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Increasing RAID drive size without losing data?

This is a discussion on Increasing RAID drive size without losing data? within the Windows 10 Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I do video work from home and a couple years back I built a computer for capturing and editing uncompressed/lossless


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Old 03-28-2020, 08:36 AM   #1
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I do video work from home and a couple years back I built a computer for capturing and editing uncompressed/lossless video. It's got decent specs; AsRock Fatal1ty AB350 motherboard, Ryzen 7-1700 CPU, 32GB RAM, 2GB GTX 1050 GPU, and a 1TB M.2 SSD as the C: drive. However, for data capture I need space and speed...lots of it. Capturing uncompressed HD video at near real-time speed over USB 3.0 demands a fast RAID 0 array. I've got two internal bays available in my iStar D-400 case, and I originally intended to install two 4TB drives for an 8TB RAID array. However, when I attempted to configure it, I found that the configuration utility could only handle a maximum of 2TB. I pulled the 4TB drives, re-purposed them elsewhere, and installed and configured two 1TB Seagate drives.


The machine has been working fine for the past two years. However, a couple of weeks ago I finally RTFM and found that there is a way to force the configuration utility to recognize arrays over 2TB in size. I'm wanting to go back to my original plan of an 8TB array...but, when Windows was installed, it put the "System Reserved" partition on the array. I'm wanting to see how I can replace the physical disks and re-initialize the array without losing data. Again, the system is still working and working well; I'm typing this message out on it right now. I've got plenty of resources for backing up to NAS units and external drives; there are two hot-swap 3.5" drive bays installed in the computer for importing and exporting data and I have several spare drives. How best to carry out this upgrade?
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Old 03-28-2020, 10:07 AM   #2
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Get two new larger disks and put them in the spare bay and hook them up to your RAID Controller.
boot into your RAID Control Panel Bios and select the two new disks and Create a new RAID 0 Array.
Then you will want to Clone the existing RAID array to the new Disks Using Clone software.
Use a clone software like, Easeus Todo Backup, or Acronis True Image They work great for these purposes, but I think the free Macrium Reflect might also do the job. You will want to create a bootable Windows PE Rescue USB Flash drive in the software, and boot off of that.
The program should recognize your RAID 0 array Source drive as one large drive. Then point it to the new RAID 0 Destination drive. Make sure you select all partitions on the source drive. It should clone it exactly and will compensate for the larger drive.
When complete, you can remove the original drives, and replace them with the new RAID array. If all went well, you should be able to boot successfully.
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Old 03-28-2020, 12:09 PM   #3
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Okay. That's good advice, but...


I had to place the two sets of drives (hot-swap and RAID) on separate controllers due to the physical limitations of the controller built into the motherboard. And right now I can't find the driver/utility disk for the PCIe drive controller (I believe it's a Vantec, but I'd have to pull the machine from the rack and open it up to be sure).


Secondly (and I should have stated this in my OP), I'd like to consolidate the "System Reserved" partition onto the SSD. There's plenty of room for it; the SSD is less than 20% utilized. Of course, reinstalling Windows (and device drivers, and software, and...) is a major hassle. I do have Acronis True Image 2018 available for use; would that be of assistance?
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:43 PM   #4
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Moving the System Reserved Partition might not boot the computer. It should be pretty small, though, just 500 MB or so.
You would have to get the model# of your Vantec RAID controller and download the driver. https://vantecusa.com/dl.php?type=1
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Old 04-16-2020, 09:35 PM   #5
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Okay, it took me a while to get back to it, but the job is now done. In case anyone has any questions for a similar situation, here's what I did:

  1. Deleted all files that I was sure I could do without.
  2. Shrunk the size of the C:/ partition on the SSD by 500 MB, leaving the free space unallocated.
  3. Used Acronis True Image to create Rescue Media on a thumb drive.
  4. Made a full backup of the system. For safety's sake I actually made two full backups; one to my NAS box and one to a 4TB drive in one of the hot-swap bays.
  5. Shut down the system and rebooted from the rescue media on the thumb drive. I used Acronis to restore the "System Reserved" partition (only) to the unallocated space on the SSD.
  6. Shut down again and physically disconnected all of the spindle drives on the system, both RAID and hot-swap.
  7. Crossed fingers, rebooted...Windows started normally.
  8. Verified proper operation of the OS, then shut down again. Connected the new RAID spindle drives and initialized the array with the BIOS tools.
  9. Rebooted to Windows and added the new array as a disk and formatted it.
  10. Restored the 830GB of data from the old array that I thought I might want to keep to the new array from the backup on the hot-swap disk using True Image.
As the man in the commercial used to say, "No runs, no drips, no errors!"


Edit To Add: Since a RAID0 array by definition has no redundancy and any hardware failure crashes it, I feel much better having my System Reserved boot partition on what should be a more reliable SSD.
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Old 04-17-2020, 02:25 AM   #6
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Excellent Job!
However, In creating a new RAID array, I would have created a RAID 5 or 10 with 3 spinner drives for Redundancy, rather the the RAID 0, but that's just me.
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Old 04-18-2020, 05:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spunk.funk View Post
Excellent Job!
However, In creating a new RAID array, I would have created a RAID 5 or 10 with 3 spinner drives for Redundancy, rather the the RAID 0, but that's just me.
If data redundancy was the prime concern I'd agree with you. But for this system, maximum read/write performance is the issue. My film scanner vendor warns that when scanning HD video uncompressed, only a fast RAID0 array can keep up with the data flow without losing bits of the imagery. This drive array is used only for transient data...in, out, and working. In case of data loss I can reconstruct from the original analog material. Any important data is stored on the C:\ SSD or on spindle drives in the two hot-swap bays.
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