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Windows 10 (64): Mirroring the boot drive RRS feed

  • Question

  • My boot drive (C:) is 111.79GB SSD drive. I have another SSD, but is 256GB.

    I would like to mirror the boot drive to the second SSD and then make use of the remainder as a work area. Is this possible? Are there any gotcha’s or things that I should watch out for?

    Can someone also please detail the steps to accomplish this? When this is done, can I boot off either partition? I believe the second location be added to the list of items to try and boot from in the BIOS. Please confirm this.

    I tried mirroring but stopped when I received the following warning message………..

    The operation you selected will convert the selected basic disk(s) to dynamic disk(s). If you convert the disk(s) to dynamic, you will not be able to start installed operating systems from any volume on the disk(s) (except the current boot volume). Are you sure you want to continue?

    Don’t want to destroy something or have to re-install the OS and the applications.

    Thanks in advance.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2016 2:13 PM

Answers

  • If you make an image of your system partition, you will not have to reinstall everything. 
    Check out Macrium Reflect, which is free for personal use.



    • Edited by fanfarenj Friday, January 22, 2016 4:56 AM
    • Proposed as answer by Karen HuModerator Monday, February 1, 2016 2:14 AM
    • Marked as answer by Poojagirl Monday, February 1, 2016 4:13 PM
    Friday, January 22, 2016 4:54 AM

All replies

  • Read about mirroring at How to Use Windows 8 or 10’s Storage Spaces to Mirror & Combine Drives and it states: you can’t use your system drive for this

    Or you can configure 2 or more dives into a RAID 1 which the system will see a single drive.

    • Edited by R T F M Tuesday, January 19, 2016 3:42 PM
    Tuesday, January 19, 2016 3:40 PM
  • Hi Poojagirl,

    Yes, mirrored disks requires changing them to “dynamic disks". The disk that you will use to mirror the existing disk must be unallocated.

    Note: DO NOT convert a basic disk that contains a installed operating system to a dynamic disk. Doing so will cause you to no longer be able to boot or start that operating system.


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help, and unmark the answers if they provide no help. If you have feedback for TechNet Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016 6:35 AM
    Moderator
  • Karen,

    this is the reason I was hesitant to proceed. I want to mirror the existing boot (C:) drive with and empty one, say H. If I select them to be mirrored, then both would be converted to dynamic drive. Is this right? Or, would only the H drive be converted?

    If the former, ie. both C and H would be converted to dynamic, then how would one mirror the boot (C:) drive?

    Thanks.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016 1:20 PM
  • You solution for this is: Standard RAID levels

    RAID 1 consists of an exact copy (or mirror) of a set of data on two or more disks; a classic RAID 1 mirrored pair contains two disks. This configuration offers no parity, striping, or spanning of disk space across multiple disks, since the data is mirrored on all disks belonging to the array, and the array can only be as big as the smallest member disk. This layout is useful when read performance or reliability is more important than write performance or the resulting data storage capacity.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-12">[12]</sup><sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-adaptec-raid_13-0">[13]</sup>

    The array will continue to operate so long as at least one member drive is operational.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-oracle-raid1_14-0">[14]</sup>


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016 6:09 PM
  • Please review: Why RAID is (usually) a Terrible Idea

    Carey Frisch

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016 6:35 PM
    Moderator
  • Please review: Why RAID is (usually) a Terrible Idea

    Carey Frisch


    Thanks for the link.  Excellent article and advice.

    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016 9:16 PM
  • It was a good article indeed, thank you.

    The author does indicate that this recommendation is for home computers and not for the higher end servers. The caveats being

    1.        Software RAID is not as good as a HW solution. I completely agree with this.
    2.        RAID solutions provided on the MOBO are not of the same high quality as independent (high-end) HW RAID solutions providers.

    Based on these, I am giving up my idea of making a mirror of my boot drive and relying on just backups (which I am already running). Sadly, though, this does not preclude me from having to reinstall the OS should anything go amiss with the primary SSD C drive.

    My original question still remains unanswered, now for just curiosity sake, - would both C: and H: drives be made dynamic if “Add Mirror” is selected from the Disk Management tool?

    (File Explorer à This PC à Manage à Disk Management)

    Does anyone out there have a creative solution to this situation? Simply put, I am looking for minimal work to recover my PC should the boot drive crash. (This has happened once already while playing around with the new Windows 10 (64)).

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016 10:47 PM
  • If you make an image of your system partition, you will not have to reinstall everything. 
    Check out Macrium Reflect, which is free for personal use.



