Enabling software RAID 5 in Windows 7

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Hello,

I want to do RAID 5 in SOFTWARE in windows 7 but unfortunately the option is for win server 08. It's artificial limitation.

Does anyone know how to workaround this? Windows xp can do it via hack.
 
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Hardware RAID is not an option:

chipset:
-AM4 mobos don't support it (it's not standard)
-its not portable (software RAID array can be transfered and work directly in another system)
pcie card:
-requires free pcie lanes i (I don't have)
-also not portable without using the same card / what happens when the card is dead and you can't find the same
 

B00nie

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Hardware RAID is not an option:

chipset:
-AM4 mobos don't support it (it's not standard)
-its not portable (software RAID array can be transfered and work directly in another system)
pcie card:
-requires free pcie lanes i (I don't have)
-also not portable without using the same card / what happens when the card is dead and you can't find the same
It's exactly the opposite. Software raid is your worst option. Get a real RAID card with it's own chip and you can transfer it from computer to another with no problem. A software raid requires drivers and is installation dependent where a hardware raid is totally transparent to the OS, it's just another drive. If all that becomes too challenging for you, forget RAID alltogether.
 
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a hardware raid is totally transparent to the OS, it's just another drive.
Whereas software doesn't require anything. Take a raid array working in a windows machine, and move it to another just like that.
Also, as I said, I don't have free pcie so software is the option.
If all that becomes too challenging for you, forget RAID alltogether
If it was too challenging I wouldn't post in the first place. There are options for RAID, I can do alternatives right now (RAID 0 for example), but I am searching a way to do RAID 5, as it fits my criteria for both speed an lets-just-say a bit of protection (parity).

So far it seems that:
1. sysinternals' former admin had post a way to do it, but the post got deleted for obvious reasons.
2. WinXP didn't have RAID 5 support, but ppl found a workaround and hacked files from win 03 server edition. Now winXP can do RAID 5.
3. There was the veritas volume manager / storage foundation, which AFAIK is the only 3rd party partion manager that can do also RAID 5. It seems the older versions (including the free basic) are nowhere to be found.
 
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bigdogchris

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Johannes Krauser II - Are you sure it's not available in 7? I know I used it before in 7, but maybe it was Pro, it's been a long time ago.

Go Into Disk Manager, scroll down and in the bottom pane, click Disk 0 or Disk 1 and right click on one of the drives on the far left box, does it say "New Raid-5 Volume" possibly grayed out?
 
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It's greyed-out, and stays grayed-out. Win7 and server 08 have the same gui and menus, but the actual volume manger is different. That's why there is the grayed-out option.

I know I used it before in 7, but maybe it was Pro, it's been a long time ago.
Are you sure? Software RAID 5 in win7 pro?
 

Blue Fox

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Windows 7 does not support creating software RAID 5 arrays. You may be able to work around this by creating a RAID5 array under Windows Server and then transfering the disks to your Windows 7 machine.

It's exactly the opposite. Software raid is your worst option. Get a real RAID card with it's own chip and you can transfer it from computer to another with no problem. A software raid requires drivers and is installation dependent where a hardware raid is totally transparent to the OS, it's just another drive. If all that becomes too challenging for you, forget RAID alltogether.
No, this is completely wrong. Software RAID does not require drivers and is not specific to anything but the OS in this case. It is far more flexible than being restricted to a specific brand of RAID card. If you create a software RAID array under Windows, it will be recognized by just about any other Windows installation.

This is also no different on other operating systems (eg mdadm under Linux).
 

bigdogchris

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It's greyed-out, and stays grayed-out. Win7 and server 08 have the same gui and menus, but the actual volume manger is different. That's why there is the grayed-out option.


Are you sure? Software RAID 5 in win7 pro?
You know, now that I think about it I was using Intel RST RAID 5. Sorry about that. But Blue Fox has a good idea. Once you create the RAID5 dynamic disk, just plug all three back in on Windows 7 and it will reconstruct the RAID set for you with all data intact.
 

B00nie

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Windows 7 does not support creating software RAID 5 arrays. You may be able to work around this by creating a RAID5 array under Windows Server and then transfering the disks to your Windows 7 machine.


No, this is completely wrong. Software RAID does not require drivers and is not specific to anything but the OS in this case. It is far more flexible than being restricted to a specific brand of RAID card. If you create a software RAID array under Windows, it will be recognized by just about any other Windows installation.

This is also no different on other operating systems (eg mdadm under Linux).
I was referring to the fake raid setups of common consumer motherboards with the drivers. Of course if you just do a raid array inside windows it doesn't require drivers but then you're pretty limited in your options. In any case a proper hardware raid is the way to go if you want a raid setup.
 

B00nie

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Now I realized the question was also about Windows 7 - you should not use Win7 for anything anymore let alone dream about raid arrays. If you want a low cost storage server use linux instead.
 

