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  1. #1
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    Mirroring a disk in Windows 7

    I decided to mirror a couple of drives as backups. I make hard copies every 2 months or so. I mirrored a 1 TB disk with disk management in Windows 7 Pro without a hitch. It was so easy I decided to do a 2 TB drive which has turned out to be anything but easy. The original disk with the data refused to change over to dynamic because something had written info right at the end of the disk that couldn't be moved. I tried defragging but it didn't work. I then copied all the data over to the new 2 TB drive and changed both to dynamic after deleting the original partition and reformatting. Still no go. Then I noticed that the new drive I purchased was 6GB/s while the original was 3 GB/s. Is this the deal breaker? Stupid, I know, but I thought I had purchased a 3 GB/s drive trying to match the drives as closely as possible. All 4 drives are plugged into the motherboard. I installed a PCI card, VANTEC 6-Port SATA II 150 PCI Host Card with RAID capability (it works very well too), about 2-3 days ago to get more SATA ports but it didn't seem to affect the 1 TB mirror job so I don't think it had any affect here. I have 2 partitions on both the 1 and 2 TB drives. Most all of the programs are installed to the 128GB SSD boot drive and the 1 TB drive. What can I do to get the 2GB mirrored? Do I have to buy another 6GB/s drive or find a 3GB/s one? Or should I just try the RAID on the Vantec card?
    Gary

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwills View Post
    I decided to mirror a couple of drives as backups. I make hard copies every 2 months or so. I mirrored a 1 TB disk with disk management in Windows 7 Pro without a hitch.
    Gary,
    Hello... I'm not understanding ..do you mean "Clone the disks"? Also.... On my OS Windows 7 \ 64 home does not have any option to clone using "Disk Management". Sounds like you have quite a rig going there! I have used Acronis True Image Home to "Clone" my HD's ..some programs have limits as to size that they can handle. Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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  4. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Acronis True Image Home here as well. I can clone my whole HD to another drive, but I prefer to Image my HD. A clone will take up as much space as the original HD whereas an Image file takes up much less space. Plus you can store multiple Images on the same media, whereas a clone is a one only type procedure.

    Cloning is generally used when, for example, you get a new HD and wish to transfer your entire OS to the new HD. Imaging is far more efficient for backing up your entire OS.

    If the cost is a hindrance there are many free alternatives that are excellent (more full featured than the Win 7 alternative). Many are discussed in detail in the Security and Backup forum.
    Last edited by Medico; 2011-12-07 at 06:15.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  5. #4
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    No, Fred, I'm not cloning the disks. I use Acronis to clone drives for saving to DVDs. I've also tried using Acronis's incremental saving on a couple of external disks. That works until you run out of space on the drive. I tried moving the data to a larger hd for temporary archiving but Acronis doesn't allow you to do that unless they recently updated that feature after I complained.

    What I'm doing is RAID1 or mirroring individual drives through disk management in Win7 rather than setting up RAID during the initial setup of the machine. You have to make the data drive and the new drive dynamic which is easy to do in disk management. Then just click on the data drive and "add mirror". Your machine automatically copies all your data to the mirror drive and they stay exact copies of each other. The purpose is to protect your data by having 2 drives with the same data. If one dies, you can replace it and the remaining drive will recopy all the data to the new drive. It's a lazy man's backup, or a fanatic man's backup or both.
    Gary

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    Fred and Ted,

    Disk mirroring is a whole different ball game. Windows 7 supports disk mirroring without aditional software. Here is an how-to-geek article on how to setup mirroring on Windows 7.

    Gary, sorry I can't help. Never used Windows 7 mirroring myself.

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    Just Plain Fred (2011-12-07),Medico (2011-12-07)

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    Problem solved! Thanks for the link, ruirib. I looked it over carefully and the answer popped out at me. The 1 TB drive had been so easy that I got self-confident in doing the second. I had both drives already converted to dynamic before trying to mirror them. The new drive with no data has to be unallocated before trying the mirror process. So all I had to do was delete the partition on the new drive and then go through the setting up mirror process. They're synching now. Thanks! Boy, do I feel dumb!
    Gary

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    Well I am glad the article was useful and your problem is solved, Gary .

