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Add Raid 1 setup to existing machine with non raid drive

Last response: in Storage
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May 1, 2011 1:18:37 AM

Hi Guys,

I just purchased some new drives to upgrade my computer. I was running a 200gb Seagate IDE drive with windows vista and the computer was just SO slow. So I purchased an SSD along with two 1TB drives with the idea I would run the two large drives as Raid1 for some data security and use the SSD as the main system drive.

So my current setup is:

Mainboard: Asus P5Q3 Deluxe WiFi
Graphics: Gigabyte GTX280 1GB
CPU: Intel Q9550 Core2 Quad
Memory: G.Skill 10600 DDR3 x 4GB
Power: Zalman ZM1000-HP
Drive1: 60GB OCZ Vertex2 SSD
Drive2: 1TB Seagate
Drive3: 1TB Seadate
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

I attempted setting up all the drives in one go but kept running into errors where the system would no longer recognise the SSD for boot. I could see all 3 drives in BIOS, but the two HDD's would not show in Windows. Both before and after switching to RAID in BIOS and setting up the raid drive in post bios.

So I have just left the two HDD's unplugged and setup a fresh copy of Windows on the SSD.

What would my steps be now in plugging in the two HDDs and setuping up a RAID1 configuration without upsetting the non-raid SSD main drive?

Appreciate the help as I've not played around with raid before (or SATA for that matter :sarcastic:  - bit behind the times) and I'm a little confused as I've followed the steps in all the instructions I've found without much luck.

Cheers
Derrick
a c 82 G Storage
May 1, 2011 2:06:45 AM

Did you setup RAID before installing Vista (even though the SSD is not a RAID member)? If so, then you should be able to add the SATA drives as members of a RAID 1. Then add the new array to Vista just like you would for a normal drive. Finally you should install the latest Intel Rapid Storage drivers.
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a c 342 G Storage
May 1, 2011 3:44:34 AM

Well, you've already done one important step. You disconnected the HDD's and re-installed Win 7 with only the SSD connected. Why is that important? Well, when Win 7 is installed it looks around for ALL the HDD's in the system. If it finds any other than the drive you are installing to, it puts a spare copy of itself on that drive, too, for use in case of disastrous loss of the main installation. The trouble is, it then insists that the second drive MUST be present and readable every time it boots, even though it is NOT booting from the second drive with the spare backup! The way to defeat this "automatic spare copy" thing is NOT to have any drives attached when you Install, except for the actual drive you install to.

So, you got that step done right now. Next you physically install your two HDD's and connect their cables. Boot directly into BIOS Setup and there you set your SATA ports to RAID mode, Save and Exit. When your system reboots you will see a screen prompt to enter the RAID Configuration utility. Go there and follow the steps to assign your two HDD's to a RAID1 array (that is your choice of RAID's), and simply do NOT assign the SSD to any RAID array. By default, any drive device not assigned to a particular RAID array is NOT used as a RAID device. If necessary, tell it to wipe out any old Partitions or data on the HDD's. Finish configuring the RAID array of two drives. This usually will not only create an array, but do all the work necessary to Partition and Format that pair of drives for this setup. When it is finished and you proceed with the rest of the boot process, I fully expect that Win 7 will detect the addition to your system of a new drive device, a RAID1 array, and will load into itself the necessary RAID driver so it can use that new device. Once that's done you should see the RAID array as a SINGLE "drive" in My Computer. You cannot BOOT from this array because Win 7 has to boot itself first from a device it understands (like the SSD) before it can load the RAID device driver. But that is how you want it to work, so everything is OK.

A small note on sequence, here. In the systems I have done, it is hard or impossible to tell Windows to load a RAID driver if there is no RAID device. So the sequence above works - install Windows first, then connect and configure the RAID array, and let Windows detect the new device and install drivers for it. In some cases you may have to install the RAID driver(s) yourself, but only AFTER you have connected the drives and configured the array in the BIOS Setup and RAID Configuration screens.

As GhislainG advised, it might be a really good idea to update whatever driver Win 7 installs to the latest correct one for your mobo's chipset.
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May 1, 2011 10:52:58 PM

Thanks Paperdoc, I'll give this a try tonight!

Previously when I had setup the SSD as a non raid drive with Windows installed and then set the two drives to a single raid1 configuration the system wouldn't boot.

It would give the old 'cant find boot device message'. In BIOS under boot priority I could no longer select the SSD as the primary device :??: 

I'll try again tonight exactly as you've described above and report back what happens!



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May 2, 2011 12:13:18 PM

You forgot to install the raid driver.
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May 2, 2011 1:45:26 PM

ok....so I had another go at this tonight.

1) Plugged in the two HDD's
2) Opened BIOS, set the drive configuration to raid
3) Opened the Raid setup and established a raid1 configuration adding the two new HDDs.

All good so far, the drives show up with the SSD noted as non raid and the two other as members of the Raid1 setup.

Restart.

Computer fails to boot asking for a boot device.

Realise my USB drive is plugged in. Unplug the USB hard drive, enter BIOS and set the boot priority. Under my options now shows "RAID: OCZ..." which is the SSD, but no other hard drives. So I just set the boot priorty to the SSD first followed by CD rom.

Restart.

Windows begins to load....as the windows 7 icon forms on screen the screen flickers to a 'blue screen of death' and the computer restarts.

Restart gives you the option to start with repair. Windows repair is unable to resolve the problem.

Restart.

Delete the Raid1 setup.

Restart...same issue

Restart....enter BIOS and switch back to IDE leaving the two HDD's in place

Restart....Windows starts. The two HDD's show under Hardware Manager but are not recognised as a volume under My Computer.

What the hell is going on?

I head to the ASUS site and download any and all drives relating to starage for Windows 7 64Bit. Most wont install compaining that the computer is not setup for it etc....

I thought this was a pretty straight forward process. The raid volume establishes and the drives show correctly...but no go!

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated!
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May 2, 2011 1:53:57 PM

Under Device Manager I have:

Storage Controllers - Marvell 61xx RAID Controller, which has been updated to the latest driver..

...just in case it helps
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Best solution

a c 82 G Storage
May 2, 2011 2:12:29 PM

Quote:
Windows begins to load....as the windows 7 icon forms on screen the screen flickers to a 'blue screen of death' and the computer restarts.
This is to be expected if RAID wasn't enabled before installing the OS. Please read this article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976 as it should resolve your boot issue when RAID is enabled.

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May 2, 2011 10:37:50 PM

I see. Thanks GhisIainG!

Will try again this evening.

You would think, perhaps, that this would be a common enough occurrence that the windows startup repair would detect the issue & enable the appropriate drivers??...
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May 4, 2011 4:38:55 AM

ok this appears to have worked as the system has now started with the Raid volume established.

I still can't see it as a drive under My Computer....but under hardware manager it appears. I assume there are some more steps I need to take within windows so will google that when I get back home tonight.
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May 4, 2011 9:40:56 AM

perfect...thanks for all the help guys! All sorted!
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May 8, 2011 11:03:27 PM

Best answer selected by DeZZar82.
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