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One drive in RAID 1 array keeps disappearing

Last response: in Storage
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July 16, 2012 12:50:30 PM

I've setup a RAID 1 array using two identical seagate 500GB drives (OS is installed on a separate physical drive)... the array is for data only.

RAID has been enabled in the BIOS & both seagate drives are recognised during initialization. I'm able to configure both drives into an array using the AMD RAIDXpert Utility & an unassigned volume appears in Disk Management. Everything seems fine up to this point. However, as soon as I format the drive in Disk Management (assigning a volume name & drive letter), one of the drives in the array disappears. The volume is still listed as being 'healthy', but RAIDXpert warns me that the array is 'critical'... its as if one of the drives has failed or has been removed.

Any thoughts?

James.
a b G Storage
July 16, 2012 1:08:45 PM

my thoughts are forget the RAID1 and just copy the data you want, every other day, or however frequent. A RAID1 is pointless IMO
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July 17, 2012 11:54:01 AM

Before upgrading to Windows 7 (64 bit), I'd used a RAID card in my old system... this is no longer compatible, so I wanted to switch to a RAID setup using either the MB BIOS or through Windows.

I take the point that RAID 1 may be overkill, but I've been happy with it in the past. Simply stating "don't use RAID" as a response to my question isn't really what I was hoping for. Even if I end up abandoning my current arrangement, I'd still like to get to the bottom of why this is happening.
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a b G Storage
July 17, 2012 12:26:07 PM

Check your SATA cables and connections. I have had a problem myself in the past with a drive disappearing and reappearing, and a new cable was all it took to remedy my situation.
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a b G Storage
July 17, 2012 3:47:46 PM

I would have to have experience using the same software you are, in order to comprehensively give you an answer, and unfortunately I have and use Intel cpus.

But let's start at the beginning, before we get into Windows... Have you enabled the RAID Manager that starts during POST? (I believe it might be CTRL-F) and have you checked and tried to fix from there?

So.. in windows, why are you using Disk Management to format the Array, why can't you do it in the AMD software?
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a b G Storage
July 17, 2012 4:05:56 PM

After reading this... http://download.asrock.com/manual/raid/AOD790GX128M/Eng...
I have a better understanding of the software you're using... and see where it states "Before you can use your new logical drive, you must partition and format the logical drive using your PC’s operating system."
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July 17, 2012 5:38:34 PM

There are a few things that can cause this quite often it's a power issue @ boot or resume especially if the drive keeps reappearing. So try taking the the boot drive off the same SATA power lead.

I personally only use BIOS level RAID (Ctrl + F) and not a 'software' i.e. Windows or App(s).

So if it were 'me' copy that data to a different drive(s), delete the old array and start from scratch. I assume the 'AMD RAID Driver' is properly installed and the AMD SATA Ports -> RAID are set in the BIOS.

Q - What MOBO?
Q - What SATA Ports?
Q - What OS?
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July 25, 2012 1:32:46 PM

ok... an update & some more details

MOBO: Gigabyte GA-MA785GT-UD3H
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (x64)
Processor: AMD Athlon II x4 635 (2.9Ghz)

Physical drives are installed as follows...

SATA2_0: 1TB drive (Boot/Windows installation)
SATA2_1: DVD Writer
SATA2_2: 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm
SATA2_3: 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm

The boot drive & dvd writer & connected with the same power cable... the two 500GB drives are connected with separate power cables.

Steps taken so far...

1. RAID enabled in BIOS
2. RAID1 array created using BIOS utility (CTRL+F) & assigning the two 500GB drives to it
3. RAID driver updated in Device Manager (AMD AHCI compatible RAID controller v 3.3.1540.17)
4. In Disk Management, the RAID array appears as a single unallocated volume
5. Right-click on volume & select 'New Simple Volume...', assigning a drive letter (X) & volume name

As soon as the volume is created, the AMD RAIDXpert utility notifies that the array is 'critical'. Opening up the utility shows that the drive attached to port 4 (SATA2_3) has disappeared. A scan of the drives during BOOT also confirms that the array is critical (since in effect one half of the array is missing).

Short of replacing the drive, is there anything else I can do? Both drives appear to be healthy & don't contain any errors when they're installed as separate volumes
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Best solution

July 25, 2012 1:49:47 PM

Obviously for 'now' backup the data then I'd Delete (break) the RAID then each drive I'd do a FULL format and not a Quick Format.

Ref ; note 'Full Erase' - http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/203931e...
Ref ; SeaTools for DOS - http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/seatools/# Download -> https://apps1.seagate.com/downloads/request.html
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a b G Storage
July 25, 2012 3:33:01 PM

May be a dumb question, but, do your Seagate drives support RAID? What's the model number?
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July 25, 2012 5:22:00 PM

Seagate's support RAID, but most WD's don't (most lack TLER).
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July 26, 2012 9:09:46 AM

@Dingo07... both drives were purchased together. I've pulled one & it's S/N is 9QM3F7Y5. The drives were previously working under XP Professional (before upgradung to Windows 7) when they were connected to a dedicated RAID card. Had to abandon the card as its not supported in Windows 7.

@Jaquith... I'll have a go at doing a FULL format on both drives & try to setup the array again. Do I need to use the SeaTools for DOS, or can I get away with the SeaTools for Windows application?
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July 26, 2012 12:21:19 PM

Either App, SeaTools for DOS will do the equivalent of a SecureErase which is good.
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July 26, 2012 3:12:22 PM

ok... might be getting somewhere.

Full erase on the first drive went successfully. The second one, which keeps disappearing during the RAID setup, failed almost straight away.

Using SeaTools for DOS, I carried out a long scan to try & repair the drive, but without success... an error code of A4DDDB4C was generated. I've since contacted Seagate to learn that the drive is still under warranty... looks like I'll be getting a replacement.

I'll update again when the replacement drive is installed.
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July 26, 2012 6:19:39 PM

Sorry & Happy to hear, at least you're getting a new HDD and know once any for sure the one drive is bad.

Good Luck and let me know! :) 
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August 12, 2012 7:49:25 PM

A quick update to bring this issue to a close...

After a lengthy wait to receive the replacement hard drive (NOT the fault of Seagte I should add... a mix-up by DHL resulted in having to wait an extra week), it has since been installed, formatted & configured as one half of a RAID 1 array. All information from the original array has also been restored.

A big thanks to everyone who contributed to solving this, particularly jaquith... despite the time spent trying to resolve the issue through driver updates, etc. it has been an education. Good tips on analysing hard drives for failures. I'd also like to recommend Seagate for their excellent customer support... a quibble-free exchange on a hard drive that had been bought on ebay around three years ago.

Cheers.
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August 12, 2012 7:56:53 PM

Trust me I know the feeling. Glad to hear all is well!

Yep, Seagate is a good company. In the US they offer a $10 2-day shipping option.

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August 14, 2012 9:55:15 AM

Best answer selected by jpaherron.
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