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Installing RAID1 on Dimension 8400 Running WINXP

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Anonymous
September 23, 2005 10:52:14 PM

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

After my hard disk crashed last week, I discovered that my Dimension
8400 has an Intel 82801FR SATA RAID Controller built in. I now have
two 160 GB HD and one is empty. I spent most of the afternoon trying
to install the drivers to use this capability.

Question 1: Is there a good description on how to install RAID1
capability? The readme files are hard to follow.

Question 2: I seem to be stuck on implementing the F6 utility to read
in my drivers before completing the WINXP startup. I cannot get the F6
key to kick in. I have installed the Intel utility, but it does not
appear to be working. Also, I am not sure the chip utility is working
either.

Can anyone lend some guidance here?

Stephen
September 24, 2005 1:02:42 PM

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

On 23 Sep 2005 18:52:14 -0700, hiemstra@yahoo.com wrote:

>
>Question 2: I seem to be stuck on implementing the F6 utility to read
>in my drivers before completing the WINXP startup. I cannot get the F6
>key to kick in. I have installed the Intel utility, but it does not
>appear to be working. Also, I am not sure the chip utility is working

F6 isn't rocket science but what they don't tell you is that it takes
a while until it kicks in! It seems like it doesn't do anything at
first. But it does work, many of us use it frequently on installs.

Unless you have a good reason to run RAID, I don't recommend it unless
you are doing it for the learning experience.
September 24, 2005 1:05:54 PM

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

On Sat, 24 Sep 2005 11:22:23 GMT, "Tom Scales" <tomtoo@softhome.net>
wrote:

>Hank,
>
>Since the Raid controller is integrated with the motherboard, I do not
>believe you will see any of the messages you describe in Question 1. Those
>are more likely from the BIOS of a separate card.
>
>Tom

I've never done this particular model, but all the ones I've done do
have a prompt to configure the RAID. This is regardless of whether it
is a MB system, or an add-on card. (Actually it is necessary to
configure the raid regardless prior to using it.)

Again, FWIW, MSFT recommends the system partition not be on a raid
volume. (sounds screwey right, but it's true....)
Related resources
Anonymous
September 24, 2005 2:21:47 PM

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

I seem to be making progress. I was able to under take the F6 using my
WINXP CD and booting to it. This allowed me to update the driver. I
was also able to install the Dell application utility.

Earlier, however, I updated my bios from A02 to A07 and I do not see a
RAID option. Am I missing something? Also, when I try to mirror my
drive, the XP help system suggests that XP does not support that
option. I am not given the option in Disk Admin to create a disk with
the same drive letter, C , as my primary drive. Clearly, I am missing
something here too.

Do you have any suggestions?

Stephen
Anonymous
September 24, 2005 9:02:01 PM

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

Hank,

I have not seen any requests to configure my RAID controller. (What is
POST?)

The drivers that I have installed do not appear to do much even though
XP seems to happy with them. It makes me wonder who provides the
capability to set up the RAID drives themselves since XP's help system
suggests that XP cannot do it.

Stephen
Anonymous
September 26, 2005 2:58:36 AM

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

I found the BIOS command to switch on RAID with Dell support's help
this afternoon and I was able to configure the controller like you
indicated. After that I installed WINXP several times--it cycled. In
fact, I was unable to get it to stop cycling.

I formatted both hard-drives, then it reformatted my c:\ drive. I
finally installed the accelerator drivers, but could not get my system
to boot the new installation, even after adjusting the BIOS to raise
the priority on the RAID array in the boot order.

Any suggestions?

Stephen
Anonymous
September 26, 2005 1:01:08 PM

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

Peter,

Is there a specific reason not to? What is the alternative?


Stephen


> >Any suggestions?
> Yes, do not install Windows on a raid partition/drive.
September 26, 2005 1:54:36 PM

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

On 25 Sep 2005 22:58:36 -0700, "hiemstra@yahoo.com"
<hiemstra@yahoo.com> wrote:

>I found the BIOS command to switch on RAID with Dell support's help
>this afternoon and I was able to configure the controller like you
>indicated. After that I installed WINXP several times--it cycled. In
>fact, I was unable to get it to stop cycling.
>
>I formatted both hard-drives, then it reformatted my c:\ drive. I
>finally installed the accelerator drivers, but could not get my system
>to boot the new installation, even after adjusting the BIOS to raise
>the priority on the RAID array in the boot order.
>
>Any suggestions?

