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Failed hard drive; RAID 1

Last response: in Storage
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November 21, 2009 2:44:55 PM

I have an older Dell XPS-410 with Raid 1.

This morning when I booted up I was greeted by the message, "A RAID volume is degraded because of failed hard drives.". I kind of saw this coming. I'm now running on the other hard drive with data intact.

The Intel Matrix Storage console shows the drive on Port 0 has failed.

According to the manual, it looks like all I have to do is swap that drive out. These are the instructions - can it be that simple? Thanks!


Degraded RAID 1 Volume
A RAID 1 volume is reported as degraded when one of its members fails or is disconnected and data mirroring is lost. As a result, the system can only use the functional member. To re-establish data mirroring and restore data redundancy, refer to the procedures below.
Missing Member
1. Make sure the system is powered off.
2. Reconnect the missing hard drive.
3. Restart the system. The rebuild will occur automatically.
Failed Member
1. Make sure the system is powered off.
2. Replace the failed hard drive with a new one that is of equal or greater capacity.
3. Power on the system. During the system startup, the Intel Matrix Storage Manager option ROM user Interface will display the RAID 1 volume status as 'Rebuild'.
4. After the operating system is running, select the Intel Matrix Storage Console from the Start Menu or click the Intel Matrix Storage Manager tray icon.
5. From the View menu, select 'Advanced Mode' to display a detailed view of the Intel Matrix Storage Console.
6. Click on the RAID 1 volume in the device pane. The status in the information pane will display 'Rebuilding % complete'. After the rebuild is complete, the status will display 'Normal'.

System Information

Kit Installed: 6.0.1.1002
Kit Install History: 6.0.1.1002
Shell Version: 6.0.1.1002

OS Name: Microsoft Windows XP Professional
OS Version: 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3 Build 2600
System Name: D13HZ0C1
System Manufacturer: Dell Inc.
System Model: 0WG855
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 6300 @ 1.86GHz
BIOS Version/Date: Dell Inc. 1.0.3 , 08/14/2006

Language: ENU



Intel(R) RAID Technology

Intel RAID Controller: Intel(R) ICH8R/DO/DH SATA RAID Controller
Number of Serial ATA ports: 6

RAID Option ROM Version: 6.0.0.1022
Driver Version: 6.0.1.1002
RAID Plug-In Version: 6.0.1.1002
Language Resource Version of the RAID Plug-In: 6.0.1.1002
Create Volume Wizard Version: 6.0.1.1002
Language Resource Version of the Create Volume Wizard: 6.0.1.1002
Create Volume from Existing Hard Drive Wizard Version: 6.0.1.1002
Language Resource Version of the Create Volume from Existing Hard Drive Wizard: 6.0.1.1002
Modify Volume Wizard Version: 6.0.1.1002
Language Resource Version of the Modify Volume Wizard: 6.0.1.1002
Delete Volume Wizard Version: 6.0.1.1002
Language Resource Version of the Delete Volume Wizard: 6.0.1.1002
ISDI Library Version: 6.0.1.1002
Event Monitor User Notification Tool Version: 6.0.1.1002
Language Resource Version of the Event Monitor User Notification Tool: 6.0.1.1002
Event Monitor Version: 6.0.1.1002

Array_0000
Status: No active migration(s)
Hard Drive Write Cache Enabled: Yes
Size: 931.5 GB
Free Space: 0 GB
Number of Hard Drives: 2
Hard Drive Member 1: ST3500641AS
Hard Drive Member 2: ST3500641AS
Number of Volumes: 1
Volume Member 1: ARRAY

ARRAY
Status: Degraded
System Volume: Yes
Volume Write-Back Cache Enabled: No
RAID Level: RAID 1 (mirroring)
Size: 465.7 GB
Number of Hard Drives: 2
Hard Drive Member 1: ST3500641AS
Hard Drive Member 2: ST3500641AS
Parent Array: Array_0000

Hard Drive 0
Usage: Array member
Status: Failed
Device Port: 0
Device Port Location: Internal
Current Serial ATA Transfer Mode: Generation 2
Model: ST3500641AS
Serial Number: 3PM1K55F
Firmware: 3.ADG
Native Command Queuing Support: Yes
Hard Drive Write Cache Enabled: Yes
Size: 465.7 GB
Number of Volumes: 1
Volume Member 1: ARRAY
Parent Array: Array_0000

