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Bios Update Crashes RAID Array

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July 29, 2007 2:18:07 PM

:(  *sigh* Yes, it's me again....


Pretext
First, let me say that I am very aware of "AID 0"'s pitfalls and shortcomings. However I have made my decision to continue to use it.

Short Story
Now, my problem is very simple. I updated my BIOS and booted. Got an error. Checked BIOS and HDD's were set to IDE. (rather RAID) I set them to RAID and still got an error. Apparently my first HDD was somehow taken out of my RAID 0 array. But no data was written to the drive so all my data should be there.

My Hardware
  • Mobo= Gigabyte DS3
  • Old Bios= F10
  • New Bios= F12
  • RAID Controller= JMicron JMB363
  • HDD= (2) Seagate 80GB 7200.9

    Long Story
    Ok, I decided to update my BIOS to the latest version as I was going to be OC'ing very soon. I do know that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but I decided to upgrade anyways. I DL the F12 BIOS file and use @BIOS (a Windows utility) to update my BIOS. And yes, I also know that I shouldn't use Windows utilities to flash the BIOS. But anyways, it worked. So I restart my computer, and go into my BIOS. I "Load Optimized Defaults" as the manual recommends after a BIOS update. Then I go through the menus disabling/tweaking things I don't need/use. Nothing major or technical, if I don't know exactly what it does, I'm not touching it. So I save everything and reboot. I boot and everything works fine until it looks for a drive and I get an error. "Disk Boot Failure, Insert System Disk and Press Enter". I think crap, I messed something up in the BIOS. I go back and Load optimized defaults and then only tweak major things. (Mostly disabling unused ports.) I save and reboot and again get the same error. This time I notice that I did not see my RAID array's status sceen. Duh! I go back into my BIOS and change the Sata HDD's from "IDE" to "RAID". Upgrading my BIOS and "Loading Optimized Defaults" sets the HDD's to "IDE" rather than the "RAID" setting I wanted. Save and reboot. This time my RAID status screen appears. It also shows my Raid 0 array as "FAILED". Worst feeling in the world looking at that :(  Anyways, I still get the missing system disk error. I then go back into the RAID setup utility. Apparently the first of the two HDD's was taken out of the array. I assume that when set in IDE mode, the BIOS attempted to boot from the first of my two HDD's. Doing this somehow removed the drive from the RAID array.

    So now my array has failed. BUT.... I think that my data is still in tact. AFAIK, booting from a HDD doesn't write anything to the drive. So my data should be exactly the same as before the array was taken apart. Basically, the data is physically still there, but the drives are not configured to access it. So to get my data back, don't I just have to rebuild an array that was exactly the same as my previous one? Right now my first HDD is listed as "Non-RAID" and my second is listed as "RAID". I have not touched my machine since the crash so I would have the best chances of getting my stuff back.

    Questions
    1) What is the best course of action? Reinstalling Windows should be a last resort.
    2) Is my theory correct? Can I just delete my current array and make a new, identical one?
    3) Am I missing any information? (ie Do you need more, or do I need to know more)
    4) What's the chances of me getting my data back? (Roughly) I have a My Documents backup from a couple of weeks ago, but reinstalling programs and settings is a pain.

    Thanks
    Well, thanks alot for reading this long post. (Very seriously) I'm very open any suggestions and advice. Actually any suggestions will greatly appreciated.
    a b G Storage
    July 29, 2007 3:28:36 PM

    You may be able to delete the current array and set a new one, if your drive wasn't written too and assuming everything is still intact. Write down the number of the stripe set, and if your controller asks, give the new set the same number. DO NOT initialize the drives. This is RAIDs way of saying "quick format"
    If it asks you to format or initialize answer "no"!!!!
    That is about all I know you can try, once you break a striped set of drives, you are about 50-50 of getting it back. Please, be careful and I can't assume any responsibilty if this does not work. Good luck!

