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One drive failing in mirrored RAID-1 -- what to do?

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September 13, 2010 7:46:35 PM

Hi,
I have a 5-year old Dell XPS-400 desktop with two RAID-1 (mirrored) disks. The desktop won't boot up, I get a BSOD stop D1 in iastor.sys . There's a Dell technical article http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/en/document?c=ca&dl=false&l=en&s=gen&docid=20D0A093855D3F0AE0401E0A55170808&doclang=en&cs= that mentions this is a known problem with the disk controller driver. However, following those instructions I still cannot boot; their solution doesn't work for me.

When I run hard drive diagnostics I get:
Drive 0 -- pass
Drive 2 -- Fail. Return code 7 (Dell support say this means Drive 2 is failing).

My question: Assuming Drive 0 is okay, can I switch the machine to boot from that drive using Intel Matrix Storage Manager or settings in the BIOS. And is there a safe way to do this with no data loss?

Thanks,
rebjl

a b G Storage
September 14, 2010 10:53:45 PM

You should be able to add a new HDD, the same size as the good one, boot into windows and use Intel Matrix Storage Manager to rebuild the volume on to the new HDD.
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September 15, 2010 4:39:39 PM

The steps for recovering can vary greatly by vendor. Get a replacement drive and follow the vendor's instructions for restriping. Some will allow you to just replace the failing drive. Others I have seen have very specific steps to remirror and can lose data if done incorrectly.
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September 17, 2010 7:44:55 PM

treefrog07, djackson_dba,
Thanks for your answers. I ran chkdsk on both drives on another PC via a USB enclosure. Upon replacing the drives, I was able to successfully boot and apply the driver update.
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a b G Storage
September 18, 2010 3:21:02 AM

You're welcome.
Did you get your RAID1 volume to rebuild?
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September 18, 2010 6:29:41 PM

treefrog07,
I've already bought a replacement drive but I was wondering on whether or not to hold off on replacing the "failing" drive until RAID says it's actually degraded. Although the drive fails the hardware diagnostics, the Intel Storage Manager still indicates that the RAIL1 volume status is OK. Is it possible the hardware diagnostics give false positives?

Also, I can't figure out an easy way of identifying the physical disk that corresponds to "Drive 2 -- Fail. Return code 7". I suppose I could unplug one disk and rerun hardware diagnostics, but I'm guessing that that would "break" the RAID array.
Thanks
m
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l
!