Raid installation help

By jitorres61 ·
We have a small Accounting office with a Dell that has two 250gb drives; "C' and "D" respectively, with Windows XP Home. I would like to install a RAID to mirror one drive to the other, the reason is in case one drive fails the other would still work until I replace that drive. Is this correct?
My question is how do I do this? I am A+ and N+ certified but I have never attempted this before so if you can be a little specific and in laymans terms please.
My second question is, I would like to back up all information from my office to my home via the internet on a daily or weekly basis in case something tragic as a fire happens in the office. Again, I have never done this so if you can help be specific and in laymans terms. I do have a backup but it is an eternal 250gb drive that I am not confortable with and its in the office. Thank you for all your help.

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OK i will need to ask this, are you the Owner of this business?.

If you are then fine, but if not then you could be in trouble taking data off site.

Setting up raid.
A few things to know first.

Raid0 = Stripping. Meaning two drives becoming as one, if one hdd goes down then your data is lost.

Raid1 = Mirror. Meaning two drives pairing up one is the active disk, (you can see this in the operating system), and the other is in the back ground doing a copy of the Active drive/disk.

Raid5 = (only if you have three drives or more) Meaning a sort of spanning, a lot of disks becoming as one but (depending on how many you have) you will lose two drives, so if for example you had six drives then this will become four. What happens is that the data is rotated around all of the drives so that at anyone time if you have a drive go down you will have not lost any data, this will still be true if two drives go down at once. This will be your safe bet to use, being in your position.

4). Raid Spanning = JBOD (just a bunch of disks) Meaning a lot of drives becoming as one, this is ideal if you have different sizes of drives and you do not have the money
to buy the same size of drives.

Now to set up your Raid.

Go into your bios, (boot up your computer and press "DEL" key (depending on your set up this Key might be different).
In the bios look for the raid section and make sure it is set as "enable",
Something like this:
RAID.0. Disable
RAID.1. Disable
RAID:2. Disable
RAID.3. Disable
What you need to do is to mark them all as "enable".
These will be the location of your drives, so if a drive or drives go down you can disable it through here. After this go to "save and exit" then re-boot your computer. Now on your monitor you should see the raid section come up with something like "press F4" OR "press F10" to access the raid page. When in there get familiar with the lay out, then try out which one you want to use and also how many drives you want to use in either Raid list.
Example you can have two drives as Raid0 (stripping), Just select two drives, (you will have to use the "TAB" and Arrow keys on your keyboard for this), select one drive at a time and with the arrow keys move them to the box to your right. When you have selected the two drives press the "F7" key to finish the raid set up. Now if you want to set up another raid look down at the bottom of the page and you will see "set up another raid" or something similar, click on this and select some drives either as Spanning/Raid5 or what ever you want, and move them from the left box to the right box. When finished Press the "F7" key and then press the "CTRL + S" to save and exit the raid page, re-boot your computer and you will see your drives listed as either "0 and healthy" or "1 and healthy" depending on which raid setting you had selected. When you have put drives in a RAID then you will need the raid drivers to load on any Windows operating system, when you load on the Windows disk you will see "press F6 to load third party drivers" put the floppy disk in the drive and then press the enter key, Windows will now read the raid drivers off the floppy disk and load them in the operating system.

Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.

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RAID Configuration

by TheChas In reply to Raid installation help

As the basics of RAID have been covered, I will not go over that.

CAUTION: "IF" you convert your existing disk drives into a mirrored RAID array, ALL of the DATA on the drives will be LOST!!!!

The first step is to determine if your system has a RAID controller, or if you need to install a RAID controller. The system specifications, or a pass through BIOS setup should let you know if your system has a RAID controller. A typical desktop system does not have a RAID controller.

Next, install the RAID controller and 2 new (or formatable) hard drives.
Enter the setup and configuration for the RAID controller and configure your array.

You might want to use the RAID drives just for data files and leave the applications and OS on one of the existing drives.

Personally, for data backup, I would install a removable drive tray and run a 3 to 5 drive backup routine. Store the drives off-site and bring in the drive with the oldest backup each day. Then, copy the data files onto the backup drive at the end of the day.

Drives are a lot faster than external drives or any Internet connection. Plus, you do not have the security worries of the external connection.

If you insist on performing a remote backup, you should setup a secure VPN between the office computer and the off-site computer.


