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Swapping 2 RAID1 drive sets in Dell Optiplex XE2

Posted on 2016-09-08
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Last Modified: 2016-11-22
Hi...I have a Win7 Dell Optiplex XE2 with RAID1 configuration.  The initial 2 HDD (drive set 1) have bits of ransomware still present and, although the computer still functions, I want to remove the drives that came with the PC and install 2 new 1 TB drives (drive set 2).  Once I get the 2 new drives functioning I will then wipe the old drives and reuse them.  However, because of time constraints I will have to be able to swap the old and new drive sets several times before I get all the software loaded on the new drive set, while maintaining RAID1 configuration on both sets of drives

The problem I am facing is how do I swap the two sets of drives back and forth  while having the computer recognize RAID1 on both sets of drives?    From what I have read, if I go into the RAID BIOS and create a RAID1 volume on the new drive set, and then pull those drives and put the initial drive set back in, the system will no longer boot from  drive set 1.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:jcr01
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9 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 41790807
If it is Windows 7 Pro, just setup the new array using Windows built in RAID via diskmanagement. It is a lot more reliable anyway than fakeRAID which your mainboard probably has built-in, and it will also perform a lot better. You can even just use a single disk at first until everything is done and setup, then add the other disk later and then use OS built-in RAID.
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Author Comment

by:jcr01
ID: 41792197
rindi...thanks for your post.  I had considered setting up RAIDi in win7 pro but I would have to convert the disks to Dynamic Disk first.  By doing that I would no longer be able to restore the system from my Acronis disk image.

Bottom line is I want to stick with hardware RAID.

Thanks again
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by:rindi
ID: 41792325
Modern backup software should have no problem with dynamic disks or software RAID.
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Author Comment

by:jcr01
ID: 41796683
First off, I want to thank rindi for his comments.  However, since his responses dealt with setting up RAID via windows 7 and not via the on-board RAID bios like I want to do, I looked elsewhere for a possible solution.

What I found out from Intel was that I could accomplish what I wanted to do ( Switch two HDD RAID1 sets back and forth) as long as I did not  break the array, and that I keep the bios in RAID mode.

Thanks
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rindi earned 2000 total points
ID: 41796693
It is still really foolish to use fake-RAID, It is absolute crap and unreliable, with much lower performance than if you use OS integrated RAID. Usually it will even perform better than using real hardware RAID controllers.

With fake-RAID, you are at high risk.
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Author Comment

by:jcr01
ID: 41804153
Thanks rindi for your comments.  I will look into your suggestion to set up RAID1 in windows 7.
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by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 41837761
Author agreed to Rindi's post ID: 41796693

Please award points to Rindi
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