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I bought 2 Lenovo thinkstation E31 and I want to set up RAID 1 on them.

I added a hard drive for each. I went in the BIOS and set it to RAID then I pressed ctrl-l to start the raid manager but it disappear after 2 seconds. I don't know if it's because Windows 7 is already installed but in the user manual it says that the RAID will only works for windows 7 users so I installed it first with the lenovo partition.

I read on forums that setting RAID formats the disk but I got the secret partition and I don't wanna lose it. Also, in windows 7 when I go in computer, I don't see the second hard drive and the Intel hard driver manager pops up saying I got an another drive ready.

From that, I can set the RAID but will it be a software RAID? I would prefer a hardware RAID cause it's faster.

Does anyone can explain how I could get the hardware RAID or why the ctrl-l windows doesn't work. Thank you

share|improve this question
First of all, why would hardware RAID be faster? This used to be true for RAID levels which needed relative expensive calculations (e.g. RAID5), but RAID 1 is just a straight copy of the data. Second: Yes, you can set up software RAID, but make sure you RAID all parts you want. (e.g. only a partition in RAID will make your data safer and faster to read. But if your boot part is not in the RAID then you get 50% chance to boot after a disk failure. (Note that the data would still be safe in that case, but you still end up reinstalling the OS). – Hennes Oct 21 '12 at 16:14
I think the RAID 1 is the best for me, it's a server and all I want is that it's 100% online with all the data with 2 disks. Do you know why I don't have access to the Intel Matrix Storage Manager with ctrl-l. I can see it for 1 sec then it disappear. Thank you for the clarifications. – Marc Oct 21 '12 at 17:06
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Those are Intel-based boards, so the ctrl-l you are trying to use to get into the RAID configuration is most like actually ctrl-I (I for Intel).

If you want to go by way of hardware/firmware RAID, then be prepared to make a full Windows backup (using a System Image backup, or an ASR if pre-Vista), set up the RAID, and do a reinstall using the backup.

In the end it's almost always the fastest, safest and most stable method.

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I noticed it was ctrl-I but I realized I would have to format so I used the intel software to do a software raid. is it really less stable – Marc Oct 21 '12 at 18:37
how is it less stable? – Marc Oct 30 '12 at 19:40
What I meant was that it'd be more stable to do a full backup and restore to the new drive configuration (with the new drivers) vs. shoe-horning them in after the fact. There's also considerably less (no) chance of screwing up live system partitions (and such) by using the backup/restore method. If you used the Intel console in Windows to just click yourself together a RAID, then it seems that someone already installed the drivers, and it sounds like they had your BIOS in RAID mode already. So if that's the case, then you should be good to go. :) – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Oct 30 '12 at 19:46
yeah Intel software pop when I set the raid in the bios. I didn't know I had to set the raid in the bios for a software raid. It was an accident when I tried to do a hardware raid. Thank you – Marc Oct 30 '12 at 19:49

If you install the Intel Matrix software, you can convert the existing non-RAID drive to a RAID 1 Mirror without re-installing anything. This is done from within Windows, not from the BIOS screen. It asks which drive's data to keep, so make sure you choose the correct one, such as Drive 0 System.

You would first break your software mirror so the first hard drive is just a stand-alone basic disk with no software mirroring.

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It's what I did. Thank you – Marc Oct 30 '12 at 19:39

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