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Hardware Thread, "RAID" one disk to a partition on another? in Technical; First of all, sorry if this is the wrong board, couldn't see one specifically for backups/storage. On my home PC, ...
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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    "RAID" one disk to a partition on another?

    First of all, sorry if this is the wrong board, couldn't see one specifically for backups/storage.

    On my home PC, I have for far too long now been relying on a single HDD to store all my important data, with no backup. Yes, yes, I know, rookie mistake!

    Well, the reason I've never gotten around to sorting it out is that financially, the purchase of a couple of HDDs for a RAID just isn't going to happen any time soon, something more urgent always comes along.

    What I'd like to do (if possible) is set up a RAID style backup system, whereby my existing data drive is backed up in it's entirety to a partition on a second, much larger disk, in as close to real time as possible. The reason I want to do this is that I do have the budget to purchase a single, high capacity disk and my existing disk is close to full. I'd like to do some housework on the existing disk so that only the really important stuff is left on there and backed up, then the remaining space on the larger disk can be used for less important things.

    Unless I'm mistaken (and I'd love to be!), RAID will only work with whole disks, not partitions.

    So my question to you all is, how would you go about doing this? I'm thinking some kind of software RAID setup would be ideal, if such a thing exists.

    I'm running Windows 7, may move to Windows 8 soon.

    Any help will be much appreciated!
    Last edited by LosOjos; 28th February 2013 at 09:42 AM.

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    look at shadow copy.

    Rob

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    LosOjos (28th February 2013)

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twin--turbo View Post
    look at shadow copy.

    Rob
    I was so caught up on trying to set up some kind of RAID that I hadn't even thought of that, thanks!

    Off to eBuyer to pick up a cheap TB HDD now...

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Actually, I'm not sure how Shadow Copy will work here...

    My main concern is that the HDD will fail, in which case I can't restore the files from Shadow Copy, can I?

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    I could just do a weekly backup I suppose, if anyone can recommend any (preferably free) software that can easily backup a partition? It'd be nice if it can be scheduled to do it, but I know I might be asking for a lot for free...

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    Unless I'm mistaken (and I'd love to be!), RAID will only work with whole disks, not partitions.
    That's incorrect. Let's say for example you have two physical hard disks in a RAID1 config (mirroring each other). When installing Windows you can specify how large you'd like the partition or volume to be. This means you could have a C:\ and D:\ partition on a single RAID1 array. This would allow you to run a backup utility, so you can backup important data or the whole volume to partition D:\

    In an ideal world backups should be separate - either to another computer, or a NAS (Network Attached Storage).

    I suppose another alternative (thinking out loud) is to burn critical data to a DVD-RW. It's quite cheap these days.

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    LosOjos (28th February 2013)

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    To add further to what I wrote - I was referring to a hardware RAID setup. Create the RAID array in the RAID BIOS, then run Windows setup. As far as Windows is concerned, there's just one drive partitioned into two. The RAID BIOS takes care of the rest.

    Most decent RAID setups also allow you to download/install a RAID utility so you can manage and view its health from Windows itself. Even better, get it to e-mail you when there's a problem with the RAID array, such as a failed disk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    I was so caught up on trying to set up some kind of RAID that I hadn't even thought of that, thanks!

    Off to eBuyer to pick up a cheap TB HDD now...
    1. Seagate 1TB Barracuda SATA-III HDD is down to £50 quid from £67.79 on Ebuyer.com at the moment. Also, using the discount code HDSPECIAL will take it down to just £47.99!

    2. I use an App called QtdSync which is simply AWESOME. It's a small, low resource app that runs in the system tray and allows you to set up backup routines. Simply choose a source, destination and how often to run (daily, weekly, on boot, before shutdown etc) and it will do exactly what you want. It will copy your source to the backup location, then replace any changed/updated updated files in your backup, remove any files you have deleted from your source, and it gives you the option to keep a history too. It will also run silently in the background and it's free. I can't recommend it enough!

    QtdTools - QtdSync

    Features

    Local and remote backups with two modes

    - Differentiell: Only the changes are backuped. However, thanks to NTFS and hardlinks with every backup you have a complete file tree of your data. Older backups can be deleted without loosing your data integrity.
    - Synchronization: The backup folder is updated. Only the newest version exists as backup.

    Multiple Backup Sets with an arbitrary number of folders to be backed up

    - Exclude filters

    Portable
    Restoring folders
    Backup scheduling

    - by Date and Time
    - on drive plugin

    Folder binding to specific drives (Windows only)
    E-Mail Notification
    Drag'n'Drop
    Last edited by Rawns; 28th February 2013 at 03:12 PM.

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    LosOjos (28th February 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    That's incorrect. Let's say for example you have two physical hard disks in a RAID1 config (mirroring each other). When installing Windows you can specify how large you'd like the partition or volume to be. This means you could have a C:\ and D:\ partition on a single RAID1 array. This would allow you to run a backup utility, so you can backup important data or the whole volume to partition D:\

    In an ideal world backups should be separate - either to another computer, or a NAS (Network Attached Storage).

