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Boot from eSATA Drive on ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe?

Last response: in Motherboards
a b V Motherboard
November 16, 2006 3:39:52 PM

I have an ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe mobo with two SATAII drives in the case. I also have a 500 GB Seagate in an AZIO external case that connects via the eSATA port. I want to use the external drive for backups and it is working OK. But ideally I would like to be able to set up to boot from it in case the orignal C: drive internally fails.

The eSATA port is on a Silicon Image controller. I am NOT setting up RAID anywhere. I have installed ASUS's Silicon Image SATA driver in Windows XP so it all works. But if I were trying to boot without the C: drive containing Windows, I doubt it will work. To me the fact that you must install a Windows driver to use the eSATA port means the basic Silicon Image controller may not be useable at boot time.

Now, I see on the ASUS CD an option to create a Silicon Image SATA boot disk. If I do that is there a way to have that load a driver during BIOS boot so that I can actually get to the eSATA drive and boot from it? Since this option is listed separately from those to create a RAID boot disk, I assume the SATA boot disk is for my situation without using RAID.

I suppose the other option is to use the adapter plate provided by AZIO to plug the eSATA connector into one of the regular mobo's SATAII ports. Those ones already are set to PATA emulation and can be used to boot. But I am not sure that will support eSATA completely.
November 17, 2006 1:07:14 AM

So you want to use an external eSATA HD as your primary HD with windows on it?

Then you are goin to use your internal HD as backups?

You can use the eSATA HD as your primary HD with windows on it...

You take out both your internal HDs.
Format your external HD
Install windows on your external HD
(In bios there is a boot priority seek, you must make sure your external HD is there) othewise windows will tell you you dont have a HD to install windows onto.
a b V Motherboard
November 17, 2006 5:50:45 PM

No, that's not the plan.

I am set up to run with two internal HHD's, one containing Windows XP. My plan is to back up those two to a larger external HDD on the eSATA port. Now, what happens when the C: drive crashes? The straightforward way is I replace that failed drive, partition and format it, then somehow start the machine and copy the entire backup off the eSATA drive back to the new C: drive. The "somehow" requires that I have a bootable DOS disk at least and a good copying system to copy EVERY file back. And I need access to the eSATA drive outside of Windows. Oh, and I recognize that another option would be to pull the drive out of the external case and mount it inside as a regular SATAII drive.

I thought it would be really nice if, instead, I could simply boot into a full Windows on the eSATA drive, then run from it temporarily while I work to restore a good C: drive. It's easier, and a whole lot faster, because I don't have to go out and find a new internal drive right away!

But it all hinges on being able to boot from the eSATA drive and make it behave as if it were the C: drive temporarily. I know that, in BIOS I can designate which drive is for booting. And once it's running in Windows I can re-assign drive letters to my heart's content. With this motherboard all of that is simple IF you have your backup drive on one of the internal SATAII ports, because their controller makes them all appear as if they were PATA's. The hang-up I have is that the second SATA controller from Silicon Image, which provides one additional SATAII port and the only eSATA port, does not appear to work this way - you have to install a driver for it. Within Windows that's no problem. I'm trying to be sure I can do it before Windows boots.