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Can't add a raid array with my SSD Boot Drive

Last response: in Storage
July 11, 2010 4:22:53 AM

I just got an Intel X-25V SSD and loaded windows 7 Home Pro on it. I enabled AHCI in the bios prior the the install and everything went fine.
Now I'm trying to add a raid 1 array (2 WD Caviar Blacks - 640 GBs) so I go into my bios and enable Raid, then create the raid array and try to boot into windows.
Windows starts to load (The black screen with the animated Windows logo shows) however, a quick blue screen flash (can't read what it says because it's too quick) and then the system restarts. When I go back into bios and enable AHCI, Windows loads fine.

What did I do wrong?

Thanks for the help.
a c 109 G Storage
July 11, 2010 4:38:52 AM

What model WD do you have?

If I am not mistaken, the regular WD Caviar Blacks cannot be used in a RAID.
WD has special RAID drives.
July 11, 2010 5:08:27 AM

I was running them in a raid 0 config before I got the intel x-25V SSD
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a b G Storage
July 11, 2010 5:31:10 AM

> I enabled AHCI in the bios prior the the install and everything went fine.

Yes, that's what should happen.

> I go into my bios and enable Raid, then create the raid array and
> try to boot into windows

This is where you went wrong (I think).

That sequence should NOT work, based on all of my
prior years of experience with various versions of
Intel's ICHxR I/O controller hubs.

Intel recommends enabling RAID in the BIOS before doing
your very first install of Windows, even if all storage devices are
configured as Just a Bunch Of Disks ("JBOD").

The BIOS needs to be set to RAID, first and foremost;
then, the Intel Option ROM needs to initialize
all writable storage devices connected to the ICHxR controller,
even if each is intended to operate in non-RAID mode.

Intel calls this "RAID Ready" and it's highly recommended,
exactly because of the problem you are having.

As a useful experiment, you might try switching back to AHCI mode
in the BIOS, then saving a drive image of your C: system partition
onto an external device, like a USB thumb drive;
then, boot into the BIOS, switch to RAID mode,
then, launch the Intel Option ROM to identify your SSD
as a non-RAID JBOD device.

Leave the Caviar Blacks DISCONNECTED for this experiment.

Then, try to restore your drive image from your thumb drive,
or other external storage device, to the SSD that is now
initialized to operate in JBOD mode with the BIOS set to RAID.

Symantec's GHOST has a restore CD that will
ask you if you want to use F6 to load a device driver:
last time I checked, that filename was "iaStor.sys".

This would be a good time to load the Intel RAID driver
to make sure the restore task can recognize each
"RAID Ready" device.

You may luck out and the restore task will not
modify the "RAID mode" initialization on your SSD
which the Option ROM sequence has done for you.

At least, it's worth a try.

In the future, BEST WAY is to follow Intel's suggestion
and start off in RAID mode before installing the OS,
even if all connected storage devices will be JBOD
(Just a Bunch Of Disks).

One last thing: WD's Caviar Blacks do not support TLER,
so they are NOT recommended for use in any RAID arrays:
use WD's RAID Edition ("RE") drives in RAID arrays:

The Caviar Blacks will appear to work OK for a while,
but as they fill up with data, the error recovery routine
in the HDD's firmware will require more and more time,
and the controller will eventually decide that one or
the other of these HDDs is not responding, and
the controller will "drop" that HDD from the array.


a b G Storage
July 11, 2010 5:39:38 AM

p.s. another experiment that may also work
is to revert back to AHCI mode in your BIOS,
then to attach both Caviar Blacks also as JBOD devices;
then, enabling an OS software RAID after formatting
each Caviar Black as a "dynamic disk".

You'll need to double check the documentation
for your version of Win7, because not all "software RAID"
modes are supported by all versions of Windows;
last I heard, only the server versions supported
the full range of RAID modes e.g. 0, 1, 10, 5, etc.

Also, OS software RAID setups may not suffer
from the "time-out" problem that occurs with
WD HDDs that don't support TLER (Time-Limited
Error Recovery).

RTFM (Read The Fine Manual)

July 11, 2010 5:49:09 AM

Really appreciate it.
Since MY WDs aren't meant for raid, I guess I will just run them as single drives. It won't be much of a hinderance since they are just going to be data storage drives and backing them up won't be a problem.
Thanks for the help
July 11, 2010 5:49:26 AM

Best answer selected by AB1733.