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Do I HAVE to set my 2nd & 3rd Hard Drives to "Active"

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  • Hard Drives
  • Partition
  • Storage
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a c 99 G Storage
March 25, 2011 3:06:08 AM

This thread may need to be under Windows, but it applies to hard drives, too.

I never noticed in the past, but do I HAVE to set my 2nd & 3rd hard drives to "Active?" I just installed, partitioned as 1 large hard drive each, and formatted in Disk Management in Windows 7. Now if I right click in the pane for the drives, I have the option to "Mark Partition as Active." DO I HAVE TO DO THAT?

I know that the "boot disk" HAS to have the primary partion set to active in order to boot the drive.

I also know that if you partition up a hard drive, you CAN set the first partition to active, otherwise know as the logical drive, not extended drive. This can have somthing to do with drive letter assignment, and other stuff.

But since the other drives are NOT the primary drive, and NOT broken up into smaller partitions, do I have to set them to active? Should I?

** Edit** I just discovered that I CAN NOT set my 4TB RAID0 array drive to active. I think I know why: Windows, BIOS limitations. Yes, I set the drive(s) to GPT (GUID Partition Table) upon discovery by Windows. Else, I couldn't have a drive size over 2.19TB, nor used more than 2TB in Windows. It broke the RAID array into 2 partions, and I couldn't use the second partition at all. See, I do know somethings.

Thank You for your replies.

I have them set to active on another PC, so I'll try NOT on this one.

More about : set 2nd 3rd hard drives active

March 25, 2011 6:49:51 AM

Nice investigation, foscooter
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a c 99 G Storage
March 25, 2011 3:21:01 PM

No mention of setting the drive active here.

But on this webpage, it says NO. Only one drive (partition) need/should be set active in Windows (the primary boot drive). But, later in on the page, it says you CAN set other drives to active...

I know how to "re-set" the drive(s) to "non-active" using diskpart, so I will on my other somputer.

Any futher replies?
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a c 353 G Storage
March 25, 2011 3:32:04 PM

Know what you are talking about.
Example
Under XP and eariler using two HDDs each with 2 partitions.
If you set the first partition as Primary on disk 1 and 2 and the second partition on each drive as Extended. XP assifned drive leters as Drive 0 as "C" and "E" and the drive leters on drive 1 as "D" and "F" (Assigned drive leters in order of 1st each primary partition found then it "Back tracked" and asigned sequentially each extended partion. In the case of two operating system, one on each drive, and using the Install operating system one one drive, remove that drive and install on 2nd drive. When selecting which drive to boot from, Windows will change which drive is "C" (In XP it would suap drive leters C and D.

Looks like they did away with that in Win 7 (Can not remember if in vista you had the option of Primary vs extended Partition.

On your 4TB drive. Did you try to setup the strip array (volumn) for less than the full size.

For example on my 2 drive 1.2 TB raid0) What I do when I create the strip array, I set the size of the array to approximatly what I want (ie for Operating system + programs I set it to say 400 Gigs). I then set up the remainder of the drive as a 2nd stripped set (Can use two differend strip size say 64K for first and 128 K for 2nd - Just an example).

This is different than partitioning a drive in windows. Windows will report NOT 1 drive, but two seperate drives, Drive 0, 400 gig capacity, and drive 1 with 800 gigs. on drive 1 I can then partition it in to smaller size using windows disk management.

In your case you could set up two two gig strip volumes and windows should see two 2 gig HDDs which you can then partition as you desire.
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a c 99 G Storage
March 25, 2011 4:09:19 PM

Thanks RetiredCheif (again). This is getting off topic, now.

If you read closedly, I set to 2 more RAID 0 arrays when I added 2 more HDDs. This is mostly for size, not speed (only see 50% increase in HDD speed, from 100Mbps to 140-150Mbps reads).

I originally had 1 RAID 0 array, now I have 3:

Array 0: 2 x Intel X25-M 40GB SSD = 80GB C Drive: Boot Disk/Programs
Array 1: 2 x Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB = 2TB D Drive: Data & Media
Array 3: 2 x Samsung SpinPoint F4 2TB = 4TB* E Drive: Back Up & Storage

To keep it simple, the drive are all partitioned as one large drive (except for the SSD, for SSD in RAID reasons: 85% use, 15% unused: 100MB System Reserved partition, 64 GB for OS & Programs, 16GB unused/unallocated for disk self-optimization)

*To get over the 2TB limit in Windows (and BIOS won't let me boot to it anyway, as if), the drive was set to GPT, not MBR, upon Windows recognizing the drive array in Disk Management. If you want to know what GPT is, google "GUI Partition Table." MBR has a 2.19 TB size limit (2.19 × 10^12 bytes). GPT have a 9.4 ZB limit (9.4 x 10^21 bytes). YES, Zeta-byte=1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or a thousand million million bytes, or 1 billion terabytes.

The drives are up and running. Right now the drives are copying there respective data from my wifes networked computer, which has the same data. I run a utility (Microsoft SyncToy) to merge new/changed data to/on each system, so the D & E drives mirror each other (except for Windows backups).

Windows has no issues with this size now. I think. Iwill post another thread to ask other questions here.
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a c 143 G Storage
March 25, 2011 8:12:15 PM

This topic has been closed by Tecmo34
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