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RAID 1 Degraded array questions

Last response: in Storage
December 30, 2010 8:14:29 PM

Hi all,

I'm a relative Noob to Raid...About 203 years ago, I setup an offsite pc at a local ISP's shop (the pc's primary use is a streaming radio server) with a raid array and external drive with ghost for additional backups...

The setup was WinXP, 2 seagate SATA 500gb drives setup via Raid 1. Installed the raid then the OS, and applicable apps. NVidia NForce raid BIOS controller and applicable software was installed.

I recently noticed it recently had many crashes and upon investigation, noticed that windows explorer was showing both drives, where before it just showed them as one (mirrored)...Also...the raid software appeared to be gone as well? So...I wasn't getting the mirror and wasn't sure how long it'd been since my secondary drive had mirrored the primary's data. Based on my pc event log, I think the primary drive is going bad and that spurred immediate concern (I didn't want to lost 30k music files and related database info).

When booting, I got the array is degraded message and hit f10 to enter...I wasn't sure what to adjust (both drives showed as degraded and I had options to rebuild either drive. That scared me as I didn't want to lose any data, so i didn't rebuild either. I did change the boot to the secondary drive assuming the primary was going bad...

Windows started up and most data was there...I copied over my music files, database files, etc to the F: (secondary) drive in case the C drive went out...

I then tried to reinstall the motherboard storage drivers for the raid, etc...I eventually got hte drivers installed on the secondary drive. However, when opening the Nvidia storage app, it listed no drives...Uggh...

So...I rebooted and set the bios to boot from the primary drive (C:) ...I then installed the same drivers again. Eventually the apps installed (C Drive would randomly spit out software errors). I opened the Storage app, and it showed both drives in the array. But it said both were mirroring and degraded...

I did a smart self test on the primary and it failed. I then did the smart check on the secondary drive and it passed. So...fearing my primary drive was unreliable, I rebooted and set the bios boot disk to the secondary drive and that's where I'm at now...However, the system limps along and every so often will respond with an error and lose internet connectivity (I'd reinstalled the on board ethernet driver today and not sure if history will repeat itself)...

I don't know where to go from here. Can I just pull out the defective drive and replace it with a new one and rebuild the array through the bio? Is it that simple? What do you recommend?

I have fairly recent ghost images of both drives on the external drive, but I'd prefer not to have to try to reinstall everything (a last resort)...

a b G Storage
January 11, 2011 4:02:53 PM

YOu can try to rebuild the RAID using a new drive and the better drive of them two. After rebuilding it and ensuring all the data is there, I would replace the old drive with a new one and do another rebuild. That way, both drives will be new. I recommend that since both old drives are...old, and already showing signs of failure.
Then, you can restore whatever bits of data are missing from the ghost images you have.
a b G Storage
January 12, 2011 4:35:08 PM

I'd pull the bad drive & see if it runs OK in standalone with the good drive. if so, get a 2nd drive and re-mirror them. I wouldn't mirror unless you know that data is good (chkdsk, smart test, runs w/o errors). house70 has a good idea of replacing both drives, if the money is available. Restore from backup or reinstall.