    Oh, and sorry but I just have to say this...backup....backup....backup.
    If your are going to tweak, overclock, upgrade, and especially play with BIOS upgrades (which 99% of the time are not needed anyway) you have to back things up or learn to keep all your programs handy for reinstalls, and my god don't put anything on your PC you don't care to lose.
    July 29, 2007 3:51:26 PM

    Flash with the F10 bios?
    Related resources
    July 31, 2007 5:50:58 PM

    Destripe the RAID array data from the drives using Runtime.org's RAID Reconstructor. This will take the striped data from the two RAID 0 drives and write it all to an .img file on a 3rd hard drive. The 3rd hard drive must be equal in size or larger than the RAID array logical volume size (i.e. If RAID array was 2x 250GB hard disks, the 3rd hard drive must be 500GB or more).

    Recover the files out of the .img file using Runtime.org's GetDataBack for NTFS. The files will be recovered out of the .img file onto a 4th hard drive. The 4th drive must be large enough to hold all the data that the RAID 0 array was carrying. (i.e. If the RAID 0 was 2x 250GB drives, making a 500GB volume, and it was holding 300GB of data, then the 4th hard drive must have at least 300GB of free space).

    If that's successful, re-set up your RAID 0 array, format it and reinstall Windows and all applications. Then copy all your recovered data from the 4th hard drive back to the RAID array.

    To prevent incidents like this, you need to backup. External hard drive with a scheduled backup program works best. You can do a nice pay backup program (see EMC's Retrospect Professional, Express, and Express HD product comparison), or do a free image backup using Runtime.org's DriveImage XML. The image backup has many less options, but is free.

    The way I like to do it is make two partitions on your RAID (C: for system and applications, D: for important data, E: for unimportant/non-backed up data), use DriveImageXML and the Windows scheduler to do weekly images of C: to an external drive, and daily images of D: to an external drive. Free and reasonably comprehensive protection.
    July 31, 2007 6:07:45 PM

    Thanks SomeJoe7777. I'm downloading and burning everything right now. I'll report back about how everything went later.

    And thanks for the advice about backing up. I was looking for a program similar to Ghost that was free. After I get everything set up, I'll definately start making regular backups.

    Thanks again for everyone's help! (again, again again....) :( 

    Edit: If I get all my data (ie Windows folders, Applicatoins, & My Documents) how do I restore them? I know how to replace my "My Documents" folder, but how do I restore the Applicatons? (Or is it even possible to restore applications?) Do I just copy & paste from the fourth drive? (I thought applications wrote something to the regietry, so copying the actual files to a new Windows installation would not work.) And is there a way to restore my original Windows installation? Or is GetDataBack strictly for Data?
    a c 380 G Storage
    July 31, 2007 6:33:45 PM

    I was in a similar situation.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/243829-30-problem-upd...


    I originally updated the bios when I built the box 18 months ago so reinstalling the OS was not an issue then. I've been told that if you update the chipset drivers, or the jmicron drivers in this case first, then flash the bios it will work. I've been hesitant to try it though.
    July 31, 2007 9:32:28 PM

    :fou: 

    Ok, everything started good. I got another HDD with WinXP x64 already on it. I booted into it. I get a 160GB PATA drive, use KillDisk on it for 30min and put that into my system. So in total I have my two 80GB's in the crashed RAID array, 1 80GB with WinXP x64 on it, and 1 160GB PATA drive. The only other drive I have available to use in an 80GB PATA drive with about 60GB of data on it.

    Anyways, Everything started nicely. I was using the trial version. All the disks showed up and I began to copy. It gave me an estimated time of 1.5hrs, so I left to do something else. I come back and the computer is really unresponsive. There were several errors about a "delayed write" something and that the data was lost. My 160GB PATA drive fails to show up in Windows anymore. I've since then restarted my installed the Jmicron SATA driver thinking that it was a driver related issue. (The JMicron controller also controls PATA IIRC) The Bios RAID status screen takes a much longer time to recognize my drives and also fails to recognize my 160GB PATA drive. I then restarted and set my Sata HDD's to "IDE" rather than "SATA" and booted. Still no 160GB PATA.

    Now I'm stuck considering that Pata drive is the largest I have. Looks like I'm running out of options... :( 
    July 31, 2007 10:54:11 PM

    :non:  Learn well the painful lessons of Raid 0...


