upgrade windows 2003 server mirrored drives

Hi Experts:

we have a dell poweredge 1900 server with 2 x 160gb SATA 2 hard drives mirrored

c: partition is running out of space

what is the best way to put 2 x 500g SATA 2 hard drives mirrored with all data and programs  'ghost' over?

want to check with you before we do anything.  thought of 2 options.

1.  since it is mirrored, is it ok to remove the 2nd drive and just connect a new 500 gb to let the drive controller to do the mirror repairs;  will it keep the small c: partition as the old drive?

2.  if 1. does not work, could we use norton ghost a 160gb to 500gb, then put a second 500gb for them to mirror

3.  if 2 works, what is a good partition management software that can let us resize the c: partition.  

4.  thanks, we r new to that.   Thanks very much for your advice.  need someone did it before and other ways of accomplishing the job will be welcomed.  

5.  since it is a server, we need to be very careful and will do it during a weekend.  

Thanks in advance.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I agree - this is a server and you need to.be careful.  Understand that simply replacing the drives will not increase the partition size.  And any time you repartition there is a non zero chance you corrupt things.  Keeping this in mind, a far safer option is to re-evaluate how you.manage the server. For example, what is taking up.space? What can be easily moved? Consider that an appropriately managed server can do just fine with 12 gb c: drives.

I suggest you review my article on boot drive size and while you may still need more space, you'll likely discover you don't need more space on c with 30 minutes of maintenance every 6 months.

See http://www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/bootdrivesize.asp
Is this a hardware RAID, if yes then

1.  Yes you can do that.  Replace 1 disk and let the controller rebuild the mirror.  Then after that replace the 1st disk and let it rebuild again.  Make a FULL backup first (to be safe) in case there is a problem.  You will end up with the same C: disk and extra unused disk space (depending on your RAID controller).  You may be able to expand the C: partition, or you may have to create a new volume from the new free space.   I have done this before and with older RAID controllers I think I had to create a new Volume in the RAID array manager program from the free space.  On a newer controller last year it allowed me to expand the existing RAID volume.

2.  You can do that also (ghost/image the disk).  This could be a faster overall method and having a disk image backup is nice.

3.  most partition software for a server should be able to expand your small c: drive

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Acronis True Image 2019 just released!

Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

Inside of Windows Disks Management check that your disks are NOT dynamic disks.  If they are Dynamic then you will have problems with the image/clone method.
160GB should be more than enough space for the system partition.

Perhaps a better solution would be to move everything other than the OS files off of your C: drive and to another partition completely.

I checked the Dell website and found the PowerEdge 1900 Tower Chassis can hold 6 hard drives.  You are currently using 2 for the OS.  You should be able to add up to 4 more drives.  You would be able to create a RAID 5 partition which would increase the performance of your system.

What role does your server do?  If it is a file server, it should be fairly easy to move the shares to a new partition on the same server.  You have to be careful not to lose your share and NTFS permissions when moving though.
Do it the right way.  Create an image backup, build a new array and restore with software smart enough to resize the  partitions.   If you replace a 160 with a 500 then you put data at risk (if a drive dies or if you get a read error, you lose data.  You can't just put that other drive back in once the array has started to rebuild)

Besides, first thing that controller does is set the drive up so it appears as a 160GB disk to the controller.  After you do the replace & rebuild, you'll end up with a optimal 2x160 GB config, just like  you had before.
You could pop the 2 500GB drives in as a new mirrored partition.  Move as much as possibly from the current C drive to the new partition.  This increases the amount of storage you have and keeps you from having to take a chance on modifying your system partition and possibly losing your server.

Adding the drives as a new partition presents the least risk.
If you have a dell 1900 with Win2K3 and 160GB disks, then those disks are probably well beyond their useful life.  This server is important enough that you have to work on the weekend to update it, so I wouldn't consider keeping those drives as part of your configuration.   P.S. after you do the imaging, turn box OFF, yank the disks, then turn on, clear configuration of RAID, then plug in new drives, build the RAID1, and kick off the background init.  Then you are free to begin the ghost restore, because the disks will sync at the same time as the restore.

This will limit down time.  If anything bad happens, yank the disks, CLEAR the configuration, turn off, plug in the old drives, power up, and the controller will learn the old config, so you'll be back where you started.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Preventive maintenance is great... But consider 30 minutes of reconfiguration vs how long to image, how much will the imaging software cost, and what kind of disruption to your users or your weekend/night?
We are starting to repeat ourselves.

Goodfinder has several opinions from which to choose.

He will need to evaluate the various options, then choose the one that he feels most comfortable doing.  

Whatever you choose Goodfinder, good luck.
goodfinderAuthor Commented:
You guys are great.  

After much thought,

1.  we need to replace the 160gb (2x) hard drives, bc they are 4-5 years old

2.  we bought 2x 500 gb server hard drive.

3.  questions:  " P.S. after you do the imaging, turn box OFF, yank the disks, then turn on, clear configuration of RAID, then plug in new drives, build the RAID1, and kick off the background init.  Then you are free to begin the ghost restore, because the disks will sync at the same time as the restore." - from dlethe

As you already know, we are new to this.  

a. how do I do the imaging?  (do we use ghost to do the imaging? ) or some software that we use to create the image using an external drive?

b. then turn box off, removed both 160gb hds (i got this, thks)

c. turn the box on, to clear configuration of RAID, I go to the utility, right?  and plug in 2x new 500gb hard drives. (should I turn off the box before plug in the blank drives)

d.  if it is blank, how do they work? and I am lost with background init.  :(

e.  we have ghost 2003, will it do the restore?   sorry, I am not familiar with the steps.  

Thanks in advance for your patient and help.
goodfinderAuthor Commented:
"you first needed to backup the raid 1 using something like Norton Ghost and then re-create the raid 1 array with the new hard drives so the virtual disk will have the max partition space. " - from awaggoner

1.  Which Ghost will you recommend?  ( we used ghost 2003 and ghost from 1 source hd to 1 destination hd.  So for Server 2003 with hardware raid1, do I need to use a server version?

 2. how do we re-create the raid 1 array with the new hard drive?
I think you need to start new threads with these questions.
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