Windows XP PRO can do this in software without a hardware raid controller.
However, I’d recommend a hardware controller. It’ll be faster & less prone to dying for no apparent reason …
Dynamic disks and volumesDynamic disks provide features that basic disks
do not, such as the ability to [b]create volumes that span multiple disks
[/b](spanned and striped volumes), and the ability to create fault tolerant
volumes (mirrored and RAID-5 volumes). All volumes on dynamic disks are
known as dynamic volumes.
There are five types of dynamic volumes: simple, spanned, striped, mirrored,
and RAID-5. Mirrored and RAID-5 volumes are fault tolerant and are
available only on computers running Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000
Advanced Server, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, or Windows XP.
However, you can use a computer running Windows XP Professional to
create mirrored and RAID-5 volumes on these operating systems.
Regardless of whether the dynamic disk uses the master boot record (MBR)
or GUID partition table (GPT) partition style, you can create up to 2,000
dynamic volumes per disk group, although the recommended number of
dynamic volumes is 32 or less per disk.
For information about managing dynamic volumes, see Manage dynamic
Limitations of dynamic disks and dynamic volumes
When using dynamic volumes, the following limitations apply:
When installing Windows XP Professional. If a dynamic volume is created
from unallocated space on a dynamic disk, you cannot install Windows XP
Professional on that volume. However, you can extend the volume (if it is a
simple or spanned volume). This setup limitation occurs because Windows
XP Professional Setup recognizes only dynamic volumes that have an entry
in the partition table.
Portable computers. Dynamic disks are not supported on portable
computers, removable disks, detachable disks that use Universal Serial Bus
(USB) or IEEE 1394 (also called FireWire) interfaces, or on disks connected
to shared SCSI buses. If you are using a portable computer and right-click a disk in the graphical or list view in Disk Management, you will not see the
option to convert the disk to dynamic.
Dual-boot computers. Dynamic volumes (and the data they contain) cannot
be accessed by, or created on, computers running MS-DOS, Windows 95,
Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT 4.0, or Windows XP
Home Edition that are configured to dual-boot with Windows XP
Professional or Windows XP. If you want computers running these operating
systems to be able to access the data, store the data on basic volumes
instead. For information about basic volumes, see Basic disks and volumes.
When extending a volume. If a basic volume is converted to dynamic (by
converting a basic disk to dynamic), it may or may not have an entry in the
partition table depending on whether that volume was a system or boot
partition. If the converted volume was a system or boot partition it retains
an entry in the partition table. You can install Windows XP Professional on
the volume, but you cannot extend it. If the converted volume was not a
system or boot volume it does not have an entry in the partition table. You
cannot install Windows XP Professional on the volume, but you can extend
On Windows 2000, volumes converted from partitions have an entry in the
partition table. On Windows XP Professional, volumes converted from
partitions do not have an entry in the partition table unless the partitions
were system or boot partitions. In Disk Management, you can see if a
volume has an entry in the partition table by right-clicking the volume. If
Extend Volume is disabled, the volume has an entry in the partition table.
You can install Windows XP Professional only on simple and mirrored dynamic
volumes, and these volumes must have entries in the partition table (which
means that these volumes were system or boot volumes).