Switch from no RAID to RAID 0 without losing data.

Fred Marshall
Fred Marshall used Ask the Experts™
I'm working with a simple Windows server computer.  
I believe the hardware will support RAID.
I believe there is no RAID set up at all.
This is a production system that can't be messed up!!

We want to go to RAID 0 if possible.
How to do that without losing data from the primary hard drive?
I just want to be very sure.....

I intend to create an image of the hard drive first of course.
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Most Valuable Expert 2015

On a production server, NEVER use RAID 0. RAID 0 has Zero Redundancy, that means only one of the disks need to fail, and you have lost ALL your data.

If you really mean RAID 1, then you can just convert your disk to Dynamic, add the new disk and mirror it within disk management. You don't lose any data that way, unless you do something wrong.
Further to the previous comment, you need to undertake this task by going in to "disk manager".

Make both of the drives you want to make Raid 1 dynamic by right clicking on the left part of the screen where the drive is named "disk 0", "disk 1" etc. They will be described as "basic". Do one disk at a time.

When they have been converted, right click on the main part of the drive and "add mirror" selecting Raid 1.

All your data should be safe.  

I would always copy the data to an external drive before undertaking such a procedure. Just in case!!


Yes, I did indeed mean RAID 1!


And, I suppose that if I want to change the size of the partitions that I might do this first?

What if I mirror first and want to change the size of partitions thereafter?
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It would be prudent to resize the drives after you have made them dynamic. Remember to copy the data to another (external) drive before such tasks are undertaken.
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Your best way is to backup the current configuration - configure RAID and then restore from backup to new configuration. What RAID do you have at the moment?
Distinguished Expert 2017
adding to the earlier, do you have imaging/cloning.
Your better bet would be to use imaging/partition resizing in one without risking the originating.
Once your cloned/resized is functional, booting the system without issue, then you can proceed with the RAID 1 (sofware within windows OS).
make sure you follow the RAid 1 need to have the bootmgr properly configured.
Couple of cloning solutions
Most Valuable Expert 2015

I'd resize before creating the array, but it really shouldn't matter what you do first.


As I started with this question, yes I have imaging and cloning capabilities.

I suppose that a conservative approach would be to:
1) create a clone and prove it's good.
2) change the partitions on the clone.
3) set up the RAID.

But: Bufferstop sez:
It would be prudent to resize the drives after you have made them dynamic. Remember to copy the data to another (external) drive before such tasks are undertaken.
So, just so I'm clear on this, do you mean to resize the partitions after I've set up the RAID 1 (as I understand this to be a step after "making them dynamic").

Also, I'm used to seeing RAID setups happen during boot time.  The implications here seem to suggest it can all be done from within Windows.  Comment?
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Most PC mainboards have fakeRAID controllers built-in. Those are highly unreliable and perform poorly. Windows on the other hand can do RAID 1 natively very reliably and it is also much higher in performance, as it can read the data from both disks simultaneously, so reads are a lot faster. Besides that you don't necessarily need expensive enterprise class disks, which would be needed for any RAID controller. So it is better to use Windows software RAID which I was suggesting above.

If your server has a real Hardware RAID controller, and you are using Enterprise class disks built for that server, then you can also use hardware RAID. Then you would set it up via the BIOS or some utility, depending on the RAID controller. But how that is done really depends on the RAID controller.


I'm a little confused now:
The computer is a Dell PowerEdge T110 with 2 internal hard drives.
The Disk Manager says there is a single Basic disk and offers to change to Dynamic in the menu.
Yet, only one hard drive is evident in the system so I rather presume that RAID 1 is already set up.
I don't understand why I'd necessarily convert then to Dyamic.  "If it ain't broke don't fix it"....
The "disks" show up as a Virtual Disk in the Device Manager.

In the end:
I *want* RAID 1 - how can I tell if it's already there?
I need to change the partition sizes to give some room to the smaller one (for the OS).

To add complication, this is an AHCI/UEFI system so I doubt I can boot to anything for imaging like EASEUS without going deeper.
Most Valuable Expert 2015
If disk management only sees one disk, then you are using hardware RAID built into the server. There should be some OpenManagement software installed which shows you how your array is setup, and also your iDrac should show you such details. If that isn't setup or installed, download the software and tools from the Dell site and install them, or use the DVD that came with the server, if there was one.
Distinguished Expert 2017

if you do not have dell openmanage server tool installed,;
enter your system's tag
download and install dell openmanage
once it is installed, run the desktop shortcut.

iut will let you see info about the server and its configuration including raid if any  without the need to reboot thew system and use ctrl-a, etc to get into controllerbios.

check device manager, does itr say the hard drive is a perc disk?


Sorry.  I'm sure I had answered back.
I did mean RAID 1.
It appears that the Server deals with it re: changing partitions native to Windows Server OS.
The one limitation was that one partition had to be removed - in order to increase the size of another .. and them recreated.

The Secure Boot prevents using live CDs.
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Just disable Secureboot.


rindi:  Well, yes.  But I didn't want to mess around with a production system any more than necessary...  Just my choice but you're right.  In this case it didn't hurt that much to leave it as-is.
Distinguished Expert 2017

Does the system gave hot swap drives?

IMHO, trying to make adjustments on a production server/system means you are tempting .....

Any possibility of transitioning to setup using a newer server I.e. Upgrade cycle moved up?

Presumably you've taken steps to remove what can be removed. What can be moved has been moved I.e. LogFiles,  

If you have a specific path where you need more space, you could add additional drive/s that will be accessible via a path rather than by drive letter.

I.e. C:\somestorage
You can add an Os managed raid 1 of two new 1TB drives configured to be accessing,e as c:\somestorage after the original conten has been copied .......


arnold:   Many things could have been done differently.  It's all done now.  Thanks.


(This is my second try at closing this question.  EE gobbled up the first one!!  Second time today!)
Thanks everyone!

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