How to create raid in Windows XP?

By vinod_dhaka1982
Aug 28, 2008
  1. HI all,

    I have windows XP Pro. SP2 installed on my PC which has a Celeron D processor (3.0 Ghz, Mercury board with VIA chipset. I have 2 ATA HDDs, one is of 80 GB, second one is of 40 GB. I need complete redundency of my data. How can I create RAID? Also What are the basic needs to create the RAID? Please help me with the step by step procedure as I have never created RAID before.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,153   +598

    Raid comes in multiple 'flavors'; raid-0, raid-1, raid-10, raid-5 are a few.

    I suggest you see this overview of raid to understand the issues;

    Redundancy: That is a Raid-1, Raid-10, or Raid-5 solution.
    With the mismatch sizes, you will get a storage space equal to the smallest hd.

    The BIG ISSUE for you is you already have data on the HD's. Making the change
    to Raid-X will wipeout your data just like a format would, so you need to
    1. offload ALL the user files,
    2. create the Raid with the raid tools or bios setup
    3. reinstall Windows
    4. lastly reload you user data

    It is likely that you jumped upon Raid Redundancy as a concept to protect your data without taking backups -- sorry, wrong approach.

    Even Raid-1 needs backups!

    For most users, we need a good backup process or at least a good File Replication tool.

    The concepts are well documented in (albeit a business site, it's still applicable to you)
    and the link Replication will show you the simple solution.
  3. vinod_dhaka1982

    vinod_dhaka1982 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    HI Jobeard,

    Thanks a lot for the help. Howevere I was suppose to take the backup before doing this, but I was not familear with process. As per my knowledge disks needs to be converted from Basic to Dynamic and to that we have to take the backup first. Am I right? I will try as you have suggested. If there will be any issue I will write you.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,153   +598

    GRRRR: Why Dynamic? That's basically a Raid-0 or JBOD solution and not redudancy.

    I move the following question to you:
    What is the goal of this effort?​
    You should be able to state something like
    I need [solution x] because it allows ... which I can't get elsewhere ​
  5. HillJack

    HillJack TS Rookie Posts: 19

    I am doing software RAID1 and RAID5 on Windows Server 2003 R2 x64, but I assume it's the same in XP Pro.

    If you want redundancy and software/Windows-based RAID, then RAID1 (mirrored) or RAID5 (parity) are your only options. RAID0 is striping w/o redundancy (spreads the data over multiple physical drives to improve read-performance).

    RAID1 will *not* erase your existing data; you right-click the source and "Add Mirror" and wait for resynching to complete. Realize that you will be able to mirror your 40 to a partition on your 80, but not the reverse. You can however mirror a 40GB partition on your 80GB drive to your 40GB drive.

    RAID5 however will erase your data. Reads are fast but writes are very slow; if these drives are heavily used, then you will shorten the life of the drives w/RAID5. Besides, if you only have two physical drives, then RAID5 is not an option for you as it requires a minimum of 3 physical drives.

    RAID01 or RAID10 are not available in Windows-based RAID configurations.

    Dynamic disks are not RAID0 or JBOD. Windows requires the disks be dynamic because it just does in order to utilize RAID functionality. Realize that though converting a basic disk to a dynamic disk will not destroy existing data, you will not be able to dual-boot or read the disk on an external USB adapter (I learned that the hard way and lost 500GB of data), and you will not be able to convert back to a basic disk without erasing existing data.
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