Raid Questions

Associate
Joined
29 May 2009
Posts
2,179
Location
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Would it be possible to run 2x500GB hard drives in Raid if there are different makes/models?

I currently have 1 x WD Black
1 x Samsung HD501LJ (F1 i think)
then a 120GB and a 160GB used for general back-ups of files.

I was wondering if i could set up the two 500GB drives in RAID1 (the one where one drive can fail and the other will still work??)

Any help would be good :)
 
Associate
OP
Joined
29 May 2009
Posts
2,179
Location
Plymouth, United Kingdom
I dont have back ups of anything. I only use about 3-400GB of space and 100GB of that is films that are on another HDD anyway.

I was hoping i could put the two 500GB drives into some sort of backup system...

Have one as "my documents" and the other making a complete copy of it or something?
 
Associate
Joined
8 Aug 2009
Posts
54
When I wanted RAID, I bought a £5 PCI-E 1x fake RAID SilImage card (Silicon Image 3132).

It's done the job, only broken twice (due to powercuts - hooray for backups). It doesn't have it's own processor - but tbh with a high clocked dual or better you're not going to notice much of a performance hit.

I don't use it for my C: drive, but I've noticed when transferring from one to the other that the RAID array writes almost exactly 2x as fast. Real world benefits aren't supposed to be quite 2x, but I'll assume that's because WD>Maxtor in my case. (I'm just looking to switch the c: maxtor for a tiny SDD, and then my storage will be silky slick.)

EDIT: Oh right, you want RAID 1. Yes - you can do this easily with a fake-raid card - it'll probably work better than RAID 0 will because it shouldn't use much CPU at all.

The only other option is software RAID, within windows. But frankly this is never recommended, even though for RAID 1 it shouldn't be too bad...

Come to think of it, for RAID 1 the only reason to avoid software RAID is because it's non-bootable. You can't have a software raid drive as your c: drive, because it won't be readable until the OS has loaded. And if the OS needs to be loaded before it can read the RAID array - you're screwed. If you have it as 'My Documents' only, then you should just be able to make a software raid easy-peasy.
 
Last edited:
Soldato
Joined
22 Dec 2008
Posts
10,368
Location
England
Raid it in software or get a new motherboard.

I don't know how well windows deals with software raid. Nightly backup is probably what you want, not raid 1
 
Associate
OP
Joined
29 May 2009
Posts
2,179
Location
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Right so nightly back ups seem to be the best bet.

Can i do this...

Use my 160GB as boot/OS drive (vista/7)
then have the "my documents" and all my "files" stored on one of the 500GB's then the other being an exact copy?

So when i click on my documents, it opens the documnets from the 500GB not the 160GB?

So when i boot from either OS, i get the same documents...

Am i making any sense? :p
 
Soldato
Joined
22 Dec 2008
Posts
10,368
Location
England
Yeah. Can do this in the registry, probably in explorer, or download tweakui. I recommend the last option. I tend to have 'my documents' and the desktop shared between operating systems.

I'm on a 30gb boot drive with a second drive for data :)
 
Associate
Joined
8 Aug 2009
Posts
54
Yes to all questions.

The only performance benefit of RAID 1 is that data can be read from both at the same time - which may improve sequential read times. Otherwise, it's purely a back-up method.

TBH, you can probably just link both OS's My Documents as a shortcut to the 500Gb. I've never tried it, so don't take my word for it.

I'm just mucking around in Disk Manegement trying to set up a Software Mirroring RAID so I can tell you how to do it...
 
Associate
OP
Joined
29 May 2009
Posts
2,179
Location
Plymouth, United Kingdom
tweakui is for XP?

Im going bed now, if you could do some kind of step by step guide to setting up my drives, that would be great.

I will be formatting the 160GB tomorrow and partitioning it 80GB partitions and installing Vista on one and 7 on the other.

Then ill copy all my data to my Samsung 500GB and whipe the WD Black and set that as "my Documents"

Then ill move all my documents onto the WD and whipe the sammy again.

Then i need some good (free) software to schedule nightly backups of the WD 500GB to the sammy 500GB

Thanks!
 
Last edited:
Soldato
Joined
22 Dec 2008
Posts
10,368
Location
England
Dont think you need a guide, but tweakui is for xp. I though ms would have released one for vista by now, you might be googling for the registry string to change.

Gparted on a livecd is very good for formatting drives in whatever pattern you like, make sure vista and 7 both have 'primary' partitions and you'll be fine. Install to the first partition (left hand side on the pictures) first.

No idea what software you would want, I use rsync myself
 
Associate
Joined
8 Aug 2009
Posts
54
If you're still hankering for RAID, then it may be easier to set up without anything on the 'My Documents' Disk. (Not even the My Doc. folder).

So far I've been unable to test my theories because it's taking a long time to shrink the backups compartment on my Maxtor. So sorry about that.

As for back-up software, I've heard of something called Robocopy.
Wikipedia Info on Robocopy
The Robocopy GUI site
I'm trawling the downloads section but I can't actually find it. Someone else should be able to provide a link though, so I'm off to bed.
 
Associate
OP
Joined
29 May 2009
Posts
2,179
Location
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Okay, ive partitioned my 160GB (actually 149GB) hard drive into 74.5GB and 74.5GB and installed Windows 7 onto the first partition.

How do i set "my documents" and "my desktop" and all my personal things to store onto D drive?
 
Associate
Joined
8 Aug 2009
Posts
54
I've been wanting to do that for a long time - but so far haven't had the time or energy to try. Are you sure you can't just move the My Documents folder from c: to d:? I think this is possible, at least in windows 7. The same for your desktop.

If it doesn't work directly, you could try to make shortcuts to it. If the shortcuts work, then you can go onto your other OS's c: and delete the My Documents and Desktop folders there and replace them with shortcuts to the appropriate folders on d:

I've never found any conclusive way to do this easily, but then I've never tried very hard :p

By the way - do you want the same programs on both, ie exactly the same copies with all the same settings etc? Because that could prove more difficult. There are user settings files stored deep within the c: directories which would be tedious to pick out one by one.
I really think you should ask this elsewhere as well as here, because great as this forum is for speccing rigs and fixing hardware glitches and many other things besides, it's not really software orientated and there may be other people elsewhere who are extremely good at this sort of thing.

EDIT: I checked the software RAID thing - it works in Windows 7 fairly easily via Disk Management (manage HDDs and partitions) --> Select Empty non-formatted drive and right click --> Select 'Create Mirror' --> and then add the other partition (I don't have enough free HDDs to check this last step, but I suspect that it should work without too much hassle)
However - it is questionable whether a software RAID would work if you had to set up two separate ones because you are dual-booting, and I would strongly suggest buying a £5 RAID card, if RoboCopy turns out to be rubbish.

And couldn't you write the script for that? In fact - if you get the GUI version, everything's represented by pull-down boxes and the like so you shouldn't have any trouble with it at all.
Gah - command line interfaces do not mix with the average Windows user :(
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom