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Windows 7: Windows 7 Software RAID


01 Nov 2010   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 
Windows 7 Software RAID

I am running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. I have a single 500GB hard drive, which contains 2 partitions. The first partition is about 265MB and contains Windows 7. The second partition contains Windows XP Professional 32-bit, as I occasionally need to boot into XP for some software development and testing.

I would like to add a second hard drive, and use it to mirror the Windows 7 partition using Windows 7 software RAID 1, thus providing me with some protection should one drive fail. If I purchase another identical 500GB hard drive, and make a partition of the same size (265MB), will I be able to mirror my Windows 7 setup in the way intended, or can anyone foresee any problems or issues? I am NOT intending to mirror the Windows XP partition.

Regards

Simon


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Nov 2010   #2

Win 8 Release candidate 8400
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by simonjkendrew View Post
I am running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. I have a single 500GB hard drive, which contains 2 partitions. The first partition is about 265MB and contains Windows 7. The second partition contains Windows XP Professional 32-bit, as I occasionally need to boot into XP for some software development and testing.

I would like to add a second hard drive, and use it to mirror the Windows 7 partition using Windows 7 software RAID 1, thus providing me with some protection should one drive fail. If I purchase another identical 500GB hard drive, and make a partition of the same size (265MB), will I be able to mirror my Windows 7 setup in the way intended, or can anyone foresee any problems or issues? I am NOT intending to mirror the Windows XP partition.

Regards

Simon

Simon you do realize the speed penalty of RAID 1 vs raid 0 correct? also Raid offers minimal extra data security if any. If your controller dies you lose data, If one drives dies and it is writing to the other at the same time you loose data, etc.

There are other methods that dont involve the performance hit and give you data security

Ken
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2010   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Hi Ken

Thank you for your reply. Are you able to offer any advice on a suitable configuration that will meet my objectives?

Regards

Simon
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


02 Dec 2010   #4

WIndows 7 64bit Ultimate
 
 

At work I've run Hardware Raid 1 mirrors using Adaptec raid controllers. Never had an issue. Have had like 3 HD die over the past 10 years (Yes it was a P3 server) and its still going. When the drive started having issues it would warn me in windows and then I would pull the drive (system kept on running with one) bought a new HD and put it in. The system would copy (Mirror) to the new HD while working in windows.

Ok for my home system I have a i7 920/ATI 5870. (yes love to game!)
Anyway I had a 500 gig single SATA drive that is getting full. I was lazy and left it as one huge drive C. WHich I hate.

I purchased two 1 TB drives and am thining of using Windows 7 software raid 1.

Why?
The new huge HDs do have lots of marginal sectors and they are more likely to go down than the older drives.
So I plan on them failing at some point. I do not want to loose 100 gigs of steam games. (To redownload would be a major pain.)

I tried a intel MB raid 1 on the boot drive of a windows vista install. Big mistake. I had 1 drive but it was partitioned for C and D. Both mirrored on dynamic. The OS was on the C partition. Well it failed and because it was dynamic it would not boot. I could get to the data with some of my HD tools but the boot sector was messed up. It did not keep on a chugging like the hardware raid at work.
When I say hardware Raid I mean a PCI card that plug into a slot and NOT the crap raid that is built into a motherboard.

Anyway. My current system.

Drive 0 - Is a 500 GB giant drive C with the OS
Dive -1 - New 1 TB
Drive -2 - New 1 TB
external - 1 TB network HD (Gigbit, does about 25 megs/sec) one of those WD mybookworld drives.

I use Acronis or other image software and image C. (Once I get it down to like 30 gigs) moving steam games to new drives. That gets put on the external HD. (I make a new one like once every 3 months)

I use synctoy to copy files from MYDOCUMENTS to the external HD. This is auto and everyday.

I will put all my games and large Apps on the 1 TB Windows 7 software mirror.

Over the years I have never had a SATA or IDE port go bad. What usually happens is the HD fails via bad spindle then heat then bad sectors. Usually one partition gets blown but never had all partitions fail at once.
So the idea for the mirror is when the HD fails the other one (odds are wont at the same time)
If C dies (not mirrored) I have a image that I can get back in 10 min. Then I use synctoy to get back the data that was newer than my last image.

Image + syntoy files = Back up like new. Maybe 30 min.

I have a few concerns and questions.

1. How much of a performance hit will I take in win 7 by having a raid 1 on the none boot drives.?
I mean will it slow my games? Or is it only a hit when the HD is loading data? If so that no biggie as there is already a hit when the HD is doing things. Usually in a game you load.........30 sec game comes up and it pretty much runs in ram and videa card with very little HD action.

2. Should I partition the RAID drive? Maybe I am old fashion but I always like to have a smaller partition that is near empty. Why? When I burn a DVD, unzip, etc. A small empty drive was alway much faster than using the main drive with 40,000 files. Maybe this is not the case anymore, I have not benched things in years.
ie. My could be set up.....

Drive C - 500 gig boot
Drive D - 1 TB raid 1 700 GB
Drive E - 1 TB raid 1 300 GB

Or I could Repartion C (Using a tool like partition Magic)
Drive 0 - 500 GB HD with (100GB Boot + 400 GB partition)
Drive 1 - The 1 TB mirror.

Not sure if its worth it to shrink the boot drive to 100 GB.
I use to make my boot drive 20 gigs and only keep my OS on it. But so many applications these days assume everyone has a HUGE boot drive I'm thinking that this might be old thinking on my part.

What do you gurus think? Any suggestions or answers?

Appreciate the input!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Dec 2010   #5

WIndows 7 64bit Ultimate
 
 

I just happened across this link
RAID on the Cheap: Windows 7 Software RAID vs. inexpensive “fake RAID” at Kevin’s Blog

If you want to know a bit more about
Windows 7 vs MB vs PCIx Raid this is for you.

He was in the same boat many are in when it comes to mirroring huge drives. Check it out and let me know if there is anything in there that is not correct. It looks like a good read, not done yet.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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