RAID, or a Redundant Array of Independent Disks, is a way of sharing data across multiple hard drives to enhance redundancy. It is usually used in business as a resilience measure but can also be used on home computers too. If you have three or more of the same hard drive, running RAID is a viable way of making sure you don’t suffer data loss.
RAID is a system of striping or mirroring to share data between multiple hard drives. Files are split between them and will appear on two drives. We will use RAID 5 which uses striping with a parity bit. This means that data is shared across two drives and then enough mathematical data is created on the third, the parity bit, for the operating system to rebuild the data should it be lost on one of the other drives.
If you don’t want to back up your data to external storage and the cloud, using RAID is a good way to avoid data loss. It is not foolproof though. RAID obviously depends on the health and reliability of your hard drives. Should two fail, you will still lose your data.
You will need to be running Windows 10 Professional and have three or more identical hard drives for this to work.
RAID in Windows 10
Setting up RAID in Windows 10 uses the Storage Spaces application built into the operating system. It takes much of the hard work out of configuring RAID and does most of the work for you.
- Install all of the hard drives into your computer and let it boot into Windows 10.
- Back up everything you cannot afford to lose just in case.
- Type ‘Storage Spaces’ into the Windows Search box.
- Select Create a new pool and storage space. Windows will check all drives for compatibility and list them in the next window.
- Select all the drives you want to include in your RAID setup.
- Select the RAID type under Resiliency by selecting the drop down menu. Select Parity for RAID 5.
- Set the drive size under Size. It should default to the correct setting so you may not need to do this.
- Select Create Storage Space.
- Wait for the process to complete and you should then see a single drive in Windows Explorer.
- Type ‘Manage Storage Spaces’ into the Windows Search box for details on your array.
Now any data you store on your disk will be striped across three disks. Two data parts and a parity part. If you lose one disk, data can be recreated once you replace it. Lose two disks and things become trickier but not impossible to recreate your data.
If you do lose two RAID disks, you may want to bring them to Dave’s Computers in New Jersey before trying to recover them yourself. We are data recovery experts and will ensure you don’t lose any more data than absolutely necessary!