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Consolidating HDDs (RAID?)


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#1
W-Unit

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Hey guys,
A while ago, I helped a buddy of mine build a computer. The thing is, he was on a super-tight budget but didn't want to compromise when it came to performance parts like the video card, ram, and processor. So, to save money, he pulled a couple hard drives out of old computers. And I do mean old. I believe their sizes were 10GB and 30GB. He later bought a modern hard drive with plenty of room (500GB+), but this was after using the computer for several weeks with only the two oldies.
In retrospect, this seems like a bad idea, but at the time we were setting things up, I thought it would be best if he installed Windows on the 10GB disk, and then kept everything else (programs, documents, etc) on the 30GB disk, sort of for organizational purposes. But I guess I didn't help him enough, because he kept installing stuff on the 10GB disk, simply because that was the default location that programs tried to install to, and I guess he didn't realize it. And now, of course, even though he has a modern HD, he is more or less married to the 10GB because it has the operating system on it. It's just starting to be a real pain overall, because the system still thinks that's where it should store everything, it keeps filling up and he has to go clean it out, etc etc.

Anyways, my question is simply what is the best solution to this problem? I understand that RAID combines several hard drives so that the OS sort of treats them as if they were one drive; this sounds like an excellent solution, but can you set up RAID on disks which have previously been operating independently without reformatting them or anything like that? If so, I'd be thankful to anyone who could point me towards a good tutorial on setting up RAID.
Would it be better to somehow transfer the files on the 10GB to the 500GB? How would this be done?
I'm open to any suggestions. Thanks for your time :)

--EDIT--
Just spoke with him, he says if there's any way to do the "transfer" option then that would be preferable, because running 3 HDs is tying up all of the power cables from his PSU, and he'd rather ditch the two old discs to free up some molex cables.

Edited by W-Unit, 20 August 2010 - 11:07 AM.

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#2
Kemasa

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Setting up the RAID normally means wiping out the data on the disks due to being a different format.

If the new disk does not have much on it and the manufacturer has a utility to copy the data from one disk to another, you can copy the 10G system disk to the 500G disk and it will become bootable. Then you can remove the 10G disk as a backup.

After that, if you download and create a Knoppix Live CD, you can use gparted to resize a Windoze partition and instead the 10G partition to what you want.

Then you can use ntfsclone to copy the 20G disk to the 500G disk and after the copy, you can resize the partition to what you want it to be. You could also just copy the files, assuming that there is nothing special on that disk. The clone makes an exact copy, whereas copies can sometimes be different slightly.
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#3
diabillic

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What kind of data are you transferring off the 10GB drive?
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#4
Kemasa

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It was stated that the 10G disk had the operating system.
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#5
diabillic

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If its just the OS, it may make more sense to do a clean install and then setup RAID.
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#6
Kemasa

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Yes, a clean install would be a good idea, but that is not what is being requested. Setting up a RAID0 would not work since it would wipe out the data and since there would be three disks, any one of which could fail and cause the loss of all the data, it would not be a good idea.

That is why I gave a suggestion of how to copy the data to the new disk, which is what is requested.
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#7
Digerati

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Setting up a RAID will wipe out everything already there.

Even it is more than just the OS, I think a clean install on the new drive is better than attempting to clone the 10Gb drive. And besides, if you set it up with the 30Gb set to take some of the slack, it is likely he has some stuff on both drives. He should just start over.
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#8
DaffyKantReed

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Here's a RAID primer.

http://www.tomshardw...aining,502.html
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