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by jitorres61 In reply to RAID Configuration

I am the owner, thanks for asking.
We have to slow down just a bit. I follow you 90%, but I am still new to this and first I need to know these questions answered first. Remember I have a Dell with two disks of 250gb each, "C" has the OS, the programs, and the data; "D" is empty. I believe that if "C" fills then the computer automatically goes to "D". I think this because when I deleted more then the recycle bin could accomodate the computer created a recycle bin in drive "D" and put the rest of the deleted data there, which I had to empty.

1) I would like to make the "D" drive the mirror copy so if "C" fails, "D" automatically kicks in, hence no down time, is this possible with the two drives I have now?

2) Do I understand you, if I set this up I will lose all the info in drive "C"?

3) Is RAID a program or hardware or both? What do I need to purchase? Can I use it with the two drives I have now?

4) I do alot of work out of office and out of state using "Go To My PC" and I donot return to the office, which is why I would like a backup going to my home.

Thanks for your patience.

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A "must do" first for you,

And that is do a back up NOW. The way your system is configured at the moment it will not do a auto roll over to the next drive, so do a back up now, and i mean NOW. Before we can carry on you will need two back ups (always be safe than sorry).
Answers to your questions.


"I would like to make the "D" drive the mirror copy so if "C" fails, "D" automatically kicks in, hence no down time, is this possible with the two drives I have now?"

One thing to be clear on here is that if you do a Raid1 (Mirror) you will not SEE the disk at ALL, no "D" No "E" No "F". The Mirror drive works in the back ground, hence "Mirror". As for the drive to auto kick in, No it will not. You will have to go into your bios and put the drive as the boot drive and then your computer will boot from it, so there will be some down time (depending on your system, and how fast your are) of around one to five minutes.


"Do I understand you, if I set this up I will lose all the info in drive "C"? "

YES you will lose your data, and i mean ALL so do a back up before you carry this out.


"Is RAID a program or hardware or both? What do I need to purchase? Can I use it with the two drives I have now?"

Raid is a program and hardware so it will/can be both. It can be used with your drives but it depends on your motherboard and drives, some Raid systems can not do Raid on certain drives, the best way for Raid is through Sata connections on the motherboard of which look something like this:
They are the blue coloured ones.
The best way of a raid will be through Sata drives connected through the sata connectors (as shown) on the motherboard. But you can get a add on card that fits into your PCI slot (if your motherboard has this).


"I do a lot of work out of office and out of state using "Go To My PC" and I do not return to the office, which is why I would like a backup going to my home".

Your best bet Will be to set up a mirror on a Raid then anything you do will automatically be copied to your other drive. But to have peace of mind you will be better of with a very big drive, so that you will be at peace knowing that you will not run out of space. But you can get a server to do this on your behalf also, that is if you have one.

Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.

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by TheChas In reply to Question

I tried to post this Sunday, but TR was having problems.

In answer to your questions:

Unless something special has been setup, the computer does not automatically transfer data to an alternate drive when you fill up a drive. I am at a loss to explain how the files you deleted ended up in the recycle bin on the drive.

1. I may be wrong, but I believe any automatic recovery from a failure on a single drive in a RAID array has to be a fully supported function of the RAID controller and the driver.

1b. Yes, you can use your existing 250 GB drives to create your array. But, you will need to rebuild the drives after creating the RAID array. You will need to backup all of your data.

2. Yes, you will loose all data and files on the existing C: drive if you make it part of the RAID array. This is because after you create the RAID array, you have to format the drives for the RAID to function.

3. A RAID configuration is a combination of hardware, firm-ware and software.

The hardware starts with a RAID controller and 2 or more hard drives (preferably of the same make and model).

The firm-ware on the RAID controller card functions in a manner similar to the BIOS on the motherboard.

There is then a driver so that Windows knows how to work with the storage controller.

Finally, you have monitoring software that keeps track of your RAID array. This would be part of what you are looking for to automatically switch over to the mirror drive in case of a failure of the primary drive.

4. I have not used or researched Go To My PC, so I cannot comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the program.

You need a backup software package that supports using a remote drive as the backup destination.

Just keep in mind the security risks associated with sending your data out on the Internet and take appropriate precautions.

Since you work out of the office a lot, you might want to think about using one of the online storage providers and make backups of the online files from home.


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