    Always back up your data. ;) 
    July 31, 2007 11:24:51 PM

    Don't mack around with your hard drive anymore. I have got an Gigabyte motherboard and upgraded my bios a while back. And the raid configuration is gone afterwards as well. All I did is just to reconfigure the Raid 0 using the exact same configuration. Everything works fine and takes about 5 seconds. Lots of people here simply "predicts" things like they are an expert while they have zero experience in the stuff they are talking about!

    Raid 0 is fantastic! As long as you back up your personal data that you can't afford to lose, which you did.
    August 1, 2007 12:22:45 AM

    zeuson said:
    Lots of people here simply "predicts" things like they are an expert while they have zero experience in the stuff they are talking about!


    I will give you the benefit of doubt and assume you're speaking generally, and not specifically of me.

    zeuson said:
    Don't mack around with your hard drive anymore. I have got an Gigabyte motherboard and upgraded my bios a while back. And the raid configuration is gone afterwards as well. All I did is just to reconfigure the Raid 0 using the exact same configuration. Everything works fine and takes about 5 seconds.


    If that worked for you, great. But there's a million reasons why it may not work for the OP, and that procedure is seething with risk. This is primarily because most RAID controllers will delete the MBR, partition table, and boot sectors when redefining a logical volume, and will place you in a worse data recovery situation than you were already in. I wasn't about to give that kind of advice to anyone here, it's just too risky. With the new system BIOS, you can't even know for sure if the RAID logical structures on the physical disks are defined the same way, or if even the block rotation order between the drives will be the same.

    Proper care with the tools I outlined stands the highest chance of data recovery.

    As far as people "predicting" something when they have no experience, a far worse thing on a public message board is to give bad, counter-productive advice. If the OP follows your procedure and loses all his data because of something unique about his system that you didn't take into account, how would you feel? Would you even care?

    I care. I therefore give sound, safe, straightforward advice.

    Something to think about.
    August 1, 2007 12:38:31 AM

    angelkiller said:
    Ok, everything started good. I got another HDD with WinXP x64 already on it. I booted into it. I get a 160GB PATA drive, use KillDisk on it for 30min and put that into my system. So in total I have my two 80GB's in the crashed RAID array, 1 80GB with WinXP x64 on it, and 1 160GB PATA drive. The only other drive I have available to use in an 80GB PATA drive with about 60GB of data on it.

    Anyways, Everything started nicely. I was using the trial version. All the disks showed up and I began to copy. It gave me an estimated time of 1.5hrs, so I left to do something else. I come back and the computer is really unresponsive. There were several errors about a "delayed write" something and that the data was lost. My 160GB PATA drive fails to show up in Windows anymore. I've since then restarted my installed the Jmicron SATA driver thinking that it was a driver related issue. (The JMicron controller also controls PATA IIRC) The Bios RAID status screen takes a much longer time to recognize my drives and also fails to recognize my 160GB PATA drive. I then restarted and set my Sata HDD's to "IDE" rather than "SATA" and booted. Still no 160GB PATA.


    The procedure you're about to do needs to be done conservatively, with minimal interference from unknowns.

    Do this under WinXP 32-bit. Don't use WinXP x64. I have no idea if the Runtime.org tools have any problems under x64, nor do we know for sure if any of your drivers have problems when running under x64.

    Also, check the configuration carefully on your PATA 160GB drive. Check the cable, make sure it's 80-conductor. Blue connector goes on motherboard, black connector on the hard drive, leave gray connector unconnected, set hard drive jumper to Cable Select.

    Once WinXP 32-bit is up and running, delete all partitions on that 160GB, create a new partition and format it. You'll then be ready to run RAID Reconstructor.

    I think the RAID reconstructor will only copy the first few GB from the RAID array with the trial version. You'll have to purchase it to copy the whole array.


