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ASUS P4C-800 E Deluxe, switching from RAID 1 to non-RAID IDE

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January 30, 2013 8:20:08 PM

I'm using the ASUS P4C-800 E Deluxe motherboard and am operating in Windows XP Pro, SP3. My two hard drives, each a WD 750GB are in a RAID 1 (mirror) array, connected to the SATA-RAID connectors on the mbd. I'd like to switch from the RAID 1 configuration to a non-RAID, IDE configuration[, using only 1 hard drive. How do I do this in a reliable fashion? (The ASUS Motherboard User Guide does not seem to address this issue, i.e., switching from RAID to non-RAID.)

I have already attempted changing the Operating Mode in the BIOS CPU Configuration
setting from RAID to IDE. This didn't work. However I have NOT attempted to delete the
array in the Promise FastBuild Utility, being not sure that (1), it's necessary and (2), what ramifications that would result in (currently the machine is operational with the RAID configuration; wasn't sure if by deleting the array and I couldn't boot up, I'd be able to "step back to the array" and still have a working machine).

I'm also considering disabling the Onboard Promise Controller in the BIOS Advanced
settings and disconnecting one hard drive from the SATA-RAID connector on the mbd, but
I'm not sure what that would result in.

Many thanks for you help,
georgen
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January 30, 2013 8:45:10 PM

Are the drives connected to the Intel or the Promise controller? Is the RAID configured in Windows or on the SATA controller? In a RAID 1 configuration, both drives are identical. If you pull one drive the system should still work properly. What do you mean by "I have already attempted changing the Operating Mode in the BIOS CPU Configuration setting from RAID to IDE. This didn't work."? The system no longer boots?
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January 30, 2013 9:11:42 PM

GhislainG said:
Are the drives connected to the Intel or the Promise controller? Is the RAID configured in Windows or on the SATA controller? In a RAID 1 configuration, both drives are identical. If you pull one drive the system should still work properly. What do you mean by "I have already attempted changing the Operating Mode in the BIOS CPU Configuration setting from RAID to IDE. This didn't work."? The system no longer boots?


Thank you GhislainG for your quick reply.

The two drives are connected to the Promise 378 Controller. The RAID is configured in the Promise "FastBuild" utility, entered by pressing <CTRL-F> when booting.. Both drives are identical, WD 750GB Caviar "Black" and indeed, after the computer is up and running, when viewing the drive status in the Computer Management screen, only one drive is (correctly) displayed. When pulling one drive (still in RAID mode), a message advises that the array is in "Critical" status and a few moments later boots up... as it should since in a functional mirror array, either one of the two should permit startup. And with respect to your last question, yes, when changing over from RAID to IDE in the BIOS, the system hangs up and will not boot.
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January 30, 2013 9:24:45 PM

If it works fine with one drive, then the next step should be to undo the RAID. Then the error should no longer be displayed. Complete backups minimise the risks.
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January 30, 2013 10:45:37 PM

GhislainG said:
If it works fine with one drive, then the next step should be to undo the RAID. Then the error should no longer be displayed. Complete backups minimise the risks.



Unfortunately, that was a big failure. As you suggested, I disconnected one of the two drives from the mbd and upon booting up, the Boot Manager displayed the lengthy error message, "Windows did not start successfully." The default option on the screen was to "Start Windows normally" which I selected. This placed me in a never-ending loop wherein SATA378 reports "IDE Bus Master enabled," immediately ollowed by the "Windows did not start successfully" message.

I therefore attempted to go back to my previous setup, i.e., reconnecting the hard drive to the SATA-RAID connector on the mbd and changing the BIOS setting in the Advanced page back from IDE to RAID. However, now I'm seemingly in an even worse situation. Whenever I attempt to start the computer (from a cold boot), FastTrax displays the array as being in a "Critical" state and so, although successful in starting, I'm working on one drive. And strangely, when I enter the Promise FastBuild Utility, although it shows Array 1 in the "Critical" state, in the lower half of the screen it displays both 750GB drives without any error message against either of the two drives (such as "failed or may be disconnected"). I disconnected and reconnected the cable several times to ensure that the cable is secured, but to no avail. So now I don't know what's causing this "Critical" state of the RAID array nor how to fix it.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 234 V Motherboard
January 31, 2013 12:03:42 AM

Connect a drive to the Intel controller to see if it boots. Did you make a complete backup?
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January 31, 2013 2:12:30 AM

I believe the last time I attempted that, several days ago, when booting received "BIOS not found" message. So you'll understand I'm reluctant to do it again. Yes, using Macrium Reflect Pro (excellent software) I have images of all my partitions. But here too, there are re-imaging issues when dealing with a RAID array, and one big reason I wish to revert back to a non-RAID configuration. In my opinion, it really isn't necessary with good imaging software and other backup procedures in place.

