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RAID1-new
My company built a fantastic machine 5 years ago, all the finest material was used and a pretty penny was spent. The shopping list was an Antec nine hundred case, Coolmaster 650W powersupply, Asus M3A78 motherboard, AMD 64 bit cpu, and two 500 Go Western Digital hard drives  setup in a Raid 1.

The instructions from the customer were clear. “I am not a gamer, but I want an iron clad, armored computer and am I willing to pay reasonably” Today these components and parts are very ordinary, however back then they were high-end. After all, the computer system did cost over 2000$ to build. Since, the customer has upgraded to other systems and stays up to date with technology, but he still uses this machine from time to time. Recently, I got the call to diagnostic intermittent system freezes, when I opened up the side panel I was impressed. Not a spec of dust and barely any accumulated heat. My years of experience and intuition suspected the issue to be hard drive related. Thanks to Western Digital Life Guard tools my diagnostic was confirmed.

Raid 1

The customer asked for a reliable setup, the last thing I wanted was for the customer to come back with a bad hard drive and his data lost. I knew he was not very disciplined at making backups, so I had suggested a RAID 1.  What is a Raid 1 ? RAID 1  is true “mirroring” where 2 exact and  identical copies of each file are written to 2 different hard drives in real-time. If one hard drive would fail, the other hard drive was there to keep the system intact.

So here we are now with at least one bad hard drive and me looking for a way to ghost RAID 1 to two brand new SSD hard drives in RAID 1! After some research I opted for Norton Ghost 15, because of its RAID support. You can read a review of the software here.

Step 1

I had to do a complete backup of the system using Symantec Norton Ghost 15. The wizard is pretty straight forward, but here is some snapshots.Make sure you select Back up my computer (recommended) and save to an external USB hard drive. Make sure you select Show Hidden Drives and select your System Partition. You can then select the type of recovery point you want.

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P.S  Do not forget to make a back up of your System Reserved Partition of 100 MB for Windows 7, it has all the information Windows needs to boot properly.

 Step 2

You will need to create a recovery bootable disk to recover your image. Have a blank DVD ready.

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Step 3

You will need to set up your RAID 1, refer to the motherboard’s manual to access the RAID setup area. In my case it is CTRL-F right after it detects the hard drives. You can create your RAID 1, save and exit.  Make sure your system is set up to boot from the DVD drive. Put in the Norton Ghost 15 bootable recovery disk and watch it load up the software to recover your system.

Step 4

Since my motherboard is fairly old I had to use the option found in Utilities and load the driver of my RAID 1. I downloaded the 32 bit drivers from the Asus website and selected Load a Driver. Norton detects the drives and is ready to recover my backup.

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When you see the Norton Recovery Wizard select Recover. Choose Recover My Computer.

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Select a Recovery Point to Restore. Choose View Recovery Points by system  and browse the location of the backup you made.

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It should now detect the drives to recover from this backup file. If your drives do not show up and are green, then you have a problem. Do not forget you have to select and include the System Reserved Partition or your system will not boot.   The SRP must be set active and have Restore master boot record selected.
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You can confirm your selections and click finish.

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Your system should boot as before and now even faster thanks to the SSD hard drives.

Something you can double-check is that Disk Defragmentation is disabled. It is NOT necessary to Defrag SSD disks. This is a summary of how you can Ghost RAID 1 HDD’s to brand new RAID 1 SSD’s. Make sure you allow plenty of time to make the ghost and then to restore it. In the best of worlds all will go well, but if you encounter some issues make sure you send us your comments.