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Windows 7: Rebuilding RAID 1 with Existing W7 install

04 Feb 2012   #1

Windows 7 64 Bit Ultimate,Ubuntu 10.10,Windows XP Triple Boot
 
 
Rebuilding RAID 1 with Existing W7 install

Hello there folks,
Being one who is not new to hardware and repairs I have finally found something to stump me...RAID.

I have 2 identical drives, one with a healthy installation of Windows 7 64 but Ultimate, one slightly used. I also have an MSI 790XT-g45 Motherboard with 8 gigs of RAM and using an AMD SB710 Raid controller ( On Board ).

Previously, I had set up hardware RAID 1 with this system and I really did not understand what I was doing. I simply followed the instructions and performed a brand new install of Windows 7 and installed all the s/w....which worked GREAT. About a month later I get a "critical error" on the second drive and the system still booted but not in RAID mode. So I separate the drives and run a Repair due to weird errors. Errors were resolved by the Windows 7 repair.Both Drives are able to boot up flawlessly when separate but when I replace them in RAID 1 mode I get the same critical error. I was hoping that I could just format the second drive and plug everything back in and the RAID controller would re-mirror from the original boot drive back to the newly formatted drive but when I go in to re-set up the Raid the controller interface tells me it's going to wipe out the MBR. Sure enough it did and then even after telling the system to boot from the Array it won't...coz there is no MBR. What I am getting from this lovely experience is that the controller will not re-build ( Mirror ) the single drive to the second drive in the array...and that I will HAVE to back up the single drive,re-build a fresh array,and then replace all my backed up data on the new array that will obviously have a new installation of Windows 7 on it.

Is there any way to do this with out all the backing up,reformatting,rebuilding,reinstalling,and re-reinstalling?

Am I missing anything I should have looked up elsewhere?

Is the AMD SB710 controller a piece of junk that totally lacks a really useful feature?

Or am I a total Newb for never having messed around with RAID before...?


Just to put things in perspective this Computer I built for my sweetie to do her online business with and she believes me to be a competent enthusiast. Please help...


Thanks!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Feb 2012   #2

Windows 7 64 Bit Ultimate,Ubuntu 10.10,Windows XP Triple Boot
 
 

She (my girlfriend) wants RAID 1 because she has always had it and it has always worked for her just fine...as for me I just keep archived images of all my favorite things.

"Why do you want RAID? It causes all kinds of problems with Windows 7 installs, isn't redundant since you lose both HD's if you lose one, and is outdated with built-in Windows 7 backup imaging now able to back up to another HD or externally for real redundancy."

What problems does it cause with Windows 7 ? With RAID 1 ( mirroring ) I thought that the second drive in the array was a data "mirror" of the first for just such a failure ? She needs mirroring as it's the closest thing to a "real time" backup there is...She cannot use incremental back-ups.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Feb 2012   #3

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1
 
 

The big problem with RAID 1 is that it isn't really a backup. It will protect data if one of the drives fails. If a file was deliberately deleted, it's gone.

One problem I had with it was that anything that crashed Windows usually led to my (Intel) RAID 10 running through a data verification. That affected disk performance for hours.

The worst thing I've seen with motherboard RAID is that the documentation included by the motherboard makers is poor.

Does this help?

RAID 1 problems
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Feb 2012   #4

Windows 7 64 Bit Ultimate,Ubuntu 10.10,Windows XP Triple Boot
 
 

bobkn you are most definately correct on the last statement...documentation is terrible.

And although I do appreciate the feedback no one has really answered any of my questions.

1. Will the controller mirror a drive that already has an o/s and data on it ( rebuild the second drive )?

2. If it won't what are my options for rebuilding the array without losing any data ?

3. Would it be easier to make an image of the original drive,wipe the drive,build the array, then replace the image of the original drive?

4. In regard to item 3 - what software do you reccomend to make an image with that would be easy to implement?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Feb 2012   #5
Microsoft MVP

 

You are in the Installation forum where we see little about RAID except problems solved by not RAIDing, so I'm afraid there's not going to be much encouraging news.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2012   #6

Windows 7 64 Bit Ultimate,Ubuntu 10.10,Windows XP Triple Boot
 
 

LOL!
Sorry about that, I wasn't really sure where to begin here. I can assure you that
I was not "trolling". Where should I have posted that would have been more appropriate?

Thanks guys!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2012   #7
Microsoft MVP

 

General forum gets the most attention. You want to catch someone's attention who still uses RAID, or did recently enough to be able to help with your issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Feb 2012   #8

Systems 1 and 2: Windows 7 Enterprise x64, Win 8 Developer
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TheDevilYouKnow View Post
bobkn you are most definately correct on the last statement...documentation is terrible.

And although I do appreciate the feedback no one has really answered any of my questions.

1. Will the controller mirror a drive that already has an o/s and data on it ( rebuild the second drive )?

2. If it won't what are my options for rebuilding the array without losing any data ?

3. Would it be easier to make an image of the original drive,wipe the drive,build the array, then replace the image of the original drive?

4. In regard to item 3 - what software do you reccomend to make an image with that would be easy to implement?
1. The whole idea of RAID 1 is data is protected, and by replacing the failed drive with a new one, creating and formatting a disk partition, you should be able to add the mirror again and be good to go. I am running raid 1 on my Dell computer.

2. It should work

4. Acronis is excellent.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Feb 2012   #9

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1
 
 

I think that "The DevilYouKnow" has successfully de-RAID-ed the surviving drive.

If so, you're looking for a technique to convert a Windows installation on a single drive into one on a RAID 1 array.

I think that'll be difficult. In my very limited expeience with an Intel (ICH10R) controller, when disks are added to an array, the data on them are lost. Restoring a backup of a single disk onto an array may not give a bootable result, because the proper drivers wouldn't be active.

Whether it could be done with the aid of Sysprep (used to prepare Windows installs for a variety of hardware), or a backup utility that is designed to permit restoring onto different hardware than the source machine, I can't say from experience.

I thnk that what you should have done was attach a new drive to the PC and add it to the RAID array with the original disk. (No partitoning or formatting would be needed.) The controller would then rebuild the array. (It might take hours, depending on the amount of data on the drive.)

Sorry that I can't be more helpful,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Rebuilding RAID 1 with Existing W7 install




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