About an hour ago, I successfully recovered my array using Option 5, Rebuild Array Menu of the FastBuild Utility. So as a result, I no longer get "Critical"status when starting up with both drives functional. However, I'm back to square one with the two hard drives configured in the RAID 1 Mirror array.

As a very last resort, I am considering deleting (breaking) the array in the FastBuild utility (Option 4) and then redefining it (Option 1). But, I'm not there yet. Should this fail and I have to use my images to restore the drives, I may have other issues. For example, the images were all made with the RAID configuration and as such, are probably "RAID-encoded." So, the restoration, IF successful, may still result in a RAID configuration. It's a real dilemma !
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February 1, 2013 5:01:55 PM

Thank you GhislainG for your time and effort.

Indeed, I too have be reading the FastBuild Utility commands, taking each sentence apart to ensure what is being said. Referring to page 5-31 of the manual, deleting an array ("Delete Array (4):") is discussed. They state, "This command deletes an array to reconfigure the system." However, it does NOT address how to correctly reset the array. After deleting the array, does one exit the RAID BIOS, reboot and return to the RAID BIOS, selecting Option 1, "Auto Setup" and proceed from there? Unfortunately, the procedures is not nearly as clean as when using the Intel RAID for Serial ATA (page 5-34 procedure for "Resetting RAID Sets").

Be that as it may, I agree that in theory it should work and the thread you point out seems very applicable - thank you for locating it. What is interesting is his final paragraphs.

**********************
"Update: I just finished installing my new video card and fiddling around with the hard drives. I deleted the mirror array through the Promise utility, but after I rebooted the utility notified me that I had no array set up for the drives connected to the RAID IDE connectors. After I told it to reboot again, it automatically created two striped arrays, one for each 60 GB HDD. After this happened I disabled the onboard RAID in the BIOS.

After reconnecting the one 60 GB HDD to a non-RAID IDE connector, I am happy to see that the data is still there. "
**********************

Using his procedure, I wonder if after deleting my RAID 1 mirror array in the Fastbuild Utility (as he did), but then, before rebooting, immediately disconnecting one of the two hard drives, the one connected to the SATA-RAID #2 connector, and then, also before rebooting, entering the BIOS and changing over from RAID mode to IDE mode, if this would work?

What do you think?
Thanks again.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
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February 1, 2013 9:47:33 PM

Quote:
Using his procedure, I wonder if after deleting my RAID 1 mirror array in the Fastbuild Utility (as he did), but then, before rebooting, immediately disconnecting one of the two hard drives, the one connected to the SATA-RAID #2 connector, and then, also before rebooting, entering the BIOS and changing over from RAID mode to IDE mode, if this would work?
It makes sense.
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February 2, 2013 1:08:05 AM

SUCCESS!!!

However, after giving it further thought, I decided to do it slightly differently then I originally planned (previous thread). Using the Fastbuild Utility, I first deleted the RAID 1 Mirror Array. Then while still in Fastbuild, I proceed to Option 3, "Define Array", and selected the (now) blank Array 1. This presented me with the possibility of a "Stripe" mode array with my two hard drives displayed, currently in an unassigned condition ("Assignment" = "N"). I moved down to the Channel 1 hard drive and changed the assignment to "Y", leaving Channel 2 as "N" (meaning that I wanted to create a Stripe array with only 1 hard drive). Upon saving this configuration, the program prompted, "Do you want to quick initialize or create only (Yes/No)" where Y = Create and Quick Initialize and N = Create only. I selected "N" (selecting "Y" would have deleted all data on the drive). This resulted in the creation of a RAID 0 Stripe Array using one hard drive (in SATA-RAID #1 position on the mbd). While still in the Fastbuild Utility, I went to the "View Drives Assignments" menu and now Channel 1 was shown as Array 1 in a Functional status, whereas Channel 2 of Array 1 was shown as "Free", meaning that the second hard drive, although still connected to the mbd, is no longer a part of the array and can be removed from the computer. Upon exiting the Fastbuild Utility, the computer restarted without any intervention and immediately went into Windows XP... beautiful!!!

Of course, I still have a RAID configuration, albeit now a RAID 0 with only one drive instead of two. However, knowing what I now know, I believe I'll be able to change this to IDE by simply deleting the RAID 0 Array and changing the BIOS from RAID mode to IDE mode.

Now that this problem has been resolved, I still have one more issue remaining (not previously addressed for fear of over complicating the entire matter), but will not burden you (or any other reader following the thread).

Thank you again for your wonderful help, patience and perseverance. It's a great forum!!!
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a b Ĉ ASUS
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February 2, 2013 1:12:38 AM

Glad you got it working.
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