    There's a couple other ways you might be able to recover this. Though zeuson's procedure (recreate the RAID array in the BIOS) is extremely risky, it's worth a shot if you can backup the images of the two 80GB drives first. I think Acronis True Image would let you image the 80GB drives (separately) to separate files on the 160GB. Then you could try his procedure. If it didn't work, you could then image the two 80GB drives back from the files on the 160GB and proceed with data recovery using the Runtime.org tools.

    Or, you could purchase RAID Reconstructor, destripe & image the two 80GB drives to the 160GB, run the trial of GetDataBack to make sure it could recover files from the image, and if so, then try zeuson's procedure. If it works, great, if not, then reformat the 80GBs back into a blank RAID 0, and purchase GetDataBack to recover files out of the image.

    In any case except if zeuson's procedure works, you will have to reinstall Windows and all applications. The only things you'll be able to recover out of the image that will help you are your data files (i.e. documents, music, video, pictures, e-mail, favorites, etc.)

    You might ask yourself if you really have anything of high importance on the array to begin with. If you have all your original program installers and really no data files that you must have, it would be cheaper and more straightforware to simply format and reinstall Windows and applications and not bother with data recovery.
    August 1, 2007 8:42:12 PM

    :??: 

    I don't know.... if the effort is really worth it. I found a "My Documents" copy from about a month ago on my external HDD. So at worst I'm only losing a month's work of whatever I did. And this is my gaming rig anyways, so I didn't do anything mission critical.... Paying for a program isn't an option as the data isn't that important. I only used WinXP x64 because it was already installed on a HDD. I'm really leaning on just reinstalling. Actually I've just decided that's what I'll do. I will lose my applications either way, so all this effort will be to recover a month's worth of data, which isn't really that much.

    However, before I start reinstalling, I will try to recreate an identical RAID array because I have nothing to lose.

    And I have a couple of questions about backing up. First I only have an 80GB Ext HDD. (USB) So I cannot backup all of my 160GB Raid array. Does Drive Image XML include the empty space in the image file? So if I only have 20GB of data on a 100GB partition, would the image file be 100GB?

    Secondly, can you evaluate my backup plan? My plan is to initially use Drive Image XML to make a image of a stable working Windows+Apps partition. I will then schedule Drive Image to make a image of my data partition once a week. Sound good? I can always restore my working Windows copy if anything ever happens to it. My computer will likely run 24/7 (F@H), will it be better to make an image everyday while I'm away at school?

    Third, please excuse my ignorance, but why partition my drives at all? Regardless of the partition, its still just as likely to failure because its all on the same RAID 0 array. Is it to ensure that apps are physically located closer to the edge of the disk? What would happen to the applications if I just had one large partition?

    Sorry for the barrage of questions, and thanks for your helpful advice.

    And I apologize if I'm not really clear about something. It was hard to describe what I was trying to say.
    August 1, 2007 9:58:43 PM

    angelkiller said:
    I'm really leaning on just reinstalling. Actually I've just decided that's what I'll do. I will lose my applications either way, so all this effort will be to recover a month's worth of data, which isn't really that much. ... However, before I start reinstalling, I will try to recreate an identical RAID array because I have nothing to lose.


    Sounds like a good plan. Much simpler, and free, of course. :) 

    angelkiller said:
    And I have a couple of questions about backing up. First I only have an 80GB Ext HDD. (USB) So I cannot backup all of my 160GB Raid array. Does Drive Image XML include the empty space in the image file? So if I only have 20GB of data on a 100GB partition, would the image file be 100GB?


    No, DriveImage has the option to produce a compressed image file. I have a 40GB C: partition (about 20GB of data on it), and the DriveImage XML backup is about 7GB.

    angelkiller said:
    Secondly, can you evaluate my backup plan? My plan is to initially use Drive Image XML to make a image of a stable working Windows+Apps partition. I will then schedule Drive Image to make a image of my data partition once a week. Sound good? I can always restore my working Windows copy if anything ever happens to it. My computer will likely run 24/7 (F@H), will it be better to make an image everyday while I'm away at school?

    Third, please excuse my ignorance, but why partition my drives at all? Regardless of the partition, its still just as likely to failure because its all on the same RAID 0 array. Is it to ensure that apps are physically located closer to the edge of the disk? What would happen to the applications if I just had one large partition?


