250GB (2x250GB) HDD "Merge"

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Ellemire

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Hello. I currently own an Alienware m17xR2 laptop & I would like to know how I can merge my hard drives so I can use them as one and have 500GB instead of only 250GB.

At the moment my maximum HD space is 250GB and that is OS(C) but there is also another HD displaying which is Local Disk (Q) but I cannot access it.

This is the hard drive that is in the laptop: 250GB (2x250GB) Free Fall Sensor Raid 1 "Mirror"(7200RPM) Dual HDD. It is currently "Mirrored" which I think means that the second hard drive is mimicking the first.

Is there anyway I can merge the hard drives so I can use the space on both of them as one HD?

Edit: The second HD also does not seem to have a partition because I cannot see it on 3rd Party Programmes & when I insert my Windows 7 CD the partition is not on the install menu either.

Thanks.
 

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crjdriver

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Yes, it can be done however is somewhat involved. First of all, do you want to clean install windows OR do you want to attempt to use your current windows install?
 

Ellemire

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I want to use my current Windows so I can keep all of the Data which is already on drive C.
 

crjdriver

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OK, the very first thing you do is make a backup of anything important ie docs, mp3s, etc and store this on an external drive, NAS, network share, etc. Once done with the backup, then do the following, note you will need both acronis true image AND a means of storing the image ie external drive or whatever.

1 Install acronis true image if you do not already have it. While there are free apps that will do this also, I use and recommend acronis. Their products are like snap-on tools; the standard by which others are judged.

2 Once done with the acronis install AND you have made the bootable recovery CD. Test the CD and make sure you can boot from the CD and that you can access whatever device you used to store the image.

3 Restart your system and enter the raid bios [not system bios] Delete the current array then choose to create an array. You should have the choice of raid0 or raid1. Choose raid0 [sometimes called stripe]
Note you fully understand the risks involved with raid0 such as loss of a single drive will cause loss of ALL data on the array. With raid0, you double your chance of drive failure and or data loss.

4 Once done with creating the array, do not attempt to partition or format. Just leave it as is and reboot with your acronis boot CD in the drive AND whatever device you stored the image file on connected.

5 Restore the image to the array and restart the system. Go to disk management [start>run and type in diskmgmt.msc and hit enter] You should see your C drive as 250gig with a large area of unallocated space. Right click on the C drive and choose to extend the partition. Accept the defaults and you are now done. Your drive will be the full size of slightly under 500gig.

Note running raid0 it is highly recommended you have a backup plan.
 

crjdriver

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FWIW I would recommend you NOT use raid at all and set your sata controller to ahci or native ide. This will give you use of both drives ie you will have a C and a D drive. This most likely will require a reinstall of windows however IMO raid is NOT for the home user; it is for servers that need hot swap capability and cannot pw down to change a failed drive.
 

Ellemire

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Thanks for your reply. I'm having problems using Acronis True Image on my system, it installs fine but when I run the software and this message displays "Acronis True image has stopped working" as soon as it has loaded up. Does it have compatibility issues with Windows 7?

In Event Viewer I am getting this message:
Faulting application name: TrueImage.exe, version: 13.0.0.7046, time stamp: 0x4bae0824
Faulting module name: TrueImage.exe, version: 13.0.0.7046, time stamp: 0x4bae0824
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x004b14d0
Faulting process id: 0x1b80
Faulting application start time: 0x01cae278025f7a32
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Acronis\TrueImageHome\TrueImage.exe
Faulting module path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Acronis\TrueImageHome\TrueImage.exe
Report Id: 4381c073-4e6b-11df-9d51-0026b9fefb06
Edit: I booted the laptop in Safe Mode & run the software and it worked fine. Some how that has also fixed it so it now runs fine in normal mode but when I go onto Disk and Partition backup and click next "Archive Location" it freezes with the same error. I have tried turning of firewalls etc. with no luck.

What do I need to do when I have Acronis installed & running I think I know but I want to make sure so I don't ruin my system, do I just make a backup by using Disk and Partition Backup in Acronis? & also how do I create the image. Thanks.
 

crjdriver

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Win7 needs acronis ver 2010. Is that the ver you are installing?

Have you read through the help file that comes with acronis? It really is pretty comprehensive.

When you make the backup image, you want to backup the complete disk not just partitions. If you do not backup the complete disk, you will not backup the MBR [master boot record]

Before you begin, you are fully aware of the risks of running raid0 correct?

Before you begin, you have made a separate backup of important data correct?
You cannot have too many backups.
 

Ellemire

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Sorry for the late reply. I have decided to do a clean install of Windows 7 to merge the hard drives. I have backed up all my important files I wish to keep onto an external hard drives.

Do I just follow the same steps but after deleting & creating a new RAID but then use my Windows 7 CD? Thanks.
 

Ellemire

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I am waiting for a reply before I go ahead and do a clean install of Windows 7 to merge the hard drives so I don't do it all wrong. :)
 

crjdriver

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As long as your important data files are backed up, then do the following;

1 Read your manual and become familiar with the bios menus. Each bios [and often each version of the bios] will have slightly different menus so it is almost impossible to give you an exact step by step set of instructions.

2 Download from alienware ALL of the drivers you are going to need. Put these on a CD/DVD, external drive, etc. This would be things like chipset/mb drivers, touch pad [if needed] etc. Note you will probably need your raid drivers on a CD, flash drive, floppy, etc.

3 PW ON the system and enter the raid bios. Usually this is a key combo like Ctrl>I or something similar [again read the manual] Delete the current array. Now choose the type for the new array ie raid0. Sometimes called stripe or even performance. Select your drives to be added to the array and create.

4 Restart with the win7 install dvd in the drive [dvd set as first boot device in the bios] With no data on the array, it should just start setup without having to hit any key however if you get the "To boot from DVD hit any key" do so.

5 Setup may or may not find your raid array. If it does not find the array, then choose to load driver from the advanced menu. Once the driver is installed, it is no different than any other install.

Again, remember ALL data on the current array will be lost. Make sure you backup whatever you want to keep.
 
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