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    Quote Originally Posted by gwills View Post
    Problem solved! Thanks for the link, ruirib.
    Gary,
    Hello... Yes good article...and thanks to your question ..I'm looking into doing an "upgrade to "7" pro or "ultimate" so i can play with this function...See.... in asking questions you can be of help to everyone.. Best
    Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Very nice Rui, I learn something new every day. I myself do not use Raid in my systems so have no use except for informational purposes.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Myers View Post
    I myself do not use Raid in my systems so have no use except for informational purposes.
    Ted,
    Hello... Have upgraded to " 7 \ Pro" and going to "fool" with this function (Mirror) you do not have to setup a "Raid"... Windows seems to do this on its own.. when using this . This will be useful if you can after doing the "mirror thing" you can remove the HD... Hopefully you then can reconnect it (at a later time) and windows would update (sync) it... not sure but will do some experimenting...Looks like a way to do "Incremental cloning?" ... Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain Fred View Post
    Ted,
    Hello... Have upgraded to " 7 \ Pro" and going to "fool" with this function (Mirror) you do not have to setup a "Raid"... Windows seems to do this on its own.. when using this . This will be useful if you can after doing the "mirror thing" you can remove the HD... Hopefully you then can reconnect it (at a later time) and windows would update (sync) it... not sure but will do some experimenting...Looks like a way to do "Incremental cloning?" ... Regards Fred
    Fred, you can't do that. Mirroring is meant to be done in real time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Myers View Post
    Very nice Rui, I learn something new every day. I myself do not use Raid in my systems so have no use except for informational purposes.
    As Fred stated, Ted, you do not need raid, all you need is Windows. I think mirroring makes much more sense as a fault tolerance strategy, rather than a backup one, but it can be seen as a real time backup. Deletions will be immediately replicated, though.

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    JPF,

    mirroring is a form of RAID. RAID is Redundant Array of Independent Disks. Windows 7 has an inbuilt mirroring capability via a software RAID if you run Win 7 Pro or above. For more on RAID take a look at this wikipedia article. Windows 7 can implement RAID1.

    If you remove one of the mirrored disks, nothing really bad should happen - you may get some error messages about a failed array etc, but the data on the drive will be safe for now. When you reconnect the other drive Windows should resync the data. Bear in mind this is not the same as backup. Sync happens automatically and in real time, so as per the how-to-geek article, if you delete a file, it's instantly gone from both drives.

    The other thing to bear in mind that you must setup the partitions (better still, drives) as dynamic. That's straightforward and doesn't damage the data contained on the drive. But.....after you have finished your tests and experiments, you cannot switch back from dynamic to a simple volume without erasing the data on the volume. In other-words, make sure you still have backups of your data: if you wish to revert to simple volumes will need them.
    Last edited by Tinto Tech; 2011-12-07 at 18:23.

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    Tinto Tech,
    To convert back to basic from dynamic doesn't necessarily require a backup hard copy. You can stop the mirror and then delete the parition on one of the previously mirrored drives. Install a new basic partition on that drive and then copy all the data from the other dynamic drive to your new basic drive. Then either leave the dynamic drive or convert it back to basic the same way (delete the partition and install a new basic one).
    Fred,
    I wouldn't try removing the mirrored drive for storage. I've never done it but it doesn't sound like Windows would like that. This isn't a hot-swapable server setup What I've done is either using win7 pro backup or Acronis to make a backup or clone to an external drive. I use one of the open types where you can just plug the harddrive into the unit and turn it on. I have one made by MassCool (there a bunch out there) and have never had a problem with it. It has an e-SATA connection (or USB2). Once the backup is done, I remove the drive and put it in a storage cabinet. You can use different disks for different drives and store back as far as you like or have room for. The only problem is, and this is universal, that you can't repurpose any old IDE drives left from previous builds. I do have a number of those in external enclosures connected by USB1. I have been using one for incremental backups using Acronis before I started this mirror. Since I have no other use for them right now I'll probably let it continue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gwills View Post
    Fred,
    I wouldn't try removing the mirrored drive for storage. I've never done it but it doesn't sound like Windows would like that.
    Gary,
    Hello...Question .... Say i have all my backups on the now "Mirrored" and now "Dynamic" HD's ... will Acronis now see the "Images" the same way? Have you used Acronis backups that are stored on "dynamic" HD's?... I will do some experiments ..but will backup the "basic" HD before... if i can find a drive large enough to hold the "Image". Regards Fred

    PS: When you say "Copy" data from the dynamic to the new basic, how do you mean? Windows Copy or TeraCopy, or and Image?
    Last edited by Just Plain Fred; 2011-12-08 at 08:09.
    PlainFred

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