How to restore a disk image to a formatted raid volume w/no OS?

Posted on 2008-06-17
Last Modified: 2013-11-05
We have a computer with 2 SATA slots.
That computer has 1 160GB drive that is almost full.
The motherboard supports on-board RAID. We will be putting in 2 SATA 500GB drives in a RAID 1 configuration.
The OS and filesystem of the 160GB drive is NTFS/Windows SBS 2003
How can we image the contents of the old 160GB drive onto the new 500GB RAID 1 such that the computer will not have to be re-installed.

The ultimate goal is to grow the storage capacity and add _some_ redundancy w/RAID1 while not having to rebuild the system after the hard drive upgrade.
Question by:EchoBinary
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Expert Comment

ID: 21805584
This is easy as long as the RAID array is enumerated through the BIOS so it will be "seen" by your imageing utility.

(1)  Install the RAID drivers on your SBS2003 system.
(2)  Image the system to an external drive.
(3)  Remove the current drive; install the 2 new drives and create the RAID array
(4)  Restore the image from the external drive to the new "drive".

Done :-)

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Expert Comment

ID: 21805588
... You will, of course, need an external drive with enough capacity to hold the image :-)

Author Comment

ID: 21805778
I guess the heart of my question is repeated in your list for item (4). How would one do that? copying information on a formatted but bare "drive" or volume, that has no system on it from an external drive, such that the MBR and other important stuff gets written to as well. A simple copy doesnt seem like it would work. The idea is to copy the workign OS back onto the volume and then boot from it. No fuss - no muss. - at least - thats my hope.
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Accepted Solution

garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 21806314
You don't copy it ... you restore an image.   You need to create an IMAGE of the current OS (store it on an external drive); and then later (after replacing that drive with the new array) restore that image to the new "drive".

If your system has USB v2 I'd use Boot-It NG to do the image/restore actions (it doesn't work with USB v1.1).   If you only have USB v1.1 ports, there are other alternatives ... let me know if that's the case.

Step one for using Boot-It is to create a bootable CD.   To do that you just do the following:

Download Boot-It [ ];  extract all of the files to a folder; and then double-click on BOOTITNG.exe    Select "Y" to accept the license agreement; then highlight "Build a bootable ISO image file" and it will build a BOOTITNG.ISO file in the directory where you extracted the files.

... Now use your CD burning software to burn a CD from the ISO => note you do NOT burn that file to a CD;  your burn a CD FROM that file.   If you don't know how to do this, ask ... let me know what CD Burning software you have installed (Roxio, Nero, etc.).

After you have a bootable CD, test it by booting to the CD (use another PC if you don't want to take down your SBS system);  select CANCEL at the first prompt; then OK to go to Maintenance Mode.   You should then see Boot-It's main menu screen.   Once you have this CD, it's easy to create an image of your current system on an external drive [Step #2 above => although you might want to do this FIRST (call it Step #0) so you have a "safety copy" of the system before you install additional drivers & also for "practice"]

The ONLY important question (and you won't know the answer until you try it) is whether or not the RAID array is enumerated through the BIOS on your system.   Once you install the two 500GB drives and create the array, just boot to the Boot-It CD; do as I noted above (CANCEL, then OK); then click on Partition Work.   If you "see" one hard drive, all is well.   If you see two, then the RAID array isn't useable with Boot-It => in that case you'll either have to buy an enterprise version of an image/restore utility that can work with installable RAID drivers (pricey); or do a re-install of the OS with the RAID drivers.   Note that you can easily test this without risk by simply disconnecting your 160GB drive; installing the two 500GB drives; creating the array; and then booting the Boot-It CD.


Author Closing Comment

ID: 31468027
Also - you were right, the onboard RAID (some form of gimp'ed Adaptech) was NOT showing as one volume. I tried GParted Live CD with the onboard card and it was a whole lot of failure.
I went and purchased BootIT-NG and a highPoint RocketRaid 1720 and it all worked like a charm.
I did learn something else. Either I did it oddly, or - making images and restoring them takes a LOOOOOOOONG time.

Anyway - thanks! Your advice helped and the project is done. :)
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Expert Comment

ID: 21849738
You're most welcome.

... as for the imaging time => Yes, an image of a 160GB partition (that's "... almost full ...") takes a long time.   I always partition drives with a more modest OS partition (usually 30GB for XP, 40GB for Vista), and keep all of the data on a different partition.   That does two things:  (1)  Images of the OS are much quicker ... mine typically take ten minutes;  and (2)  if the OS ever gets corrupted and you need to restore from an image, the restore has NO impact on the data (since it's on a different partition).

Also, a hardware RAID card (like you purchased) is MUCH better than the onboard controller ... that was a good choice :-)


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