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Configuring a HP Envy 173D for Mirroring or Raid w/o a Hardware Raid Controller

raylab
raylab used Ask the Experts™
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We recently picked up a HP Envy with dual 500GB hard drives.  The intent was to raid or mirror them.  HP says we need a h/w raid controller (not included in config) or need to do it via Windows 7 Pro...  Any hints on this?   HP now says the 2'nd drive is merely for extended storage vs raid or mirroring...

We have tried a number of things but no success...
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That second drive might just be one of those JBOD setups, not really any type of RAID, just two hard drives' capacity made to look like one drive.  We purchased several of their PCs like that.

If you want software RAID, you will have to make sure that the two drives do not have any special setup and function as two separate logical drives, then in Windows you can do yoru software RAID.  

Still, I would recommend hardware RAID.  You can get hardware RAID controllers inexpensively for PCs.  Adaptec is one brand, I am sure there are others.
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
HP recommended you convert the drives into Dynamic type and create the software RAID. I would recommend avoiding this setup if possible. Hardware RAID on real RAID controller is better. If your budget allows that then go with controller purchase.

Author

Commented:
I neglected to mention that this is a laptop not a desktop so H/W raid may not be possible.  Personally I had never considered raid or mirroring on a laptop before but, as HP offered dual drives we jumped to the conclusion that we could mirror or raid...  So, maybe we just have two big empty drives...  I'll stand by for a while more then decide which if any of the above responses is most acceptable...  Thanx!

Author

Commented:
P.S. what is: JBOD ???  That's a new one on me!
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
That's JBOD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-RAID_drive_architectures
I assume you want the mirror for reliability purpose, right? Then simply get a decent backup tool and take backups weekly from one HDD to another. That will fulfill your needs.

Author

Commented:
Yes, we are considering the B/U option (Acronis allows scheduling...) or even Synch'ing- but, RAID would be the bestest solution here...
Top Expert 2012
Commented:
Win7 software RAID mirroring actually gives you a performance boost, accessing both drives to save time.  To set up software RAID, see http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/36504/how-to-create-a-software-raid-array-in-windows-7/  For a comparison versus "fake" RAID controllers, see http://kmwoley.com/blog/?p=429

Author

Commented:
Dead nuts on!!!
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
As I said already - dynamic disks are the trap you put yourself in freely. In case you could want to resize the partitions or you have boot issue or data corruption you will remember my words =).

Author

Commented:
1) With _Laptops_ the option of an ADD ON H/W Raid Interface is not there (right?)
2) We will be making each partition the max size per hard drive
3) Boot issues or data corruption should be covered with frequent backups- we automate this on laptops that are routinely in the office and on the LAN.  Tech laptops that are in the field most days are backed up manually by the Techs to an external HDD at their homes.  If they neglect this task, they get the joy of restoring lost work...