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Windows 7: Help with setting up RAID


31 Mar 2010   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Help with setting up RAID

Hey guys, I'm running a 500GB WD Blue SATA drive and thinking about getting another 500GB or 1TB internal drive. Wondering if anyone knew of a good tutorial for setting them up in a RAID. I am a complete noob to the idea.

'Nother question, Would I have to format my current drive to set it up in a RAID?

Thanks in advance,
Shook


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Apr 2010   #2

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)
 
 

First make a complete back up of your drive in case something goes wrong.

Most of the time you can install the drive, boot, and from within Windows and Disk Management you can create the Mirror. The OS will make the changes for you and copy all the data from drive 1 to drive 2.

NOTE: I have had this go wrong and you do lose all the data on the first drive that is why I said make a complete back up first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2010   #3
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit
 
 

You might want to read up on the different RAID types before you do anything. Ideally you want both drives to be the same size, identical drives from the same manufacturer being optimal. If you are going to mirror, RAID 1, you should be able to do it without loosing data. I'd back up anyway just in case. If you are going to stripe ,RAID 0, you'll probably going to have to do a clean install. I would anyway. I've never done software RAID, only hardware RAID, and its been a while so times may have changed, but I always ended up doing a clean install when setting up my RAID array.
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01 Apr 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thanks guys. Yea I was wondering if I would need hardware, and also wondered what RAID type would I need. I just want to make sure I have a backup of all my data.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2010   #5
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit
 
 

Check the manual for your motherboard, most now have built in support for RAID. If you mirror an exact copy of your data is saved to both hard drives. If one drive fails the other one just keeps on trucking. There is no performance advantage to speak of but you have hardware redundancy. Keep in mind that if say for example you use two 500 gig drives you will only have 500 gigs of space not 1000. If you mirror your data is saved across both drives so in this case two 500 gig drives will get you 1000 gigs of space to play with. There is a performance advantage as both drives are read at the same time. The downfall is if one drive in a two drive setup fails all your data is lost. Been there done that and its not fun. RAID 5 is I think the preferred setup if you can afford it. Three or more drives etc.
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01 Apr 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

What is it that you are trying to accomplish by moving to a RAID based setup???
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01 Apr 2010   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
What is it that you are trying to accomplish by moving to a RAID based setup???
Well I would just like to constantly have a backup of all of my files. But I was told you can only run RAID with matching drives. Not a 500g and a 1tb. Think I'll just stick to backing up images every once and awhile.

How about Windows 7's built in backup? Anyone like it and/or use it?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2010   #8
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit
 
 

I wouldn't bother with RAID for what you want to do. You would be better off just backing up your stuff to the second drive. Mirroring RAID 1 only protects you from a drive failure. If windows goes funky and you can't log in you won't be able to get to your files. If it screws up it screws up on both drives. I have my backup drive in an external enclosure and only turn it on when I want to backup or restore my files. I have more than one PC so it makes it easy to transfer my music, pictures and stuff from one PC to the other.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2010   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I wholeheartedly agree that for saving data, a RAID 1 mirror for home use is not the way to go.

#1). If you get a virus or accidentally delete a file, you lose it on both drives instantly.

#2). If your house burns down or your computer is stolen, both copies of your data are gone at the same time.

I would use a pair of external drives instead and a utility to like sync toy or robocopy to make a mirror copy on the external drives. Then, take one of the drives offsite regularly....so in the event of theft or a fire, you don't lose your backups and your originals.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2010   #10

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
I wholeheartedly agree that for saving data, a RAID 1 mirror for home use is not the way to go.

#1). If you get a virus or accidentally delete a file, you lose it on both drives instantly.

#2). If your house burns down or your computer is stolen, both copies of your data are gone at the same time.

I would use a pair of external drives instead and a utility to like sync toy or robocopy to make a mirror copy on the external drives. Then, take one of the drives offsite regularly....so in the event of theft or a fire, you don't lose your backups and your originals.
Great advice!

Here is what I am doing that works perfectly (well untested). I bought a fire safe that has an extremely high fire rating, with a guarantee it can be opened. I then bought a high quality 1TB hard drive the connects via USB. Next I drilled a small hole in the back of the safe just enough of a size to get the power cord and then the UBS cable into the safe. I then lock the drive inside the safe and make backups. I did some research about the small hole damaging the backup portable hard drive and smoke damage will not hurt it and the inside of the safe will not get hot enough to hurt the drive. This gives me two types of peace of mind. 1) Since the safe is bolted to the floor in the closet it cannot be stolen. (well not easily) 2) I am protected against fire. Note: I have not tested this and I don't think burning down the house would be a practical test.
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