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I know this sounds like a SuperUser question, but I would rather ask here first.

  • The drives are identical Seagate SATA2 drives. They are 250GB each.
  • Windows XP Pro SP3 is installed on one drive, and the other is now empty (updated).
  • I do not own a RAID controller yet, but there are software RAID utilities which I am perfectly fine with.

I would be willing to try hot-partitioning software if someone has a real solution to this problem.

Edit: We can pretend the second drive is empty. I only stored a backup image there because I was moving and it seemed I couldn't mirror my drive without reformatting.

Update: I have successfully converted the OS disk to a dynamic disk.

The friend whose house I'm staying at tells me he has a large external hard drive. So, if this is becoming a can of worms I will simply try to create an image on his external and proceed from there.

Latest update (please read):

Here is a screenshot of what is happening: alt text

I have deleted the partition on the target drive, but I still cannot mirror the original. It appears I have only an 8MB partition from which I can create a new volume (on the system disk).

Should I somehow copy/clone my files over to the empty disk and try to mirror that one? Thank you for any help. I am sorry this issue has developed since my original post.

share|improve this question
"However, once you click the 'Mirror' option in Disk Management, you will lose your partition." - What partition? – Chris S Sep 14 '10 at 20:19
As a general comment in a server environment if you want to do something like this you would backup\image the existing environment, make sure the image was verified as good and then proceed. Doing it without a bare metal recovery plan is asking for trouble. Whether it's possible or not I don't have a clue, but it is unwise. – Helvick Sep 14 '10 at 20:24
@Chris S: The one that has Windows XP on it! Basically it warns you that you will lose all data on your drive. Thank you Helvick for your comment. – Mark C Sep 14 '10 at 20:44
Thank you Jason! – Mark C Sep 15 '10 at 1:27

You have 2 options. The first would be:

  1. Change your paging file to be on the first drive

  2. Image your current system to an external source.

  3. Create the mirror on your (future) RAID card, unless your motherboard supports it, do it now.

  4. Restore the image you took in step 1 to your new mirror.

The second:

Use your hack, and setup your disks to be dynamic. Once that is done, delete the partition on the second drive, destroying all data, and set it up as a mirror. Then rely on a hacked XP install to serve you with software mirroring.

I would recommend the first.

I am aware of the "hack" to enable "server configurations" on Windows XP. However, once you click the "Mirror" option in Disk Management, you will lose your partition. I have not found a single source telling me how to get around this problem.

What this is telling you, is that the destination drive, that will be the mirror, will lose all data.

share|improve this answer
Thank you, Dan. We can pretend the second drive is empty, if it is possible and safe to clone/mirror at that point. – Mark C Sep 14 '10 at 20:51
Dan, I have converted both disks, but am still unable to create the mirror. See the linked screenshot above. – Mark C Sep 14 '10 at 22:53
To be honest, I would not do what you are doing. You should invest in a proper method for XP, that means getting a RAID card. I don't know what your system is, but you can get a card like this for cheap money, and not have to worry about the system handling the mirror.…‌​-16-132-017--Product – DanBig Sep 15 '10 at 12:06
I'll respond in time. The problem now is actually a bad sector on the source disk that I then fixed with CHDSK, only to find out the build still fails---the mirror process does a low-level copy. I am running SeaTools on the drives now. – Mark C Sep 16 '10 at 17:05
Apparently SeaTools does not do disk repair, so I have yet to find a (free, SpinRite does for sure) tool that will do a low-level fix. – Mark C Sep 17 '10 at 1:57

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