Vista/RAID Conundrum?


I have been starting-up Vista from a single hard disk drive (controller settings: IDE), but ran into trouble when I tried to start that same Vista installation up from a set of two striped hard disk drives (controller settings: RAID 0) on the same computer.


My new system includes an ASUS Blitz Extreme motherboard housed in an Antec Nine-Hundred case. The motherboard incorporates the Intel P35 chipset, including an Intel ICH9R Southbridge RAID controller, which facilitate configuring IDE and Serial ATA hard disk drives as RAID sets.

First, I installed three new hard disk drives into the bays of my Antec case; e.g., one 150GB Western Digital Raptor and two 500GB Maxtor SATA II/300, amongst other disk drives (floppy and optical). I intended to make the WD Raptor the System Drive hosting the OS and application software only and the Maxtor drives for User Data, since Windows Vista introduced a fundamental change in the way user data is stored. So, one of the smartest things I believed I could do with the user data folders is to relocate them to a different drive than the one that contains Windows and the Program Files folder.

Initially, I tried to keep things simple and configured SATA as IDE via the BIOS setup. This foregoes RAID and makes each disk drive an individual volume, thus providing the separation of the system and data volumes, plus another volume for data backup.

After a clean Vista 64-bit OS install, my new system performed surprisingly well until I became ambitious, that is. It went rapidly down-hill from there.…

You see, I began to realize that two WD Raptor drives running under RAID 0 controls (or four under RAID 5) greatly improve Vista performance. Moreover, disk-intensive database applications and 3-D rendering may also show remarkable speed improvements, because data storage and retrieval via hard disk media is still the weakest link and major bottleneck. And since I have two identical 500 GB Maxtor drives, I can configure them to run under RAID 1 controls for data security.

Well, to get the Intel ICH9R Southbridge RAID controller into action involved changing my BIOS settings to configure SATA as RAID, followed by evoking (Ctrl I) the Intel Matrix Storage Manager Option ROM Utility that allows the creation of a RAID 0 as well as another RAID 1 set. Yet, when I restarted the system after completion of the RAID setup scenario, Vista repeatedly didn't start or showed any signs of life. The system simply carried out the proverbial "hard hang" shortly after POST.

This exasperating situation makes me realize that Vista may have required the installation of a special RAID driver during the initial Windows installation process. And when I reviewed the ASUS user guide, I found the procedure for the creation of a RAID driver disk (floppy or USB flash) at the very end of the document.


While following the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle, I may have shot myself in the foot, since I initially loaded the OS, application software and plethora of user data all onto a single WD Raptor. This makes another Vista clean install all but impractical.

Using hard disk drive cloning and image backup software, I would prefer moving the entire contents of the Raptor to one of the Maxtor hard disks. Following this task, I would like to install a second identical WD Raptor and configure both drives to run under RAID 0 controls by way of the BIOS SATA configuration and Intel Matrix Storage Manager Option ROM Utility. Finally, I would like to restore the entire system onto the new RAID set using the same drive cloning and image backup software.

So, here is my critical question:

1. Can I install a special RAID driver after the fact, so to speak (once Vista is completely installed and running)? Or, how else can I make Vista recognize a new disc configuration on startup?????

I apologize for being somewhat long-winded. I just want you to understand a possible Vista/RAID conundrum that got this senior citizen completely stumped. I also hope that you can enlighten me with some expert advice.

Thank you very much!
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  1. Vista doesnt need a raid driver. Only XP does.

    You will need to do a clean install, or clone the contents off the raptor onto the raid configuration.

    (that was a really long post by the way o.0 )
  2. is that a verbose way of saying you need to change a currently-IDE controller to be RAID, but can't because you boot from it?

    if so, then remove the registry values under HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\MountedDevices. (rebuilt on reboot, so don't reboot into windows.) copy the boot partition to a spindle on another controller. then, remove the drive containing the "old" copy to avoid mistakes. ensure that the system boots from the copy. change the controller setting in BIOS, boot, load (or allow to load) the RAID drivers. Remove those registry values again. Reconnect drive with old copy of boot partition. Setup RAIDset, copy the updated boot partition to the final location.

    gparted is likely to be useful. caveat: the registry entry is correct for XP; examine Vista registry.

    if, in fact, you don't actually need additional drivers for the controller in RAID mode, then deleting the registry entries & rebooting should be enough.
  3. Follow the procedure in the Hard Disks forum, Switching Storage Controllers without Reinstalling Windows.
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