I have, almost in a panic, realised that I have some hard drives that need to be replaced as they are 6 years old. Although I have had no issues with them I thought replace them before they fail. It still seems a shame that a working hard drive has to be scrapped as it is old so I thought why not set up a RAID 1 and use the drives as an addition to the new drive. The logic being that when one disk fails the other drive in the RAID will have the data safe. I plan to have a main drive and two other drives in a RAID 1 and another drive for backup.

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I don't see a question there?

My thoughts on whether or not to scrap old drives....

1) If you have the cash, you can buy new, large drives with much for onboard cache to replace older units.
2) IF you don't have the cash, running drives in a raid array has its own set of pro's and cons (more complex setup vs possible gains and/or losses in read/write speeds depending on the raid level).
3) Running those extra HDs will pull more power and generate more heat.
4) SSD drives are becoming cheaper. No moving parts usually means much longer life for SSD vs platter drives.

In my own home setup, I use a single SSD for the OS then a larger drive for Data. I image the C and backup the Data nightly on a sceduled job.

If your goal is to introduce some redundany in your design, you may want to consider just buying two new drives and a RAID adapter. Having a new hard drive doesnt decrease the likelyhood that the drive will not fail. I have seen drives that last 10 days while others have lasted 10 years. You just never know when that drive is going to fail.

In your case, it sounds like rather than throwing the drives away, you want to put them to use. Of course adding a RAID adapter will make you feel better with regard to protecting your data, and it should. But again, if that is very important to you, I think having a new seperate drive is risky because that drive can fail at any time.

So as CimmerianX mentioned, you do have to cosider the additional costs assoiciated with keepin the two drives alive. If its worth it to you, you should proceed.


Thanks CimmerianX and JorgeM for your advice.

The title of this post should have been: A solution to not scrapping old hard drives is to use RAID 1

This is a trifle long and I am not sure whether I can edit the title of the post. If there is, it is not easy to find (help Dani)

My motives in making this post is: I would like to reuse as far as possible most of the stuff I have bought. It seems to me that RAID 1 provides a means to make continung use of older drives which due to their age are more likely to fail. Assuming there is power to run 4 HDD I can use the RAID 1 setup to make continuing use of those older drives and reserve one drive, a newer drive, for backup. Is there a problem with this suggestion? If not other computer users did this we would save precious material resources and save ourselves a few quid ($, shekles etc) :) I do not suppose the manfacturers are prepared to support this suggestion, but then they might, if the argument is not flawed, as I doubt whether most users backup their data and users may decide to buy additional storage.


Hello Geoff,

I think it all depends on what is important to you. It may be cost, or it may be some particular value you have such as saving resources, the enviroment, etc..

My earlier response was strictly technical. If my interest was in protecting data, I would not suggest that configuration because as I mentioned before, a newer drive may not outlast an older drive. There are quite a bit of factors that can affect the life of a drive.

If you are trying to extend the life of what you have, your plan is reasonble. adding a RAID adapter will provide you with a greater level of fault tolerance for the logical drive that is protected by the RAID array. However, everything has a cost. The cost of the adapter, additional power, heat, etc...

We may be getting too deep in this discussion though. The only real need for a RAID array is to protect from a hard drive fault that will result in system failure. It does not protect against data corruption or a file being deleted by accident. That is why you still have to backup data, even if the drives are in an array. It sounds like you are aware of that since you have mentioned a backup drive.

So then the question is if you do nothing and continue to use these old drives, what is the risk. If you are performing regular backups, you are protecting your data from the point of the last backup. Is that enough protection? Are you able to loose any new data or changes since the last backup? If the answer is yes, continue using the same drives and just address a hard drive failure then. If not, proceed with the RAID array and when a drive fails, replace the failed drive, or continue to run on a single drive until that one fails as well.

Hi JorgeM

The difference between having 3 hard drives and 4 is less than 20 watts. I have a RAID controller (Dell 9200) so there is no additional cost. If we accept that the risk of a newer drive not outlasting an older drive is high, which doe not make sense to me, then my argument is proved: do not scrap your old drives put them in a RAID 1 and scrap a drive when it fails and add a replacement drive promptly. For additional safety have one new hard drive in the RAID along with an older drive.

hello Geoff, while it may seem that i am contradicting you, I assure you that I am not. If you have the RAID controller already and all you need is an additional drive, then that sounds like a reasonable plan.

With regard to drive failure, I never said that a the risk of a new drive failure is high. What i said is that it is not predictable and in my experience working with computer systems over the many, many years is that I have seen new and old drives fail at different rates, so I just wanted to point that out, not only for you but others that may come accross this thread. It is not easy to predict drive failure, just based on time.

Since you are going to have another drive, you may want to consider moving the pagefile off of the system drive to further improve performance. The pagefile does not have to be protected by a RAID array.

Thanks JorgeM

The page file is currently on the new main non RAID 1 drive. I know very little about page files. The raid will only have the My Documents folder. Incidentally, is just moving the MY Documents folder to the raid going to create problems for me, or should I move Documents and Settings folder instead?

well in my opinion old hard drives are worthless and crap it is better to dispose them off

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