My Situation: I have a file server running ubuntu 8.04, and would like to upgrade it to 10.04 by removing the current drive that contains the OS, and putting in a clean drive and installing to that. The OS-Drive is the only PATA/IDE drive in the machine, but the seven other SATA hard-drives are all part of a RAID5 Array created with mdadm.

My Questions:

  • Is it possible for me to upgrade the machine without losing all my data?
  • What information/files/configs do I need from the current OS-Drive to re-activate the RAID once I've installed 10.04 on the new hard-drive?

1 Answer 1


Yes, this should not only be possible but pretty easy. It's probably worth hearing from somebody who uses mdadmin in Ubuntu since I work with other distros, but the things I would grab would be the /etc/mdadm.conf and your fstab. I assume since it's not mentioned you are not using lvm as well?

One thing to know would be if the partitions are marked as raid-auto-detect or just raid. If they are auto-detect then just pugging the raid array into your newly installed machine should bring it online. If they are not, then you'll need the config file so it knows how to assemble the array.

Either way i would suggest doing your install with the array unplugged and only attaching it back to the system once your new os is running smoothly and patched up. Also if you have your old drive around, any configs you may need will be still accessible, and since no changes will be made to the raid array drives themselves you could even plug the old drive back in if something goes array.

Happy computing!

  • I haven't used LVM, and I think (don't have access to the machine atm, so can't confirm) the partitions are auto-detect. The last point you mentioned about having the old drive around is exactly why I am doing it this way, rather than a dist-upgrade or something else - it also means that if I can't get the RAID back up and running before the next time I want to grab a file off it, I can just shutdown, plug the old drive in, and be back up and running in a single boot sequence...
    – jsnfwlr
    Oct 5, 2010 at 8:39

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