[SOLVED] Using RAID 1 NVMe PCIe SSDs for Windows 11 Boot

Jul 27, 2021
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Is it possible to use two NVMe PCIe SSDs in a RAID 1 pair (using Intel RST on the motherboard) as a boot device on Windows 11 (Pro)?

The SSDs:
Kingston KC2500 1.95 TB Solid State Drive - M.2 2280 Internal - PCI Express NVMe (PCI Express NVMe 3.0 x4)

They are working fine as drive D in Raid 1 mode.

I used the free version of EaseUS partition manager to clone the boot drive to the RAID pair (from a WDC WDS500G2B0A-00SM50, 500 GTB SATA SSD)

I don’t know if the problem is:
  • It just can’t be done
  • I cloned wrong
  • Windows 11 Security issues
  • Old Bios
  • Etc.
I know nothing about TPM and security keys, etc.

I do know that the Kingston SSD manager will not talk to the drives when they are in RAID mode, so I suspect this is one of those “it just can done” situations. If that is the case, are there other SSDs that will allow RAID 1 for boot drives? (Or, sigh, other motherboards)

I like RAID 1 (mirroring) for system drives, so that if one drive fails there is no downtime and no rebuilding your system, apps, etc.

I have sent this question to Kingston support as well, if I hear back from them I will update this post.

Thank you all very much.


System Info (let me know if I left out something important)
OS Name Microsoft Windows 11 Pro
Version 10.0.22000 Build 22000
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00GHz, 4008 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date American Megatrends Inc. 3801, 3/14/2018
SMBIOS Version 3.0
Embedded Controller Version 255.255
BIOS Mode UEFI
BaseBoard Manufacturer ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC.
BaseBoard Product Z170-AR
BaseBoard Version Rev 1.xx
Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "10.0.22000.1"
Kernel DMA Protection Off
Virtualization-based security Not enabled
Device Encryption Support Elevation Required to View
Hyper-V - VM Monitor Mode Extensions Yes
Hyper-V - Second Level Address Translation Extensions Yes
Hyper-V - Virtualization Enabled in Firmware No
Hyper-V - Data Execution Protection Yes

[Drives]

Item Value
Drive C:
Description Local Fixed Disk
Compressed No
File System NTFS
Size 465.05 GB (499,338,551,296 bytes)
Free Space 334.54 GB (359,210,893,312 bytes)
Volume Name
Volume Serial Number 2456F974

Drive D:
Description Local Fixed Disk
Compressed No
File System NTFS
Size 1.82 TB (2,000,394,616,832 bytes)
Free Space 1.73 TB (1,900,374,036,480 bytes)
Volume Name Clone of C:
Volume Serial Number B7A97EE0

[Disks]

Item Value
Description Disk drive
Manufacturer (Standard disk drives)
Model WDC WDS500G2B0A-00SM50
Bytes/Sector 512
Media Loaded Yes
Media Type Fixed hard disk
Partitions 3
SCSI Bus 0
SCSI Logical Unit 0
SCSI Port 0
SCSI Target ID 2
Sectors/Track 63
Size 465.76 GB (500,105,249,280 bytes)
Total Cylinders 60,801
Total Sectors 976,768,065
Total Tracks 15,504,255
Tracks/Cylinder 255
Partition Disk #0, Partition #0
Partition Size 100.00 MB (104,857,600 bytes)
Partition Starting Offset 1,048,576 bytes
Partition Disk #0, Partition #1
Partition Size 465.05 GB (499,338,555,392 bytes)
Partition Starting Offset 122,683,392 bytes
Partition Disk #0, Partition #2
Partition Size 614.00 MB (643,825,664 bytes)
Partition Starting Offset 499,461,914,624 bytes
Description Disk drive
Manufacturer (Standard disk drives)
Model Intel Raid 1 Volume
Bytes/Sector 512
Media Loaded Yes
Media Type Fixed hard disk
Partitions 1
SCSI Bus 6
SCSI Logical Unit 0
SCSI Port 0
SCSI Target ID 8
Sectors/Track 63
Size 1.82 TB (2,000,388,096,000 bytes)
Total Cylinders 243,200
Total Sectors 3,907,008,000
Total Tracks 62,016,000
Tracks/Cylinder 255
Partition Disk #1, Partition #0
Partition Size 1.82 TB (2,000,394,617,344 bytes)
Partition Starting Offset 1,048,576 bytes
Name Intel Chipset SATA RAID Controller
Manufacturer Intel Corporation
Status OK
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Jul 27, 2021
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Why a RAID 1?
What, specifically, are you trying to protect against?
What is this system used for?

I don't think you can clone a single drive into a RAID 1 config and have it 'just work'.
Well, that's kind of the question. Can it be made to work at all? Fresh install of Windows? Thanks for any ideas you may have.
 
Jul 27, 2021
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Well, that's kind of the question. Can it be made to work at all? Fresh install of Windows? Thanks for any ideas you may have.
I never answered "why RAID 1", because it makes it trivial to deal with single disk failures on the boot drive, which is the one that is the most time consuming to restore and bring up to date in case of failure. It does not replace backup, it's for general uptime. In case of single drive failure you can keep on operating.
 

USAFRet

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I never answered "why RAID 1", because it makes it trivial to deal with single disk failures on the boot drive, which is the one that is the most time consuming to restore and bring up to date in case of failure. It does not replace backup, it's for general uptime. In case of single drive failure you can keep on operating.
Full drive images and 30 minutes does the same thing.

Physical drive fails are pretty far down the list of ways to lose data.
 
Jul 27, 2021
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OK, understood. I respect your answer and it probably works for most people, but I'll still go my own way. I have had single disk failures in every computer I've ever owned, and when they hit the boot disk, recovering is always more time consuming than reloading your backup.

Anyway, this is my attempt to make my life a little easier and I appreciate the time you've put into answering it.

(Also, relatively new to me are SSDs and I have no personal experience with the likelihood of SSD failure, it could be that I'll never experience that and this whole exercise is a waste of time.)
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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I've had several single disk fails as well.

Most recent in my main PC was a 960GB Sandisk SSD.
Click click in Macrium Reflect, wait an hour, all recovered exactly as it was at 4AM that morning.


A RAID 1, combined with a comprehensive backup routine, can be OK.
For a single drive. Once your system has more than a couple of drives, RAID 1 becomes non viable.
My main system has 7x physical drives. RAID 1 ain't happening.

If actual 100% uptime is needed, then RAID 1 + real backup is fine.
If that 100% uptime is not really needed, the RAID 1 is mostly just a waste of drive space.

And far too many people think of the RAID 1 as all that is needed for data protection.
It is not.
 
Reactions: Mandark
Jul 27, 2021
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In the end, all I had to do is install a fresh copy of Windows 11 on the RAID 1 pair of SSDs and that was that. It was simply the cloning that didn't work. All good, thank you to everyone who spent any brain power on this.
 

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