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Raid without losing Data

Posted on 2006-10-31
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I have WinXP Pro installed on an 80 GB SATA without the RAID drivers F6ed at the time of Installation. Now I want to add a 160 GB SATA HDD to my system in RAID 0 configuration. Is there anyway I acn do this without losing the data on my first (80 GB) HDD?
I have a P5GDC-V Deluxe Motherboard (ASUS - 915 Chipset). My system is Intel 2.8GHz, 512 MB DDR, 6600 GT - PCI E, Lan etc.
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Question by:jayan65
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by:jimbecher
ID: 17840771
Without third party software it is strictly a function of your raid controller. You are going to raid 0 80GB and 160GB drives?  
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by:rindi
ID: 17848395
No, only raid 1 you could use this way, and often jbod may work too. Anyway, I don't in any way recommend using raid 0, it is only suitable for temporary data, and the OS shouldn't be located on a raid 0 array anyway. If any disk breaks, and often even if there is just a small temporary problem, you loose your system and will end up reinstalling.

Raid 0 is OK when you need to edit large video files etc, but after editing you should immediately copy the file back to a safe location.
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by:Disorganise
ID: 17856294
RAID 1 isn't available in XP :(

You CAN achieve *some* of what you want....although I wouldn't recommend it for the reasons rindi already pointed out.
Add the new drive and make sure windows recognises it
Goto dsik management:
Convert both the dynamic (shudder..)
You should now be able to right the C drive and see an option to 'extend volume' thus giving you the ability to create a 240GB drive.

NB - the above is NOT RAID 0 and so offers no performance benefit.  it's called concatenation, and basically adds the new drive logically the end of the old.  thus data is only written to the new drive when the old one gets full (more or less) and data is only written to ONE of the drives (the idea of RAID 0 is to stripe the data to both drives).  Think of the new drive as an 'overflow' facility.

Now.....I'm told that Symantec is soon to release a FREE version of their volume manger/storage foundation software, limited to 4 file systems and windows server OS's.  I *suspect* and hope it'll work on XP too, and it *may* be able to achieve what you're after (but it needs to be tested 1st)
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by:rindi
ID: 17862802
Raid 1 is no problem with XP, but you need a raid controller, which the user has (f6 installs the driver for the controller). Anyway, you should allways use a raid controller and not the OS's software raid.

Also, the above could be raid 0, but if you do that with a 80 and 160 GB HD, you loose half of the capacity of the 160 GB disk. It could also be jbos (another bunch of disks) which many raid controllers support. This just uses up the first HD, and then the data is added to the next when the first is full.
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by:Disorganise
ID: 17865016
Perhaps semantics, but RAID 1 is definately NOT availble in XP.  Hardware RAID is totally different and is agnostic to the OS (hell, you can RAID 1 DOS6 or Win 95 with hardware).

Adding hardware RAID is a destructive process, be it RAID 1, 0, 10 or 5.  The half baked solution I presented above is non-destructive - and isn't RAID as I already caveated.

AS to software v hardware RAID:  of course hardware is always better - same as hardware 3d graphics are much better than software.  but software RAID was better than nothing (until XP when MS removed protective RAIDs - NT4 etc could create RAID 1 no problem and I'm 90% sure it could do RAID 5 too though that was a <i>few</i> years ago.)  RAID 0 doesn't belong in the RAID family in my humble since the word RAID automatically conjures up thoughts of extra data protection.
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by:rindi
ID: 17869496
With raid 0 not being raid I agree totally, but the asker definitely has hardware raid if you check the Q, so the OS isn't important as long as there is a driver for it. Raid 5 was possible with nt, but again, software raid is something I don't support, and in particular not for the OS itself. If you have to use software raid, then don't try booting the OS from it!
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by:jayan65
ID: 17871961
So I think the answer to my question is - not possible. I will have to back my data & clean out my 80 GB - re-install the OS - with the RAID drivers F6ed, then add the 160 GB? Basically I am looking at increased disk performance and not particularly at Data security. (otherwise maybe i should use a matrix raid?)
I want to know whether there will be some guaranteed improvement in Disk performance for Games and Video editing.

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by:rindi
ID: 17872143
First for most raid systems you should use the same size disks. If one is larger than the other you loose the extra capacity of the larger HD. This would not be the case with jbod, but jbod doesn't increase speed and isn't really a raid system, but most raid controllers support it.

Suggestion:

Leave your OS as is on the 80 GB HD, then add 2 160 GB (or smaller, as with raid 0 you get one large 320 GB disk, and that is a lot) disks in a raid 0 configuration. Like this you won't need to use f6 or a floppy, all you need to do is install the driver software for the controller within windows. This is usually a lot less hassle than if you install during windows setup. Move your windows pagefile to the new array. I'd also move all the temporary folders there. Uninstall the games and reinstall them to the disk of your raid 0. Also set the games up so they save their data on the array and not your 80 GB HD.

That should improve overall speed, you wouldn't have to setup everything new, and you only have what is unimportant on the array, which can break anytime.
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Disorganise earned 100 total points
ID: 17872245
Correct - there no way covert without losing data.  However, what you *could* do is shrink your C drive with a disk tool such as Acronis disk director, Partition Magic or BootNG (note, none of these toold work with dynamic disks so if you already converted - too bad).  You could then convert to dynamic and create a striped volume with the freed up space on the 80GB drive - XP will automatically assum an identical size on the the other drive.  Thus you end up with C drive on existing 80GB drive, and a data drive (say D:\) with is RAID 0 between to the two, whcih you use for your videos.  The spare space on the 160GB can be partitioned for other data.

There can never be guarantees when it comes to performance.  RAID 0 *should* be capable of delivering a higher maximum throughput, so video streaming is usually benefited.  However, since data is now split between 2 drives, your average latency goes up, so small random read/writes are likely to be slower on average.  A faster spindle speed like the 10k rpm Raptors, or 15k rpm SCSI disks are more likely to give you higher overall performance without doubling your chances of data loss (1 drive failure in RAID 0 = total loss of data.  with 2 drives you're at least twice as likely to suffer failure in one of them - eg, 1 in 100 chance of failure becomes 2 in 100 chance)
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by:rindi
ID: 17872277
With raid 0 you don't only double the chance of failure. The disks don't even have to break. If one of the disks only temporarily drops out, maybe because of a bad or disconnected cable, while the PC is trying to access the disk, you will also loose all your data. That wouldn't happen if it was just a single drive. Other raids will rebuild after such a fault, but not raid 0. The same is likely to happen during a power failure or spike. With all these added possibilities, I'd think the possibility of failure increases to over 10 in a 100 chance...
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by:jayan65
ID: 17895080
So the moral of the story is the unreliability of RAID 0. Thank you.
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