Hard Drive 1
Usage: Array member
Status: Normal
Device Port: 1
Device Port Location: Internal
Current Serial ATA Transfer Mode: Generation 2
Model: ST3500641AS
Serial Number: 3PM1K1JC
Firmware: 3.ADG
Native Command Queuing Support: Yes
Hard Drive Write Cache Enabled: Yes
Size: 465.7 GB
Number of Volumes: 1
Volume Member 1: ARRAY
Parent Array: Array_0000

Unused Port 0
Device Port: 3
Device Port Location: Internal

Unused Port 1
Device Port: 4
Device Port Location: Internal

Unused Port 2
Device Port: 5
Device Port Location: Internal

CD/DVD Drive 0
Device Port: 2
Device Port Location: Internal
Current Serial ATA Transfer Mode: Generation 1
Model: TSSTcorp DVD+/-RW TS-H553A
Serial Number: Data not reported
Firmware: DE04

More about : failed hard drive raid

Best solution

a b G Storage
November 21, 2009 5:53:58 PM

Pretty much. Get another RE-2 or RE-3 500 GB HDD (ST3500641AS, preferably) and swap it in on the SATA cable of the bad HDD. Boot into Windows, open Intel Matrix Storage Manager, and follow the instructions you posted from the manual.

Before you buy another HDD, you may want to the check the SATA cable connections and power. With the power OFF - UNPLUG the power cable to the computer - by re-seating the SATA connectors into the mobo and the HDD; do the same with the HDD power cable. Then plug in the power cable, restart the computer, boot into windows, open the Intel Matrix Storage Manager, select the failed HDD, right-click and choose "Reset to normal." If the HDD "fails" again, replace the HDD. Intel Matrix Storage Manager can then rebuild the array.

I have had luck using the steps above on a "failed HDD;" it rebuilt the array, but failed again. After doing that a couple of times, I began to believe the HDD was actually failing RAID; I replaced it, let Intel Matrix Storage Manager rebuild the array, and now use my "failed" HDD for storage as a regular SATA HDD.
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November 21, 2009 8:01:47 PM

Thanks treefreo07!

I actually did consider the steps you detail regarding 'wiggling the plugs' & "Reset to normal" earlier today, but I started having problems working on the single hard drive.

I had the machine up for about four hours, then as I was creating my post I noticed things slowing down. Things like typing, but the text not appearing until a few seconds later. Then programs like Notepad or the Intel Matrix Storage Manager just 'hanging' for up to five minutes before launching. Then performance picked up and I was able to get in, get the question posted, get out and shut down normally. Maybe some process that involves the failed HD was trying to run, (mirroring or otherwise).

As I booted up again this afternoon to see your post, I heard the infamous "CLUNK....CLUNK.....CLUNK...." of a drive in death throws as the little guy on Port 0 tried to start up. So I think that ship has sailed. New hard drive has been ordered, (exact duplicate; around $65). I'm hope that's the only problem I'm dealing with, (she said, while feverishly backing up all data to yet a second USB hard drive).

I hope she can be saved. I love this machine. It was one of the last Dell computers to ship with the latest/greatest version of XP; then Vista came out. Virtual NIRVANA after three years of Windows ME.
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a b G Storage
November 22, 2009 5:14:55 PM

"CLUNK....CLUNK.....CLUNK...." is THE END of the HDD. If you aren't having other problems, the new HDD ought to keep your machine working a while longer. If your HDDs are the originals, you may want to get another HDD for $65, as a backup for the original working HDD.

I started with DOS, moved to Windows For WorkGroups 3.11, skipped Win95, was a beta tester for Win98, skipped ME and 2000, moved to XP in 2002, skipped Vista, have been dual-booting Win7 RC since May. XP and XP64 are my workhorses. They are solid and after so long, I am very comfortable with them. I may put Win7x64 on my game machine at some point, but I don't really have a lot of time to play these days. I hope everything works out well for you.

