Software RAID on Windows server 2003

This series of articles will show how to set up software RAID on a Windows Server 2003 system. Before you do anything with your disks, make sure you have a good backup. Please read our terms of use. We will start with one Basic drive, create a RAID1 set on a new drive we install, remove the first drive, and recover from the second. We wrote up an article over seven years ago here about Windows Server software RAID, and it is definately time to provide an update. First off, we have a single 12 gig drive running in Basic mode:

To run Software RAID, you need to convert this drive to a Dynamic Disk. Note that on Windows Server 2003 this is possible after installing the disk as Basic. To convert to a Dynamic Disk, simply right-click on the drive and select Convert to Dynamic Disk:

Check the disk you wish to convert:

Confirm which disks you want to convert to Dynamic:

You will be warned that converting this disk drive will limit the ability of other operating systmes to start for any volumes on the disk.

We are warned that filesystems on the disks to be converted need to be dismounted:

The system will need to reboot:

Confirm reboot:

At this point, add a drive. After the system reboot, go back in to computer management/disk management. There will be a Initialize and Convert Disk Wizard notification that the new drive will be set to a dynamic disk:

Select the disk to initialize:

At the Initialize and Convert Disk Wizard dialog, check the disk you want to convert, and click next:

Click finish to complete the Initialize and Convert Disk Wizard:

There is now one healthy dynamic disk, and one unallocated disk, both of the same size:

Right click on Disk 0, and select Add Mirror:

Select the disk and click Add Mirror:

An error may pop up that says “Logical Disk Manager could not update the boot file for any boot partitions on the target disk. Verify your arcpath listings in file boot.ini or through the bootcfg.exe utility.” Well, we are mirroring the first drive to the second, and the first drive doesn’t even have a filesystem, so it makes sense that we can’t update the boot file. We chose to ignore this error:

The RAID1 array is building:

The RAID1 array is done and healthy:

Let’s reboot and remove the original drive, putting the mirrored drive in its place. After the boot, this shows up in the system event logs:

We have a missing drive in computer management/disk. Remove the mirror:

Select the Disk to remove:


We now have a healthy Disk 0:

Remove the missing drive:

All is as it should be: