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  • Storage
  • Hard Drives
  • Alienware
Last response: in Storage
April 23, 2013 5:58:16 PM

I am at a loss here. Have an old Alienware Area 51 that has a hard drive making all kinds of bad noise and is giving me very slow performance.

I purchased a Seagate 7200 RPM 1TB Drive from Best Buy and thought it would be easy to just replace the junk Hard Drive. Boy was I wrong.

COMPUTER INFORMATION:
MOBO: Asus P5N32-SLI-SE-Deluxe
OLD (BAD) HARD DRIVE: Samsung SP2504C 250GB Hard Drive.

Also has something called
NVIDIA STRIPE 232.88G

Model: NVIDIA STRIPE 232.88G

Size: 250GB

Total Heads: 255

Total Cylinders: 30401

Total Tracks: 7752255

Tracks Per Cylinder: 255

^^^ The above is taken from my Alienware invoice loaded on the hard drive that's bad. No, I do not know what this crap means.

Okay... so I also noticed a long long time ago that during post the info on the screen (during the time you can hit key to enter bios says something to the effect of 0 Healthy Nvidia Stripes or drives or something... not sure if that means anything.

I came home unpluged the old bad hard drive and plugged in the new one which just came back, during boot, with a black screen that showed the hard drive but then says

PXE-E61: Media test failure
PXE:M0F: Exiting Nivida Boot Agent

Well crap...

So I put the old hard drive back on and plugged the new hard drive in as a second drive. This allowed the PC to boot fine but I could never see the new drive in My Computer nor is Storage Manager.

Well crap...

Tried to download the Seagate DiscWizard program onto the bad hard drive (hoping it would just find the new drive somehow and allow cloning)... can't install because I need a Seagate Drive Installed.

Well crap...

In the BIOS it shows there is a Seagate 1TB drive installed but that's about all I get. Tried changing boot order and a bunch of other crap I don't know what it means or does and find myself at a lose.

Can anyone help me? I need to get this PC up and running and the idea of leaving my old bad hard drive in there until it dies and I can't get my data back really scares me.

Would love to be able to just get this old drive out and have the new drive function by cloning via the Seagate DiscWizard.

Anything help would be awesome.

Thanks,

Your Friendly Noob

More about : hard drive issues question

April 23, 2013 6:01:46 PM

P.S. Seagate Support can't be reached and their knowledge base wasn't any help at all either. Just a ton of information about jumping past the 2TB mark and why purchased drive size isn't the same as the PC reports...
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a c 159 G Storage
April 23, 2013 6:22:18 PM

I could never see the new drive in My Computer nor is Storage Manager.
did you mean disk management? how about device manager?
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April 23, 2013 6:28:41 PM

Yes, I was talking about under Control Panel > Admin Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management. Sorry.

When I go to Device Manager and click on Disk Drives all I see is Nivida Stripe 232.88G Not even the old hard drive is listed there

When I click on IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers I see the following
Primary IDE CHannel
Secondary IDE Channel
Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller

All say they are working properties comes up from double clicking

I would think this should be easier lol
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a b G Storage
April 23, 2013 6:39:01 PM

The reason your computer would not boot after you removed the original HDD and replaced it with the new one is because there was no operating system to boot from on the new one. You need to install an operating system on the new HDD before you'll be able to boot from it. Either a fresh install or clone the old disk to the new disk (if the old one works well enough and there are not corrupted sectors due to imminent failure).

Your new hard drive won't show up in "My Computer" or Windows Explorer because it has not been initialized or partitioned or formatted. It should, however, show up in Disk Management (Start-->Run-->diskmgmt.msc in Windows 7).

[sorry, I did not see that you already ran Disk Management before my reply below]

Run diskmgmt.msc and the drive should show up, although you may be prompted to put a signature on it or initialize it. Then you'll have to create a primary (bootable) partition on it so that you will be able to boot an OS from it. Then either clone your old HDD to it, or install a fresh copy of Windows on it.

