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Little help on my hard drive issue.

Last response: in Storage
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July 16, 2010 7:01:43 AM

Hello there.
So for the longest time I was getting monthly crashes that would jam the computer up after BIOS posted just saying:
"Detecting arrays..." and then nothing else would happen.

I had two WD Raptors (Part #: 1500ADFD) in Raid 0. I decided to install a fresh OS and have the bootup CD format the drives and use one (I disabled raid).
However it said it required the drivers for it (which isn't so for hard drives) and for the other drive it said it could be corrupt.
I am almost postive they couldn't have been physically damaged, (unless by the PSU).
Any suggestions for what to do to get them working again?

More about : hard drive issue

a c 116 G Storage
July 16, 2010 1:49:50 PM

Is it possible to run CHKDSK utility on these disks to determine their condition?
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a c 342 G Storage
July 16, 2010 5:25:28 PM

I assume you are NOT attempting to preserve the data on these HDD's - probably backed up on another device before starting. If I understand correctly you are re-using the two Raptors you had in a RAID0 array, but will use them as separate normal HDD's.

As a first step IF you have any reason to think they might have "bad sectors", consider zero-filling each of them. You can do this using the free downloadable utility from the WD website, Data Lifeguard. For details of the background for this, see my post here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/259141-32-help-please...

Briefly, though, doing a zero-fill causes writes to EVERY sector on the HDD. As part of that activity, the HDD's own on-board controller will then re-read what it wrote, assess its quality, and replace any questionable sector with a known-good spare. When it is done the HDD will be "prefect" in Windows' eyes, and also will be totally empty like a brand new unit. THEN you can proceed to Partition and Format, which are automatically what the Windows Install process does first.

Now, there are a couple of BIOS settings you should check. Before this you had your SATA ports set to RAID mode, which allowed you to use the RAID setup utilities to create the array you used. And of course, you have since deleted that RAID0 array. BUT have you gone back and changed the SATA port modes to NOT be RAID? If you leave them as RAID, Windows will have to have a RAID driver, even if you do not actually configure them to be part of some new RAID array. But, what should be the SATA port mode setting? That depends on the Windows you are installing. If you are using Vista or Win 7, choose the AHCI mode, and Windows should know exactly how to use those drives.

BUT if you are using Win XP, it does NOT know how to use AHCI or SATA units (it does not have built-in drivers for those) and the Install routine will not be able to use them unless you install the correct driver. Moreover, the only way that Win XP knows how to install drivers from an external source is from a floppy disk which you may not have! The solution is to set the SATA port modes to IDE (or PATA) EWmulation. In this setting the BIOS intervenes and makes the real SATA device appear to be a simple IDE device that Win XP DOES understand and it all just works!

As far as the message that the other drive may be corrupt, I can suggest two possibilities. One is that there actually could be a bad sector, and having it replaced via the zero-fill operation might solve that. Another is that there is no problem, but the Partition Table and MBR written on it when the RAID0 array was created contains some data that Windows Install does not understand. If you do the zero-fill, that area also will be overwritten and its odd data destroyed. But even if you don't do that, you can just ignore the warning. Once you have Windows installed on the first drive you will be using Disk Management to set up the second HDD. At that time you can just Delete any and all Partitions it may have and then Create a new Primary Partition. When that is done the Partition Table will be re-written with data that Windows is happy with, and the "error" should disappear.
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July 23, 2010 3:54:49 AM

Sorry seems like I didn't get a notification when you wrote this.
Very helpful. Thank you!
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July 23, 2010 3:55:00 AM

Best answer selected by thegoat.
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