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Deleting recovery partition and disabling RAID

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August 22, 2010 4:26:55 PM

Hi all,

I want to clean up my HDD partitions so I have some questions. MY HDD configuration is 2 SATA 1TB drives in RAID0 configuration.

1. How can I delete the 110MB and RECOVERY partitions as below? I have a feeling that the OS won't boot if I do this as the boot sector will have changed position?

2. How is it that there are 2 logical disks (Disk0 and Disk1) when the HDDs are supposed to be RAIDed to appear as one disk?

3. If I disable RAID after doing all the above, will I see Disk0 and Disk1 with each showing 1TB space? Ideally this is the configuration I want as I will be adding another 2TB drive soon.

Thanks in advance for your help.

August 23, 2010 10:32:01 PM

anybody? :( 
August 24, 2010 4:20:40 AM

Disk0 is 1800gb, so the 2x1tb RAID0 is appearing as a single drive. Disk1 is obviously another storage device.

Do you mind losing all of your data? I am not aware of a program that allows you to simply "unraid" in raid0. You could clone the 2 tb array to the new 2tb hard drive you want. However, If I were you, I would back up all my important data and start from a clean install.
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August 24, 2010 1:33:58 PM

Alright, I think I've figured out a bit.

When I load the BIOS settings I see this information in two sections:
CMOS
SATA1: Hard Drive -> 1TB
SATA2: Hard Drive -> 1TB

Boot Configuration
Hard Disk1: Intel RAID Array0
Hard Disk2: Intel RAID Array1

There is also an option to select RAID/AHCI which is currently set to RAID.
If I change this to AHCI, I assume I'm effectly disabling the RAID?

Loading up 'Intel Rapid Storage' utility within Windows shows this:



... which explains the logical Disk1 showing up as 65GB in 'Disk Management'.

So, here's what I think I'll do. Let me know if you think this is the best option (in terms of securing data - striping seems risky):

1. Back up all my data to an external drive.
2. Get a new internal SATA HDD 2TB and attach it to SATA3 port.
3. Go into the BIOS, switch RAID to AHCI.
4. Reinstall Windows7 onto the first HDD.
5. Now I would expect to see 3 Drives show up in 'Disk Management' and My Computer - 1TB (the OS), 1TB, 2TB
6. Set up a new primary partition on Disk1 in case the OS corrupts (I think this is always a good idea).

Let me know what you think The part I'm skeptical about is whether I need to delete all the partitions manually at any stage?
a c 342 G Storage
August 24, 2010 6:50:08 PM

I agree with the start of your plan, with a caution. Once you have a backup made, VERIFY it to be sure that you actually can restore all of your stuff from it. I have seen disasters when a backup file failed to work.

From there on I suggest changes.
2. Do not change the BIOS settings yet. Use your Intel storage utility to delete the RAID0 arrays. Yes, plural. You have TWO called C: and C:, apparently created on the same pair of 1TB units. Use the Intel utility to get rid of them.
3. After that you can go into BIOS Setup and change the port mode. To what? That depends on your OS you are installing. If it is Vista or Win 7, set to AHCI. If it is XP any version, easiest to set to IDE Emulation unless you want to get into loading an AHCI driver from a floppy disk.
4. Before installing I recommend you connect only ONE HDD. Leave the others for later. When Vista or Win 7 Installs, it looks for a second HDD. IF it finds one, it establishes a hidden Partition on it to save a copy of critical files that can be used later in a disaster to restore the full OS on the first disk. BUT this means that your second HDD MUST be in place at all times, or the machine cannot boot! On the other hand, if there is only one HDD present, the hidden Partition AND the OS will go onto the same HDD. (I know, doing it this way defeats some of the safety inherent in the first plan.)
5. Install the OS to the only HDD in place - you indicate it will be one of the 1 TB units formerly part of your RAID0 array, but now just a stand-alone HDD.The Install process will create the new Primary Partition needed (and this writes a new Partition Table, replacing old info about a RAID0 structure). If you want to make this a smaller one with only the OS, and plan to install all your applications and data files on a different Partition, NOW is the time to do that. Make your first Primary Partition for the OS the size you decide - maybe 50 GB, or whatever is best. Do all of your installation and updating this way.
6. When you have Windows operating, use its Disk Management to Create from the remaining Unallocated Space on that one HDD a second Primary Partition (not bootable) that uses up all the rest of that HDD, and Format it by installing the NTFS File System. This will be a data disk.
7. Now install / connect the second 1 TB old HDD and use Disk Management to Create and Format a Primary Partition on it for data, too. It may be the whole HDD, or you may decide to make more than one Partition on this second HDD unit. Either way, the Partition(s) do NOT need to be bootable. In doing this you write a new Partition Table to that drive, replacing any old info about its former use in a RAID0 array.
8. Now install / connect your third HDD, and set up its Partition(s) in the same manner.
9. Now you have three HDD's installed, containing four (or more) Partitions, each named with its own letter and treated as a separate "drive" and ready to use. The first one is your C: drive that you boot from.
10. Within Windows, establish where certain key system files are to be located - Page File, My Documents, etc. It can be an advantage to place the Page File (Virtual Memory) NOT on the same HDD as the boot drive. That way access to those two frequently-accessed resources will be split between two physical units and be marginally faster. That is, it should be either on the SECOND 1 TB unit or on the 2 TB unit.
August 25, 2010 1:14:43 PM

Thanks Paperdoc for taking the time to detail the correct procedure. Couple of quick questions before I do this:

Paperdoc said:

If you want to make this a smaller one with only the OS, and plan to install all your applications and data files on a different Partition, NOW is the time to do that.


By 'NOW' do you mean during the installation of windows, just before or just after it?

------------

The option of RAIDing the first 2 HDDs (at level 0) is still there right, even if I later add the 2TB HDD as a normal drive? What i mean is, can I have 2 of my HDDs in RAID and the third one outside of the RAID (in AHCI mode)?
a c 342 G Storage
August 26, 2010 6:12:10 PM

I mean during the Windows Install. When starting from a brand new empty disk (or, in your case, from an older HDD that has been emptied), the first thing the Install routine does is survey what HDD units are available, then ask you to confirm its default plans for how to make the bootable first Primary Partition. (It has to Create and Format a Partition to put the data on.) I am not sure what Partition size it will suggest, but that is when you choose to change the size to whatever you have decided. It will also offer choices like making it bootable (may not give you this choice, because it MUST be bootable for the OS to install), installing the NTFS File System, and doing a Full Format. A Full Format takes MANY hours because it checks EVERY sector of the HDD for reliability, and I really do think this is a good idea for re-using a disk that has been in use for a while. Most of these settings will already be correct by default, except the size.
!