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a b G Storage
April 23, 2013 6:42:09 PM

If it's not showing up in Device Manager then as far as Windows is concerned, it doesn't exist. You need to figure out why Windows cannot see the hardware.

Are both drives SATA drives, or is one or both PATA/IDE?
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a c 128 G Storage
April 23, 2013 7:03:33 PM

MonkeyMan806 said:
Also has something called
NVIDIA STRIPE 232.88G

Okay... so I also noticed a long long time ago that during post the info on the screen (during the time you can hit key to enter bios says something to the effect of 0 Healthy Nvidia Stripes or drives or something... not sure if that means anything.

This probably means your drive is configured as a single-drive RAID array, rather than a plain old drive. That would probably explain your problems getting the new drive to boot as well - the motherboard is expecting a boot drive configured for RAID. When it doesn't see the new drive is set up the right way, it's telling you there's a media test failure.

Yeah I know RAID with one drive makes no sense. It's stupid. But I can see a company doing it just for consistency when they get support calls. I had a Toshiba laptop which was set up the same way. Incidentally, this will prevent the Seagate tools from recognizing that you have a Seagate drive installed, so don't even bother trying.

In the BIOS setup, check to see if there's an option to turn RAID on/off. On Asus motherboards it's usually a choice between RAID, AHCI, and IDE modes. Do not change this at this time. It sounds like your MB is in RAID mode. According to the Asus website, your MB has 4 SATA slots and supports RAID 5, so putting the MB in RAID mode likely affects all 4 SATA slots, which would explain why the new drive wouldn't show up when you tried adding it as a second drive.

In the BIOS, look for a setting for logo or full screen logo. Disable it. This will let you see all the BIOS text instead of a graphical splash screen. Save and restart the computer.

Early in the boot process, a message should briefly pop up saying something like "press F9 for RAID config". Do so. That will get you into the RAID setup screen. The old and new drives should show up there. Do not mess with the old drive, as the way it's configured right now is the only way for you to read data off of it.

If you can get to this point and see both drives, then my guess as to your problem is correct. Now, assuming you found the RAID, AHCI, IDE options in the BIOS earlier, you have a decision to make:

- Do you want to configure your new drive the same way, with this funky single-drive RAID setup? This will probably be quicker as you can just clone your current isntallation, but you'll encounter the same problem if you add another drive. And if your motherboard dies, the data on your drives will likely be unrecoverable without buying a similar motherboard.

- Or do you want to convert the system over to a standard AHCI/IDE SATA drive setup? This will take more time since you cannot clone your current install (well, you can try, and hope it works), and you may need to buy an external enclosure to get your data copied. But it means you can add more HDDs in the future without difficulty, and if the MB dies you'll be able to move your drives over to another computer and copy the data over without difficulty.
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April 23, 2013 7:53:53 PM

scout_03
I could not install DiscWizard because it doesn’t see the Seagate drive and therefore told me to buy one. Lol

mbreslin1954
Tried to use Alienware Respawn on the new disk and a Windows Install CD… that’s when I got the two error messages as the Mobo can’t see the hard drive.

mbreslin1954
Both drives are SATA drives… the old one being SATA II and the new one being SATA III (but the SATA III is backwards compatible so that’s not an issue)

Solandri

My goal would be to setup this new hard drive just like my old one. If that means using a RAID 0 for one drive (crazy as it sounds) I’m fine with that. I want to use the Seagate DiscWizard to clone the old one over because of a number of programs and macros and settings I don’t know / want to redo.
My BIOS shows the new hard drive and yes there is a LOGO option in the BIOS (which I believe is set to disabled). I also believe I saw an option for Nivida Raid (think it was on) in the BIOS as well. I did not touch either of these yet.
Do you think I should?
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Best solution

a c 128 G Storage
April 23, 2013 10:02:21 PM

MonkeyMan806 said:
I want to use the Seagate DiscWizard to clone the old one over because of a number of programs and macros and settings I don’t know / want to redo.

