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RAID by Gigabyte BIOS on Win7 machine (but not utilizing Win7 HDD)

OS: Win7 64-bit OEM System Builder
MB: GA-P67AUD3-B3 Rev1.0 F7
CPU: i7 2600K
GPU: Radeon HD 5750
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw X Series 2x2GB DDR3 2133
PSU: 500W
HDD: 160GB Cav Blue (with OS installed); 3- 2TB Cav Green (2- 20EARS, 1- 20EARX)
OTHER: Ceton InfiniTV PCI CableCard Reader


I am trying to figure out an issue between Windows 7 and my motherboard BIOS. I have Win7 installed my 160GB HDD and am trying to put my 3- 2TB HDDs in RAID 5 using the BIOS utility rather than using Windows Dynamic Disk. I had DynDisk fail, lost all data and had to reinstall Win7 (although it was a non-OS disk that failed). I am trying to set up RAID with Win7 still installed on my 160GB, since I don't plan on putting the 160GB in RAID. I followed the motherboard manual to the "T" (installed the disks, set PCH SATA Conrol Mode to "RAID (XHD)", set up the array) with no issues and the mobo read the new array as RAID 5. I skipped the mobo manual "Install OS" step because I have it installed on the separate HDD. The computer then restarted, attempted to load the OS from my 160GB, but failed and attempted to go to Startup Recovery. Startup Recovery, Win7 Recovery Disc, Win7 Repair Disc, my Win7 System Image, and even trying the Win7 install disc to reformat any/all HDDs failed (although when I got to the page that asked me where I wanted to install Win7, Windows recognized the RAID 5 array here). The Win7 Install utility would not even let me reformat my 160GB OS drive.

Eventually, I tried reversing the BIOS settings I changed for RAID and restarted. The computer started fine and I hadn't lost any data on my 160GB OS disk. It seems like Win7 does not want to recognize the BIOS RAID (or the "RAID XHD" function), there is some minute detail I'm missing in the BIOS setup for RAID, or the steps in the manual are incomplete. Any suggestions? Thanks!
7 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Hey Skytanker2003,

    It sounds like you're trying to set up a new RAID 5 on the same SATA controller you use with a 160GB disk which you already have Windows installed on.

    That's a problem right there. You'll more than likely have to reload your OS onto the 160GB if you simply go into the BIOS and switch the controller's "mode" from IDE/AHCI to RAID.

    It sounds like you've already tried to reload your OS onto the 160GB while you had the 3x2TB RAID 5 set up, but failed. I'd recommend trying to trick Windows into thinking your single 160GB disk is a RAID 0 volume (or JBOD), as I've had success doing that in the past.

    Make sure your controller is set to RAID in the BIOS, restart the machine, and enter the RAID BIOS/console that should be enabled. On a lot of Gigabyte boards I believe the keystroke needed to enter the RAID BIOS/console is CTRL+S.

    Once inside there, blow out all of your RAID assignments, then assign your single 160GB as RAID 0 (or JBOD). After that, assign RAID 5 to your 3x2TB disks, then proceed to install Windows off of your installation media. Have RAID drivers ready for your motherboard should Win7 need them (though based on your post, it sounds like Win7 recognizes your drives fine without extra drivers).

    Good luck!
  2. Correct. I'm using the SATA plugs on the mobo for all drives since the mobo supports RAID (rather than buy a RAID controller or use DynDisk).

    I guess I'll have to see if my mobo supports multiple RAID arrays (R5 and R0 together)...I'm assuming that it doesn't since it's not one of the "high end" models. That's a really good idea though! For me it's CTRL+I for this mobo (for others who are interested).

    Thanks for the good input. I'll snag drivers anyway, in case Win7 dumps info with the reinstall. I'll try that in a little bit. Any chance you think my Win7 system image from before setting 160GB to RAID will recover my settings/data after RAID 0 (since I have it on an external)? Something I may be able to restore to once I have Win7 back up and installed? I ask because I've never had any luck (literally NEVER) with Windows Restore Point, System Restore, System Backup, etc for ANY Windows versions. I've always jacked it up so far beyond that it required a reinstall! :lol:
  3. Best answer
    If you restore an older system image (native/IDE/AHCI) to your newly RAID 0/JBOD 160GB disk, I don't think it'll work. I believe (though not certain by any means) that System Restore will blow out all partition information and reassign the default values associated with your original installation, thus pushing out BSODs on boot (like you seem to have now).

    I haven't tried to convert from Native/IDE/AHCI to RAID on Windows 7 at all, but I've done it in the past with Windows XP's "repair" installation. To my knowledge, Microsoft did away with repair installations when Vista came out, and naturally extended that to Win7... But I digress. I think there was a thread around here somewhere detailing how to convert non-raid boot volumes to RAID without having to format & reload the OS.

    It sucks, I know, but I think your best option is to dump the data from your backup image to the new Windows installation as opposed to trying to restore the whole thing.
  4. rageaholic said:
    Hey Skytanker2003,

    That's a problem right there. You'll more than likely have to reload your OS onto the 160GB if you simply go into the BIOS and switch the controller's "mode" from IDE/AHCI to RAID.

    Skytankers, since you're at the point of taking pot shots to try and get things to work, the RAID0 trick is worth trying. Here's a few more things for your potshot ammunition.

    I read that your motherboard has 2x 6Gb/s and 4x 3Gb/s controllers. For the hell of it, I'd try forming the RAID without the 160GB disk plugged in, with the 3x2TB discs on the 3Gb/s channels. If it successfully does that turn the machine off and plug the 160GB into one of the 6Gb channels and turn it on.

    Combined with that, there should be a mode toggle of legacy/native for ports 0-3 if you haven't tried that yet

    Also, the EFI support for installing OS's to 2TB+ I'd just enable it for the hell of it, because there's always a possibility of success turning something on that says "T2B+ support" when your 2TB drives aren't working :D

    I don't know about this, what do you think, rageaholic?:

    Have you tried starting W7 in safe mode with the RAID5 hooked up?

    Have you updated the firmware of your motherboard? Revision 1.0 boards always have the first generation of bugs so it may fix:\

    You could try to make a system image of the 160GB disk via Win7 onto an external disk, wipe the 160GB, and re-image onto the disc in it's new mode. I bet it'd use the new configuration properly since Win7 system images don't take MBR of the HDD or anything, but they do take every byte of data from your W7 install and you can put it onto any new disk.

    Or just image the sonofabitch over to the RAID, boot to it, and call it a day. Lol. You'll increase your performance a lot too. Unless you're going mobile, and since you're going to have parity, I don't see much of a point in keeping the OS on the 160GB disk unless you need to churn a page file or something. You'd still get much better performance even if the OS were on the same drive since your RAID will be so damn big. And fast.
  5. Best answer selected by skytanker2003.
  6. The end issue was that the motherboard couldn't support 2 different sets of RAID and I would be required to get a RAID card. Without spending over $200, I wasn't able to find a RAID card that didn't have unrecoverable data with disk failures (which defeated my purpose for RAID) so I'm going with a JBOD setup with an automatic data backup software to auto-backup any new data to multiple disks. Not the best solution, but best way I can think of safeguarding my data. All, thanks for the replies and help.
  7. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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