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Can't see RAID 5 storage array with vista

Last response: in Windows Vista
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March 26, 2013 3:57:11 PM

I'm installing a RAID 5 array for storage on my old vista desktop. I configure the raid and drives in the bios. But when trying to initialize the drive in Disk Management it fails to recognize the drive/array. The drives show up independently but not in an array. I've tried to install the Intel Matrix Storage Manager but I get the error "This computer does not meet the minimum requirements for installing the software." I'm not sure if these two issues are related? Do I need the intel matrix storage manager if my raid is configured and managed in the BIOS? Any help would be appreciated.

Vista Ultimate 64
EVGA 780i
Intel Q6600 @ 2.4
OS drive - 640gb WD
RAID 5 drive - 2tb WD x3
a b G Storage
March 26, 2013 4:27:27 PM

I'm not sure about Vista, but in general the desktop Windows OSes don't support RAID 5 (the Pro/Ult versions only support RAID 0/1, the home versions don't support any of these). You have to buy Windows Server to use RAID 5. e.g. Win 7 lists RAID 5 as an option, but it's permanently greyed out.

The way to get around this is with independent RAID drivers. The most common being RAID support on the motherboard. Those come with a driver disk which will give RAID 0/1 and frequently RAID 5 functionality in any version of Windows. I believe Intel Matrix Storage Manager is just this for motherboards with Intel SATA connectors and RAID built in. So if your motherboard has RAID, then yes the Intel drivers should be able to provide it. Do note that many older motherboards only have two Intel SATA ports and 4 Marvell SATA ports. So the Intel Matrix Storage Manager is unlikely to work with drives on the Marvell ports.

If your motherboard doesn't have RAID, then it's not going to work even if you install the drivers. You'll need to buy a dummy RAID card and use the drivers that come with it. Dummy because it actually doesn't do anything except provide SATA ports - the RAID is all done in software via the drivers. (Same for RAID built into the motherboard. The BIOS is just a bootstrap so you can initialize and boot off the RAID array. The actual RAIDing is done in software via drivers which came with your motherboard.)

There may be software-only solutions for RAID 5 in Windows - I dunno because I've never looked. I always did RAID 5 in Linux or via the motherboard to bypass this arbitrary Microsoft restriction.
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a b G Storage
March 26, 2013 4:43:47 PM

The 780i motherboard is NVidia based and you cannot use the Intel RAID drivers. You must use the NVidia chipset drivers. The onboard RAID is what is called "fake RAID", it's not true hardware RAID. OS specific drivers are required for full functionality.
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March 26, 2013 4:46:09 PM

Solandri said:
I'm not sure about Vista, but in general the desktop Windows OSes don't support RAID 5 (the Pro/Ult versions only support RAID 0/1, the home versions don't support any of these). You have to buy Windows Server to use RAID 5. e.g. Win 7 lists RAID 5 as an option, but it's permanently greyed out.

The way to get around this is with independent RAID drivers. The most common being RAID support on the motherboard. Those come with a driver disk which will give RAID 0/1 and frequently RAID 5 functionality in any version of Windows. I believe Intel Matrix Storage Manager is just this for motherboards with Intel SATA connectors and RAID built in. So if your motherboard has RAID, then yes the Intel drivers should be able to provide it. Do note that many older motherboards only have two Intel SATA ports and 4 Marvell SATA ports. So the Intel Matrix Storage Manager is unlikely to work with drives on the Marvell ports.

If your motherboard doesn't have RAID, then it's not going to work even if you install the drivers. You'll need to buy a dummy RAID card and use the drivers that come with it (dummy because it actually doesn't do anything except provide SATA ports - the RAID is all done in software via the drivers).

There may be software-only solutions for RAID 5 in Windows - I dunno because I've never looked. I always did RAID 5 in Linux or via the motherboard to bypass this arbitrary Microsoft restriction.


Thank you for a quick response.
I'm configuring the raid on the hardware level. not within the OS. So I assume the windows supporting raid 5 is not the issue. The EVGA 780i Mobo supports RAID 1,0,5,10. I've configured the drives and i get a 3.63tb array(with Healthy status). Now I assume that Vista should see this as a single drive and of course I will have to initialize and format using GPT since MBR has a 2tb limit. But the OS doesn't see the drive/array.

Questions:
does this have something to do with IDE vs AHCI on the hardware level?
does windows require Intel Matrix Storage Manager in order to see the drive/array?

thank you
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a b G Storage
March 26, 2013 4:57:30 PM

Somewhere on your driver disk, or the motherboard manufacturers website, you will find RAID drivers for your motherboard. There are what you need so that Vista will see your RAID array properly. If you only install IDE or AHCI drivers it doesn't communicate with your hard drive controller properly.
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a b G Storage
March 26, 2013 5:13:51 PM

cummins said:
I'm configuring the raid on the hardware level. not within the OS. So I assume the windows supporting raid 5 is not the issue. The EVGA 780i Mobo supports RAID 1,0,5,10. I've configured the drives and i get a 3.63tb array(with Healthy status). Now I assume that Vista should see this as a single drive and of course I will have to initialize and format using GPT since MBR has a 2tb limit. But the OS doesn't see the drive/array.

LOL I assumed EVGA 780i was a video card.

What the others have said. The RAID built-in on motherboards is not real hardware RAID. It's a BIOS bootstrap which ties in to software RAID, aka fake RAID. You need to get the software part installed. Go to the EVGA website and grab the drivers for the motherboard. Install those and Vista should begin to see the RAID-5 as a single drive.

Real hardware RAID is basically a computer on a card (and costs hundreds of dollars). It runs its own internal OS, and does all the RAID parity calcs. It then presents the results as a single drive to the main computer.
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March 26, 2013 5:14:35 PM

ex_bubblehead said:
The 780i motherboard is NVidia based and you cannot use the Intel RAID drivers. You must use the NVidia chipset drivers. The onboard RAID is what is called "fake RAID", it's not true hardware RAID. OS specific drivers are required for full functionality.


in device manager under Storage Controllers I have:
Microsoft iSCSI Initiator
NVIDIA nForce RAID Controller
NVIDIA nForce Serial ATA Controller
NVIDIA nForce Serial ATA Controller
NVIDIA nForce Serial ATA Controller

I've DL'd fresh drivers from EVGA and updated NVIDIA nForce RAID Controller but it said that the drivers were already installed.

am i in the right place?
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March 26, 2013 5:19:31 PM

Solandri said:
cummins said:
I'm configuring the raid on the hardware level. not within the OS. So I assume the windows supporting raid 5 is not the issue. The EVGA 780i Mobo supports RAID 1,0,5,10. I've configured the drives and i get a 3.63tb array(with Healthy status). Now I assume that Vista should see this as a single drive and of course I will have to initialize and format using GPT since MBR has a 2tb limit. But the OS doesn't see the drive/array.

LOL I assumed EVGA 780i was a video card.

What the others have said. The RAID built-in on motherboards is not real hardware RAID. It's a BIOS bootstrap which ties in to software RAID, aka fake RAID. You need to get the software part installed. Go to the EVGA website and grab the drivers for the motherboard. Install those and Vista should begin to see the RAID-5 as a single drive.

Real hardware RAID is basically a computer on a card (and costs hundreds of dollars). It runs its own internal OS, and does all the RAID parity calcs. It then presents the results as a single drive to the main computer.


LOL. I assume it would be real hard to set up a raid on a video card.
I've loaded the latest evga/nvidia drivers in the "storage controllers" in device manager. (see my other post) I'll try rolling the driver back and reinstalling it with a couple reboots.

This is the right driver location??
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