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Someone help me before I shoot my computer

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April 19, 2006 10:36:01 PM

Hello All. I am trying to setup a Raid 0 configuration on my computer, using 2 Western Digital 250 Gig 16 MG cache SATA drives. I have an Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe board with the latest bios installed from Monarch computers, AMD 64 X2 4400, Coolermaster 550Watt PS, 2 gig corsair, Wavemaster case, 7800 GTX and two plextor burners (716 & 755). I do not have an internal floppy drive but I do have an external one. It seems every time that I hit the F6 key to load the drivers, it doesn't work. Setup keeps on telling me to insert manufacturer-supplied hardware support disk into Drive A:

One thing I have to tell you all in advance, I do not have any IDE optical devices. I am building a completely SATA System. I have to be the first idiot to try this so I can cry the blues to everyone. ;-) I have the hard drives right now on the Nvidia raid (black connectors) side and it recognizes the array, but I can not load the necessary drivers.

I have check the external floppy and I was able to read it when not trying to install drivers. I actually almost re-installed the bios from the floppy. Please help! I have been at this for 4 days and I have just plain given up hope on how to figure out the mess I created. By the way, I am a complete idiot when it comes to building things, so if you can explain it in steps for me to follow I would appreciate it. Thanks everyone for your help in this matter!

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April 19, 2006 11:19:55 PM

I was going to suggest that you shoot your computer, just as I feel like doing, but then I saw that you have some nice and expensive hardware in there. I haven't taken the time to read your whole post, and I don't think I'd be able to answer the question. I just saw the phrase "shoot my computer", and I became interested. Sorry.
April 19, 2006 11:54:43 PM

I guess I'd hook up your external floppy up to the motherboard...take it out of the case, or borrow one...heck even dumpster dive...gotta be a floppy drive around somewhere...no 486's lurking in a closet or garage? Alternately, aren't nvidia sata drivers native to the chipset? Perhaps use an "old-fashioned" ata optical drive if your RAID shows up...at least to do the install...then you can put in the drivers for your secondary sata ports which are probably runnning your optical drives...don't know your motherboard and how many native sata ports you have...often it's the add on chip driven ports that require the floppy drivers.
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April 19, 2006 11:56:03 PM

Its not your fault when you can't load the drivers !!
Blame it on MS for limiting your choice to only internal floppy drive!

I once had this issue also when buiding a PC without a floppy drive
(who use one anyway these days).

I end up have to borrow an internal floppy drive from a friend just to load the drivers and get the installations started.

I suggest you do the same.

Quote:
I do not have an internal floppy drive but I do have an external one

I presumed it is USB?
April 20, 2006 12:06:45 AM

Check around in your BIOS and see if there is a setting to enable USB Floppy support. I have never personally used your motherboard so I do not know either way.

Have you tried to install Windows without using the floppy? Sometimes (not often), I've come across situations where you did not need to load drivers off of the floppy.

If that still doesn't work, get a standard floppy and just connect it while you're installing Windows. Take it out after that and put it on a shelf somewhere. You'll only be out about $8.
a c 372 G Storage
April 20, 2006 12:26:47 AM

If it's like other NForce4 boards, you'll definately need the raid drivers. If you disable raid in the bios then the SATA will be recognized without any drivers. If the raid is not going to be your system drive, you can always install windows, then create the array later, but if it's going to be the system drive you need the drivers up front.

...and yes, M$ really f@cked up when they decided to only allow install time drivers via internal floppy only. You can get them dirt cheap and I keep one lying around just for these circumstances. hopefully they fixed this in the upcoming Vista.
April 20, 2006 12:33:48 AM

Better solution...
Go buy a small SATA drive and load your OS on that. then you can setup the raid disks properly.

over and over and over, i hear nothing but greif when people try to create a bootable RAID array. Not saying it cant be done -- it just causes lots of problems.
April 20, 2006 1:55:14 AM

Quote:
Better solution...
Go buy a small SATA drive and load your OS on that. then you can setup the raid disks properly.

over and over and over, i hear nothing but greif when people try to create a bootable RAID array. Not saying it cant be done -- it just causes lots of problems.


a floppy drive is less than 8-10$.. better get that than a new hdd..

I've created boot array since 2001 and never been in trouble before.. well, I always read the manual first, to know where to plug the drive and which controller is used, so using the right drivers always do it.

