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Raid 1 with existing data?

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Old 09-05-10, 04:09 PM Thread Starter   #1
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Raid 1 with existing data?

I want to create a Raid 1 array on my computer. The problem is, the hdd I'm using now has like 450+gb of 500gb worth of information on it (it's the only one I have atm, with os installed on it; it's personal computer/drive). I've already bought a second drive that's identical to the one I have.
I looked around online for tutorials, and all I've been able to find is how to set up Raid 1 on new builds with clean drives. Then I read some more about how the drives are set up differently for raid :/
I realize there are other ways of backing up data that may be more "efficient" but I've had Raid 1 on another computer, and replacing a dead drive was as easy as putting in a new drive. Problem is, I didn't build that computer so I'm pretty clueless as far as setting up raid goes.
Is there a way to back up my hdd data *exactly* as it is, so I can do a fresh raid 1 setup and xfer the data back on? There's a bunch of disk imaging software out there, but I've never used any; is there any data loss with imaging software? (my personal files include a LOT of media files--videos/mp3s/etc). Which software/method would you recommend for such backup/copying?
Or if there's a way, how can I create the raid right off my current drive?
(I also have an empty 500gb external drive, if that'll assist in backing up/copying data?)
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