    I suppose another alternative (thinking out loud) is to burn critical data to a DVD-RW. It's quite cheap these days.
    I think I'm getting confused here - are you saying that I could, for instance, set up RAID to mirror an entire 500GB disk to a 500GB partition on a second, 1TB drive? I thought you had to have two (or more) identically sized disks to use RAID?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawns View Post
    1. Seagate 1TB Barracuda SATA-III HDD is down to £50 quid from £67.79 on Ebuyer.com at the moment. Also, using the discount code HDSPECIAL will take it down to just £47.99!
    Yeah that's the one I have my eye on, I tried that code too (got the email) but apparently it's expired already! Might give it a couple of days, they seem to be loving storage sales at the minute...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawns View Post
    2. I use an App called QtdSync which is simply AWESOME. It's a small, low resource app that runs in the system tray and allows you to set up backup routines. Simply choose a source, destination and how often to run (daily, weekly, on boot, before shutdown etc) and it will do exactly what you want. It will copy your source to the backup location, then replace any changed/updated updated files in your backup, remove any files you have deleted from your source, and it gives you the option to keep a history too. It will also run silently in the background and it's free. I can't recommend it enough!

    QtdTools - QtdSync
    That looks like exactly the tool I need - thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    That looks like exactly the tool I need - thanks!
    Check out the turorial, gives you a god overview of the kind of schedules you can set up:

    QtdTools - QtdSync

    Attachment 17385

    My main stuff (photos, music, movies etc) is on my NAS, but I use this app to back up My Documents and my iTunes library. I set it to silently run at load the last backup was ran over 1 day ago. It does not take long to add/replace and new or changed files.

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    You could as an alternative get external USB drive and use QtdSync with it. You could then set up the backup task to run whenever you plug the external drive in. Once dione, disconnect the drive and store it away from the PC? Only think is to remember to actually plug the drive in regularly to get a up to date backup!

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    I think I'm getting confused here - are you saying that I could, for instance, set up RAID to mirror an entire 500GB disk to a 500GB partition on a second, 1TB drive? I thought you had to have two (or more) identically sized disks to use RAID?
    Almost - two physical 500GB drives in a RAID1 array, but partitioned into two. So you'd have for example, C:\ which is 100GB and D:\ which is 400GB.

    - Install two physical drives.
    - Configure in RAID BIOS for RAID1. At this point they would be blank, but mirroring each other.
    - Install Win 7 and configure the system drive C:\ to be 100GB.
    - Once you're in Windows, navigate to Admin Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management
    - Format the remaining space and specify it as you D:\ drive

    You now have a RAID1 array mirroring two partitions C:\ and D:\

    You could for example run some backup software, so it backs up all of your C:\ drive to your D:\ drive. Hope this helps!

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    LosOjos (28th February 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Almost - two physical 500GB drives in a RAID1 array, but partitioned into two. So you'd have for example, C:\ which is 100GB and D:\ which is 400GB.

    - Install two physical drives.
    - Configure in RAID BIOS for RAID1. At this point they would be blank, but mirroring each other.
    - Install Win 7 and configure the system drive C:\ to be 100GB.
    - Once you're in Windows, navigate to Admin Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management
    - Format the remaining space and specify it as you D:\ drive

    You now have a RAID1 array mirroring two partitions C:\ and D:\

    You could for example run some backup software, so it backs up all of your C:\ drive to your D:\ drive. Hope this helps!
    Example:

    150px-RAID_1.svg.png

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    LosOjos (28th February 2013)

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I think I just got confused reading this thread!

    RAID works at the disk level. The disks do not need to be the same size, but the extra space on larger disks is wasted as only the size of the smallest disk can be used. After the disks have been setup in RAID they can then be partitioned as, as far as the OS is concerned, it is now viewed and treated as 1 physical disk.

    What you can't do is set up a RAID with a partition on a non RAID disk, which I think was the OP's original question.

    Personally I think the solution to the OP's problem is the /MIR switch using Robocopy.

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    LosOjos (28th February 2013)

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Almost - two physical 500GB drives in a RAID1 array, but partitioned into two. So you'd have for example, C:\ which is 100GB and D:\ which is 400GB.

    - Install two physical drives.
    - Configure in RAID BIOS for RAID1. At this point they would be blank, but mirroring each other.
    - Install Win 7 and configure the system drive C:\ to be 100GB.
    - Once you're in Windows, navigate to Admin Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management
    - Format the remaining space and specify it as you D:\ drive

    You now have a RAID1 array mirroring two partitions C:\ and D:\

    You could for example run some backup software, so it backs up all of your C:\ drive to your D:\ drive. Hope this helps!
    I see what you mean now, I did think you could partition an already RAID'ed drive, but not RAID a single partition on one drive to another - correct? This is why I was babbling about a "software RAID" (not sure that's even a real thing) that I could get to mirror two partitions on different drives, but leave the remaining partitions alone...

    Ideally, Id just set up a RAID and be done with it but I do need more space, I'm down to the last 20GB of my 500GB storage drive, and simply cannot afford to start buying a load of extra drives right now. Equally, I'd like to get some sort of backup in place asap.

    I think my solution is going to be:
    - Buy a 1TB drive, split it in to two partitions and use the software @Rawns recommended to have it "mirror" my existing drive on one partition, leaving the remaining partition free for extra storage of less critical data.
    - When I have the money, I'll buy a second (and ideally a third) 1TB drive to configure as a RAID with the drive I'll be buying shortly, retiring the current 500GB drive to non-critical storage until it dies.

    Thanks both for all your help, think I have a plan now

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