And yes, you absolutly need a floppy drive to do it ..
April 20, 2006 2:01:16 AM

Quote:
Check around in your BIOS and see if there is a setting to enable USB Floppy support. I have never personally used your motherboard so I do not know either way.


It don't work with floppy USB.. I already tried it.
Quote:

Have you tried to install Windows without using the floppy? Sometimes (not often), I've come across situations where you did not need to load drivers off of the floppy.

If the controller support SATA natively, then there is no need for drivers, but RAID always requiere drivers whit chipset and onboard solution. Some PCI rais card are supported with drivers already integrated into XP, but not that much..

Quote:

If that still doesn't work, get a standard floppy and just connect it while you're installing Windows. Take it out after that and put it on a shelf somewhere. You'll only be out about $8.


Yes, at this price, there is no need to not get one. It don't have to be permanantly used, only with install/reinstall.

And if XP screw up a saturday night, you wont have to wait monday to get a floppy drive.. you'll already have it.
April 20, 2006 7:41:26 PM

Violence is not the answer.

Drink a Beer
Say aloud "An interal Floppy Drives is a necessary component for all PC's"
Say aloud "I think its reasonable to order an internal Floppy Drive for every build."
Repeat until your frustration turns to acceptance.

(Whatever you do, don't start thinking about how a 3.5" drive bay is actually 4" wide. This will require the consumption of additional beer. Do not get a ruler and do not measure your 5.25" bays as you probably don't have enough beer handy to deal with the consequences).

Break down and order a floppy.

If you still find yourself unable to order a floppy stop drinking and instead try tricking yourself into paying $35 for a combination Floppy/ xin1 Flash Card Reader.

If you still don't feel right buy it anyway, but hide your 3.5" of shame, by taking the term internal a little too literally. Duct tape it to the bottom of your case where no one can see it.

If agnst persists give up the beer and cheap tricks and spend at least full hour thinikng of Bill Gates as a Sith Emperor leading Microsoft's Evil Empire. Honestly believing you will one day switching to Linux/Mac will greatly aid the healing process.

(Warning do not actually attempt to switch to Linux/Mac or your driver/software/hardware compatiblity problems might require you to move on to hard drugs. If you are already on heavy drugs go for it)

If all else fails get laid. Hopefully the terms 3.5" and floppy will not become relevant to this activity, if they do it is possible that you have had too many beers and spend too much time thinking of Bill Gates.
April 20, 2006 10:46:04 PM

Thanks everyone for all your suggestions. I am now going to attempt to resolve this issue. ;-) I think I will try the other hard drive route. I have actually 4 SATA Western Digitals hard drives that I will be placing inside my case. The setup I wanted was 2 WD's to be in a raid0 configuration and the other 2 just for storage. 2 hard drives are 250 gigs and the other 2 are 320 gigs. So the suggestion of utilizing one hard drive to setup the raid for the other two looks promising to me. If someone could clarrify more on how to approach this, I would appreciate it.

After this happens I may still have to shoot the rig because I will be attempting to overclock. I am just a glutten for punishment! ;-) Maybe I should drink more beer, but I am afraid with the condition of beer balls more violence may errupt! ;-) Thanks again everyone for all your help. If you have any more suggestion please send them my way!
April 20, 2006 11:15:22 PM

Quote:
Thanks everyone for all your suggestions. I am now going to attempt to resolve this issue. ;-) I think I will try the other hard drive route.

Did Codesmith scare you with his floppy drive stories?

Quote:
After this happens I may still have to shoot the rig because I will be attempting to overclock.

Beer won't help you there; you need whiskey.
April 20, 2006 11:36:07 PM

I know you may be disappointed at this, but get an internal floppy like someone else said and install your raid drivers off of that. But if you don't tell anyone, then you're sure to go unnoticed.
April 21, 2006 2:15:08 AM

Installing XP non-RAID then moving your OS to a RAID array most often results in a OS that won't boot.

The only sure way is to install to the RAID array, loading the drivers from a floppy.

If you absolutely insist on not using a floppy there is a way. There are also utilities (nlight) that let you customize your XP install disc to include additional drivers (and exclude others, potentially speeding up installation). This is handy if you will be installing XP to a dozen or more indentical PC's, but for a single PC it isn't practical.

I would say its practical for those who reinstall often, but anyone who does that should instead buy a copy of True Image 9. Do a backup imediately after a clean install, then simply restore from that backup whenever they want a clean system.

---
Off Topic

You can even go further creating unattended install files, intergrating hotfixes and dozens of programs that will automatically install without user interaction resulting in a install DVD.

