Mar 162008

Microsoft Windows XP, by design, is not capable of a native software RAID5; however, capable of mirroring drives.

First you need to download free hex editor from here

* Copy the following files from the Windows sub directories to somewhere else, so you may edit them with a hex editor


Make sure you keep backup copies in case it all goes something wrong

* Open the files in a hex editor and replace ‘SERVERNT’ or ’servernt’ to ‘WINNT’ or ‘winnt’ and vice versa (’WINNT’ replace through ‘SERVERNT’). Make sure that the length of the lines dont change. The difference in length between the string SERVERNT and WINNT must be filled up with spaces.

* Copy the three edited files to their original location. This you can do from the recovery console, but admins may do it immediately from Windows. Make sure the Windows XP CD isn’t in your drive. Ignore windows complaining about changed files which have to be replaced with the original ones.

copy dmboot.sys system32\drivers
copy dmboot.sys system32\dllcache
copy dmconfig.dll SYSTEM32
copy dmconfig.dll system32\dllcache
copy dmadmin.exe SYSTEM32
copy dmadmin.exe system32\dllcache

* Reboot the computer.

Now you can see similar to the following screen when you try to create RAID

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  12 Responses to “How to add Software RAID 5 Support for Windows XP”

  1. This doesn’t work for Windows XP. After replacing the files as above, there is no “create new volume” choice upon right clicking a dynamic disk under disk management.

  2. This worked just fine for me on a clean copy of Win XP Pro sp2. I am using an 80 GB boot drive, and was able to setup 4 ~500 GB disks in a ~1.5TB RAID-5 configuration.

    Thanks – pretty neat.

  3. Has anyone tried this with SP3 yet? I can’t find the SERVERNT and WINNT strings in dmadmin.exe (though dmboot.sys is ok, and dmconfig.dll hasn’t changed)

    Will I lose access to my existing RAID1 if I apply SP3?

  4. @matt
    You shouldn’t.Your RAID1 should work without any problem

  5. Heres the deal I succesfully set this up…the only problem I have is everytime I reboot, I have to reintialize the disks. The array comes up no problem after that… Any ideas??

  6. I have the same issue as strangedays, disk are offline when I restart, have to reactivate them every time. Any idea what this relates to?

  7. I have the same problem as strangedays & Tom_Shaftoe, is there any solution?

  8. These problems occurs since WinXP doesn’t load RAID-drivers during boot-up. The solution is to have the OS on a separate disk, and use RAID for 2 other disks (which you keep your precious data on).

  9. Hey, if anybody is interested I’ve just finished a tutorial on how to create a software RAID 5 array in Windows XP SP3. I’ve also shown how to make it network accessible on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. I’ve also provided links to download the modified files so there is no need to use a hex editor.

  10. Raysmith,
    I don’t think your solution works. I have an OS on my RAID0 @ MB and reboot is no problem. I also have RAID5 @ WinXP RAID5 and everytime I reboot it’s offline. I have to manuall make it online. Same problem as strangedays, Tom_Shaftoe & Peter.

    I checked your website but it does not seem to refer to the offline after reboot problem.

  11. I had the problem with the raid5 array being offline every time I booted as well.. I replaced those three files with the one in the article, and everything was fine again.. I’m guessing it was a windows update that stomped one of the files, but it’s hard to say.. I wasn’t using those three files, I was using three that I had made up using an older toms hardware article.. They’re instructions didn’t quite match, but I just winged it, and it seemed to work… but I don’t know if I had the problem from the start, or if it was after an update.. In either case, replacing the three files again seemed to fix it.

  12. hey, cant you just make a batch script making the drives online and then make it run on start up?

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