windows server 2003 raid1 hard drive upgrade

Hi experts:

Have a dell server poweredge 1900, running windows server 2003.

2x 160gb sata hard drives

using perc 5/i controller

(with LSI controller on another server box, it will start the rebuilding the mirror once we replaced the drive 1 with a new drive, but not this)

What is the proper procedures to replace the existing drives mirrored bc they are almost 6 years old.  thanks in advance.  


while waiting for reply,
 1. we took out the 2nd drive(drive1) and left drive0 in,
 2. booted successful with a message of drive degrade.
 3. turn off and connect a 500gb new hard drive (did not rebuild automatically)
 4. went to perc 5/i utility during boot up
 4. assign the 500gb as hot spare and it is rebuilding.
 5. thinking that it should not do any damage

appreciate your advice and steps to finish the upgrade/replacement of 2 old hard drives.
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Andrej PirmanCommented:
No, no damage - you did it properly (one of few proper methods is your method to add as hot-spare).

After rebuild is finished, you can repeat procedure, but you do NOT need to shutdown/restart server. Instead better install Dell Management tools (I think this is it, but check: ) and if your hard drives are HOT-PLUG, you can add another 500GB drive, mark it hot-spare, and when you remove the second 160GB drive, this one should jump-in.
Yes it is fine. what you did.
but when it will be part of RAID 1 the space will be utilized on the basis of the lower drive.

so incase of RAID 1 your old drive is 150GB and new drive is 500 GB only 150 GB will be utilized.

Only way to replace both the drive is to take a image on the new drive and then boot with the new drive. then put 2nd new drive and make the RAID 1 between new drives.
goodfinderAuthor Commented:
i don't think they are hot plug.  :(

so, after the hot spare finishes, should i do the following:

1. shut down the server (I don't mind at all, no one except me is at the office)

2. do I plug in the other new drive and do the hot spare again?

3.  after the hot spare finishes,  what do i need to do to set the 2 500gb as raid1?

thanks very much.
Protecting & Securing Your Critical Data

Considering 93 percent of companies file for bankruptcy within 12 months of a disaster that blocked access to their data for 10 days or more, planning for the worst is just smart business. Learn how Acronis Backup integrates security at every stage

Hot spare harddisk  will only be utilized if one of the HDD fails of your RAID. why do you want to have 2 Hot Spare for RAID 1....
goodfinderAuthor Commented:
our objective is to replace the 160gb mirrored drives.

while we are looking for the step by step user guide of perc 5/i,

we just do the hot space in order to get the drive 'copy' to a new drive, hoping that we could later put the first new drive as a primary and then, connect the 2nd new drive to mirror it.

any correct steps are welcome.  thanks.  the hot spare is also done.  

what should we do next?
then you don't require hot spare.

put 2nd drive as new drive and build raid 1.
ones raid is completed. you can remove the first drive (old one).
now your system will work on the new drive.
put another new drive and build the raid again.....
now you have both new drives.....
goodfinderAuthor Commented:
thanks.  yes, agree.  

the perc 5/i is not very clear on how to accomplish because it has delete virtual disk, create disk group, and with warnings about losing data.  

so my question, for perc 5/i

i got the hot spare finished; it supposed to be identical to the drive 0.

how do we build the mirror of it.  

still trying to locate perc 5/i step by step manual.  if anyone knows this particular perc 5/i utility, it will be marvellous.
goodfinderAuthor Commented:
ie.  it has create virtual disk, and initialize virtual disk....
goodfinderAuthor Commented:
vitual disks we may not need.  don't know enough.  

the old drive has 2 partitions,  (nothing to do with vd, i guess)

it just shows how little we know.   thanks for your patient.
as you have 2 disk you just require to make raid 1.
Virtual disk is good when you have 3 disk and you want to use in raid 5 and get more space.
goodfinderAuthor Commented:
Hi,  Anuroopsundd

I read thru your links.  thanks very much. :)

would you help us to understand what need to be done next.  

so, we pull off all drives.

boot up and delete all disk group

shut down

connect (hot spare)1st 500gb new drive as drive 0
and connect the 2nd blank 500gb

enter utility

create disk group?  then virtual disk?

thanks again.  because it is a server and how little we know, we just want to have it right.
keep 1st old drive in the system... which have complete data.
put the 1st new drive also...  add to the existing RAID 1 group..

so you should have RAID 1 to build that complete data is replicate to the new drive also...

