Windows 10 - Creating array with SSD drives

I'm building a new system and will be using Windows 10 Pro (not the free upgrade) for the OS. I've got a pair of 480GB enterprise-class SSD drives from Intel, and wanted to create a RAID 1 array - my goal is the ability to keep working in case one disc fails, so it would seem RAID 1 is the correct choice (but please correct me if I'm wrong).

I've been told that I should use Windows to manage the RAID, and not use the motherboard's onboard RAID controller. From what I've read, however, Windows 10 uses "Storage Management" to create a RAID, and the articles I've read specifically state you cannot use your main/boot drive to do this - and that's exactly what I want to do, i.e. have my system drives setup as a RAID 1 in case a drive fails.

Can I do this entirely in Windows, or do I need to get a separate RAID controller?

If I can do this entirely in Windows 10, can you please provide details or links?

If I need a controller, do you have any recommendations?
LVL 86
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareAsked:
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.

Cliff GaliherCommented:
Storage Spaces is not RAID and should not be confused as such. And it is meant for data , nit system drives. So yes, you'll want a RAID controller and you'll set up your RAID array from its firmware, not from within Windows. Since you already have the drives, I'd look them up on Intel's website and find a controller tested/approved for use with them. Odd compatibility issues can arise otherwise.
Always use RAID1 for security (mirroring).

Both options (keep it 100% inside Windows, or use RAID chip from mobo or add-in card).

100% native Windows:
If configured incorrectly, when the primary flex fails, you'll still have hours of work to do to get the secondary plex to boot up.
Alerting is shaky, usually you don't notice anything going wrong.

RAID mobo:
It's still basically a software RAID (the chip just contains the code). It's not that bad if you do RAID1, as there's not a lot of calculating to do (unlike RAID5).
Usually has some kind of interface or system tray to alert you if things are going South.

external add-in RAID:
Usually has excellent drivers/software/alerts/email etc
More expensive add-in cards actually have a CPU inside to do the calculations
When moving to another system, it's easy (since mobo RAIDs change per brand/type/series).

If budget allows, an external add-in card should be the option to go for. However, if the card fails, you might have a serious problem as well, so buy TWO cards!
In windows disk management, configure a mirror set (rightclick - add mirror). This is software raid 1.
Mirror both the boot partition and the windows partition (and eventually data partition(s)).
Defend Against the Q2 Top Security Threats

Were you aware that overall malware worldwide was down a surprising 42% from Q1'18? Every quarter, the WatchGuard Threat Lab releases an Internet Security Report that analyzes the top threat trends impacting companies worldwide. Learn more by viewing our on-demand webinar today!

noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
What you need is the following:
1) Connect both drives to PC
2) One of the drive must be empty and the other one with Windows
3) Convert both drives into Dynamic type via Windows Disk Management
4) Then right click on each volume - mirror  and select the second SSD as mirror drive

That's 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
If you select "mirror", the conversion to dynamic is done automatically.
As already has been mentioned, You create the mirror using diskmanagement. Make sure you mirror all the partitions, otherwise you won't be able to boot if the wrong SSD fails.

Once the arrays are running, also make sure in diskmanagement both disks are set to "active". First check the first disk which partition is set to active, then set the same partition on the other disk to avtive too if it isn't already.

If an SSD fails you should then be able to boot from the other "plex". You may have to add the other SSD to the boot order in the BIOS.
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the suggestions and advice. Don't know where I'd be without the Experts here to hold my hand!

Unfortunately I can't go the hardware route (ran outta money), although I do understand the benefits, so I'm going to move forward with allowing Windows to handle the array. My components should be here today, and I'm going to begin putting things together either today or tomorrow. I'll post back and let you know how I come along.
Just something I'd do when you install the OS is to start off with just one SSD installed in the system. When the OS is setup and running, add the other and create your arrays. Having more than one disks installed during the installation can cause confusion and complicate things.
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the additional info. Unfortunately I won't be able to build my machine today due to the complete and total incompetence at NewEgg. Apparently the "NewEggRUSH" delivery means that they package your order and then wait nearly TWO FULL DAYS - and I'm talking 45 hours total - to actually ship it out the door (which means my Next Day Air charge is pointless). Never again with those .... people.
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareAuthor Commented:
I've finally got my machine up and running - thanks for all the information. My second SSD is arriving on Monday, and I'll setup my RAID at that time. I'll post back here with any issues.
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareAuthor Commented:
I've had some hardware issues, and I'm replacing the mobo with a new one (Gigabyte confirmed there are troubles with it). I should have this all back up and running by Monday - Tuesday of next week, and will report back then.
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareAuthor Commented:
I was finally able to resolve my hardware issue by RMAing the mobo. I was able to create my RAID array thanks to the helpful Experts here on EE.

Thanks again!! Don't know where I'd be without you guys.
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 10

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.