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Primary External HDD

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  • External Hard Drive
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Last response: in Storage
January 7, 2010 1:38:30 AM

Hey Guys,

I have a weird situation. I just got done building my new system which has 3 internal HDD's in a RAID0 configuration and I have 1 external HDD. Well I had the external hooked up while I was doing my Windows install so when choosing a drive I had a choice between my RAID config and my external, both listed as Primary. Also, when I tried to choose my RAID config I received an error message that said it couldnt use that drive because of some error.

I thought it may be an error with my external drive so I unhooked it, rebooted and started the install on my RAID config. Everything went fine.

Well the problem I have now is that when I have my external hooked up and I have to restart for some reason, the system wont boot with the external hooked up. I have to unhook the drive, reboot, then plug it back in.

Is there anyway to fix this? I'm thinking its because Windows is listing my external as a primary drive and it doesnt know which drive to boot from (Even though I have completely removed my external from the boot list in BIOS). I cant reformat that drive because I have some incredibly valuable (to me) pictures that I couldnt bare to lose, as well as about 1TB of other data on there.

Any ideas?


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a c 464 G Storage
January 7, 2010 12:34:40 PM

I doubt this is a Windows problem. The most important way to determine where a system finds a boot drive is set in BIOS. On most machines to get into BIOS Setup you hold down the "Del" key while turning on, but check your mobo's manual to be sure. Do this WITH the external drive connected so the BIOS can see it. Look around in three areas. One is where you configure the SATA drives (I assume that's your internal HDDs), and I expect all are enabled with their modes set to RAID. (By the way, do you really have all three drives in one RAID0 array, or just two of them with the third NOT in any RAID array?) Then look for where you Enable and configure the external HDD. How is it connected? IEEE 1394a or eSATA port? Then you'd configure that port, and probably have to set some parameter for whether the device on this port is bootable. Or maybe USB2? Is there a parameter there for allowing booting from a USB device? Just check that they are all set as you wish. Now the most important part. Look for where you set the Boot Priority Sequence. You need to set this to what you want, and NOT include any device you do not want to try booting from. So, for example, I set mine to try the floppy drive first (yes, I have one), the optical drive second, and then my first SATA port drive third, and NO other options. In your case, since you say you installed to the RAID array (I assume that means you installed the RAID drivers at the beginning), you will want to set that array ("drive") as the main boot device (maybe after your optical drive) and no other options after it. Save and Exit from here and it should work OK.
January 7, 2010 1:02:22 PM

Yes, I have all 3 of my internal SATA drives in a RAID0 array.

Also, the external drive is a USB2.0 drive.

Lastly, I have removed my external drive from the boot sequence. BUT I didnt remove the ability to boot from a USB device. I would assume that wouldnt matter as much since the drive isnt in by boot sequence at all.

So Im not sure what to do.
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a c 464 G Storage
January 7, 2010 5:08:56 PM

I agree, this is strange. One certainly would expect the mere ability to use a USB device for booting would not create any problem if the BIOS is NOT set to actually do that. But just as an experiment, try disabling the USB boot ability and see what happens. If that solves the problem, I'd start asking Tech Support at your mobo maker's website what is going on? Maybe a BIOS update needed?
a c 415 G Storage
January 7, 2010 7:02:44 PM

Is this Windows 7? Because Windows 7 will try to create a "System Partition" to hold the first-line boot code as well as recovery and repair programs. If there's more than one disk in the system when you install Windows 7, it will put the System partition on a different drive than the one you asked Windows to be installed into.

To get around this "feature" I now disconnect all drives except the drive I'm installing to when I do an install of Windows 7.

If this is indeed what's happened to you then I don't know of a way to fix it other than to reinstall windows. What MIGHT work is to disconnect the external drive, boot from the install CD, and use the "repair" option.