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RAID & Non-RAID on the same system?

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November 18, 2009 7:59:29 AM

I have a Seagate 320 Gig HD workiing with the Win XP Pro OS with a Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 MB (not the DS3R to which hindsight draws my preference). I have 2 drives that work that were in a RAID array in stripe set on an ASUS A7N8X-E MB. In the old system, with the same OS noted above stopped recognizing USB drives, I thought it due to SP3, so I tried to uninstall SP3 and go back to SP2. Murphy took control of my hands ( http://img.tomshardware.com/forum/uk/icones/smilies/fou... ) when the OS failed to boot, and I tried reinstalling the OS, and unfortunately when Win XP Pro asked during the install whether reformatting of the HD should be done, the overzealous Murphy answered 'yes'. The OS was never reinstalled, as I stopped at that point, realizing the error, and set the disks aside, went out, got the Gigabyte board & Seagate HD, reinstalled Win XP Pro / SP3 on the Seagate, and took to more religion on the subject of backups.
This board supports multiple SATA drives, but, unlike the DS3R sister MB, the bios has no direct reference to RAID; it configures the SATA controllers integrated in the Intel ICH10 Southbridge to AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) mode.

The 2 Maxtor drives from the old system are seen by the system when connected, and report to be healthy, but no attempt to reformat or address them has been done. Through Linux, I'm trying to recoveer the data - 2 prong approach (first using the old MB - new cost there, as PS died yesterday http://img.tomshardware.com/forum/uk/icones/smilies/fou... - , but 2 days ago, when power was no issue, neither drive was visible on the ASUS sytem (there too, I had a single IDE drive with the same XP OS working...). The second prong is via the new Gigabyte MB where at least the drives are seen.

This brings me to a key question for both recovery and for future use of the drives, can a RAID setup in a striped set coexist in a system that is booted through a non-RAID (Seagate) drive?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Dick

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November 18, 2009 10:34:28 AM

Yes it can. Install your OS on the single drive. Set up the RAID 0 set of drives, (you should use a stand alone RAID card for future portability), and you will be good to go!
November 18, 2009 1:06:18 PM

marcellis22 said:
Yes it can. Install your OS on the single drive. Set up the RAID 0 set of drives, (you should use a stand alone RAID card for future portability), and you will be good to go!


Thanks for your reply!
The single drive (Seagate IDE) already has the OS and has been working for several months.

I did pickup a standalone RAID card last weekend, and although I've got it in the system, I've not started using it except via Linux where I was trying to use the card's ability to see the drives to get some data - didn't work, but I continue to try.

As noted above, there is some lunacy on my part 'yes' was answered to the reformat question.

Hope springs eternal that a solution can still be found to address the old tracks that identified the drives as a RAID stripe set.

Once I get a new PS for the original MB, I'll either try the new card or attempt again to address the drives as a RAID striped set through the motherboard, using Linux as the OS. Sub Mesa on the forum has given me some pointers on the Linux.

I noted today when I went on the ASUS website that in fact the original problem that led to my horrific aggravation was Microsoft's failure to include in SP3 the proper USB driver linked to my old Motherboard. Grrr.... water over the damned dam! :pt1cable:  :pt1cable: 

Once this trip to Hattie is behind me, I hope to use the card as you noted.

Another self-generated twist: There are only 2 PCI slots on this Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 MB; WiFi card owns one and the other can be used for this RAID SATA card. The system was [self] installed wrong such that MB integrated sound doesn't work, unless I reinstall Win XP.

I read today on this forum about the OS migration from one HD to another, but remain unsure as to whether that procedure could resolve my sound system dilema. My cheap sound board was a solution, if not optimal as it's vying to live in IDE slot 2.

Novices in the hardware game continue to go astray - and pay the price - when attempting seemingly easy steps when experience or detailed preparation that might easily have avoided something going awry. I continue to learn - even when it's sometimes painful.

Dick
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November 18, 2009 1:09:49 PM

I have a Seagate 320 Gig HD workiing with the Win XP Pro OS with a Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 MB (not the DS3R to which hindsight draws my preference). I have 2 drives that work that were in a RAID array in stripe set on an ASUS A7N8X-E MB. In the old system, with the same OS noted above stopped recognizing USB drives, I thought it due to SP3, so I tried to uninstall SP3 and go back to SP2. Murphy took control of my hands ( :fou:  ) when the OS failed to boot, and I tried reinstalling the OS, and unfortunately when Win XP Pro asked during the install whether reformatting of the HD should be done, the overzealous Murphy answered 'yes'. The OS was never reinstalled, as I stopped at that point, realizing the error, and set the disks aside, went out, got the Gigabyte board & Seagate HD, reinstalled Win XP Pro / SP3 on the Seagate, and took to more religion on the subject of backups.
This board supports multiple SATA drives, but, unlike the DS3R sister MB, the bios has no direct reference to RAID; it configures the SATA controllers integrated in the Intel ICH10 Southbridge to AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) mode.