    I like to have separate partitions between OS and data because it simplifies both backups and configuration changes. With the two separate, you can:

  • Backup the OS partition infrequently (say, once a week or once every 2 weeks), while backing up your data partition more frequently (every day or every other day).
  • Restore Windows+Applications if Windows gets corrupted by spyware, virus, kid sister, "friend", etc. :ouch:  without copying all current data off the C: drive first prior to the restore operation.
  • Easily move the data partition to a different hard drive if you want to change your storage strategy using Acronis True Image, Partition Magic, etc.
  • Easily set up a new computer that's going to be your "main" computer by installing OS+apps onto it, then move the data partition to the new machine (i.e. copy partition using partition tools, or image the partition using DriveImage XML off the old computer, and restore the image to the new computer).
  • Allows you to set up the OS partition on hardware that carries more risk (RAID 0), while keeping data on hardware that carries less risk (single drive or RAID 1/5). Intel Matrix storage controllers can give you both a RAID 0 and a RAID 1 at the same time with only 2 drives - ideal if you want to do this.
  • Decouples the data you can't lose (documents) from the data that's expendable (OS+apps). The C: drive becomes less important, and if you don't mind the time it takes to reinstall everything, you don't even HAVE to back it up if you don't want to. The backup of the C: drive is for convenience and time savings, not really for disaster recovery.

    Having a separate data partition frequently will avoid data recovery scenarios completely, as there's more options and flexibility when something unexpected happens. This is, of course, even more true if a backup is available.
    August 1, 2007 11:53:25 PM

    SomeJoe7777 said:
    Having a separate data partition frequently will avoid data recovery scenarios completely, as there's more options and flexibility when something unexpected happens. This is, of course, even more true if a backup is available.


    Ok, that pretty much sums it up. Definitely clearer now. I'm looking at the partition page in Windows setup right now. I'm thinking about doing 60GB OS+Apps, and the rest data.

    SomeJoe7777 said:
    Allows you to set up the OS partition on hardware that carries more risk (RAID 0), while keeping data on hardware that carries less risk (single drive or RAID 1/5). Intel Matrix storage controllers can give you both a RAID 0 and a RAID 1 at the same time with only 2 drives - ideal if you want to do this.


    I've heard about this before. Can I assume that I'm ineligible for this because I'm not using the ICHR8's RAID capabilities? If for some reason I can do this, how would I set it up?

    Making an identical array did not work. Partly because when I set the disks to "IDE" on purpose, the broken RAID 0 array (with no disks in it) was deleted, and I couldn't remember the name. :(  But it's not a problem, I wasn't expecting it to work anyways.

    Thanks for everything! :) 

    Edit: Geez... I don't really like these new forums.... the regular BBcode doesn't work! Sorry about the quotes, trying to figure out how to fix them. :( 
    Edit 2: Ok, I think they work now. But I still don't like these new fourms. Too many options....
    August 13, 2007 12:43:43 PM

    Ok, just an update.

    I have my Data Partition being backed up daily. My C drive is backed up every Friday.

    However, I have a few questions.

    1) How much space does compression save? I only have an 80GB drive, and I have two computers to back up to it. (School laptop also) It seems like compression saves only a few MB's whenever I try it.

    2) I can't make the backups exactly in the directory I want them to be in. I want my data to be backed up to "G:\Backups\Main Computer\Data". The files only get written to "G:\Backups". Is there a limit on how many folders it can go through?

    3) Will the program automatically delete the old backup files? Or do I have to delete the files from the old backup manually? My disk would fill up if I made two of the same backups.

    Thanks for your help so far! :) 
    August 13, 2007 4:53:09 PM

    angelkiller said:
    Ok, just an update.

    I have my Data Partition being backed up daily. My C drive is backed up every Friday.

    However, I have a few questions.

    1) How much space does compression save? I only have an 80GB drive, and I have two computers to back up to it. (School laptop also) It seems like compression saves only a few MB's whenever I try it.

