Enable RAID striping on a drive that has existing partitions

Posted on 2006-04-24
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have 2 x 160gb drives, and I have my first 160gb split to 2 partitions, 20Gb C: drive and 140Gb D: drive, can I stripe the 2nd drive, will it be a problem? Will it keep my existing partitions and will it still be bootable?

I was also wondering if RAID would work with 2 different makes? (ie. Seagate + Hitachi)

Thanks in advance
Question by:kcarrim
    LVL 30

    Assisted Solution

    by:Duncan Meyers
    RAID will work with two different makes - no problem.

    > can I stripe the 2nd drive, will it be a problem? Will it keep my existing partitions and will it still be bootable?
    You  may be able to - it depends on the RAID controller. You'll need to check the documentation.

    > Will it keep my existing partitions and will it still be bootable?
    If you can mirror onto the new disc, then your partitions will all be there. It is possible that your system will boot, but you may need a different driver for the RAID controller - you'll need to check the documentation. A couple of entry level LSI controllers will let you do what you want, but others won't.
    LVL 6

    Assisted Solution

    Ideally, you should use identical hard drives for RAID, but there should not be any problems using different makes/models.  The only impact will be that both drives will perform at the speed of the slowest one.  As far as how to accomplish your task, I would recommend the following:

    1. If it's not already installed or onboard, install the RAID controller and boot to Windows so you can load the drivers.
    2. Find a third 160GB hard drive that you can use temporarily and clone your entire current hard drive (not just individual partitions) to the temporary drive (use Symantec Ghost or something).
    3. Disconnect all hard drive except your temporary one.  Test that you can boot to it and that all your data is present.
    4. Shutdown to disconnect and set the temporary hard drive aside.  Install the two hard drives you'll be using for RAID.
    5. Configure your RAID array, and don't worry about destroying data because you have it all on your temporary drive.
    6. Once the RAID array is setup the way you want, it will be seen by the system as a single drive. Hook up your temporary hard drive and clone it to your RAID drive.

    This should get you going without a hitch.

    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    first of all:
    no, you can't create a real stripe set with disks containing any other partitions. the disks have to be empty but they can be of different sizes and makes.

    if you're using windows xp or 2003 you can convert your disks to dynamic volumes. then you can create a faked stripe set over all your disks with different sized partitions. your disk will still be bootable for windows xp and 2003 but not for any other os. use windows xp's integrated disk management to create so called dynamic partitions that span over multible disks.

    note that tools like partitionmagic or acronis can't handle dynamic volumes! converting basic disks to dynamic ones is an irreversible process! stripes created this way are software based and never as reliable as hardware based. always use a raid controller if you can.

    cd ajundra
    LVL 10

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the input and sorry for the delay ;)
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    you're welcome.

    thanks for the points. :)

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