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MUST there be NO bad sectors on HDs for RAID 0 in XP?

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  • NAS / RAID
  • Windows XP
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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August 18, 2009 10:07:50 PM

I've been using RAID 0 arrays of SATA-II hard drives with Windows XP Pro successfully for some time now. Transferring Windows from a standard single disk partition to a primary partition of the RAID 0 array was trivially easy: Acronis Disk Director 10 copied the system there in a super-fast, easy step and Windows booted correctly from there as drive C (after using DD 10 to "hide" the original "C:" partition on the old system disk). No extra steps (such as described in Moving Windows to a Different Hard Disk/RAID Controller Without Reinstalling) were necessary.

But now I've built a new RAID 0 configuration of Ultra-320 SCSI disks (two identical 74 GB 15K rpm Cheetah SCSI drives) formatted as NTFS and I'm having problems copying Windows there. When I try either Acronis Disk Director 10 -or- Acronis True Image Home 11, roughly half-way through the copy/restore they both start complaining of bad sectors on the array and then they insist I choose "Ignore" or "Cancel", neither of which I want to do (obviously).

I've run CHKDSK on the SCSI RAID 0 array via an XP boot CD as well as from Windows, and it always reports there are no bad sectors. Yet I still get those bad sector warnings when I try to copy the OS there. I now know for certain that there actually are bad sectors after running a different disk scan utility. Apparently, CHKDSK found them and remapped the bad sectors, which is why it reported that no problems were found.

So now I'm stuck with not knowing how to copy Windows to the SCSI RAID array. Acronis DD 10 probably failed because it uses direct hardware transfers rather than the file system to copy the data, which is easily understandable. I figured that Acronis True Image 11 would use the NTFS file system or otherwise work around the bad sectors, but apparently that wasn't true. (By the way, I tried booting from an Acronis Disk Director 10 & True Image 11 bootable CD to perform these actions as well as running them from within Windows, but I got the same bad sector messages either way).

Note that the SCSI BIOS and the system BIOS both support booting from a SCSI RAID 0 array, and also that array has no problems writing normal data to it.

Finally, my questions:

(1): Must there be no bad physical sectors at all on a bootable RAID 0 array?

(2): Assuming that there can be bad physical sectors, how do you suggest I copy the current Windows XP Pro / SP3 installation to the SCSI RAID array without bad sector errors and also so that it will be bootable? The very last thing I want to do is re-install Windows from scratch!

Thanks.




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a b G Storage
August 19, 2009 8:01:56 AM

1) I would assume Windows insists on this since a RAID array needs integrity to run properly. If a hard disk has bad sectors, they may grow and cause you to lose your data.

2) Why not just install a fresh copy of Windows on the array?
a b G Storage
August 19, 2009 1:57:56 PM

Well, having a few bad sectors on a drive is common, even on brand new drives.
If there is enough for the Mirroring software you are using to complain, I might be wary. I too, have used Acronis many times to mirror my OS drive from single drives to RAID 0 arrays and back, but I have never gotten a message like that.

PS...Anyone else reading this looking for a good backup or mirroring program, I have never found anything that is as easy to use, and works so well and so fast as Acronis. That is a fact.

Anyway, I would probably go ahead and simply check "ignore", and since you have Acronis, make sure you have a good a backup running. See what happens.
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August 26, 2009 2:07:42 AM

r_manic said:
1) I would assume Windows insists on this since a RAID array needs integrity to run properly. If a hard disk has bad sectors, they may grow and cause you to lose your data.

2) Why not just install a fresh copy of Windows on the array?

Thank you for your reply. I apologize for the delay in responding.

After extensive research, I have found a way to transfer the OS to the SCSI RAID 0 array without error using BootIt Next Generation's partition "copy & paste". I already owned a previous version of BootIt NG, but I encountered too many major problems with that version so I stopped using it. In desperation, I upgraded to the most recent version of the product, and to my great surprise and pleasure it worked perfectly!

I didn't even have to perform an XP repair install, as others on other fora insisted I'd need to. Once I copied and pasted the working bootable XP from the old partition to the SCSI RAID 0 array, it worked immediately!

For the first time ever, both Acronis products -- Disk Director 10 & True Image 11 -- have failed me, which is an enormous surprise to me. Otherwise, they're excellent products. I have tentatively assumed that the SCSI RAID 0 array is one configuration Acronis has not adequately debugged. I sent them a tech support message describing the circumstances.

August 26, 2009 2:19:02 AM

jitpublisher said:
Well, having a few bad sectors on a drive is common, even on brand new drives.
If there is enough for the Mirroring software you are using to complain, I might be wary. I too, have used Acronis many times to mirror my OS drive from single drives to RAID 0 arrays and back, but I have never gotten a message like that.

PS...Anyone else reading this looking for a good backup or mirroring program, I have never found anything that is as easy to use, and works so well and so fast as Acronis. That is a fact.

Anyway, I would probably go ahead and simply check "ignore", and since you have Acronis, make sure you have a good a backup running. See what happens.


Thanks for your contribution, jitpublisher. I agree with you that Acronis' products are first rate! I have never encountered a problem with them until now (see my reply above to r_manic).

I tried just "ignoring" all the errors using both Acronis products, but the end result never worked. As described above, I used BootIt NG to copy the active boot partition to the RAID 0 array and that worked exactly as I had hoped. I have since tried Acronis DD 10 to copy the partition from the SCSI RAID array in order to perform a backup, but DD 10 did not even read the partition without bad sector error messages! But when I used BootIt NG to backup the partition, it worked perfectly. This truly astounds me, but I've reported it to Acronis and I'm awaiting a response.

I would greatly prefer to use Acronis DD 10 for backing up that partition, because it is far, far faster than BootIt NG by perhaps an order of magnitude or so! (Actually, I suspect that the technique DD 10 uses to perform such super-fast partition copies is directly related to the problem I had in this particular instance). Of course, I will continue to use DD 10 for backing up all other partitions; it's an amazing product, as you say.
a b G Storage
August 27, 2009 1:51:21 AM

Wow, well be sure to come back and let us know what Acronis said about their software not working on the SCSI array. I am astounded myself. Have used it for a few years now, done many, many transfers and backups in many different situations, and it has never failed me.
!