Many people may be interested in knowing how to transfer their system from their current drive to a new RAID array. This section will describe a way to to restore all files and programs from the existing system drive to the new, bootable RAID array. This procedure assumes Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1a, and was performed with the following two drives. Please check out page 27 for a alternative method with the freeware disk cloning software XXClone.

  • Drive C, a Hitachi 80GB SATA-150 drive containing all the original system and data files
  • Drive D, a Western Digital 120GB ATA-100 drive used solely for backups

First, use Windows Backup to backup both the C drive and System State to the second hard drive. You can not use the Automated System Recovery (ASR) wizard, because the wizard can not restore a backup onto a disk that is smaller than the original disk. If you are sure your new drive will be much larger than the original drive, then the ASR wizard may work. Another problem with ASR is that you can not create the .bkf file on the system or boot drive, otherwise the restore procedure will not work.

Once the backup is completed, disconnect the two original hard drives, and connect the drives for the RAID. This isolates the original and backup drives from potential mistakes. Now use the FastTrak BIOS to configure the disks into an array, for example, a four disk RAID-5 configuration. Next, boot off the Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 1a installation disk. Press F6 and load the driver for the Promise FastTrak card from the floppy disk prepared earlier. Create a partition on the RAID drive, and install Windows into that partition. The intent is for this partition to be the C drive, and the BIOS boot order must be adjusted appropriately. On the A7N8X, the BIOS is configured to boot from the SCSI device, which in this case is the FastTrak controller.

After the installation completes, shutdown Windows and reconnect the original system and backup drives and reboot. Sometimes after this step, you may receive an error on bootup stating that Windows could not load because the hard drive configuration has changed. This may be spurious, and can be cleared up by another reboot. Once the drives become available, run Windows Backup again and restore the Drive C and system state from the backup file. It is necessary to select "Always overwrite existing files" from the advanced options of Windows Backup. Also, cancel the dialogs if Windows warns that system files have been altered. After the restore completes, you will have to reboot again.