If RAID is on and the Seagate software will only work if it sees a Seagate drive, then you won't be able to use it. Your motherboard's RAID system is hiding the physical drives from the computer, and presenting them to it as a RAID array. You won't be able to get SMART data (including temperature) off the drives or spin them down when idle for the same reason.

MonkeyMan806 said:
My goal would be to setup this new hard drive just like my old one. If that means using a RAID 0 for one drive (crazy as it sounds) I’m fine with that.
My BIOS shows the new hard drive and yes there is a LOGO option in the BIOS (which I believe is set to disabled). I also believe I saw an option for Nivida Raid (think it was on) in the BIOS as well. I did not touch either of these yet.
Do you think I should?

Ok then.

Install your new HDD.

Start your computer and when you see a message saying something like "Press F9 to enter RAID configuration" go ahead and do so. That should get you into the RAID config setup menu.

You should be able to see your old drive as an "array". Leave it alone. Take a note of what type of array it's set as (probably RAID-0).

Look for an option to create a new array. Select it. For type of array, pick whatever type your old drive is configured as.

It should now ask you which drives you wish to add to the array. There should be only one choice - your new drive. Go ahead and add it to the array. At this point it may or may not format the drive.

Once it's done, select the option to save all changes and reboot. Let the computer restart (use the boot menu to force it to boot off your old drive if it tries to boot off the new one). Once you're in Windows, you should now be able to see your new drive in disk management.

If the Seagate cloning software works, go ahead and use it to clone your boot drive. If it doesn't work, try Minitool Drive Copy.
http://www.minitool-drivecopy.com/drive-copy/free-hard-...

I'm actually not sure if you can clone your running system drive to the new drive. It should be possible if you do a disk-to-disk clone (I've done it before with other software), but software keeps changing so I don't know what current software can or can't do. Some cloning software tries to read the files, which you can't do if the system is in use. Other cloning software reads the data sectors directly, which you can do even if the system is in use. Anyway, if you can't clone the drive, post here again and I can write up steps for the other option.

Once your disk is cloned, shut down. Remove your old drive. Reboot. If you're lucky, it should boot off the new drive (you may have to use the boot select menu to force it to boot off that drive - you can change the boot drive in the regular BIOS setup).

If it says it's unable to find the boot device and your new drive doesen't show up in the boot select menu, you'll have to enter the RAID config setup menu again. If there's an option to make the new drive's array bootable, select it. Save and reboot.

If it complains about the old drive/array being missing, enter the RAID config again. Remove the old drive's array. Reboot. Do this as a last resort though, because once you do it I can't guarantee you'll be able to recover any data off the old drive or put the system back into a state where it can boot off the old drive again. In theory you should be ok, but each RAID implementation is different and there's no way to know until you try.
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April 24, 2013 6:53:03 AM

Solandri said:
MonkeyMan806 said:
I want to use the Seagate DiscWizard to clone the old one over because of a number of programs and macros and settings I don’t know / want to redo.

If RAID is on and the Seagate software will only work if it sees a Seagate drive, then you won't be able to use it. Your motherboard's RAID system is hiding the physical drives from the computer, and presenting them to it as a RAID array. You won't be able to get SMART data (including temperature) off the drives or spin them down when idle for the same reason.


MonkeyMan806 said:
My goal would be to setup this new hard drive just like my old one. If that means using a RAID 0 for one drive (crazy as it sounds) I’m fine with that.
My BIOS shows the new hard drive and yes there is a LOGO option in the BIOS (which I believe is set to disabled). I also believe I saw an option for Nivida Raid (think it was on) in the BIOS as well. I did not touch either of these yet.
Do you think I should?

Ok then.

Install your new HDD.

Start your computer and when you see a message saying something like "Press F9 to enter RAID configuration" go ahead and do so. That should get you into the RAID config setup menu.

You should be able to see your old drive as an "array". Leave it alone. Take a note of what type of array it's set as (probably RAID-0).