DeaconFrost

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No, this is completely wrong. Software RAID does not require drivers and is not specific to anything but the OS in this case. It is far more flexible than being restricted to a specific brand of RAID card. If you create a software RAID array under Windows, it will be recognized by just about any other Windows installation.
Far be it from me to agree with him, but software RAID is not very portable. It does require drivers....the drivers installed from the controller that the drives are connected to. If you try taking a software RAID array to another computer, there's a very good chance it will not be accessible. If you try to move a hardware array, it works perfectly. There's an old saying us old-timers have heard millions of times. Never let software do the job of hardware. If you truly want RAID, you use hardware or you don't actually want RAID. Storage Spaces has some nice features, but I still wouldn't trust it over a hardware RAID solution.
 

Blue Fox

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Far be it from me to agree with him, but software RAID is not very portable. It does require drivers....the drivers installed from the controller that the drives are connected to. If you try taking a software RAID array to another computer, there's a very good chance it will not be accessible. If you try to move a hardware array, it works perfectly. There's an old saying us old-timers have heard millions of times. Never let software do the job of hardware. If you truly want RAID, you use hardware or you don't actually want RAID. Storage Spaces has some nice features, but I still wouldn't trust it over a hardware RAID solution.
No, there are no drivers. You are confusing hardware assisted RAID (eg the integrated RAID on say a consumer Intel motherboard that offers no hardware acceleration) with software RAID through the OS. Software RAID is very portable as it specifically does not require any drivers. What do you think mdadm or ZFS are? Windows is no different.
 

B00nie

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No, there are no drivers. You are confusing hardware assisted RAID (eg the integrated RAID on say a consumer Intel motherboard that offers no hardware acceleration) with software RAID through the OS. Software RAID is very portable as it specifically does not require any drivers. What do you think mdadm or ZFS are? Windows is no different.
With all the windows updates and things getting messed I wouldn't trust a software raid inside Windows further than I can throw it. It's a recipe for problems more than anything else, especially if you do raid0. A true hardware raid is completely transparent to Windows and cannot be broken by any windows update.
 

DeaconFrost

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I'm definitely not confusing the two. I'm not talking about the BIOS-enabled "RAID" functionality that many board offer these days. If you mix the order of the drives, swap architecture, etc, you can easily lead to a failed "array". Been there, done that enough to know it isn't very portable. It's no where near as flexible and portable as moving a RAID controller card to another system, powering up, and seeing your data.
 
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I'm definitely not confusing the two. I'm not talking about the BIOS-enabled "RAID" functionality that many board offer these days. If you mix the order of the drives, swap architecture, etc, you can easily lead to a failed "array". Been there, done that enough to know it isn't very portable. It's no where near as flexible and portable as moving a RAID controller card to another system, powering up, and seeing your data.
AFAIK, in widows, you can't mess witha a software RAID (by software RAID I mean software, not mobo-enabled RAID, nor pcie RAID card of course), mainly because you cannot make the partition that houses the OS "RAID-able". You have a seperate "RAID-able" partition and you throw whatever programs/pagefile/games you want to run fast. ALSO you dont waste the rest free sata ports (if you do mobo RAID AKA fake-RAID, in the most non HEDT mobos all the ports are part of the raid.)
And what happens when you RAID controller dies and you cannot find the same or someone that is compatible with? I think the answer is obvious, but I have no experience in this to back it up.

With all the windows updates and things getting messed I wouldn't trust a software raid inside Windows further than I can throw it. It's a recipe for problems more than anything else, especially if you do raid0. A true hardware raid is completely transparent to Windows and cannot be broken by any windows update.
Do you have any proof/info on this?
 

B00nie

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AFAIK, in widows, you can't mess witha a software RAID (by software RAID I mean software, not mobo-enabled RAID, nor pcie RAID card of course), mainly because you cannot make the partition that houses the OS "RAID-able". You have a seperate "RAID-able" partition and you throw whatever programs/pagefile/games you want to run fast. ALSO you dont waste the rest free sata ports (if you do mobo RAID AKA fake-RAID, in the most non HEDT mobos all the ports are part of the raid.)
And what happens when you RAID controller dies and you cannot find the same or someone that is compatible with? I think the answer is obvious, but I have no experience in this to back it up.


Do you have any proof/info on this?
Here on forums not so long ago for example someone was complaining about his raid0 not booting. It was a windows update corrupting his raid0.
 

grasshoppa

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Far be it from me to agree with him, but software RAID is not very portable. It does require drivers....the drivers installed from the controller that the drives are connected to. If you try taking a software RAID array to another computer, there's a very good chance it will not be accessible. If you try to move a hardware array, it works perfectly. There's an old saying us old-timers have heard millions of times. Never let software do the job of hardware. If you truly want RAID, you use hardware or you don't actually want RAID. Storage Spaces has some nice features, but I still wouldn't trust it over a hardware RAID solution.
There are pros and cons to different raid solutions. Raid provided by the OS is highly portable, which is definitely a "pro". I just took some drives that were in a software raid(5),10 years ago and hooked them up to the new system and bam; working. I didn't need to find the card, then install it in the system ( which doesn't have space for even a half-size PCI card ), then hook the drives up.

