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Convert IDE drive to AHCI... Lose data?

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February 3, 2010 4:42:22 AM

Hi. I've got a SATA disk on my current workstation, on which I've backed up a lot data. When I set up the disks on my new system, all disks will be set up as Raid or AHCI. This disk will NOT be a system disk or part of a Raid array.

If a disk was used in IDE mode and is moved to a new system where the disk is set to AHCI or Raid mode, will the data on that drive be lost or become unreadable?

Thanks,

Dan.
a c 415 G Storage
February 3, 2010 6:21:58 AM

The information will definitely be readable if the drive is switched between IDE and AHCI modes. RAID mode is a little more iffy - there's a decent chance that a JBOD (non-RAID) disk in a RAID array will be able to be used, but some controllers write configuration information on the drives and it depends on whether that's done and where it's written.

If I were doing this and I needed to be able to switch between IDE and RAID modes, it's something I'd try ahead of time to make sure it works as I expect.
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February 3, 2010 1:49:26 PM

sminlal

Thanks for the feedback. The disk in question needs to be hot-swappable for use as a removable archive disk (like a big floppy disk). Two other disks (WD Black 2TB) will be a Raid 0 array. Since this is my first foray into the world of AHCI and Raid, I'm using the Marvell and Intel disk controllers on the Asus P6X58D MOBO.

Given the importance of making sure that the disk can be read in AHCI or Raid mode, your suggestion makes a lot of sense. When I first fire it up, I'll remove this archive disk from the hot-swap bay and test using another disk.

Thanks again,

Dan.
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a c 342 G Storage
February 3, 2010 3:59:01 PM

This may not be as troublesome as you think. I am assuming that you're going to use the mobo's built-in RAID0 management system. On machines like that SOME allow you to set the mode of each SATA port separately, but some treat them all the same, so you might find you have to set ALL SATA ports to RAID mode in order to create and use the RAID0 array. HOWEVER, once that BIOS setting is made then you must enter the RAID management utilities to set up the RAID array. You will find within that system that, by default, NO drive unit actually is used as a RAID component unless you assign it to a particular array. So you should find that you can assign your two new WD blacks to the RAID0 array and set them up, but the other older HDD will NOT be used as a RAID device unless you tell it to do so.

I suggest you do all your setups with the older drive NOT connected to the system. Once it's working, connect up the older drive unit and let it discover a new device on a SATA port. At first, just do NOT go into the RAID management screens and let it default to being a non-RAID device. It may just work fine, as long as the OS can handle this unit in terms of drivers. Although you had it installed in a previous system with its port set to an IDE Emulation mode, that does not affect the way its data was written. So in your new system, even if the machine defaults to treating it as an AHCI port mode it should be completely readable IF your new machine's OS has AHCI drivers built in (Vista and Win 7 do, XP does not). At worst you may have to use either the BIOS Setup screens or the RAID management screens to set the port mode on this older drive to IDE Emulation again if your new OS can't handle it as an AHCI device. OR, better yet, since the old drive will be a data device only (not a boot disk), just install the normal AHCI device driver in Windows so it can use the drive in that port mode.
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February 6, 2010 8:12:29 PM

Best answer selected by dan_public.
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February 6, 2010 8:18:05 PM

Paperdoc said:
This may not be as troublesome as you think. I am assuming that you're going to use the mobo's built-in RAID0 management system. On machines like that SOME allow you to set the mode of each SATA port separately, but some treat them all the same, so you might find you have to set ALL SATA ports to RAID mode in order to create and use the RAID0 array. HOWEVER, once that BIOS setting is made then you must enter the RAID management utilities to set up the RAID array. You will find within that system that, by default, NO drive unit actually is used as a RAID component unless you assign it to a particular array. So you should find that you can assign your two new WD blacks to the RAID0 array and set them up, but the other older HDD will NOT be used as a RAID device unless you tell it to do so.

I suggest you do all your setups with the older drive NOT connected to the system. Once it's working, connect up the older drive unit and let it discover a new device on a SATA port. At first, just do NOT go into the RAID management screens and let it default to being a non-RAID device. It may just work fine, as long as the OS can handle this unit in terms of drivers. Although you had it installed in a previous system with its port set to an IDE Emulation mode, that does not affect the way its data was written. So in your new system, even if the machine defaults to treating it as an AHCI port mode it should be completely readable IF your new machine's OS has AHCI drivers built in (Vista and Win 7 do, XP does not). At worst you may have to use either the BIOS Setup screens or the RAID management screens to set the port mode on this older drive to IDE Emulation again if your new OS can't handle it as an AHCI device. OR, better yet, since the old drive will be a data device only (not a boot disk), just install the normal AHCI device driver in Windows so it can use the drive in that port mode.

Paperdoc,

Both you and Sminlal, had similar feedback and my "best answer" is for both of you. Many thanks!

I followed your advice and used another drive to check this out. It worked swimmingly!!! All of my drives are now in AHCI Mode (Marvell controller) or Raid (Intel controller). My two WD Black 2Tb drives are now in a Raid 0 array and working perfectly. The drive about which I was concerned can now be removed from it's hot-swap bay with no problems at all.

Again, many thanks for the great feedback.

Regards,

Dan.
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