Fun in a geekly sort of way but not practical. I make one such DVD, but agaqin unless you are rolling out a couple dozen indentical PCs not worth the time or effort.

What is practical is an creating an unattended install XP SP2 CD, (I have mine set to stop once for the partitioning and once for the CD Key), then using the latest version of XP Autopatcher to apply all the updates since SP2.

---
April 21, 2006 3:53:37 AM

If he messes up his sweet rig with a bad overclock, he will probably need denatured alcohol. :D 
April 21, 2006 8:21:36 PM

Quote:
If he messes up his sweet rig with a bad overclock, he will probably need denatured alcohol. :D 


Denatured alcohol is just regular alcohol with the addition of poisonous and or foul-tasting chamicals, usually purified to near 100%. Sometimes its produced through purely chemical means.

Benzine is a popular choice for removing that last bit of water and other impurities, its also highly carcinogenic. Other popular additives cause blindness

You can't purify ethanol beyond 95% through distillation, and the chemical methods effectivly poison the alcohol.

So the best you get is Everclear at 190 proof.

PS if you all you drink is 151-190 proof beverages on an empty stomach (even if you get only moderately intoxicated) and then try to drink a glass of water the next morning, you will imediately feel like someone kicked you in the gut, afterwhich you will puke up some pinkish tissue paperly stuff which probably was once your stomach lining.

So always chase your pure grain alcohol with rain water.
April 21, 2006 9:21:52 PM

Hey nice explanation, codesmith. That "kick in the gut" feeling and the resulting blindness is exactly why I recommended denatured alcohol to him. Just a joke, but I must admit, I learnt something today. :wink:
April 22, 2006 11:06:53 PM

Some of you just crack me up. Spend more money than you should on so many things, but too cheap to spend $10-15 for a floppy drive. Want to know how many of our custom computers went out the door without floppy drives? Zero. Every customer was smart enough to want one. Most of you are constantly upgrading CPUs and video cards for hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Just drop a few one-time bucks on a floppy drive and shut up. No flames, because you have no defense, only cheap rationalizations.
April 24, 2006 3:37:30 AM

Ok Ok I get it!!!!! I will buy a floppy tomorrow and I like that idea Codesmith about making a dvd of Xp Pro SP2 with all the drivers in there. I usually do an install at least two times a year for me alone. And are you guys nuts even drinking that jet fuel? I like my Dr. Pepper too much to even think of that stuff. You know when you are getting close to your 40's, like me, you can't drink the bad stuff!!!! ;-) Thanks again to everyone for your help! ;-)
April 25, 2006 1:23:32 AM

I never drank denatured alcohol and I only drank >150 proof on a completely empty stomach once in college. I spend maybe $20-$30 a year on alcohol, and consume only 2-3 times that in free drinks at social events.

---

One of the reasons I can stay so sober is that in addition to casually accepting idiotic technical requirements (like needed to buy a floopy) I also only install an OS once per machine. Then before I install even a single driver or update I back up evertying to DVD+RW using True Image 9.

Honestly I can't even say I install the OS once, since I just modify an unattened install file to include the correct CD-KEY.

PS you can run the unattened install file from a floppy so you don't have to burn a new CD each time you build a new computer. I prefer to burn a new unattened install CD anyway.

---

Another thing that keeps me sober is complete seperation between OS & installed applications and everthings else.

C: is for programs. D: has My Documents Folder, Desktop, Mozilla Profile (email, address book, bookmarks) ....

I backup C: before making any major changes to my OS. I can do it wihtout restarting and it only takes about 7 minutes. In addition to the clean install image I always the latest 2-3 backups.

That way I can fix ANY software problem in about 15 minutes wihtout losing anything imporatnt.

I also use Dantz Retropsective to backup individual files (mostly on D:, but also saved game files from C:) . This creates snapshots, which means I am storing multiple versions of each file. So lets say I accidentally delete a customers contact information and don't notice it for a month. I can retrieve a version of that file as it was a month ago.

When I am lazy all these images and archive sets go on a RAID 1 array (400 GB WD RE2's), when I am not they are put on DVD+RW.

---

I also backup a clients OS before and after servicing their PC. The option to restore a PC to its exact original condition along with copies of local computer shops service fee's quickly end any payment hassles.

Plus people always seem to remember some personal files that need from their C: drive shortly AFTER you finish reformattting it. Mount the backup as a virtual hard drive and you can either retrieve the files, or as is often the case prove to them that they files were never on their C: drive to begin with.

