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Why isn't my SATA RAID0 my C: drive?

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September 17, 2006 6:52:56 PM

OK, so I've built my new system. I've got two WD SATA drives set up (apparently properly) in a RAID0 array. I used my two old PATA drives in the system as well. In the SATA RAID setup utility I have it specified as the boot drive. (EDIT: I've an ASUS P5NSLI using NVidia 570 chipset. There's a manual on the mobo driver CD-ROM that looks absolutely nothing like the BIOS on my system.)

I've gone ahead and installed XP Pro on the RAID, yet when I go into Windows, the RAID comes up as drive H, not drive C. I looked at the Disk Management under Computer Management and my old C drive still appears as the C drive and is called the "System" disk. My array is set as the H drive and is makred as the "Boot" disk.

So how can I make the RAID drive into the C drive? Do I need to do something in the BIOS? I checked and the boot order of the drives has the RAID first, followed by the old PATA drives.

Thanks in advance,
elforman

More about : sata raid0 drive

September 17, 2006 7:52:41 PM

It's normal, the old PATA drive simply maintained it's old drive letter "C": another stupid Winsuck's issue.
If you can, change the letter from "C" to something else, then reinstall Windows on the RAID (you can't change the boot/system drive letter).
Anyway, if you need the RAID for fast data access, I suggest you to install windows, or at least the pagefile, on the PATA drive: this way access to the RAID data will not be affected by accesses to windows exe/dll or pagefile.
September 17, 2006 8:39:45 PM

Thanks, but I need to be able to boot from the RAID. I'm going to be using the old PATAs as backup for the data on the raid. Eventually I'll be taking the old PATA out and building a new system with that as the C drive and getting an external drive for backups on the RAID system.
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September 17, 2006 8:45:26 PM

I would be better reserve the RAID for the data you need to access quickly if you intend to build a home recording studio.
Anyway, if you want to boot from the th RAID and need it to be drive C simply detach the PATA drives, reinstall windows and reconnect the PATA drives when the install is finished: the PATA drives will be assigned another letter and your system drive will retain the C letter since it cannot be changed.
September 17, 2006 9:37:47 PM

Quote:
...
Anyway, if you want to boot from the th RAID and need it to be drive C simply detach the PATA drives, reinstall windows and reconnect the PATA drives when the install is finished: the PATA drives will be assigned another letter and your system drive will retain the C letter since it cannot be changed.

This is not quite correct.
The boot drive is always C:, but the letter is assigned each time Windows boots. Win has a specific order of partitions that it looks through at boot time, and the first boot partition it finds is named C:. Other partitions are then given succeeding letters in order as Windows finds them.
Win is finding your old IDE drive before it finds the SATA RAID; since you did not change that old drive, it still has a boot partition on it, and thus Windows calls that C: at boot time.
If you want the system to run off the RAID as C:, just remove the IDE drive. No reinstalling of Win will be necessary to have the RAID appear as C: and be the boot partition.
In order to access the IDE drive as you want, you will need to use a tool (perhaps Partition Magic?) to make its partition a normal, non-boot partition. Since you can't do that on a partition that is currently in use as the system partition (that is, the partition you booted from), you will need to boot from a floppy or from the Win CD, run a tool to make the IDE partition not a boot partition, and then you should be all set the next time you boot. Win won't find a boot partition on the IDE drive, so when it finds the bootable RAID, it will call that C:, and life will be hunky-dory.
September 17, 2006 9:51:49 PM

Quote:
In order to access the IDE drive as you want, you will need to use a tool (perhaps Partition Magic?) to make its partition a normal, non-boot partition. Since you can't do that on a partition that is currently in use as the system partition (that is, the partition you booted from), you will need to boot from a floppy or from the Win CD, run a tool to make the IDE partition not a boot partition, and then you should be all set the next time you boot. Win won't find a boot partition on the IDE drive, so when it finds the bootable RAID, it will call that C:, and life will be hunky-dory.


Ohhhhhh, my aching head...

OK then, does anybody know the arcane commands to do this from the recovery mode of the WinXP Pro CD? Can it be done from the XP Pro CD?

Thanks,
elforman
September 17, 2006 10:00:34 PM

The change is simple, should just be a flag showing whether the partition is bootable or not, but I've only used Partition Magic to change it. Not sure if a tool is available on the WinXP CD that will allow you to just change the flag as opposed to deleting the partition.
September 17, 2006 10:14:00 PM

Quote:
The boot drive is always C:, but the letter is assigned each time Windows boots. Win has a specific order of partitions that it looks through at boot time, and the first boot partition it finds is named C:. Other partitions are then given succeeding letters in order as Windows finds them

You made a mistake :-)
This is right for Win98, but absolutely not with Win Xp and 2003: if you boot Win XP form a drive to which it was assigned the letter Z at the time it was formatted, it will retain the letter Z.
Proof of this is that elforman sees the boot drive as H, simply because all other drives in the system already has assigned letters.
It doesn't matter if a drive is a boot or system drive or a generic device: Win XP & 2k3 always retain assigned letter in a specific record in the extended partition data, even if you move the drive to another system.
When you format a new device he assigns the first letter available, regadless if it's a boot or system drive.
September 18, 2006 8:55:34 AM

Thanks for the correction! I apologize for not verifying the info before I started typing it.
So what happens when someone formats a RAID array as C:, then installs an old hard drive which was already C:?
September 18, 2006 2:45:26 PM

Your old PATA drive has a boot.ini file on it. The drive containing boot.int MUST be the C drive in Windows. Your new Windows install just overwrote it.

If you want to fix the problem, you need to reinstall Windows without the PATA drives being plugged in. Then Windows will write a new boot.ini file on the RAID array and indeed it will be your C: drive.

Or use Partition Magic ilike Mondoman said..which will force a new boot.ini file to be written. (Should anyway).
September 18, 2006 4:23:07 PM

When there is a letter conflict the boot drive always take precedence: it retains its letter, while the other drive is assigned the first available one.
!