I've recently got two 2TB disks for home storage as my 500GB is nearly full. I am wondering whether there are any recommendations to setting them up?

My motherboard is an older Intel model, with 4 SATA ports. An 80GB boot disk is plugged into one, and the 500GB data is plugged into another. I've also got a PCI card which supports RAID 0 and 1. The OS is Windows XP, and the board does not support Vista or 7.

My options are:

  • Use the RAID Card to Mirror the disks. While this is probably my best bet if I lose the card then I lose the mirror (although the data will be backed up to a USB HD).
  • Use the RAID Card to Stripe the disks. Not really a fan of this, even though the disks are new I just don't want to risk it. Although 4TB would be nice.
  • Use XP to Stripe/Span the disks. AFAIK Both ways I'd end up with 4TB but at the risk of losing everything if one of the disks go.
  • Do nothing, and have 2x 2TB disks. Possibly write a script with robocopy /MIR to copy everything across, or use one for videos and music, and the other for other files.

I've got a lot of mixed data types, movies, videos, photos, documents. While I wouldn't be devastated to lose it I've got the means and patience to work out a way to avoid anything going.

  • Please see my long comment here: superuser.com/questions/208671/…. I would strongly recommend NOT using any h/w RAID solution because of the increased risk of data loss in the event of a RAID controller failure. For XP there is a patch if you google it which will enable s/w RAID. I have used that to then move the exact same disk pair to Win7 with no trouble, and then moved the pair into a new h/w box on a new mobo, again with no trouble. – quickly_now Nov 28 '10 at 2:36

Well with a standalone RAID card you can do nothing wrong. Software is good, too, but not as fast as a hardware solution and it costs cpu time.. embedded RAID into mainboard is the unsaviest way in my opinion: if you update it, or it fails, you can trash your data.

Which RAID type you wan't to use is simply your opinion if you want space, speed or reliability.


if you do use the card to mirror the drives it is not a given that if the card goes you lose all the data. I had an external enclosure that handled raid mirroring for me and when it died i discovered that the drives and data were fine and perfectly mirrored, right down to the UID that Windows assigned the drive/volume when it was set up (resolving that, while not difficult, was a new experience for me).


The problem with proprietary RAID is, if it doesn't use very standard methods you have to buy the exact same brand of card as a replacement should it fail, or risk data corruption.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.