Intel Raid rebuild keeps restarting

Hello everyone,

A few days ago Winamp locked up while playing a song. Ok, Ctrl-alt-del and end it. Hm, nothing happens. Kill explorer too. Then I get errors about not being able to save some files I was downloading. Ok, this is starting to sound like a harddisk problem, possibly related to the short power outage I had that morning. Restart, and indeed one of my disks is showing Failed, with the Raid5 array degraded. As expected. Last time I had a problem like this rebuilding the array solved it, so I go back to Windows and start the Intel Matrix Storage manager. One of the drives has a white-cross-in-red-circle icon over it and I can't find the rebuild option. Right-click on the drive in question and click "Restore as normal drive" or something to that effect. Now I can rebuild the array and all will be back to normal... or so I thought. This morning it has restarted rebuilding the array for the second time now (i.e. the third time overall). Obviously something is going wrong with the rebuilding.

Possible reasons:
1 - The hard drive is dead. This seems unlikely, since the rebuilding status reaches at least 98% (I went back to making lunch for a minute and when I looked again it was back at 0%)
2 - There's a bad sector or something on the disk. Does this cause rebuild failures and if so, it is possible to run checkdisk during the re building?
3 - Suggestions welcome.

Details:
Motherboard: Asus P5K Deluxe/WiFi
Raid: Intel Matrix Raid5
Disks: 4x 500GB (raid), 1x 74GB (non-raid)
Activities during rebuilding: browsing, which should only access my non-raid system disk

Open questions:
Is it safe to reboot/power off during a raid rebuild (e.g. if one of the disks turns out to be dead)?
Could I safely make a backup to an external HD while rebuilding?
Is the raid rebuild supposed to take around 20 hours for a 500GB disk? This seems a bit long to me.

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
9 answers Last reply
More about intel raid rebuild restarting
  1. test your hdd's first up

    chkdsk will test the software/file level of the storage, not disk by disk and prolly wont find issues
  2. Ok, how do I test the disks themselves?
  3. Your HD MFG's website should have tools available for drive testing. You did not mention drive MFG, or version of Intel raid.
  4. My harddisk manufacturer is Samsung. I've had a look at their site and they have an ES-tool available. However, this tool must be put on a boot floppy/CD and it recommends to backup the data first.

    This leads me back to my previous two questions:
    - Can I safely backup data during a rebuild?
    - Can I safely reboot during a rebuild?

    Thanks again for the help.
  5. In a raid 5 you 'should' be able to remove the offending drive, plug it in to another sata port and do your tests. The array will take quite a bit of time to recover from that, so expect a lot of actvity...

    Once you have tested / replaced yor drive, you can then add it back into your array, and once again the process of re-building the array will take quite a bit of time.

    Your mileage may vary, so take this with a grain of salt.
  6. <snip>
    This leads me back to my previous two questions:
    - Can I safely backup data during a rebuild?
    - Can I safely reboot during a rebuild?
    </snip>

    I'm not sure about all RAID stacks, but with the Intel Matrix Storage solution, you can access the volume (read/ write) while the rebuild is in progress. And yes, you can safely reboot during a rebuild.
  7. With a MB based RAID controller? I'd not trust the controller enough for either operation during the re-build.
  8. Intel raid works fine with a degraded array, though if you're rebuilding while using, it will run quite slowly.
  9. cjl said:
    Intel raid works fine with a degraded array, though if you're rebuilding while using, it will run quite slowly.


    Not arguing here, but the questions were about backing up and / or restarting the array while the restore process was happening. Given that even Intel's controllers tend to off-load the XOR functionality to the CPU, plus its tendency to rely on drive cache... I'd be hesitant to get a reliable backup during the rebuild process, and would be VERY nervous about a re-boot.

    Maybe one day when I'm bored I'll hook up a few spare drives and test those theories...
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