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Using Windows 7 Professional software RAID 1 (Mirror) of two identical SATA drives is it possible in the event the primary drive fails that the system may boot off the secondary drive without doing nothing more then selecting it from the boot menu?

In my experience of testing this I unplugged the primary drive and tried booting from the secondary drive which did not work.

The only suggested solutions I've found is that Windows Repair should be run to fix the MBR. I can do this. However, what I am looking for is a no hassle solution in the case a drive fails we may simply just boot to the mirrored copy. How can this be done?

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If it's on RAID volume, you should boot from incomplete raid, not directly from hdd. –  week Aug 29 '13 at 19:03
    
True, But if the mirror fails due to a broken disk... even if that broken disk is the other part of the mirror... then you have a problem. –  Hennes Aug 29 '13 at 19:06

3 Answers 3

Technically an old fashioned IDE slave device should not work without a missing master device. Not working also means that it is unable to boot.

Not every BIOS conforms to this though.

Also you could (and should) put both parts of the mirror on a separate IDE channel since only one device on a paralel IDE channel can be active at the same time. (so either use two single devices on two channels, or use them on separate channels as master with a secondary device such as a CDROM as slave on the same channel.

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Is this the same for SATA drives? –  user249089 Aug 29 '13 at 19:13
    
No. SATA no longer has slaves and master settings. It uses a single drive per channel (exception: when using port multipliers) –  Hennes Aug 29 '13 at 19:15
    
Okay thanks my misunderstanding in wording. I've edited the question to refer to SATA drives. –  user249089 Aug 29 '13 at 19:17
    
Leats hassle: HW RAID. Second least: softyware solutions as long as you copy all important parts. E.g. not just a volume with data, but also the MBR and possibly the hidden partitions. See http://serverfault.com/questions/438928/cant-boot-after-disk-0-of-software-raid‌​-is-replaced –  Hennes Aug 29 '13 at 19:19
    
Thanks for the link. Sounds like using software raid mirroring only copies partitions and does not really mirror an entire drive. I assume a hardware raid controller will enable proper mirroring of boot drives ? –  user249089 Aug 29 '13 at 19:33

What you would like to do should be possible. If you have a broken drive and your working drive in you will get a message about a broken array but it will still let you boot. If you want to take a whole drive out, you will most likely need to go into your BIOS and change your hard disk controller from RAID mode to IDE mode. This should then boot on your drive without mirroring and without any error message.

Try unplugging one of your hard drives again and setting your hard disk mode to IDE in BIOS and see if it works.

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If you are using the Windows built in mirroring on dynamic disks, then yes, it should boot no problem from secondary plex, but you need to set that drive as the boot drive in the BIOS.

This only works if the system volume AND the boot volume are mirrored, or if they are the same volume. Windows 7 installations will routinely have a separate system volume with no drive letter containing the actual boot manager.

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