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Thread: GA-EP45T-DS3R and RAID 1 Array: any way to create nondestructively?




  1. #1
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    Default GA-EP45T-DS3R and RAID 1 Array: any way to create nondestructively?

    Hello,

    I did not install RAID drivers when I first installed Windows 7 Pro 64-bit (at least I am pretty sure I did not do so) and I want to create a RAID1 setup. I read that in order to prepare the HDDs for RAID, I need to allow them to be formatted. However, I have over 100 pieces of software and cannot even think about reinstalling all the software and moving back into place all the data in the various places it needs to go.

    Is there a way to non-destructively create a new RAID 1 array with a HDD which has already been installed?

    Are there any registry changes which could be made to allow for such a possibility?

    If I do need to reinstall the OS, is it possible to image the HDD before setting up the RAID drivers, then after setting up the RAID1 array, restore the image to the original HDD and have that somehow mirrored on the 2nd drive in the array?

    Any other ideas?

    Thank you,
    edsager

  2. #2

    Default Re: GA-EP45T-DS3R and RAID 1 Array: any way to create nondestructively?

    Linux software RAID does allow creation of degraded RAID1 array from one disk, which naturally makes it possible to migrate non-RAID content to RAID1. However, I do not know whether the Intel Rapid Storage could do the same with ICH10R. And I doubt that it does not, but you better check that.

    In any case the Windows has to have both non-RAID and RAID drivers available. For W7 that seems to be a simple registry edit. Lsdmeasap has posted those instructions on these Fora.


    It is definitely possible to backup images of the filesystems, create the RAID1, and restore the data to array. There would not be "reinstall of OS", just "copy out and back". But I'm not familiar enough with the clone tools to recommend one.

  3. #3
    Lsdmeasap's Avatar
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    Default Re: GA-EP45T-DS3R and RAID 1 Array: any way to create nondestructively?

    I think the easiest way would be to mirror your OS or Disk to a separate source, then create the array you want, then mirror it back.

    You will need to enable RAID before you make the backup though, that way windows can boot with the RAID Driver. You can later, or right after this change and a reboot set the BIOS to RAID and install the latest Intel RAID Drivers and Matrix program if you want. The disk will then be in RAID NON Member mode, once you set the BIOS to RAID.

    These are the changes you need to make:

    Enable switching between all IDE/AHCI/RAID modes by changing "Start" Values in these keys to 0
    Code:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Msahci\Start
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Pciide\Start  
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\iaStorV\Start

    This is a great mirror tool I use, simple and straight forward. It is a 30 trial here but is fully functional
    Drive Snapshot - Disk Image Backup for Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/X64

    This is also a free one, with more options but I think he above one is easier to use based on the simplicity of it.

    EASEUS Disk Copy
    FREE download disk copy, disk clone, partition copy freeware

    All you need to do once you have done the above registry changes is this.

    1. Create a backup
    2. Enable RAID in BIOS
    3. Create your array in RAID ROM BIOS
    3. Restore backup to RAID array

    Then you are done, boot to RAID OS.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: GA-EP45T-DS3R and RAID 1 Array: any way to create nondestructively?

    With "3. Restore backup to RAID array" being the last step, I want to make sure I have this straight: after the previous steps have been completed, I can use the Windows 7 install DVD to restore an image of the hard drive created after the registry changes but before the BIOS changes, or I could try to restore the HDD with some other imaging software which I have by booting into that software under the same conditions. So this means I do not have to reinstall Windows.

    After the Windows image has been restored, it will have been restored to both drives in the RAID array, correct?

    Please let me know if this correct. The new Enterprise quality HDD is coming on Friday and I want to take care of this over the weekend.

    Thank you,
    edsager
    Last edited by edsager; 04-23-2010 at 03:38 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: GA-EP45T-DS3R and RAID 1 Array: any way to create nondestructively?

    Hi edsager, you mentioned "Enterprise HDD" I am not familier with that, unless it is the raid ready type HDD like Western Digital RE series. Anyway you must know this already but I thought mention it just in case. The Western Digital "Blacks" and I guess other series have changed the firmware so you can't use raid configurations after, something like Dec.2009 manufacture. I probably have the some of the facts messed up but if you or someone else is going "RAID" in the near future and buying WD drives then it is worth a "Google". Take care, good luck setting that up.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: GA-EP45T-DS3R and RAID 1 Array: any way to create nondestructively?

    You would not use windows 7 install DVD to create or restore images, this should be done with mirroring software such as drive snapshot, acronis, or easus disk image. Windows 7 Total PC backup may work, but I tried it a few times a while back and never had much luck at all with it, if you have already and it was fine then yes you can just use that.

    You would make the changes in the OS, then backup. You could then make the BIOS changes and still boot into the system anytime you want, or go directly to creating and then restoring to your array.

    No need to reinstall windows directly, just mirroring is all. Yes, it would be restored directly to the array after you create it and restore.


    +1 On what WaterRabbit has to say!! I have seen several complaints on certain new WD Drives not working in a RAID array.

    So you may need to do some googling on the model you are choosing to see if this is one of the ones that do not work properly with RAID before you get going on this.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: GA-EP45T-DS3R and RAID 1 Array: any way to create nondestructively?

    The HDD I will be getting is model WD RE3 WD RE3 500 GB SATA Hard Drives ( WD5002ABYS ), which has as part of its description: "The perfect solution for servers, storage arrays, video surveillance, and other demanding write-intensive applications." And has the following capability: "RAID-specific, time-limited error recovery (TLER)."

    I appreciate the heads up about the drives. I almost purchased Caviar Black.

    I do have Acronis TI, GBM and Easeus. I have never had success with Acronis or GBM, but I will take your warning regarding the Windows 7 Total Backup to heart and make another image with Easeus or Drive Snapshot. I had success with restoring a drive image with Vista's backup, so I was hoping Windows 7 would be even better.

    Thank you all for your assistance. I will let you know how it goes.

    Thanks,
    edsager

  8. #8
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    Default Re: GA-EP45T-DS3R and RAID 1 Array: any way to create nondestructively?

    I use drive snapshot personally, as I had issues with TI mirroring keeping alignment for SSD's, so I tried snapshot and haven't looked back yet.

    You are fine with that drive for RAID, nice to see you heard about the WD Black issues. Not sure why they did that?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: GA-EP45T-DS3R and RAID 1 Array: any way to create nondestructively?

    Well, it did not go as planned. I used EASEUS to backup and did a sector-by-sector backup, but there was no way to restore the backup to the RAID array. Apparently, 100 MB is used for RAID purposes, which means that there was not enough room to restore the image to the array.

    I spent a few hours troubleshooting different ways of doing things, including reinstalling Windows, recreating the RAID array, but there was no way to get the image to be on the HDD.

    So, my only option was then to eliminate the RAID array and restore the backup image. That worked fine.

    Maybe I should not have done a sector-by-sector backup so that the drive image was not the same size as the drive. Any ideas on this one?

    Thank you,
    edsager

  10. #10
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    Default Re: GA-EP45T-DS3R and RAID 1 Array: any way to create nondestructively?

    No, 100MB is used by Windows 7 as backup/system partition.

    Was this present on your current install, or you not sure? Sounds like it might have been and you were unaware Windows 7 did this. Delete that partition and then restore from your image.

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