The 2 Maxtor drives from the old system are seen by the system when connected, and report to be healthy, but no attempt to reformat or address them has been done. Through Linux, I'm trying to recoveer the data - 2 prong approach (first using the old MB - new cost there, as PS died yesterday :fou:  - , but 2 days ago, when power was no issue, neither drive was visible on the ASUS sytem (there too, I had a single IDE drive with the same XP OS working...). The second prong is via the new Gigabyte MB where at least the drives are seen.

This brings me to a key question for both recovery and for future use of the drives, can a RAID setup in a striped set coexist in a system that is booted through a non-RAID (Seagate) drive?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Dick
a c 342 G Storage
November 18, 2009 8:34:12 PM

Although you don't say it explicitly, I fully expect your original RAID setup was a RAID0 array. The dilemma you are dealing with is that there is no widely-used standard for RAID0 (nor any other). Hence the result that a perfectly good pair of drives containing data written as a RAID0 dataset on one machine with its controllers often can NOT be read by a different machine's controllers. What you really need is to install those disks on a machine with the SAME RAID controllers as they were in when written. In your case, of course, the ideal would be to get the old mobo operating again so you can hook up to that and read all your data off those two drives into a good backup system.

Once you have made that backup, do two more steps for real PYA - VERIFY that the files on your backup unit really are readable and usable. Then do it all again - make ANOTHER backup and Verify it.

OK, now you can proceed with the final migration. Here I am assuming you plan to abandon the old system and move the pair of old drives to the new machine to re-use them in a RAID0 array. That depends, of course, on whether you can get a RAID controller working in the new machine, but I'm going to assume you can. You mount those two drives in new machine and run the RAID setup utilities. You tell that system to completely wipe out all your old data on the drives and re-create its own version of how RAID0 is run, thus creating an empty RAID0 array you can use. Then you restore all your backed up data to the array, and declare a day of rest and mental recovery.
November 19, 2009 10:13:07 AM

Paperdoc said:
Although you don't say it explicitly, I fully expect your original RAID setup was a RAID0 array. The dilemma you are dealing with is that there is no widely-used standard for RAID0 (nor any other). Hence the result that a perfectly good pair of drives containing data written as a RAID0 dataset on one machine with its controllers often can NOT be read by a different machine's controllers. What you really need is to install those disks on a machine with the SAME RAID controllers as they were in when written. In your case, of course, the ideal would be to get the old mobo operating again so you can hook up to that and read all your data off those two drives into a good backup system.

Once you have made that backup, do two more steps for real PYA - VERIFY that the files on your backup unit really are readable and usable. Then do it all again - make ANOTHER backup and Verify it.

OK, now you can proceed with the final migration. Here I am assuming you plan to abandon the old system and move the pair of old drives to the new machine to re-use them in a RAID0 array. That depends, of course, on whether you can get a RAID controller working in the new machine, but I'm going to assume you can. You mount those two drives in new machine and run the RAID setup utilities. You tell that system to completely wipe out all your old data on the drives and re-create its own version of how RAID0 is run, thus creating an empty RAID0 array you can use. Then you restore all your backed up data to the array, and declare a day of rest and mental recovery.


Hello Paperdoc - Regarding the last comment, I'd just add with a glass of beer and a few toasts to your good self for correct perception. Since last weekend I did have the original MB working, I agree that I ought to be able to see the drives from it. Using Windows as the OS on the IDE drive, I was unable to see the 2 drives when connected in the SATA ports 0 & 1. I tried quite a few times to get something, but I still fear that due to my reformatting response back when the system was in the old arrangement on the old MB, the tracks that identify the drives was wiped out. The idea that "Sub Mesa," another forum member, suggested was the Linux approach and the use of the utility mdadm which could potentially see the drives and report something from them. So far I'm unsuccessful there, but when a PS is in hand to allow me to get back to the old system, I'll attempt to do a Linux boot via my USB stick and capture something useful from the the old drives that may allow me to takes some steps towards an 'undelete' of what formatting would have overwritten. I think you're right about the RAID - some of my Silicon Valley Computer Society colleagues have commented similarly - that due to non-standardization in the RAID arrays, the best bet is inside a setup with the same drivers - all of which I have, but I THINK that the old MB has them integrated, but I'm not sure about it. Next week, I'll drop a progress report here, but any additional ideas are most welcome!

