I have a server running Win Server 2k8 R2 Foundation, functioning as a basic file server and CAD software licensing server, with the following situation:

  • Originally installed with 2x 250GB physical drives in a mirrored RAID configuration.
  • Drives getting full with design work, so need an upgrade soon.
  • One drive of the mirrored array has failed, so needs to be replaced.

I've tried screwing around with doing a bare metal recovery via Windows Server backup but got most of the way there and it didn't seem like it'd worked properly. I don't have my original Windows Server install disk, and I don't have anything in the budget to buy some expensive drive cloning software etc. (and any free versions I've looked at won't install on Windows Server / are for personal use only), but I've had an idea and want to know if it's feasible.

I'm currently running with 1x 250GB drive of a failed mirrored array, and I have bought 2x new 2TB drives. I want to end up with a server with 2x 2TB drives in a mirrored array. Can I, using Windows' built-in Drive Management:

  • Install one of the 2TB drives.
  • Mirror the existing partitions of the 250GB drive over to the 2TB drive.
  • Remove the 250GB drive so that the server now boots from the 2TB drive.
  • Extend the data partition (i.e. not the OS partition) to fill the remaining space on the 2TB drive.
  • Install the second 2TB drive and mirror the partitions from the first 2TB drive to the second 2TB drive.

It seems to me that this should work without having to resort to Windows Startup Repair or third party drive cloning software, but I have limited experience with RAID setups and with Windows Server so I realise that there may be something obvious I am missing.

  • If budget allows buy another 250Gb drive. Leave the original mirror as is, create a new raid set and copy data directory over to that. Much safer – Drifter104 Nov 9 '15 at 12:25
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    Yes, it will work but I'll go with what @Drifter104 suggests. I also hope you have good backups. Rebuilding the array puts stress on the working drive and it is common that they break during the rebuild. – lbanz Nov 11 '15 at 11:09
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    Re: Good backup - Yes as soon as the drive showed signs of failing I backed up the C drive (OS drive) with a full image backup to a separate external USB drive, plus the whole server (OS and data drives) backs up nightly to iDrive online backup. I've got myself covered! – WhatEvil Nov 11 '15 at 12:34
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    @WhatEvil then go ahead with your plan. I've done it before and didn't run into any problem. I'm assuming you're using Windows raid? As that was how I've done it. – lbanz Nov 11 '15 at 13:27

It depends on the RAID controller in this case to be honest. If you're using a host-based raid controller (ie, intel integrated raid controllers, not a PCIe RAID controller), you may have some luck.

For starters, your plan is on the right track, but you will have a problem when you enter disk management, the drive will appear as a 250GB disk. No other disks will appear.

So the action plan from here is to resize the RAID volume by deleting it. Not very intuitive I agree, but lo and behold it's Intel's method of choice as well. http://www.intel.com/support/chipsets/imsm/sb/CS-030751.htm

  • Allow the RAID controller to rebuild the 250GB RAID Volume onto the 2TB disk.
  • Before you shut down and remove the 250GB disk, reset the 2TB disk to non-raid. You should still be able to boot to (just) the 2TB disk now.
  • Reboot using only the 2TB disk. When you start back up, you should now have a 250GB partition on a 2TB disk.
  • Resize the Partition. (Use something like Active@ Partition manager, or another free partition utility like GParted)
  • Rebuild the RAID 1 using the Intel Raid Controller software by promoting non-raided disks to a RAID 1 array.

If you try to resize the RAID array after adding both 2TB disks, you may have some problems as the RAID controller adds some bits to the drive that are ignored/tampered with/destroyed when you use utilities like GParted / Active@

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