Both Windows and Linux OS raid seems to work fairly well and be tolerant of everything up to a drive failure ( which is probably why NAS providers like QNAP use mdadm ).

Hardware solutions tend to be for speed; I have never seen a software solution achieve the same performance as hardware solutions.
 

DeaconFrost

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Do you have any proof/info on this?
I'm not the one who posted the blurb, but what kind of proof are you looking for? Which part aren't you agreeing with? Windows Updates have been breaking systems lately. Hardware RAID is fully transparent to Windows. The RAID configuration is done outside of the OS, so, for example, if you set up a RAID5 array on a hardware controller with four 4 TB drives, then booted the Windows installer, it would see a single drive of 12 TB.
 
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Which part aren't you agreeing with?
That windows updates are the cause for braking the the RAID array? I think that updates are breaking the whole system generaly and notf just the RAID array. And please don't count the true recipe for disaster called windows "malware version X"; anything can go wrong with this OS and that's one of the numerous reasons that I didn't switch from win7. If windows v.malware are going to frack the data on disks, they will do it also in a hardware array. One more, I have read somewhere that Storage Spaces have problems, whereas I haven't seen anything bad for volume manager. Again, I have no experience when it comes to RAID, so it's good that many opinions/experiences are expressed here.

Hardware RAID portability assumes:
- free pcie slot and only IF you have free pcie lanes
-drivers (for differrent OS, does the company provide drivers? does the company provide drivers for "legacy" OS?)
-carry over the (working) RAID card
-carry over the (working) disks

Software RAID portability assumes:
-workarounds for different OS family, nothing if same family
-carry over the (working) disks

Anything other than these and we are talking about hardware vs software RAID resiliency, and thats where hardware RAID shines, depending on the level used.

Am I wrong?
 

B00nie

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If you have a system that doesn't have a single PCI-E slot free, it's the wrong hardware for raid.
 

Blue Fox

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If you have a system that doesn't have a single PCI-E slot free, it's the wrong hardware for raid.
Hardly. Hardware RAID has been on the decline for a long time. You do know that it's getting to be quite rare on both the consumer and enterprise side? Many NAS and SANs are software RAID and it's the same story with things like Storage Spaces or ZFS. What do you think NVMe RAID solutions are?
 

B00nie

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Hardly. Hardware RAID has been on the decline for a long time. You do know that it's getting to be quite rare on both the consumer and enterprise side? Many NAS and SANs are software RAID and it's the same story with things like Storage Spaces or ZFS. What do you think NVMe RAID solutions are?
Any proper enterprise storage has a raid card with a battery backed up write cache. NVMe may be used for volatile non-critical data.
 

Blue Fox

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Any proper enterprise storage has a raid card with a battery backed up write cache. NVMe may be used for volatile non-critical data.
No, this has not been the case for a long time. Flash storage quickly became limited by RAID ASICs and that was still in the SATA/SAS days. The cache on a RAID card is not only small, but slower than a single NVMe drive. When my SAN takes up an entire rack, do you really think that anyone is going to limit themselves to the throughput of a single RAID card? Higher end servers are all NVMe and only use SATA to boot. Take this from someone that has owned multiple servers with 24 x NVMe hot-swap at home and SANs that cost more than their home at work. Even NVMe is being overshadowed by NVDIMMs now.

Please find me a high performance enterprise storage solution that still relies on hardware RAID.
 

B00nie

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No, this has not been the case for a long time. Flash storage quickly became limited by RAID ASICs and that was still in the SATA/SAS days. The cache on a RAID card is not only small, but slower than a single NVMe drive. When my SAN takes up an entire rack, do you really think that anyone is going to limit themselves to the throughput of a single RAID card? Higher end servers are all NVMe and only use SATA to boot. Take this from someone that has owned multiple servers with 24 x NVMe hot-swap at home and SANs that cost more than their home at work. Even NVMe is being overshadowed by NVDIMMs now.

Please find me a high performance enterprise storage solution that still relies on hardware RAID.
Perhaps my knowledge on this is a bit outdated but writes are done in bursts and if the next burst is not cached and resides in ram only, it's going to result in a data loss. Last second at minimum is lost.
 

Blue Fox

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Perhaps my knowledge on this is a bit outdated but writes are done in bursts and if the next burst is not cached and resides in ram only, it's going to result in a data loss. Last second at minimum is lost.
Fortunately not as much of a concern as it used to be. Enterprise SSDs have capacitors to write out their cache upon power loss. NVDIMMs are pretty much summed up as RAM that doesn't lose its state upon power loss either. They have flash memory on board that gets written to upon power loss (again through capacitors). Intel also now offers Optane storage (like their 905P SSD, just considerably faster) that goes in RAM slots.
 
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