Thanks for your guidance!

Best to you!
Dick
a c 342 G Storage
November 19, 2009 1:02:45 PM

Your mobo's manual says it supports RAID0 and 1 on its two SATA ports. That means it has the "software RAID code" for these two types of RAID operation included in the BIOS chip, so no doubt that is how you ran the RAID0 array. The mobo and its BIOS effectively supplied the RAID controller required. So yes, the best way to access the data on that RAID pair will be by re-installing them in the original machine once it is working.

When you re-install, pay close attention (if you can) to which drive unit is plugged into which SATA connector. As you can understand, the controller system had a particular plan for which unit comes first in a pair. So if it does not seem to work (maybe won't even boot?) when tried first, do NOT write anything anywhere, just shut down and try swapping the drive connections in case you had it backwards.

Still, from your story it is possible they will be unreadable. In the sequence you outline, you made some start at reformatting and re-installing the old OS, but stopped it. If your "Stop" action was not quite soon enough, the first steps of deleting a File System of a Partition may have happened already and the disks will now appear to be empty because the very first data structures have been re-written. In that case you have two choices. One is, IF you don't need to recover any data from those two disks, you just move them to your new machine and do the whole job (within its RAID Setup utilities with the new RAID card) of wiping the disks clean and establishing a new RAID array.

If you need to recover data, you may be looking at two possibilities - one or both. One is that you have to recover the Partitions on them, the other is that the Partitions may be OK but the data itself needs to be recovered. However, I have NO experience how this is done for a RAID0 array pair, and most of the software I've seen is ideal for a single disk unit. So recovery in your case may be a big problem, but I don't really know. Hence the conventional religious wisdom: if you believe in RAID, you sure better believe in Backups and Verifies.
November 19, 2009 1:29:32 PM

Paperdoc said:
Your mobo's manual says it supports RAID0 and 1 on its two SATA ports. That means it has the "software RAID code" for these two types of RAID operation included in the BIOS chip, so no doubt that is how you ran the RAID0 array. The mobo and its BIOS effectively supplied the RAID controller required. So yes, the best way to access the data on that RAID pair will be by re-installing them in the original machine once it is working.

When you re-install, pay close attention (if you can) to which drive unit is plugged into which SATA connector. As you can understand, the controller system had a particular plan for which unit comes first in a pair. So if it does not seem to work (maybe won't even boot?) when tried first, do NOT write anything anywhere, just shut down and try swapping the drive connections in case you had it backwards.

Still, from your story it is possible they will be unreadable. In the sequence you outline, you made some start at reformatting and re-installing the old OS, but stopped it. If your "Stop" action was not quite soon enough, the first steps of deleting a File System of a Partition may have happened already and the disks will now appear to be empty because the very first data structures have been re-written. In that case you have two choices. One is, IF you don't need to recover any data from those two disks, you just move them to your new machine and do the whole job (within its RAID Setup utilities with the new RAID card) of wiping the disks clean and establishing a new RAID array.

If you need to recover data, you may be looking at two possibilities - one or both. One is that you have to recover the Partitions on them, the other is that the Partitions may be OK but the data itself needs to be recovered. However, I have NO experience how this is done for a RAID0 array pair, and most of the software I've seen is ideal for a single disk unit. So recovery in your case may be a big problem, but I don't really know. Hence the conventional religious wisdom: if you believe in RAID, you sure better believe in Backups and Verifies.


Again, thanks. Good news is I did document every step, and marked the drives so they are identified to the right SATA port, so I believe that may be OK. Bad news is I still need time to get this done in addition to an otherwise full plate, but I would like very much to recover some of the files. I intend to setup an automatic backup on my passport drive - I do this manually now in the new system, and will use a 2AM autobackup in the future, as suggested by a friend. PC World recommends several backup programs, but I've never used anything except a network backup program - set-it and forget it - at work. This was my first personal PC problem of this magnitude in over 20 years, and even here I had a huge amount backed up on USB drives & CDs, so even here, I'm wounded but not destroyed! :ouch:  :ouch: 
!