Yes, do not install Windows on a raid partition/drive.
Anonymous
September 27, 2005 12:04:07 AM

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

hiemstra@yahoo.com wrote:
> After my hard disk crashed last week, I discovered that my Dimension
> 8400 has an Intel 82801FR SATA RAID Controller built in. I now have
> two 160 GB HD and one is empty. I spent most of the afternoon trying
> to install the drivers to use this capability.
>
> Question 1: Is there a good description on how to install RAID1
> capability? The readme files are hard to follow.
>
> Question 2: I seem to be stuck on implementing the F6 utility to read
> in my drivers before completing the WINXP startup. I cannot get the F6
> key to kick in. I have installed the Intel utility, but it does not
> appear to be working. Also, I am not sure the chip utility is working
> either.
>
> Can anyone lend some guidance here?
>
> Stephen
>

I've experimented with both RAID 1 and RAID 0 on my dimension 8400

1st: You have to go into BIOS and make sure that both drives are
actually enabled and then go into the menu and turn RAID ON.

2nd: When you boot your machine, you should see a POST message about
the two RAID drives and you should have keyboard option to press to
actually go into RAID controller configuration. It's in here that you
will set up the computer for RAID 1 and the hard drive size.

3rd: If you are loading Windows XP (home or Pro) with SP2 you will NOT
have to hit F6 to insert a driver utility. The needed drives are
included on the Dell provided Windows XP media.

4th: Start Windows OS load, you should see 1 C drive of 160GB (probably
about 145 actuall) and the load process should be like normal.
Anonymous
September 27, 2005 8:48:28 AM

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

I appear to have resolved my problems with installing RAID1 using the
built in 82801FR SATA RAID controller. The controller supports both
RAID0 and RAID1. I have installed RAID1 using two 160 GB drives, one
WD and one Maxtor, on Windows XP Professional with Service pack 2 on my
Dell Dimension 8400.

The sequence that lead to my getting through this setup appears as
follows:
1. Select RAID option in BIOS (I have A07 Dell BIOS)
2. Configure RAID with CNTL-I
3. Install the Intel Accelerator driver before the WINXP OS with F6
procedure provided by WINXP setup
4. Install WINXP
5. Install other drivers, especially the Intel Chipset driver and
Accelerator application
Most of my problems revolved around getting the sequence right. The
readme files were vague on the first couple steps.

In particular, I had trouble finding the BIOS option (it is found in
the menu on hard-drives at the bottom under SATA) and a problem because
I installed RAID after the OS. This latter problem cause XP to cycle
through the formatting process because it did not recognize the RAID
array and installed itself on the drives separately. The WINXP RAID
driver was not adequate to resolve this problem, apparently.

Another annoying problem was that WINXP wanted at first to install
itself with the letter H:\. (In past experience, non-c:\ installations
make it impossible to install some software packages because they are
hardwired to a C:\ root.) When it prompted me to install on H:\, I
finally resolved to delete the partition on H:\ and then it prompted me
again to install on C:\. I wish that Microsoft would give users an
option to change the drive letter at that point rather than forcing the
user to do a trial and error thing.

Another point of confusion is the help system in WINXP. Various server
platforms, like Microsoft Server 2003, offer RAID capabilities
implemented in software, but not WINXP Pro. This is a hardware
implementation, not a software implementation, although the Admin tool
makes it look like it should provide support. WINXP's help menu led me
to believe that I was running down a rabbit hole, when it should have
tipped me off that some motherboards provide a RAID controller--I
suspect the absence of the tip reflects the fact that this is a new
offering that was not available will WINXP was first rolled out.

Anyhow, the learning curve here has kept me busy nights and weekends
since Friday--it is now Tuesday.

Stephen
September 27, 2005 1:45:26 PM

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

On Mon, 26 Sep 2005 09:54:36 -0400, PeterD <peter2@hipson.net> wrote:


>
>Yes, do not install Windows on a raid partition/drive.

I'll look and see what the reference I had was. It was not a hard and
fast "you can never do" rule, but a best practices one. The reason may
have been as simple as more difficult recovery, I do recall some
performance issues were considered when the paging file was on a raid,
but that could have been more complex a problem.

REgardless when I build a server, I put the system on a drive of its
own, and then create my RAID set from the remaining drives and use
them for the 'data'.
Anonymous
September 27, 2005 1:45:27 PM

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

PeterD wrote:
>
> On Mon, 26 Sep 2005 09:54:36 -0400, PeterD <peter2@hipson.net> wrote:
>
> >
> >Yes, do not install Windows on a raid partition/drive.
>
> I'll look and see what the reference I had was. It was not a hard and
> fast "you can never do" rule, but a best practices one. The reason may
> have been as simple as more difficult recovery, I do recall some
> performance issues were considered when the paging file was on a raid,
> but that could have been more complex a problem.
>
> REgardless when I build a server, I put the system on a drive of its
> own, and then create my RAID set from the remaining drives and use
> them for the 'data'.

Interesting.

While most people use a mirroring configuration to have an emergency
copy of the system, in case of a catastrophic hard drive event, you
use it as a data backup.

What happens if your system drive crashes?

Notan
!