install software raid 1 on Windows 7

Currently I’m running only 1 hard disk in my pc. Now I decided to install a second drive and to set my disks up in a RAID 1 configuration to prevent data loss. Here’s how I did it.

  1. I bought a second drive which resembles the first drive. In my case another 1GB Western Digital Green which is know for low energy usage and low noise.
  2. I converted my first drive to a Dynamic Disk through the Windows Disk Management tool. This can only be done after you installed Windows 7. This activity took approximately 1 second.
  3. I shut down the PC and physically installed the extra hard drive.
  4. In the Windows Disk Management tool I ignored the proposal to have it initialised.
  5. I selected the old Disk in the Windows Disk Management tool and chose it to be mirrored by the new disk.
  6. It then started synchronising and indicated so in the status.

Here’s an overview of the various RAID configuration being supported or not in the different Windows 7 versions. Thanks to Alan.

Raid 0 (Spanning/Stripped) is supported in every Windows 7 version (Beta/RC and RTM/Final) using software raid
Raid 1 (Mirror) is supported in Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate (Beta/RC and RTM/Final) using software raid

Raid 5 is not support in Windows 7 (Beta/RC and RTM/Final) using software raid.  You will need to use hardware (ie, a raid controller) or use a server operating system for Software raid.

7 thoughts on “install software raid 1 on Windows 7

  1. hardware raid will perform faster.

    keep in mind that using a hardware raid makes you dependant on the hardware used. If the hardware failes and you cannot find a replacement then you may not be able to recover data from the disks.

    with software, as long as you keep the installation disks you will most likely be able to install on new hardware and recover data.

  2. So.. I have my Win 7 HP on a intel SSD and i have 2 1TB samsung F3 disks that i want to put in a software raid.

    Now my diskmanagement only mentions striped and spanned volume.. I dont seem to be able to create a mirror.. Is it because i have a Home Premium win7?

  3. Hi Tim, I’m still very happy with the choice. No problems occurred and I did not notice any performance decrease. I did the software version as I did not have hardware supporting RAID 1. The choice between hardware and software is difficult nowadays. If you’re buying building a new system and you have hardware RAID then I’d go for the hardware version just out of curiosity and nerdyness. Whether hardware is better than software is difficult to say.

  4. Nice, concise summary.

    I’m building a new Windows 7 system here. My Asus motherboard offers RAID 1 implemented in the BIOS or Windows 7 can do it in software. Had you compared the two methods before choosing the Windows OS method?

    Are you still happy with the choice you made after these few months?

  5. I realize its an old post; but why would you not initialize the disk? I’m looking to set up software RAID1 for Windows7. You’re post so far as been the most clear and concise.

    Everyone else seems to have had many more difficulties.

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