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Degraded RAID 5, accidentally added boot drive to Rebuild

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February 13, 2009 10:16:54 AM

Hi all.

I have a problem with my RAID 5 array. My PC configuration:

1 Seagate 1TB ST310000340AS (flashed to latest firmware) that has two partitions, dual-booting XP SP2 and Vista Ultimate SP1.

3 Seagate 1TB ST310000340AS (flashed to latest firmware) running in RAID 5 using Intel's Matrix Storage Manager (7.5.0.1017).

The motherboard is an Asus P5E3 Premium.

Anyway, one of the drives in the RAID 5 array failed. I went into the Intel Matrix Storage Manager ROM interface (ctrl-I at bootup) and was looking at the array. It showed only 3 physical disks (two member disks, one non-member disk), and showed the status of the RAID volume as Degraded. The non-member disk was my boot drive. While attempting to get the RAID array to rebuild itself I managed to accidentally add my boot drive as a member disk, and it now shows status Rebuild.

The current state looks like:

RAID Volumes:
ID: 0 Name: Data Level: RAID5(Parity) Strip: 64KB Size: 1863.0GB Status: Rebuild Bootable: Yes

Physical Disks:
Port Drive Model Size Type/Status (Vol ID)
0 ST31000340AS 931.5GB Member Disk(0)
2 ST31000340AS 931.5GB Member Disk(0)
3 ST31000340AS 931.5GB Member Disk(0)
4 ST31000340AS 931.5GB Offline Member

Volumes with "Rebuild" status will be rebuilt within the operating system.

I can't boot, of course.

My questions:

1) Can I undo the adding of my boot disk to the RAID volume without destroying the RAID volume, so I'll still be able to rebuild it later with a new drive? I haven't actually booted up into anything where it has tried the actual rebuild; it seems to simply be flagged for rebuilding.

2) If not, what is the safest way to recover the data from my boot drive?

Ideally I would like to be able to remove the boot disk from the RAID volume, mark it as bootable again, and swap out the defective drive and rebuild the array with a new drive. Is there any way to do this?

If I'm stuck with either losing the contents of the boot drive or the RAID array, I'd rather lose the boot drive, but if there's some way I can restore things back to the way they were before I accidentally added the boot drive to the array (with the RAID 5 array running in degraded state) that would be great.

Anybody know?

Thanks!
February 13, 2009 1:06:55 PM

Well, I seem to have made things worse. I was attempting to disconnect the offline member's SATA cable, and apparently disconnected the wrong drive. When I went into the ROM it showed status Failed, with two offline members. I shut down and reconnected the disconnected SATA cable, and when I boot up now and go into the Matrix Storage Manager ROM, it still shows status Failed, bootable No.

So now it looks like:

RAID Volumes:
ID: 0 Name: Data Level: RAID5(Parity) Strip: 64KB Size: 1863.0GB Status: Failed Bootable: No

Physical Disks:
Port Drive Model Size Type/Status (Vol ID)
0 ST31000340AS 931.5GB Member Disk(0) <----- this is my boot drive, the one that shouldn't be a member of the RAID volume
2 ST31000340AS 931.5GB Member Disk(0)
3 ST31000340AS 931.5GB Offline Member <----- this is the drive that was disconnected and then reconnected
4 ST31000340AS 931.5GB Offline Member <----- this is the drive that originally went offline

So, is there anything I can do to recover these volumes or or the data on them?

To sum up the sequence of events:

1) Working system. 1 1TB boot drive with two partitions, dual booting XP and Vista x64. 1 RAID 5 array consisting of 3 1TB drives.
2) One of the RAID members goes offline.
3) Boot drive accidentally added as RAID member to Rebuild the array.
4) Now unable to boot, so never reach the OS for the array rebuild. ROM shows array as bootable, status Rebuild, one offline member.
5) PC turned off, SATA cable disconnected on one drive, PC turned on.
6) ROM shows array as not bootable, status Failed, two offline members.
7) PC turned off, SATA cable reconnected, PC turned on.
8) ROM shows array as not bootable, status Failed, two offline members.

I haven't overwritten anything on any of these drives. The only program that has modified them in any way has been Intel's Matrix Storage Manager ROM. So presumably the data is still on these drives, but the RAID metadata is screwed up.

What can I do to either restore things back to the way they were or, failing that, recover the data from these drives?

Thanks!
February 14, 2009 1:19:27 AM

Well I am not familiar with the Matrix Raid, but usually, as long as you did not initialize or format any of the drive, you can set the raid drive back up as a raid 5 drive (DO NOT INITIALIZE OR FORMAT) and the boot drive as such by itself. Once this is saved, it may let you boot. Good luck.
July 6, 2009 8:02:32 PM

I have had the exact same problem; I ended up using @ active file recover to recover the files and then bought a 50 dollars Raid card so this issue would not happen again.

What ends up happening is if you hit rebuilt array on that reboot it puts the non-raid drive as a member disk to rebuild the array but by then it's too late you can't boot to try to re-build the array and now you are stuck with 4 dead drives....Fun is. So in thinking buy a raid controller and attach the controller to the hard drives that you would use for raid and let the single drive be attached to the motherboard it is slower but if you don't mind cutting the speed then that is the best solution. I did talk to a friend he said that when configuring the Raid array there was a check on the non-raid disk that had an S that meant it could be used as a spare but by unchecking the S it wouldn't take that drive as a Spare.
!