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I just installed W8 on an Intel 330 180 GB SSD.

I have 3 1TB HDDs.

1 HDD will be external for backup.

2 HDDs are then available for my PC. I do not need 2 TB of storage, so I thought I'd set these up to be exact clones of one another, so that if one dies I have a backup in the computer to go along with my external. Is this a good set up? How best would this be accomplished?

I've heard people suggest RAID but I've never done RAID, have no idea what it is, and have no idea how to set it up in my BIOS.

Thanks in advance

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You look like you are not going to fall in to this trap because you are also using a external backup but I just want to voice this: Do not rely on RAID as a "backup" solution. RAID helps you with minimizing downtime by letting you switch transparently to a second drive. If you get a virus, both drives are infected. If you accidentally delete a important file, both copies of the file are deleted. RAID is great for the things it are good for (raid 1 will give a read performance boost too), but it is not a "backup" because there is no way to "go back in time" and restore from a old point. –  Scott Chamberlain Dec 11 '12 at 21:28
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2 Answers

RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) is a term used to describe a few different ways of keeping your data secure or splitting it up onto multiple disks, there are different RAID systems the most common being:

  • RAID 0 [Striping - No Redundancy]
  • RAID 1 [Mirroring]
  • RAID 5 [Striping With Parity]
  • RAID 10 (RAID 1 + RAID 0) [Mirroring Striped Arrays]

What you would be looking for is RAID 1, where by every time you write a block of data to disk1, the exact same block is written to disk 2.

Also, your motherboard might have on onboard RAID controller and if it does that is the best route to go, although it will require some setting up in the BIOS. If not you can use Windows to do the Mirror for you, from the disk management console.

  • Open Run Box
  • Type diskmgmt.msc
  • Hit Enter
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RAID is a way to duplicate data between hard disks (or to distribute data between hard disks, in the case of some of the RAID variants). What you are interested in is RAID 1, which means that your data will be saved on two hard drives and not only one, therefore reducing the risk of data loss, because if one of the drive fails, you can continue working on the second one, being an exact copy of the first one.

If you are scared of trying to set up RAID, you could do something different. This is what I would suggest:

  • Use one of the disks to keep an incremental backup of your data (for example using something like Cobian Backup)
  • Use another disk to keep system images of your hard drive (with WinImage, for example)

This way you would have one hard disk for fast file recovery (the first one) in the case of a simple file loss, and the second one for full recovery if something very bad happens. If you really want to use the third hard disk, I would suggest to use it to clone the second hard disk, the one with all the system images.

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