Mirroring 2 NTFS Hard Disks under Win2k

Posted on 2001-06-24
Last Modified: 2010-04-11
Dear all,

Here's the issue;

I am trying to create data redundancy under win2k server.
i have two identical hard disks converted into dynamic volumes and  both partitioned into C and D.

under win2k i am able to mirror the D partitions but i have tried almost everything to mirror the C but i keep getting messages like" Drives upgrade to dynamic volumes from basic disks cannot be mirrored " 

Please tell me how i can mirror both my C and D partitions successfully so that if one hard disk fails , the server can still boot/ function from the other hard disk.

Question by:pandav
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Expert Comment

ID: 6224101
That message is correct.  I don't think you can use Microsoft's Windows based mirroring to mirror your bootable drive with Windows installed on it.  You see you can not mirror drives upgraded to dynamic because Windows needs to reformat the volumes and and then start mirroring.  to do that it would wipe out your OS and then where would you be.  Remember this is software redundancy so there is a couple of catches like this one.  I would recommend getting a ATA-Raid controller card, they work very well and are under $100.  If you have EIDE disks this is definitely the way to go.

Author Comment

ID: 6271637
Jwalsh, Thanx for the comment, nut i have read books that say you can mirror both partitions on  a hard disk to another , inclusive of C:


Expert Comment

ID: 6271755
well those books have to be wrong.  I should have been more definite in my answer.  I am basically positive that you can not mirror your boot drive unless it's done at a hardware level, outside of the Operating System.  Windows is handling the mirror and the point of a mirror is to recover if the master drive fails.  If you "boot" master drive fails, you will not be able to fail over to the backup mirrored drive because that is not a boot drive.  believe me there is no way for that to work unless it's done at a hardware level independant of the Operating System.
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Accepted Solution

rcasteel earned 100 total points
ID: 6336614
The books are correct.  But they don't address the particular problem you are having.  You CAN mirror ANY partition under windows 2000.  There are a few rules though.  1) The secondary partition must have at least as much free space as the primary partition of the mirror. 2) to use ANY kind of software RAID under Windows 2000 the disks must be Dynamics disk NOt BASIC.  3) In order to mirror the partitions, they have to be NATIVE DYNAMIC disks...they cannot be converted...I know this sucks but that is just the way it is.

jwalsh is not correct about mirroring the fact that is the only way under Windows 2000 to provide a fault tolerant system and boot partition in software RAID.  It works fine...all you have to do in the event of a failure is pull out your trusty Fault Tolerant Boot Floppy and select the secondary system partition and it will boot fine.  If the FTBF is bad, you can simply mark the secondary partition as bootable from any old DOS boot flopy with fdisk on it and point your BIOS to that particular drive and it will boot fine also.  Mirrored partitions are created using a raw write and do not require formatting.

The problem you are experiencing is indicative of a Windows 2000 machine that was originally an NT 4.0 machine that was upgraded.  Unfortunately, there is no easy way to fix this.

Probably the easiest way is to back up the drive ..including permissions...blow the machine away and reinstall the OS in a natively dynamic disk...then restore the backup and create the mirror.

Expert Comment

ID: 6845764
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Author Comment

ID: 6870637
Thanks rcasteel.

My friend wanted to know the answer. so, i already passed the info. thank you everyone.

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