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Using WindowsXP to Make RAID 5 Happen

Test Setup

Intel Processors (Socket 775)
800 MHz FSB (Dual DDR)Intel Pentium 4 Processor 520 (2.8 GHz)
Motherboards
Socket LGA-775ASUS P5GDC-V DeluxeIntel 915P ChipsetBIOS 1002
Memory
DDR SDRAM2x 512 Crucial BallisticTimings: CL 2.5-3-3-7
Common Hardware
Graphics CardnVIDIA GeForce 6 SeriesGPU: NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GTMemory: 256 MB GDDR3-SDRAM
Hard Drive I - OSHitachi HDS722525VLSA80250 GB, 8 MB Cache, 7200 rpm
Hard Drive II - RAIDWestern Digital WD 740 Raptor74 GB, 8 MB Cache, 10,000 rpm
DVD/CD-ROMMSI MS-8216 16x DVD
Software
NVIDIA GraphicNVIDIA Detonator 61.77
Intel Chipset DriverInstallation Utility 6.0.1.1002
DirectX9.0c
OSWindowsXP Professional 5.10.2600, Service Pack 1
Benchmarks & Measurements
Office ApplicationsZD WinBench 99 - Business Disk Winmark 2.0 c't h2benchw
High-End ApplicationsZD WinBench 99 - High-End Disk Winmark 2.0
Performance Measurementsc't h2benchw
I/O PerformanceIntel I/O meter 2003.05.10

Benchmark Results

Data Transfer Diagram

  • Can I grow an array made this way? That is, add another disk without having to lose the data currently held on the raid?
    Reply
  • op365
    From past experience with Hardware RAID, you would have to first backup your data and then break the RAID and put in the higher capacity drives and create a new container.
    The feature that you want/asking about is called X-RAID
    Reply
  • micokeman
    I have used this hack and it works, but there are some problems that can occur. First of all, if you do this on SP2 and upgrade to SP3, XP will no longer see the RAID5 drives. Uninstalling SP3 allowed me to regain access to the RAID5 devices, but I would continuously get blue screens. After a repair of XP I no longer got blue screens, but I could also no longer see the data on the RAID5 drives. I suspect XP saw them as foreign drives and XP can't import foreign RAID drives!!! Yes, the hack works, but be aware that a service pack upgrade might render the data inaccessible.
    For those of you wondering, I was able to get my data back by installing Server 2003 and importing the RAID5 drives. No data lost, WHEW! You can also use a trial Windows Server 2003 to access your data for 30 days. Get the download from here.
    Reply
  • This works with SP3 and also with the x64 version of XP.

    To get it to work with SP3, you just have to redo the changes above.

    To get it to work with x64, just locate those same strings in the files and apply the changes. Notice how the changes are only swapping the locations of the words SERVERNT and WINNT. I'd post the exact changes here, but it would take forever to type out all of those hex values. UltraEdit doesn't seem to allow one to copy the hex data to the clipboard.

    Reply
  • I have also notice the problem when upgrading to SP3 that the RAID no longer works. Even after changing the files (dmboot.sys, dmconfig.dll, dmadmin.exe) on the SP3 release I still could not get RAID to work correctly. I have taken the 3 files from a system running SP2 and copied them to the system running SP3. It looks like the SP2 files work on SP3 but I have only had the system running for about a week.
    Reply
  • SlAoTkAiN
    I was lucky and installed sp3 and then used the hack and got a the raid working. The only problem I'm seeing is that XP doesn't start up the raid at boot. I have to go into manage and re-activate the drive. Anyone have any suggestions?
    Reply
  • I got it working again after migrating from sp2 to sp3, but I have to go into manage and re-activate the drive every time I reboot.
    Anyone has a solution for this?
    Reply
  • tiborakos
    After spent a week wondering what went wrong with my XP SP2 raid5 setup...i fell into this, and remembered i hd installed SP3 as well!!!
    Is there a way to get those SP2 files from somewhere please? Else i think i might try the server2003 solution.
    As for the "re-activate the drive every time I reboot" it has happened to me in my old PC after the mod, but could not find a way to solve it
    Reply
  • cwilk
    I am lost with the hex editing. I tried a fix from Randem Systems but that doesnt work. Anyone have a copy of the files i can get?
    Reply
  • tiborakos
    Cannot help with the files unless you want mine. btw, i managed to get the Raid5 volume working again, after uninstalling SP3 and getting back to SP2.
    What if i copy the files, install SP3 again and just replace them with the current ones? Do you think it might work? Or i will end up needing "reactivate the drive every time i reboot" ?
    Reply