    2) I can't make the backups exactly in the directory I want them to be in. I want my data to be backed up to "G:\Backups\Main Computer\Data". The files only get written to "G:\Backups". Is there a limit on how many folders it can go through?

    3) Will the program automatically delete the old backup files? Or do I have to delete the files from the old backup manually? My disk would fill up if I made two of the same backups.

    Thanks for your help so far! :) 


    If you're using DriveImage XML (I'll assume you are):

    1. Compression should save a decent amount on the C: drive. The OS and Program Files folders should be reasonably compressible. If you have media files on C:, they won't compress and will take the compression ratio down.

    2. There should be no limit to the path. On your particular path, it has a space in it, so any command-line parameters that reference this path (including the command lines in the Windows Scheduled Tasks) must have this path in quotation marks to recognize the space.

    3. DriveImage XML will overwrite the old backup with the new backup if it's being launched from scheduled tasks, because the target filename is the same as the previous one.
    August 13, 2007 6:27:23 PM

    Yes, I'm using DriveImage XML. Sorry for not specifing.

    Most of my data is pictures, videos, .exe and .zip files. That explains the low compression.

    It still won't work. It wants to save in "G:\Backups\Main Computer\". (From Directory box in DIXML) Here's what's in my Run box in Scheduled tasks:
    1. "C:\Program Files\Runtime Software\DriveImage XML\dixml.exe" /bd /t"G:\Backups\Main Computer\Data" /c
    August 14, 2007 2:18:09 AM

    angelkiller said:
    Yes, I'm using DriveImage XML. Sorry for not specifing.

    Most of my data is pictures, videos, .exe and .zip files. That explains the low compression.

    It still won't work. It wants to save in "G:\Backups\Main Computer\". (From Directory box in DIXML) Here's what's in my Run box in Scheduled tasks:
    1. "C:\Program Files\Runtime Software\DriveImage XML\dixml.exe" /bd /t"G:\Backups\Main Computer\Data" /c


    The /t parameter has to give the destination filename, not the destination folder. Try:

    1. "C:\Program Files\Runtime Software\DriveImage XML\dixml.exe" /bD /t"G:\Backups\Main Computer\Data\Drive D" /c /r- /s- /v

    August 14, 2007 12:14:31 PM

    Quote:
    The /t parameter has to give the destination filename, not the destination folder.

    Oh.... Fixed.

    1. "C:\Program Files\Runtime Software\DriveImage XML\dixml.exe" /bd /t"G:\Backups\Main Computer\Data\Data" /c /s /r- /v

    I do want the files split in case I have to move them to another location. I'll edit this when this afternoon to say it worked. Thanks!
    September 23, 2007 10:04:29 PM

    Ok. Everything has been working great. Daily backups and everything.

    Windows is being really weird, so I want to restore the image created last Friday. How do I do this?

    I don't understand how DriveImage XML restores images. (something to do with partitions) Thanks!

    EDIT: Ok, how do I restore my C: drive? I get an error saying that "Target partition must not be system drive". Any ways around this?
    September 25, 2007 12:40:06 AM

    Go to the Runtime.org Documentation Page. There are several tutorials regarding DriveImage XML there.

    Basically, what you're going to do is create a bootable Bart PE CD-ROM that has the DriveImage XML plug-in on it. You'll boot from that CD-ROM, and then restore your image.
    October 6, 2007 11:57:40 PM

    somejoe7777,

    Just wanted to personally thank you for your posted advice..

    I too experienced the same raid problem post flashing. Unfortunately as this situation was unexpected I didn't have a backup of my vital data.

    However thanks to your advice and runtime's software, I was able to recover all of my data (still copying away now) which included over five years of family photo's.

    you have my gratitude. let me buy you a virtual beer sometime :) 

    NF
    October 7, 2007 3:07:35 AM

    Ya, the runtime.org tools are the shiznit. Definitely worth the price.

    Glad you're getting everything back. Once you get everything recovered and back together, invest in the DriveImage XML backup plan as I outlined above and you'll be very protected.

    I'll definitely take you up on that virtual beer. :) 
    !