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Setting up RAID on a Gigabyte GA-M55SLI-S4 with imaged OS

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February 6, 2007 12:43:17 PM

My existing system consists of an ASUS A7V8X MB with two 250G SATA drives configured as a mirrored RAID (1) through an onboard Promise controller. The OS is XPpro. I want to image my disks using Acronis True Image and set up a new RAID on a Gigabyte GA-M55SLI-S4.

Gigabyte support tells me I have to blow out the old disks to do that. That's fine I will store the disk image on a Maxtor One Touch II and create a boot disk to reinstall the disk image. Here's the problem. The Gigabyte motherboard manual states "you need to install SATA controller drivers during OS installation. Without the driver, the hard disk may not be recognized during the Windows setup. " The manual then goes on to describe the OS installation using F6 to install 3rd party SCSI or RAID drivers before installing the XP. (I recall doing this on my current system.)

My questions: Should I install the SATA RAID driver as detailed above and then quit XP Setup without actually installing XP by using (F3) when that option appears on screen, and then install the Acronis disk image? Will this work?

Should I be concerned that the image is of a disk that was originally part of a Promise mirrored RAID array? Do I need to do anything to my existing OS before I image it to avoid conflicts later?

Is all of this too complicated? Would I be better off spending a few bucks on a Promise controller card that might accept my drives without blowing them out?

Sorry for asking so many questions, but my experience with RAID installations is limited and the manuals I've seen are pretty short on details.

TIA,
richard
February 6, 2007 1:07:25 PM

A move like that is extremely complex. You're not only changing the storage controller that will be used to boot Windows, you're also changing the motherboard, which changes a lot of other hardware (chipset, probably sound and network, etc.)

It's possible to do it, but it won't be easy. You will need an intermediate disk controller and hard drive that you can boot off of. If you have that, follow the procedure given in Switching Storage Controllers Without Reinstalling Windows, and once you've moved the Windows installation to the new motherboard using that procedure, uninstall all old drivers and install the new ones.

There's no guarantee that this will work. If the hardware is too different, you're probably better off reinstalling the OS.
February 6, 2007 2:16:18 PM

Thanks for the info and the citation. I'll look it over carefully before I begin. Since I can image the drive in its current state and with some of the drivers disbaled, I should be able to use the imaging software to move forward, or in case of a disaster backward. As long as I can return to the original configuration I have some feeling of safety. I'm still somewhat perplexed by the fact that it is so difficult to migrate a mirrored RAID. I understand why a striped array of any flavor would present problems if you switch controllers but a mirror is really little more than drive duplication. It should be relatively easy. I've pulled drives out of mirrored arrays and set up as stand-alones with no modifications other than removing the superflous drivers after the fact.

The idea that folks need to go back to a clean install when they switch hardware is crazy when you consider all the automatic updates and service packs that have been applied over the last few years, and all the applications that have been installed and activated. It would take me weeks to reconfigure a clean install at this point. I know of one individual who had an easy time moving from a Promise onboard controller to an add-in card. In fact the controller just recognized his drives without modification. He just updated the drivers. I have contacted Promise tech support to see if they can supply any information about this option. It's worth $65 to me to avoid a prolonged hassle.

richard
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