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Hardware Raid 1 question

Posted on 2005-03-31
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I've got this Xp machine that has specialized programs for music and video editing. I want to be able to restore the OS and installed application as quickly as possible if the disk fails or if a program installation creates a problem. I thought of using Norton to take a snapshot of the disk and put it on another one, but the persone that installed the computer doesn't recommend installing Norton Ghost on that machine. So I need to find another solution. I thought about Raid1 (mirror). But this mirror would have to be hardware based.

Is it possible to create a mirror of a disk that already has data on it?

That mirror would be a good solution if the disk failes, but what about going back to a previous state? (because if there is a problem with a software that doesn't uninstall/reinstall well, the problem is going to be on the mirror as well). Maybe I can use the restore points created by xp?

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Question by:8mathieu8
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Lee W, MVP earned 1000 total points
ID: 13673056
Hi 8mathieu8,
> Is it possible to create a mirror of a disk that already has data on it?

In most cases yes, but this would be a function of the controller.

> That mirror would be a good solution if the disk failes, but what about
> going back to a previous state? (because if there is a problem with a
> software that doesn't uninstall/reinstall well, the problem is going
> to be on the mirror as well). Maybe I can use the restore points created by xp?

You've heard of backups?  Just run a backup and MAKE SURE you backup the SYSTEM STATE.  Get yourself a USB or Firewire drive (I tend to recommend the ComboDock from www.wiebetech.com and a generic hard drive - it's a little more expensive at first, but in the long run, it's much cheaper and more convenient then buying multiple enclosures/enclosed drives).  Then use the Windows backup tool (assuming you are using XP Pro) to backup the system.

Cheers!
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 1000 total points
ID: 13673131
I don't know why that person recommended against Ghost - it is one of the most effective tools for creating snapshots of the OS, and I use it for my music and video pc (I keep the data on a separate drive).  This is especially important if you have drivers for hardware that can be uncooperative in certain cases, and reverting back can save hours of work.

If you insist on RAID1, then you should get two new identical drives and create the array with them, then copy the contents of the original disk to the array.  Most cloning software (Ghost included) should handle this; CasperXP is another product that can do it.

As you have noted, RAID1 will not solve your versioning problem.  Ghost will work, and restore points will work, but after some time, your restore folder area will take up a lot of space.  I think Ghost will be the better all around solution for your needs.
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Expert Comment

by:P1zz4
ID: 13673596
If the machine is an essencial piece of your work, go for the hardware solution of RAID-1. More expensive but very trustworthy. If you have to install uninstall things, buy another system identical tou this one for testing before installing to the main machine.

Ghost is a very good option, but if you want to keep the machine clean, make all the tests with software to another one.

Another thing..... windows xp restore points sux.... agreed to Callandor

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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 14340743
I have to disagree.  I think a split is in order.  
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