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Windows 7: Mirror is useless if first drive fails

21 Jan 2010   #11

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

In the past, whenever I've tested a software RAID setup, I was able to boot with just one drive present (assuming it was a mirror). Granted, I didn't use it that often, because software RAID is still useless in my book. I'd even go so far as to say RAID of any kind on a standard desktop workstation is mostly useless, and I wouldn't even bother doing it, and haven't since the 36 GB Raptors were originally released.

Given your example above, the failure wasn't in the fact you used hardware was that you didn't have your data backed up. Software RAID is definitely not an advantage over hardware, and shouldn't be used in place of a true RAID controller. If you simply MUST run RAID on a non-server, stick with an Intel chipset, as you would have been able to move your array to a new system.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2010   #12

windows 7

For desktop home or small business use. ALWAYS run software raid when given the choice. It leaves you with an easy path to migrate, doesn't pin you down to a certain hardware. In case you're motherboard fails you can easily connect the harddrive to any motherboard, anywhere and recover your data. With hardware raid you can't do that. Hardware raid is good where it belongs, big company servers, where you have ample of replacement hardware and the required personel.

The rule is. Do as much as you can in software. It's cheaper, let's you migrate to newer hardware and is more flexible. Can you say virtual computing?

Too bad in windows 7 mirroring works a bit fishy. If somebody knows how to make it work, such that you can take any drive out and still boot. Please let me know. I don't think the MBR is duplicated on the second drive. But I'm guessing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2010   #13

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

You skipped my recommendations for using Intel's RAID then. That can be moved from chipset to chipset, because the drivers are unified. It also comes standard on most Intel chipset boards now, so the cost issue goes away as well.

I'm not sure where you get your "rules" from, but I wouldn't follow them regarding software vs hardware. Your virtualization example is about the only exception, and even then it still can't be used as a blanket statement. I'm a huge fan of VMs, but there are a few cases where you need dedicated hardware.

It sounds like you were burned in the past using hardware RAID, and have made up your mind to use software RAID. I don't know about here, but on most forums, you wouldn't post something like that without having it blow up in your face.

If your only options are software RAID, then you would be crazy to be using RAID at all. The benefits of RAID pretty much go out the window at that point. I wouldn't dream of using software RAID on anything from my own personal tower to an actual server.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

23 Jan 2010   #14

windows 7

If your only options are software RAID, then you would be crazy to be using RAID at all. The benefits of RAID pretty much go out the window at that point. I wouldn't dream of using software RAID on anything from my own personal tower to an actual server.
I'm using software raid 1 on my small business linux server and it's a beauty. The server runs VMs. When time for HW upgrade I can buy ANY motherboard without first spending 8 hours researching the latest technology and how everything changed in the last 3 years since I installed current hardware. I hook up the HDs and it's up and running again. In case I need to upgrade harddisks, I copy the VM to the new drives and I'm back in business. No dealing with back-ups, reinstalling software. Simple and easy.

I tried to do the same thing on the desktop windows 7. However it's not that easy. I used hardware intel raid with vista before and I was hoping to finally graduate to software raid with windows 7.

Everything that can be done in software is better done in software. The only reason why somethings can't be done in software is performance, that's it. And a modern desktop has WAY enough power to handle software raid 1.

Here's a quick lit of what used to be hardware is now software:
1. sound mixing (remember gravis ultrasound, or AWE32), it's software now
2. disk data compression, it's part of the OS and software now
3. modem, modulation/demodulation, now software
4. there's even some software ADSL solution out there
5. software radio
6. and so is raid, there will be a time hardware raid will only be a distant memory
7. and I have many many more examples from industry where once expensive and pain-in-the-ass hardware was replaced with software running on a PC. (think industrial process controllers)

So if you run a small business or a home computer, buy an extra 1TB HD for $80 and use software raid. It saves you a headache in both migration and recovery.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2010   #15

W7 Pro 64

I don't understand what all yoru problems iwth RAID 1 are. a single HDD drom RAID 1 can bu used anywhere regardless of the RAID controller. For RAID 1 all it does it put the same data on each HDD.

with RAID 0 or others, obviously it is very importnat which controller/software you use since it strips data apart.

I don't know if I understand the thread starter, but it seems he created his system and then manually created a RAID 1? whne i built my PC I set up the RAID in BIOS (Intel chipset) and then installed everything. Even if I had had one HDD first only and then created the RAID 1, in bIOS I then woudl jsut create the RAID and BIOS would copy the data to the 2nd HDD (careful, so you don't copy the wrong way!!).

It seems he is doing something manually in software or in the OS where he selects certain partitions.

about using 2 different HDDs... the RAID 1 will be as slow as the slower of the two HDDs. So you always try to get the very same HDDs.

RAID 1 is not necessarily backup, it just let's you keep going if one HDD fails and you get a new one and back that up then. I back up weekly to a USB HDD in addition to RAID 1. (and when one HDD fails I'd back up daily till my replacement HDD ships). also a reminder for people who forget to backup. with external HDDs you need to manually do that and might forget to plug it in.

I'm not sure what you all mean by software RAID. Obvioulsy the RAID controller on a motherboard has some sort of software (firmware) and so does a dedicated professional RAID controller. Like BIOS is a software too, it just happens to be flashed to the chip. Or are you talking about someone using a Windows software to artificially create a RAID in case the board doesn't have RAID?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2016   #16

Windows 7

I came across this post in my travels and want to share my experience creating a software raid mirror of my system drive and windows drive. I had some issues like this post but resolved them:

Convert a Basic Disk to a Dynamic Disk
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Mirror is useless if first drive fails

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