RAID 1 build can take time as it has to replicate the complete may have to wait for hours

ones the RAID build is complete... you should have your new disk .. and you should be able to start you computer with it ..and everything should be there..

remove old drive now.. and put the 2nd new disk and add it to the that it is also part of raid... in this way it will replicate the data from the 1st new disk,..

now you have both new disks...
make sure not to delete the existing if you delete that then the system will not recognize what data to replicate to which disk...

RAID build in the same group always replicate the data to the new hdd added from the old disk...
You are wasting your time.  Not only are you risking data loss by purposely degrading a perfectly good LUN and opening yourself up to data loss should you have an unreadable block on surviving disk ...

But you are also going to end up exactly where you started, with a 160GB partitioned LUN on a 160GB logical device.  (The firmware programmatically resizes the disk to be the same size as the one that died.  So you end up with a 160GB LUN, not a 160GB partitioned LUN on a 500GB logical device.  BIG DIFFERENCE!

Do it the right way.  Create a bare metal backup with some decent software (acronics or ghost) that can rebuild the config on a different sized logical device.

Alternately, open up the case, plug the additional drives in, then build a RAID1 with the two new disks, build a RAID1, then use some freebie linux-based partitioning software to mirror & resize like partition magic.  (Requires creating a bootable CDROM.  Go to and right on home page it walks you through it).

Once you have both logical devices and then the data is cloned, you can change boot path to use the new lun and test. IF it works, you are golden.  If not, no-harm-no-foul, and can see where you messed up because your original data is untouched.

This is the SAFE way to do it.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
goodfinderAuthor Commented:
thanks experts.  don't have 4 ports for 2 sets of raid 1.  :(

We have ghost 2003.  could I ghost it to 500gb, then setup the mirror.

the doc of the utility of perc 5/i is not clear to us.   It does not give the steps of setting up a mirror.  it probably is us.  

once I have a 500gb(ghosted one),

what do I need to do?  (i know i need to get it mirrored), but how?   thanks for your patient.

I think, I should use partition magic to adjust the partition of the ghosted drive before setting up the raid-1, right?
You can do it from the BIOS at POST time.  Sorry, can't remember the ctrl sequence.  It is quite painless.  Worst case, you can go to and find the manual.  Just build a 500GB RAID1.  Think of it as creating a 500GB disk drive, and backing up a 160GB disk drive.  Take RAID out of the equation that has to do with backup & restore.  Whatever partitioning product that works with a physical disk that you are comfortable is fine.  Partition magic works well.
goodfinderAuthor Commented:
thanks.  is it ok to ghost the server drive-0 on a separate computer?  

i meant connecting the 160gb drive with 500gb drive and ghost as if any drives then, connect to the server, if it boots fine, shut down and connect the 2nd 500gb new drive and run rebuild?  just a thought.   will it work?
Sorry, I'm not going to give you permission to put your data at risk.  ;)

You know as well as I do that the right way to do it is the safe way.  Let's face it, you don't have any backup strategy or this wouldn't be a big deal to find 160GB (or less with compression).   $100 will certainly buy you a USB attached disk drive in a portable enclosure that you can put offsite, or $50 will get you online backup for probably 2 years.  

Your call. If your data is worth $100 then do it the right way.   If it isn't worth $100, then break the RAID and hope for the best.   Odds are you will be OK.  But do yourself a favor and mine the EE database for questions from people who lost data due to an unsuccessful degraded migration.  No doubt they thought they could get away with this too.
goodfinderAuthor Commented:
so true.  thanks.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows Server 2003

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.