    • Edited by fanfarenj Friday, January 22, 2016 4:56 AM
    • Proposed as answer by Karen HuModerator Monday, February 1, 2016 2:14 AM
    • Marked as answer by Poojagirl Monday, February 1, 2016 4:13 PM
    Friday, January 22, 2016 4:54 AM
  • For Windows 10, if you go to Control Panel/Backup and Restore (Windows 7), on the left of the screen find 'Create a System Image' and create a System Image on an external device (or a device other than your system/boot drive). Then return to Control Panel/Backup and Restore (Windows 7) and select 'Create a system repair disc' to create a bootable disc that, in conjunction with the System Image will allow you to restore your system to the state it was in when the System Image was created. 

    I believe you can also click on 'Set up backup' and schedule automatic creations of System Images.

    Make a great day!

    Roger Faucher

    Wednesday, January 4, 2017 5:06 AM
  • The capability to create a system image is inherent in Windows 10. Go to Control Panel/Backup and Restore (Windows 7)/, then select 'Create a system image' and make sure to create the image on a drive other than your system drive (external USB drives work best, I find).

    MOST IMPORTANTLY, remember to also select 'Create a system repair disc' to create a bootable CD/DVD so, if your boot/system drive does die, you can replace it, then boot from the System Repair disc and access the System Image to restore to the new drive. 

    ALSO IMPORTANT that you periodically create a new system image for the obvious reason. Within the Backup and Restore app, you can set up a scheduled backup and you will have the option to include or exclude a system image in the scheduled backups.

    Hope this helps,

    Make a great day,

    Roger
    Thursday, January 26, 2017 2:54 PM
  • You can convert disk to dynamic ...  do it with no affraid of loose data

    I was doing that many times

    system will be boot normal and work normal

    but ... as they say You will not be able to boot from SECOND dynamic disk

    :(

    next If You set doubling

    It will be still doubling partition

    PS.

    You Will loose data if You convert disk from dynamic to Basic ...


    Monday, March 13, 2017 12:35 PM
  • Late to the party, hope the OP still sees this, otherwise perhaps someone else who is looking for an answer may be helped. 

    I have an ASUS VC65R with two 120 Gb Intel SSD's (one the Intel S3510 and the other the 535) and two identical 250 Gb Toshiba SSD's. The Toshiba's are a mirrored storage pool with REFS for data and also hold the disk image of the System disk. The Intel S3510 is the system disk and the 535 is the "Scratch" / spare system disk.

    I have a Sandisk Ultra Fit USB memory stick. On it sits around a 500 Mb bootable Acronis WinPE environment that I use for backup/restore of a partition or disk. 

    If the system disks fails I reboot and restore on the Scratch drive using Acronis and it takes less than 5 minutes. In Acronis select which drive to use for the restore and it does the rest for you. Then when I have got the time I will shut down and replace the system drive and restore on that.




    Sunday, May 14, 2017 11:31 AM
  • You can mirror the boot drive if you use Disk Management to create the mirror. First, get exactly the same drive that you want to mirror. NOTE: When you look in Disk Management remember that you have to mirror the System Reserved partition (if you have it) and the boot partition (in my case it's C:). You can mirror other partitions if you have them (and why wouldn't you?). Take a look at Disk Management before you add the second drive and make a note of which disk your original one is. Then open up your PC and mark the cable. Do the same thing after you add the new disk. That way if one fails you'll know which disk to replace when you open your case.

    So, in Disk Management, Disk 0 was my original single disk. After you connect the new disk you'll see that the new one is unallocated. If you have the System Reserved partition then right click on it and choose "Add Mirror" and pick the new disk, then let it finish syncing, and then do the same thing for your boot partition and then let it finish syncing, and then repeat for whichever other partitions you want to mirror.

    When it's all done and you reboot you'll see that you have 2 choices now, "Windows 10" and "Windows 10 Secondary Plex". "Windows 10 Secondary Plex" is the new disk that you added and mirrored to, and "Windows 10" is your original disk. So, if your original disk fails then choose "Windows 10 Secondary Plex" and if the new disk that you mirrored to fails choose "Windows 10".

    There is one other thing to consider. Different BIOS's have different settings for handling this, and if one of your drives fails you may have to go into the BIOS and change the boot order.

    BEFORE YOU DO ANY OF THIS BACKUP EVERYTHING ON YOUR COMPUTER. I created a system image of Disk 0 before I mirrored it because that's the easiest thing to restore from. If you don't have a Windows 10 DVD then also create a System Repair Disk. You can use that to boot from and then you can restore the System Image if anything goes wrong. I use an external hard drive to store the system image. It's a good idea to do this periodically anyway, and the more often you do it the less time it'll take each time you do it. To do this open Control Panel and choose "Backup and Restore Windows 7".

