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I have two 150GB SATA drives in hardware RAID 0, on which I have my C: (Win XP) and D: (installed apps).

I'm migrating to Windows 7, but I want to keep my XP system until I've got it all running smoothly.

So I want to:

  • break the RAID
  • move C: and D: to one of the drives (there's enough room)
  • use the other drive for Win 7
  • boot into one or the other

Clearly I can't move C: and D: after breaking the RAID, so I'm assuming I need to image the two partitions first, then break the RAID and restore the images to one of the drives.

So my questions are:

  • Is this possible?
  • If so, what would be a good (free) imaging/restore tool?
  • How do I ensure that the drive will boot after restoring the images?
  • What sort of gotchas should I look out for?

If there's a better solution than this, I'd be grateful for suggestions.

Thanks!

Update...

All migrated to Windows 7 now. I didn't succeed with the imaging, since for reasons I haven't yet got to the bottom of, I couldn't boot into the Paragon restore CD I'd created after creating the images. In the end, it was taking longer to get the imaging sorted out, than just reinstalling from scratch without the safety net.

Thanks..

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1 Answer 1

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In effect, the method you outline should in theory work: image, break RAID, reimage.
Windows won't even require re-activation, because only the hard disk will change.
However, theory doesn't always work.

I assume your RAID-0 is pure software, so there won't be any BIOS changes.
You can use any partitioning product to reallocate the disks, although it might turn out to be simpler to just quick-install a vanilla XP, to be over-written.

Be prepared for the case where re-imaging will be impossible for one reason or another, so for a full installation of Windows. Ensure that you have all the serial numbers required to re-install all your installed software including Windows and that you have other backups in addition to the disk image.

I would also backup, just in case, all installed drivers by a product such as Driver Magician Lite.

The product I would recommend for imaging is Paragon Backup and Recovery Free, as it's the only one I know that supports Restore with Shrink, assuming that disk-space considerations will allow the restore of your two striped disks into one C: disk. It's also a partition editor, so it can create your partitions.

I would suggest before creating the image backup, to minimize disk space by clearing out all temporary files, emptying the Recycle Bin, turning off the page-file and disabling hibernation, so as to minimize the required disk space.

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Thanks for this. I did mention it's hardware RAID-0, though, so does this materially change the approach? My C: and D: partitions will easily fit on to one of the de-RAIDed drives, and I've got all the installation bits and pieces - I just want to avoid reinstalling the many apps I currently have! I'll look into the Paragon and Driver backups apps you mention, so thanks for that too. –  ChrisA May 29 '10 at 10:04
    
@chris5gd: The hardware RAID-0 only means more things to do. –  harrymc May 29 '10 at 11:23

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