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Windows 7: Replacing Boot Drive - Don't want to lose mirrored discs. How!

19 Oct 2013   #1
Flasharino

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 
Replacing Boot Drive - Don't want to lose mirrored discs. How!

I am running Windows 7 x64 and I have 2 mirrored drives - a pair of 1.5Ts and a pair of 2Ts. I decided to replace my boot/C: drive with a SSD but in the past when I have done things like this I have had to copy all my data to a third drive - either external USB or on another PC, then copy it back after re-setting up the drives the way I want them. And re-setting up meant formatting the drives. The process takes hours and hours and hours and I would prefer to not need to do that.

Is there a way to install Windows 7 x64 on a new drive, use it to boot but preserve the existing mirrored drives and their data?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Oct 2013   #2
gregrocker

 

If you want to try to keep the other drives plugged in to preserve the unnecessary and unfavorable RAID:

You can try plugging in the SSD to the optimal SATA port for it, then I would pre-format it and mark Active to lessen the chance the installer will write the System boot files to another drive, per Step 2.2 in SSD - HDD Optimize for Windows Reinstallation.

During Clean Install Windows 7 if the SSD shows up in any position other than Disk0 be aware that there is a chance the System boot files will be derailed to a preceding partition if it is Primary and especially if it is marked Active. We can help you deal with this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2013   #3
Flasharino

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Thanks for the reply gregrocker. To clarify - these are not RAID discs configured in the BIOS. There are Windows Dynamic/Mirrored disc pairs. Does your explanation still apply? Also, would you please clarify what you meant by "unnecessary and unfavorable RAID"?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Oct 2013   #4
gregrocker

 

We only see problems with RAID here, never any success stories. So that tends to color our advice. The only good reason I've ever seen for using such large drives (other than causing installation problems) is for video editing.

If you can't unplug the drives and have them maintain their span, then I'd leave them plugged in and follow the precautions I gave to avoid having the boot files derailed to a preceding Primary partition during install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2013   #5
Flasharino

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

I followed your directions and started to install Windows 7 x64 on the new SSD. However when the screen appears to choose which drive to install on, my two 2T drives, which were a single, mirrored logical drive with Windows before, appear as 2 separate drives. If I continue and install a new Windows on the SSD, then try to configure the 2 drives as a single, mirrored drive will I lose the data that is on them now?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2013   #6
gregrocker

 

Back up all data to be safest, which should be done anyway. A modern method to back up to the cloud is here to Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Skydrive - Windows 7 Forums.

Then if you don't touch those spanned drives during install, but only select the SSD, there is no reason they should be affected.

You said you have these HD's Dynamic which spans a partition across multiple HD's? How is this mirroring which protects data if one of the HD's in a mirror dies?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2013   #7
Flasharino

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Unfortunately it is not very practical to back up 3.5 terabytes. I am sure I will not be able it across the Internet and even if I back up to another computer on my home LAN (which I do not have the storage space to do) it would take days. These are not pairs of drives sharing a single partition they are pairs of drives which mirror one another. I will proceed with the install and hope that the two 2T drives appear as DYNAMIC MIRRORED under Windows after it is installed. I will take your advice as an expert.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2013   #8
gregrocker

 

I would not count on this mirroring to preserve data if one HD dies. We see this fail sometimes. There is no substitute for backing up your files externally against this HD failure, fire, or theft.

For now I'd bunch my irreplaceable data and back it up it to Skydrive or similar using the free allottment, or send it to another PC on the network.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2013   #9
Flasharino

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

FYI, it has already saved my data when one of the pair died.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2013   #10
gregrocker

 

Then I can understand why you trust it, but I'm not sure I would even then, and especially during a reinstall to the same PC.

I don't know any reason why an install to separate HD with those attached would mess them up. It seems it would be riskier to unplug them.

Does the SSD show up as DIsk0 when you boot into installer? If not are any preceding HD's marked Active or have Primary partitions? If so this can result in boot files being placed on them during install - any preceding Active partition definitely, any preceding Primary partition in some cases. However this can be fixed so it's the mirror's integrity that would concern me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Replacing Boot Drive - Don't want to lose mirrored discs. How!




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