66. Stupid Disk Tricks for XP Part 3: Creating Software RAID 0

RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) zero is another name for the technique known as disk 'striping' in which two disks act as one single hard drive, sharing (or striping) all data between them. This process considerably speeds up drive performance, especially when reading from the drives, since the data stream can come from both disks at once. For more information on other forms of RAID, flip through the pages of PCstats guide on the subject.

Windows XP, like Windows 2000 before it, comes with RAID 0 support built in. If you have two hard drives, you can take advantage of this feature to speed up your computers disk access (which affects nearly every facet of the computing experience). Note that you cannot create a RAID 0 stripe with the partition that holds the Windows operating system.

This means that you will have to have at least two physical hard drives with free space so you can create a pair of new partitions to stripe since you cannot stripe an existing partition with data on it either.

To create a RAID 0 stripe with two identical disks right click on 'my computer' and select 'properties' then 'manage.' Open 'disk management' from the computer management window. Convert both drives to dynamic disks as shown in tip 64 above. Once both disks are listed as dynamic, right click the 'unpartitioned space' of either drive and select 'new volume.' In the 'select volume type' Window, select 'striped.'

Add all disks you wish to use, then decide on the amount of space on both disks you wish to use for the striped volume you are about to create. If you wish, use only part of each disk for the stripe, leaving the rest free for other uses.

Choose a drive letter or folder to use, and the method of formatting, and you are done. The striped array will format and be ready for use.