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a c 342 G Storage
November 23, 2009 3:27:16 AM

A thought from the Preventive Maintenance shop: if one original HDD has failed in the RAID1 array, how long will it be before the other does, also? Consider buying a PAIR of replacement drives, rebuild the array with one, then deliberately remove and replace the old "good" drive and rebuild the array again, ending up with TWO new drives in the restored RAID1 array.
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November 23, 2009 11:15:29 AM

Great minds think alike. I ordered that second new HDD yesterday morning :-))
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November 25, 2009 2:18:49 PM

I have now successfully installed & rebuilt both the failed hard drive (port 0) and its companion drive of same age, (the port 1 drive that was acting funky when running on its own). It was about as easy as easy gets. Pull old one out, put new one in, boot up & kick off the rebuild, (replaced failed drive first, funky drive second).

I kind of held my breath regarding the first rebuild, (port 0 failed drive). It took 4 1/2 hours to mirror the port 1, funky drive. I then replaced the port 1 drive with a new one and it took a little less than two hours to rebuild based on the new, port 0 drive. Every thing works like new. New drives are almost silent, boot-up time was cut in half, programs open & respond faster, sun shines brighter, food tastes better, I could go on and on…

Regarding the accuracy of the Intel Matrix Storage Console Help file instructions, (quoted in my initial post above), I found them to be pretty close.

I had a different experience regarding #3...."During the system startup, the Intel Matrix Storage Manager option ROM user Interface will display the RAID 1 volume status as 'Rebuild'".

- I found that during startup, the RAID 1 volume status displayed as 'Degraded', then after booting into Windows, the Intel Matrix Storage Console icon in the system tray was blinking as before, showing the same "Degraded" status.

I also had a different experience regarding #6. "Click on the RAID 1 volume in the device pane. The status in the information pane will display 'Rebuilding % complete'. After the rebuild is complete, the status will display 'Normal'".

- I found that the display was different for me. After opening the Intel Matrix Storage Console, I saw the old, removed drive under "RAID Hard Drives" represented by a red x 'missing' icon. The new, replacement HDD was listed underneath & not yet one of the "RAID Hard Drives". I had to right-click on that new HDD and choose the option "Rebuild" to kick off the process. That moved the HDD underneath "RAID Hard Drives". Then, I could click on the array VOLUMES and watch the % completion of the rebuild status. Once it was complete, the red x 'missing' icon for the old HDD disappeared.

Long story short, thanks to all for the support and maybe this will help some other newbie some day!
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a c 342 G Storage
November 25, 2009 2:29:25 PM

We all join you in your sigh of relief as you bask in new rays of sunshine! Your last post is a very useful reminder that BIOS's get revised, resulting in slightly different appearance, messages and options in some screens. The manuals try to cover themselves with statements like, "Actual screens may appear different from the illustrations shown here."
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June 24, 2012 4:07:40 AM

I've just run into the same issue, and resolved it using the instructions and reassurance from this thread. Time consuming but pretty simple :) 

My old drives were 320 GB and the new ones are 1TB, so I'm left with the new drives containing the 320GB image and 600GB+ of wasted, inaccessible space on the new hard drives.

The intel matrix raid controller sees the space, but it's not visible within windows.

Is there any way I can modify the RAID array/volume to make the space accessible to windows?

I thought about booting to a USB stick and using a partitioning tool to modify both disks - but I'm outside my comfort zone here and don't want to risk destroying everything....
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September 11, 2012 7:12:42 PM

malcolm-hk said:
I've just run into the same issue, and resolved it using the instructions and reassurance from this thread. Time consuming but pretty simple :) 

My old drives were 320 GB and the new ones are 1TB, so I'm left with the new drives containing the 320GB image and 600GB+ of wasted, inaccessible space on the new hard drives.

The intel matrix raid controller sees the space, but it's not visible within windows.

Is there any way I can modify the RAID array/volume to make the space accessible to windows?

I thought about booting to a USB stick and using a partitioning tool to modify both disks - but I'm outside my comfort zone here and don't want to risk destroying everything....



The newer intel chipsets support raid expansion. I would use ghost or acronis to backup the volume. I would then delete the array in bios and recreate the array and restore the backup data.

John Hewatt
Data Recovery Link
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September 12, 2012 2:35:35 AM

Thanks for the reply John. This server is perhaps 2007/2008 vintage - so I don't know whether it will support the expansion.

The client still has 100GB+ free in the drives so I will leave messing with it until it becomes more urgent.
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