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Starting Raid 1 in Wondiws 10

Posted on 2016-10-06
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Last Modified: 2016-11-22
A client of mine has a Dell workstation that came with Windows 7. He upgraded to Windows 10 and now wants me to Install Raid 1 on the machine. This model does have a hardware raid controller, but I have the impression that if I set up that raid, I''ll have to wipe out the original drive to create a new Raid 1 with the original and new drives.  Am I correct about that? Windows 10 has a feature called Storage Space which can be configured as a Raid 1, but I believe that configures two ADDITIONAL drives as a Raid1 which does not include the original drive, right?

That leaves only the disk  management console in which I know I can add an additional drive to the original. But I have an issue with this function. In order to add a new drive to the original to form a Raid 1, both drives have to be dynamic. The original drive has several partitions, two of which are Recovery partitions and the third is the C; drive.  When I try to convert the drive to dynamic, I get an error message " The operation could not be completed. There is not enough space to complete the request." I know there is lots of space on the C: drive partition. Exactly how much space do I need, or is it the existence of the Recovery partitions that is preventing the conversion?

If there is another diagnosis and/or solution to this issue, I'd like to know. Thanks for any help.
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Question by:PCGenieLA
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
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This model does have a hardware raid controller This is a cheap <$1 chip, avoid using it like the plague.
Storage Spaces is only for data you cannot boot off of a storage spaces volume and the drives have to be empty.

The Physical Drive doesn't have enough free space to be converted to dynamic at the end of the volumeto create the database for the dynamic disk. To fix the error, you need to shrink the last partition to create such a space via the feature "Shrink Volume".
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Hello,

Definitively you can use the Raid 1 solution included with Windows 10. But the drawback of this is that you will rely on a software raid solution, that you can avoid as far as you have a controller that can bring you Raid 1 from the hardware, which is better and do not depends on the OS. (if does not mean that the mirror included with Windows 10 is bad, this is great, but a hardware can make the job better).

Creating the mirror from the hardware controller is not suppose to erase the disk (and it is what I have seen for most home computers). However, what the controller does is that it takes one drive as the master, and all the information block by block is copied to the other drive that is considered the secondary one. And... a big note here: Obviously, it could be a very big Oppssss if the new/empty drive is the one configured as master and the one hosting the data as secondary... block by block everything will be deleted (So... lot of care while doing that). The methodologies for recognizing your drives during the process will depend on the interface of that controller. Anyway, it is recommended a full backup before proceeding with this step anyway.

Your second question... yes, you can mirror (raid 1) your original drive, the one where the OS is installed. But again, if that disk fails after you have your mirror working, you will require to configure the new disk to start the system manually - which is another disadvantage of the raid controlled by the OS, and it is because the hardware is not aware that the other hard drive can boot.

The rest of your questions... yes, you are right, you need to convert the drives to dynamic and you need to ensure enough available space when you configure part of the disk space for being used by the mirror. Maybe the only two benefits of making this using the OS are that you do not depend on the hardware (you can make raid even on computers without such nice disk controllers) and second, that is relatively easy and simple. But with the hardware controller you will have a higher performance, a simpler configuration on your Windows 10 and a smoothie and automatized recovery scenario if one day one of the disks fail.
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by:nobus
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raid from an onboard controller - unless it is a separate RAID controller card -  is considered to be far worse that the software raid
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by:rindi
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Is it Windows 10 home or pro? If it is Pro, then as above, just use Windows Built-in RAID. It is very reliable and performs very well. You don't require expensive enterprise class disks as you do if you use a RAID controller.

If it is the home version of the OS, then you can't use RAID. Only storage spaces are then available, and that as has been mentioned already can't be used on the disks you are booting from. So either don't use RAID in that situation, or upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro.
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by:noxcho
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To make things simple - take backup of his drive.
Configure the hardware RAID1 - boot the machine from Backup Recovery Media and restore from backup to new RAID configuration.
Boot the machine. That's it.
I have done this operation many times with different RAID types. If the RAID card was not activated before backup you would need to adjust the OS to new hardware (RAID). But with P2P Adjust OS feature of Paragon this can be done in few clicks.
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