Look for an option to create a new array. Select it. For type of array, pick whatever type your old drive is configured as.

It should now ask you which drives you wish to add to the array. There should be only one choice - your new drive. Go ahead and add it to the array. At this point it may or may not format the drive.

Once it's done, select the option to save all changes and reboot. Let the computer restart (use the boot menu to force it to boot off your old drive if it tries to boot off the new one). Once you're in Windows, you should now be able to see your new drive in disk management.

If the Seagate cloning software works, go ahead and use it to clone your boot drive. If it doesn't work, try Minitool Drive Copy.
http://www.minitool-drivecopy.com/drive-copy/free-hard-...

I'm actually not sure if you can clone your running system drive to the new drive. It should be possible if you do a disk-to-disk clone (I've done it before with other software), but software keeps changing so I don't know what current software can or can't do. Some cloning software tries to read the files, which you can't do if the system is in use. Other cloning software reads the data sectors directly, which you can do even if the system is in use. Anyway, if you can't clone the drive, post here again and I can write up steps for the other option.

Once your disk is cloned, shut down. Remove your old drive. Reboot. If you're lucky, it should boot off the new drive (you may have to use the boot select menu to force it to boot off that drive - you can change the boot drive in the regular BIOS setup).

If it says it's unable to find the boot device and your new drive doesen't show up in the boot select menu, you'll have to enter the RAID config setup menu again. If there's an option to make the new drive's array bootable, select it. Save and reboot.

If it complains about the old drive/array being missing, enter the RAID config again. Remove the old drive's array. Reboot. Do this as a last resort though, because once you do it I can't guarantee you'll be able to recover any data off the old drive or put the system back into a state where it can boot off the old drive again. In theory you should be ok, but each RAID implementation is different and there's no way to know until you try.


Okay... round 2

I went into the BIOS and did not see any option for RAID selection type or anything to do with array (looking for the word array).

I did find an option to Enable / Disable the Nivida RAID which was selected as Enabled. I changed this to Disabled and let the computer full boot into Windows.

Once in Windows XP I still didn't see the new drive listed in My Computer but when I went to Disk Manager (Control Panel > Admin Manager > Disk Manager) It showed the new drive... Finally.

A Window popped up and told me the wizard would walk me through the initialization process so I clicked next. It then asked which disk I wanted to initialize or something and listed Disk 1 only (which is the new hard drive as my old hard drive is listed as Disk 0) so I checked it and clicked next. It then asked me did I want to make this a dynamic drive and only listed the new Hard Drive as Disk 1 again but I DID NOT CHECK THIS as the old drive was in the lower window (main view) with the word BASIC below the drive letter and clicked next. The wizard waited for less than a second and was completed.

The drive really didn't change in the main view of Disk Manager except it no longer had a red line where the drive letter would be... but now it just shows Disk 1 as online but unallocated.

The drive is still not showing in My Computer but I think I took a baby step in the right direction lol. What should I do next?
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a b G Storage
April 24, 2013 7:56:22 AM

Go back to Disk Manager and create a partition in it, give it a drive letter, then format it, and it will show up in My Computer. I think you should make it a Dynamic Disk but I can't remember for sure. Just Google "Dynamic Disk" and . . . Oh wait, I did it for you.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop...(v=vs.85).aspx

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April 24, 2013 8:41:53 AM

Okay, I realized I was just having a brain fart too. I went in and formated the drive via the create new partition option in Disk Manager. This got the drive up and running and I was able to see it in My Computer.

I did not make it a dynamic drive as the old one was just basic and not dynamic.

From here I got the Seagate DiscWizard program downloaded and started to run it. This program allowed me to clone the old drive and everything is working as it should.

The old drive is out of the system and all of my programs and everything it running off of the new drive.

I just hope this improves my performance issue I was having and makes everything right as rain.

Thanks again for everyone's help and once again showing that Tom's Hardware is just an amazing site / community.
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