The Haphazard Blog

Tag: migrating

Migrating From a Single Disk to New RAID 1 (Mirroring) Array

by on Apr.27, 2010, under Computer Hardware, Technology

It took some data loss for me to finally move to RAID. I was backing up my data to DVD every week or 2 and I was pretty comfortable doing that. My bigger problem with the hard drive failure was the amount of time I had to spend to reinstall the OS and all my applications to get back up and running. So I lost a little bit of data, but had to spend 2 days diagnosing the failure and rebuilding a machine to get back to work (since I work from home, I’m pretty much my own IT department).

My new machine came with a single 250 GB HD and my plan was to move to RAID by adding a second drive. That procedure would’ve been fairly simple. Install the new drive, launch the RAID software (in my case, Intel Matrix Storage Manager because my Precision T5500 has an Intel ICH10R southbridge) and create an array. Instead I got two 640 GB drives to replace my primary drive. This is where I was not sure what to do to migrate to RAID 1. It turned out to be pretty simple, but I thought I’d outline the steps here.

  1. Write down the serial numbers for the drives and keep track of which drive is which (this may be the only way you will know which drive is empty and which has data when you create a RAID array, for me my drives were the same model and capacity, so the only difference was the serial number)
  2. Install one of the new drives and use the software from the drive manufacturer to clone the drive (my new drives were made by Western Digital, so I used Acronis True Image WD Edition)
  3. After the cloning procedure is completed, remove the old drive and install the new drive as your new primary drive and verify that you can boot into Windows
  4. Install the second drive in your machine, boot up and launch the software that manges RAID (in my case, it is the Intel Matrix Storage Console)
  5. Follow the instructions for your software to create a new Array (in the Intel Matrix Storage Console, Actions->Create RAID Volume from Existing Hard Drive)
  6. Creating a RAID 1 (Mirroring) array should be straight forward (select the source drive, select the drive to mirror to and accept the risk that the data on the second drive will be destroyed)

All in all, it took just a couple hours to do everything (most of that time was spent letting the PC copy the data) and while I didn’t, with the Intel Matrix Storage Console, I could also keep using the PC as it created the array. Also, I still back up my data to DVD every week or 2 because it is still possible that both drives could fail. I’m only treating this as a time saver in the event of a hard drive failure.

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