    Also, remember to disable write caching on the external drive that you use for backup, and disable it on the 2 drives that you're mirroring too. This will make the sync of the mirror slow, but will protect you if you have a power failure and don't have a UPS. If you have a UPS you can leave it enabled but you might want to google it to see the pros and cons. Definitely disable it on the external drive if you use one for backup like I do. To do that in Disk Management, right click on the area that says "Disk 0" (or whatever the number of your drive is) and choose "Properties" and choose the "Policies" tab and then uncheck "Enable write caching on the device". Do this for each drive in the mirror, and if you use an external disk to back up to then do it for that one too.

    My suggestions here only apply to mirroring in Windows, and only through Disk Management. If you're going to use a RAID card then the mirroring is done via the card before Windows loads and Windows doesn't know anything about it. And if you're going to use Storage Spaces you can't mirror your boot partition. I've used Windows mirroring through Disk Management for a while and have no problem with it.

    HTH


    • Edited by MJS1A Thursday, June 1, 2017 7:16 AM
    Thursday, June 1, 2017 7:13 AM
  • This is a precise and accurate way of (bootable) mirror imaging. Thank you MJS1A for this perfect set of instructions! I would like to add one note; When replacing a bad (mirrored) drive with the same size drive, I found Windows 10 gave an error when attempting to mirror the replacement. The error stated there is "not enough free space" to copy to target disk. DO NOT PANIC! I overcame this issue with AOMEI partition assistant, by resizing the source("C") volume by .02mb then hit apply. The system will reboot to complete this process and upon re-boot a blue screen(BSOD) appears with a kernel error. Again, DON'T PANIC! Hold the power button in till system shutdown(hard stop), then start the machine, open disk management and start the "Add Mirror" of your partitions(volumes) again. psssst, for those that are afraid of the "dynamic disk warning", ignore it! My dell Optiplex  990 with 2 x 500gb Samsung 850 Evo's works great and now I don't have to worry about downtime in the event of a disk failure. I tried software approaches to using top name software and none of them worked like this. And like MJS1A said, some BIOS changes may need to take place, ie; Boot Order, UEFI>Legacy etc... Thanx again! BillyRay, owner/tech, Spokane Valley PC
    Thursday, June 22, 2017 6:50 AM
  • Hi, thanks for the information and I apologize for my English.

    I use a system with Windows 10 Pro 64 Oem.

    I try your solution and it does not work for me. I use exactly the same boot disk model as the second hard drive (wd barracuda, sata III, 1tb), but it never gives me the way to duplicate the boot disk, the option is always dimmer, it is not available. I try to put the second disk as dynamic, as gpt, etc., there is no way allows me the option of mirroring.

    I was reading in other places that it is NOT possible to duplicate using raid 1 o.s sw the boot disk in w10.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    regards


    • Edited by jrgxx Tuesday, November 7, 2017 1:07 PM
    Tuesday, November 7, 2017 11:32 AM

  • I was reading in other places that it is NOT possible to duplicate using raid 1 o.s sw the boot disk in w10.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    regards


    hi, believe or not, it IS possible and i already did it ONCE in past working. I set two HDD into mirror via software raid in Windows 10 as a backup of primary HDD. But i had to install whole windows few times. I dont remember exact combination of dynamic discs, gpt, mbr, etc, but i had problem with some partitions which are automaticly made on primary HDD during instalation. On the third or fourth try installator made one big partirion with windows on primary hdd and then i was able to enable RAID1 and sync second data to second drive. It looks i will have to makt it again very soon. Then i will give you more fresh info

    Wednesday, July 18, 2018 3:19 PM
  • This is wonderful advice, however I am having 1 big problem. I cannot mirror because I cannot convert my System Disk Volume to Dynamic. Whenever I try to convert it from MBR to Dynamic, it says that "There is not enough usable space for this operation." These are new SSD drives with fresh install of Windows 10 Pro and several hundred free TB of space.

    SYSTEM DISK: MBR

    Basic

    223.57GB

    Online

    Partition 1:

    System Reserved 350 MB NTFS Healthy (System, Active, Primary Partition)

    Partition 2:

    222.71 GB NTFS Healthy (Boot, Page file, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)

    Partition 3:

    528MB Healthy (Recovery Partition)

    EXTRA DISK FOR MIRROR: MBR

    Basic

    232.88GB

    Online

    232.88 GB Unallocated

    It is my understanding that the System disk needs some space for the converting to Dynamic, but I cannot solve this.

    Any ideas?

    Thursday, October 17, 2019 1:29 AM