enabling raid without reformatting


hardware monkey
8 May 2002
i built my dad a comp a few years back that has a socket 754 nvidia 6100/410 board that supports SATA raid. currently he only has one 160gb harddrive but likes the idea of getting a second for mirroring purposes after i explained it to him. i haven't ever setup an array so i have a couple questions...

1) if i enable raid in his bios, i'm pretty sure windows won't want to load at that point since it has no driver in place for a raid controller. how would i fix this without reformatting? can you use repair console and load a driver off a floppy somehow?

2) when i get another 160gb haddrive to match his older model, will there be any problem with compatibility between the two? i intend to get the same make and labelled size, but the model will be different. what if the new one is slightly smaller than the old one by, say, a few kilobytes?
easy way around this would be to enable the raid controller in the bios and then boot windows, it should ask for a driver for the controller and you can install it.

Then attach the drives to the raid ports on the board and tell it you want to create a mirror arry, if its going to kill all the info on both drives (which it shouldn't) it will put up a warning box so just be careful :)
but i'm pretty certain if i enable raid in the bios, windows won't even load. it won't have a driver for the raid controller and therefore will not see the boot drive.

brb, i'll try it on this comp.
huh, it did boot and ask for a driver. i swear i've had problems while doing that before. oh well. thanks, Carpo.

now onto my second question. :)
as for nr2 - i believe as long as they are the same size (matching models would be best) you shouldn't have a problem, reason it did boot and ask for the driver is because its not on the raid controller yet but knows its there :) - if you were to install windows from scratch you would need the drivers on the cd or usb disk
It is smart enough to use just the capacity of the smaller of the two drives when it makes the raid array. The rest of the space on the larger drive will be unused. Not sure if it can be used but I would avoid trying.

Life is hard enough without science projects on relatives PC's...
but what if the first drive is the smaller one and has it's partition(s) set already and everything? it wouldn't be able to mirror them over if the drive is a hair too small, right. i just want to be prepared. i guess i can look for a program to resize the partition, just in case.

and getting a matching model number is probably out of the question. i would probably have to go through ebay for a used one and maybe pay more than a brand new one with warranty.

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