Dual Boot RAID Windows and Linux
Published: 4th August 2006 | Source: OC3D Forum |
Preparation is the key
Naturally, start by planning the partition layout you want to use. For the purposes of this guide, we'll use a layout that looks like the one in the diagram below. This layout assumes two drives to be setup as RAID 0 in each OS. I'm using software RAID, so naturally this requires the OS to be installed first, at least for Windows - oddly, the Microsoft Windows installer is unable to read its own dynamic disks that are used for software RAID, so you can't create them first and then install onto them. As a result the Windows boot drive needs to be installed on its own partition. Linux has no such problem... In the diagram included below, treat the first partition of the first drive just the way Windows likes it - as a C: boot drive. This is also where the NT boot manager will naturally go. You can however point the Windows core and/or the 'program files' directory to another drive. This certainly helps in putting all your apps and games on the RAIDed partition, but not Windows itself (because the installer can't see the RAID). The first partitions counterpart on the second drive is a great place to put your /boot directory, your /home, or anything else for which you don't want to risk to the redundancies (or lack thereof) of RAID 0. These directories don't, after all, really benefit from RAID anyway and it means that you can happily re-install your Linux desktop without wiping your /home.
......................Linux md RAIDs...................
1. Assuming a blank drive, boot your Windows install disk (or your own slipstreamed install version) and at the partitioning stage create a single partition where you'll install Windows.
2. Do the deed and install Windows. After you reboot into your fresh desktop click Start -> Run and type in 'diskmgmt.msc' Now use the Windows disk management interface to setup all the remaining partitions you need, as per the layout of your system, including where you'll be installing Linux. There is a reason for this: namely, Linux fdisks can't see or use Windows Dynamic Disks. What's a Dynamic Disk I hear you ask? Well you're about to make one!!!
3. You'll note that while all the drives are listed as 'Basic' you won't find any software RAID options for setting up your Windows software RAID drive. To access this, right click on the drive icon in the panel and select 'Convert to Dynamic Disk'. Dynamic Disks are Windows way of doing nifty things like JBOD and RAID. Unfortunately, it requires modifying the partition table to do so, and into a format only Windows understands (but not the Windows installer...sweet )
4. You'll see the drives change colour, but the partition structure remains the same. Right click on the partitions you set aside for Windows and delete them.
5. Right click on either one of the empty space partitions you want in the RAID and select to create a 'striped' partition.
6. Select the other partition from the list, click 'Add' and create your software RAID 0 array
7. Format it in NTFS as you would any other partition.
Now let's move on to getting Linux set up...