----

So definately buy a floppy drive, definately buy a copy of True Image 9 ($35).

Think hard Dantz Retrospective 7.5 Pro at $90 if you keep important business/personal files on your PC that you simply cannot afford to lose.
April 25, 2006 1:43:01 AM

Quote:
I never drank denatured alcohol and I only drank >150 proof on a completely empty stomach once in college. I spend maybe $20-$30 a year on alcohol, and consume only 2-3 times that in free drinks at social events.

---

One of the reasons I can stay so sober is that in addition to casually accepting idiotic technical requirements (like needed to buy a floopy) I also only install an OS once per machine. Then before I install even a single driver or update I back up evertying to DVD+RW using True Image 9.

Honestly I can't even say I install the OS once, since I just modify an unattened install file to include the correct CD-KEY.

PS you can run the unattened install file from a floppy so you don't have to burn a new CD each time you build a new computer. I prefer to burn a new unattened install CD anyway.

---

Another thing that keeps me sober is complete seperation between OS & installed applications and everthings else.

C: is for programs. D: has My Documents Folder, Desktop, Mozilla Profile (email, address book, bookmarks) ....

I backup C: before making any major changes to my OS. I can do it wihtout restarting and it only takes about 7 minutes. In addition to the clean install image I always the latest 2-3 backups.

That way I can fix ANY software problem in about 15 minutes wihtout losing anything imporatnt.

I also use Dantz Retropsective to backup individual files (mostly on D:, but also saved game files from C:) . This creates snapshots, which means I am storing multiple versions of each file. So lets say I accidentally delete a customers contact information and don't notice it for a month. I can retrieve a version of that file as it was a month ago.

When I am lazy all these images and archive sets go on a RAID 1 array (400 GB WD RE2's), when I am not they are put on DVD+RW.

---

I also backup a clients OS before and after servicing their PC. The option to restore a PC to its exact original condition along with copies of local computer shops service fee's quickly end any payment hassles.

Plus people always seem to remember some personal files that need from their C: drive shortly AFTER you finish reformattting it. Mount the backup as a virtual hard drive and you can either retrieve the files, or as is often the case prove to them that they files were never on their C: drive to begin with.

----

So definately buy a floppy drive, definately buy a copy of True Image 9 ($35).

Think hard Dantz Retrospective 7.5 Pro at $90 if you keep important business/personal files on your PC that you simply cannot afford to lose.

Damn; that's a long post. Good advice. It is a pain in the ass to reinstall Windows because you need to install/download all the drivers, install and configure anti-virus software, etc.
April 25, 2006 3:19:07 AM

I have a mound of comptuer parts and storage bins with a total of 23 drawers.

Plus 12 drawers for office supplies and arts and crafts.

Plus couple hundred unorganized optical discs.

About halfway through my yearly reorganization my brain froze up.

All my friends are busy so its either waste time at the forums, waste time watching TV or get back to work.

Anyway it all averages out. I spend hours posting then won't post again for several months.
April 25, 2006 3:46:19 AM

Well Codesmith you think I can get you to PM me the way to create an OS and driver DVD, or put it in this thread. I believe it may be too technical for me to figure it out without a little help. I would appreciate it! And thanks again to all of your comments and advice. By the way I got my floppy drive but I am leaving for Hawaii in the morning, so it will have to wait till I get back next week. ;-)
April 25, 2006 4:30:36 AM

Quote:
Well Codesmith you think I can get you to PM me the way to create an OS and driver DVD, or put it in this thread. I believe it may be too technical for me to figure it out without a little help. I would appreciate it! And thanks again to all of your comments and advice. By the way I got my floppy drive but I am leaving for Hawaii in the morning, so it will have to wait till I get back next week. ;-)


I'd like to know, as well.

W00t; I didn't even realize that I had over 800 posts until now.
April 26, 2006 2:25:25 AM

http://www.nliteos.com/faq.html is the place to do for cutsomizing your XP install CD.

http://unattended.msfn.org/unattended.xp/ covers more advanced stuff, like automatically installing applications with silent install options.

Its been two years since I made my first and only unattended install DVD. It looks like the instructions, tools and resources has improved a lot since then.

I am guessing a custom all in one installer will cost far more time than it can possibly save, although it is a very cool tech project.

Though not nearly as cool as building your own Hard Drive Laser Oscilloscope Hard Drive Laser Oscilloscope.
!