2011   #6
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Ah, yes that makes a big difference, and also negates all of my suggestions about the backup drives. RAID0 is nothing more than an overhyped tech anyway, and only gives speed boosts (minor) in very specific situations.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Win7 Software RAID




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