Hi, I've successfully had a raid0 running on Windows 8 for almost a year now.
However I'm giving the PC away and the person wants Windows 7 on it. So I am going to reinstall the whole system. I've already backed up the files I want to keep on an external. But what is the next step?
Should I scan for bad sectors first (I have never scanned for bad sectors or done a defrag on these two HDDs), then disable the raid in the bios and format one drive at a time. Or can I just format them and get on with a new installation? Like I said, I can SETUP a raid0, but have never had to REMOVE one. So some 'step by step' advice would be useful, thanks!
If you don't want the RAID anymore, you will need to go into the bios and disable raid. All drives in the array should now appear as single drives. During the win 7 install, you are given the option to partition/format drives. Delete all partitions on the drives and create new ones and format them.
At this point, I think I'd quit out of the windows install, shutdown the computer, and disconnect all drives except the one you want to install windows onto. This forces winows to put the boot loader and OS on the same drive. Now restart the winows 7 install process. After the installation is complete, you can attach the remaining drives.
"If you are going to install windows again, you are gonna have to set up the RAID configuration again and then install windows."
Easy I can do that. But I was wondering if it's recommended that I run a scan for bad sectors when the drives are not in raid and have been formatted - before setup a new raid0 to see that they are still 'healthy' and reliable drives to raid, so the person doesn't cry out at me if they stop working within 6months. I will setup an automatic cloud storage program for the person so everything will be backed up automatically and even a failure won't necessarily mean a loss of data beyond personal settings,
"shutdown the computer, and disconnect all drives except the one you want to install windows onto."
Are you saying that I do this while a raid has already been configured in the BIOS or suggesting that I setup the raid in the BIOS, AFTER windows 7 is already installed and updated to the latest version? Won't it run slower then, compared to if I installed it into a raid0 array? With the current setup windows 8 64bit is installed on a C: 64kb stripe size partition (256GB), where I keep programs and tools. The D: partition is called 'Leisure' and holds music/games/ etc because those files are larger, now a days maps are very large in games and take a long time to load so D: partition is the max stripe size available to the Marvell controller (I think 256kb). So far I've never had a BSOD or problem with the setup, except a minor one where SOMETIMES in a blue moon it says 'program not responding' but instead of closing the program you just wait and when the HDD has found what it needs to load it works as usual again, this has only happened after reaching close to 90% on max capacity on both drives. =]
PS: If windows is 50GB (I don't know the exact number) and I install it on a single drive. Won't I have lost 50GB on my second drive now because this is space that could have been striped but never got to be striped and by the time the first 1TB drive is full, the second 1TB will still have 50GB of free space on it? I'm assuming raid0 stripes at a 50-50 ratio. Could be wrong tho. With that said, I'm happy to give your suggestion a go if I understand the reasoning to it.
Sorry, I thought you wanted to get rid of the raid all together. If you don't want the raid, do as I said previously. The drives without the OS on them will just become secondary storage for the user to put whatever they want on them, pictures, music, programs,...
If you want to continue using raid and you want to scan the drives, you will need to disable the raid in the bios as most programs can't scan individual drives while in raid. At this point, you will have no OS to boot into so you might want to use a live linux cd that has the disk checking software on it. Once done scanning all the drives, you can re-enable raid in the bios and setup your new raid array to install windows onto.
Depending on what the new user is using the computer for, I don't think raid 0 will be that much of a difference in performance.
So this is what I'm going to do.
1) Disable the Raid in BIOS
2) Wipe one drive at a time with DBAN (Darik's Boot And Nuke). I had a hardware teacher a long time ago with a degree in electrical engineering that said this was the best software for formatting, if anything newer and better is out, I'm all ears.
3) Put both drives in a spare computer and run for bad sectors...
Q1: Should I do step 3 before step 2? Scan for bad sectors ---> Then wipe?
Step 4) Re-installing the raid0
Q2: "Once done scanning all the drives, you can re-enable raid in the bios and setup your new raid array to install windows onto."
So I install Windows after configured the raid in stripe in the BIOS, will the boot sector still go on one drive? Or don't I have to worry about that.
You probably don't need to switch BIOS. Leave it in RAID configuration. If no raid drives, the bios acts as AHCI. Wipe and then check the drives with the boot software. I think the boot sector will be split on each drive. You won't or shouldn't have to worry about that.