Cloning a c:\ drive of 2 hard disks and transferring to 2 solid state disks

WmABradnan used Ask the Experts™
I have a desktop computer (Alienware) with four internal hard disks, with a RAID motherboard.  Two of the disks are striped (the c:\ drive) and the other two disks are mirrored (the d:\ drive) and contain all my data.  The c:\ drive contains my operating system (Windows 7) and all my programs.  I want to replace the c:\ drive disks with 2 SSDs.  I want to clone the c:\ drive and then transfer this clone to the 2 SSDs, which will constitute the new striped c:\ drive.  I have cloned and transferred an old hdd's content to a new SSD, but without RAID.  It was easy.  But how do I do the same with a RAID system?  I'm at a loss as to how to proceed.  

Thanks, WmABradnan
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Principal Software Engineer
What you'll need to do (in general) is make a full backup of the system RAID "drive" to an external backup device large enough to hold at least the maintenance partition and the system partition.  Ideally, back up the whole thing.  Burn a CD that you can use to do a stand-alone restore from that external drive.

Then detach the hard drives and attach the SSDs.  Bind the SSDs into a RAID set using the same configuration as was used for the hard drives.  Use either the motherboard's on-board RAID support in the BIOS or the manufacturer's bootable CD/DVD supplied for that purpose.

Now, assuming that the RAID controller does not require a driver to bring the RAID set online as a drive -- and this is the big stumbling block -- boot the restore CD and restore the RAID drive image from the external backup drive onto the SSD RAID set.  After that you can deal with any issues such as enlarging partition size.

This will work only if (a) the SSDs are at least as big as the original hard drives and (b) the RAID controller will present to the motherboard as a standard drive and does not require a driver to be recognized.

If the RAID controller will not present to the motherboard as a normal disk drive and a driver is required, then the general procedure is the same but it will be necessary to find a backup and restore utility that can recognize the particular RAID controller on this motherboard and bring it online from a bootable CD/DVD.
eridzoneIT Administrator
I would recommend you Acronis in this situation, If you're running a true hardware RAID 1 tool is going to see a single drive.  

This tool has full support of raid enabled drives, and you can even shrink the partition too
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software Engineer
I recommend Macrium, as it is open-source, well supported and free.  But note that the WinPE recovery environment has limited support for RAID.  This is not surprising as there are hundreds if not thousands of RAID controllers, some of which look identical but are "just enough different that it's unique to our brand".   You might have to add drivers to the recovery CD/DVD.  This can be done when the recovery CD/DVD is created.

"Generally speaking, the WinPE rescue environment provided by Macrium Reflect does not support most RAID controllers as shipped. If your PC uses RAID then you may well need to add drivers to the WinPE environment by using the Create Rescue Media wizard."
Top Expert 2013

check with alienware if your system support Raid SSD's, and provides drivers for it
John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems Engineer

I had great success with Aomei Backup


Thank you all for your attention to my problem.

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