RAID 1 from existing non-RAID SATA

My current system has a single 250GB SATA drive. As insurance against drive failure, I ordered a second, identical SATA drive. The goal is to use the two drives in a RAID 1 (mirrored) configuration. However, I have never done this, and I don’t want to screw up my setup. I’d appreciate it if someone could give me a sanity check on how I plan to implement this.

My mobo: Epox EP-9NDA3+ (Nvidia nForce3 with native RAID)
OS: Windows XP Home w/ SP2
SATA drives: (2) Western Digital SATA 150 250GB

The plan:

  1. Backup the system.
  2. Have the SATA RAID drivers on floppy.
  3. Add the second SATA to the system.
  4. Enable RAID through the BIOS.
  5. Assign both drives to the RAID array.
  6. Set the RAID array as bootable (assigning the original drive if necessary).
  7. Reboot and see if Windows recognizes the array (can’t remember if I loaded the RAID drivers or not).
  8. Assuming Windows does not see the array, perform a windows install/repair using the F6 “add a driver” to give Windows the RAID drivers.
  9. After Windows loads, use the NVRaid software to start the mirroring of the drives.

A couple questions:
a) Am I correct in assuming I don’t have to do a complete reinstall of Windows in order to have it access the RAID array; that the repair will do the trick?
b) I have my current drive partitioned into a primary and one logical. Will directing the software to build the mirror on the second drive also handle the partitioning, or do I need to have that done beforehand?

I appreciate any words of wisdom that anyone cares to toss my way.

Thanks much,

When you create the mirror on the raid controller, it will copy the one disk to the other disk. Just make sure you copy them the right way around :slight_smile:

The only sticking point might be not booting due to lack of the correct drivers. If there is any way at all, install the raid drivers before you enable it. Windows doesn’t mind being moved, as long as it has the drivers to see the disk…

I would install your raid drivers to windows first and make sure that your raid setup is listed in device manager. Next I would move the first disk to the raid channel and make sure windows will boot from it. Then if all was ok I would put the new disk in and create your raid array - carefully making sure you rebuild it the right way round. - a voice of experience :doh:

prime candidate for Norton ghost or another drive imaging program here, for that “just in case”.

Setting up the raid array and how the hardware does it will depend on the controller. I’ve had some that will create a new mirror array happily by simply doing the mirror from a source drive and adding the array info to the original. The ones I have now, any changes to the raid array results in the disk being unusable in windows without re-initialising it.

As yours is onboard, I would guess that is going to be the case, so my plan of action would be to use hunt down another hard drive, use norton ghost to get an image of your HD as is, make sure a ghost bootable floppy or cd works :wink: then setup the array. At this point you will have a cleared mirror with no data on. So use the ghost bootable cd or floppy, and then restore the ghost straight onto the mirror.

In all honesty I think without another HD big enough to take a 250Gb ghost you could be ooking at a time consuming job. But when all is done, data security and redundancy really is worth the effort :nod: <----- voice of experience on that one :wink:


Thanks for the feedback! All very good advice which I will put to good use. :slight_smile:

I’m doing this because I had a hard drive failure on a previous disk… damn near had a heart attack when that happened (no backup… always planned, never done). I was able to get the data back, but I don’t want to go through that again. Ever.

Again, thanks!