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Data Recovery on RAID 0 ?

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November 30, 2008 11:51:14 AM

Hi guys, after a bit of advice following some severe PC probs.

I have a P4 3Ghz, 2Gb Ram, 2x striped 120Gb (Seagate Barracuda SATA), Win XP. The XP has got screwed up & I can't even boot into Safemode. Figure my best option is to reinstall XP but when I do this, it wants to format the drive it's gonna install onto. I've got data on both the C & D drives (as they are listed) and could really do without losing it.

I was thinking along the lines of buying another HDD (similar - 160Gb perhaps) and swapping that out with one of the exist drives, then reinstalling the OS onto the new drive. The main question is, will it be possible for me to get to the data on the other drives? I'm used to hooking up IDE drives as Slave etc and getting to data that way but have virtually no experience working with SATA/RAID 0 configs.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Cheers

John

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a b G Storage
November 30, 2008 12:03:52 PM

If it is RAID 0, your data is split byte per byte across the 2 drives.
The ONLY way to get that information back, if you haven't messed with the drives too much, is to re-establish the array. You may be able to install Windows onto another disk, get it running, and then set your RAID controller back up for RAID 0 EXACTLY as you had it before, hook the drives up, and if you are very lucky, and the array has not degraded, it will find the array and display it as a working disk just as before.
This is exactly why everyone says do not use RAID 0 unless you are prepared to keep a good backup. Once the array has degraded to the point the controller does not find the 2 drives already in a striped configuration when you attach them and set for the type of array you are needing, your information is gone, and it cannot be recovered. (without sending to a professional service and spending hundreds, even thousands to get it back)
November 30, 2008 12:56:20 PM

SATA drives, by themself, are just like IDE drive. In fact, SATA drives are the same as IDE drive... it is just the interface that changed from parallel to serial.

RAID0 just merge 2 or more drive into one, that will virtually function as one, the difference being that data will be split and written on both drive at once. So, if you have a picture, then one half is on one drive, and the other half on the other drive. That why if one drive fails, you'll loose data. But, if it is only windows that got damaged, and that both drive are still fine, then all you have to de is to reinstall Windows. Your Windows is on its own partition, and data on other partition, so formatting the partition that have windows wont affect other partition. Just like a single drive that are partitionned with 2 or more partitions... formatting one does'nt affect others.

If your array has only one big partition, then formatting it will erase everything. Just like single drive with one big partition..

That being said, unless drives are physically damaged, you don't need to mess with array creation. you option are, just like with a single drive, either to get another drive, install the OS onto it, then access the array just like it was another drive. Or, try to repair the current OS.

having an array or a single drive, it is never a good idea to have the OS and DATA to share the same partition. It is much more trouble when the OS get corrupted to the point where you cannot boot it. Having to reformat it means erasing everything. Can you imagine the newest 1.5TB drive being just one big C: drive?

Always separate the OS from DATA. And have good backup solution.. even with single drive RAID1 (mirroring) array. Having a mirror drive corrupted with viruses worth nothing to recover..
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November 30, 2008 1:11:45 PM

Cheers for the quick replies guys. It seems that it was split into 2 partitions (labelled C & D) and for the first few years I did as you suggest Pat, C was for OS/Programs & D for data. But as time went by and D got full, I started putting data onto C. A bad habit I know, but hey it's done now.

The PC started playing up about a week ago on boot-up and I was able to get into it via Safemode and return to a previous Restore Point. Today though I can't even repair it or boot from CD, which surprises me a bit.

But following your suggestion of reinstalling OS onto a new HDD and then accessing the array, would I not need all 3 HDD's running to access the data? I'm pretty certain that the M-Board (PERL D865) only has capacity for 2 HDD's.

Cheers

John
November 30, 2008 1:49:54 PM

if you have a spare hdd header, then you should be able to install a new hard drive.

if you don't have any header available, then a cheap PCI SATA card could do the job to install a new hdd..
December 7, 2008 9:23:27 AM

Hi, back again.
Well, I swapped out the original 2 HDD's for a new Seagate (no RAID) and have done a fresh XP install but am still having major probs. The pc keeps rebooting randomly, sometimes at 5-10min intervals, other times it can go a few hours before bombing out. When it reboots, I get the 'System has recovered from a serious/critical error' message along with mini dump files, although I don't know how to interpret these. Event ID is usually 1003 Cat (102).

The pc shuts down ok on an evening, but when I start it up bext day, it usually goes to the 'Start windows as normal/Safe Mode/Last know good config' screen. On occasion when I've plugged a USB device in, the pc has frozen up
completely.

I've got all the latest drivers installed & SP3 but am beginning to think that the problems are hardware related, possible MB/CPU/PSU...I've run Memtest86+ on the RAM and no problems reported there.

Anyone offer up any suggestions? I guess the only way to test the Hardware is to swap it out but this isn't really an option as I don't have the components to do this.

Cheers

John.
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