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Windows 7: Intel Rapid Storage Technology C: Drive Corruptiion

05 Apr 2012   #1

Win 7 HP 64
Intel Rapid Storage Technology C: Drive Corruptiion

Hi all,

I am making the assumption that IRST is causing my C: Drive to become corrupted, this may prove to be false, but I believe it is a good point to start from. So, the facts:

Sapphire 6950
Corsair 8GB DDR3 1600
Asus P8Z68V-PRO
Xonar DX
(2) WD RE4 1 TB HDDs in RAID 0, off the RAID controller on the MB
(2) OCZ Vertex 30 GB SSDs. 1 is a spare, 1 is used to accelerate the HDDs using IRST, set up in windows

The effect:

Essentially windows will not boot. I am able to get into a repair mode where I can restore an image, attempt a repair, access command prompt, etc. I believe windows is still on the hard drives, and perhaps intact, but the boot manger is acting like my RAID is corrupted.

The cause(s):

The first time this happened, the computer lost power (Crappy UPS). I had the IRST configured for "Maximum Performance", which delays writes to the HDD, and instead caches them to the SSD until it gets a bunch of writes. It warned me that using that option may lead to system corruption... and it did. This was a couple months ago, maybe 2 or 3, which I "fixed" by reinstalling windows.

This second time, which I haven't fixed yet, occurred while I was playing Battlefield 3. The game locked up, and I was forced to hard reset. I can't remember the last time the system locked up that hard, so I don't think its a stability thing, unless a RAM stick suddenly went bad, and I don't overclock. When I powered the machine back up, windows would not boot. I loaded into the repair tool, and attempted a system repair. This succeeded in getting me to a Check Disk screen where the system proceeded to Delete/Overwrite/Repair/Recover, or otherwise modify nearly 400k files, according to the read-out.

The Goal:

I've learned to keep backups, and backups of backups, so I'm not concerned about loss of data from this. I generally work off of an external hard drive, so the only thing I ever lose when stuff like this happens is saved games, so Oh Well.

What I would like to find out here is if anyone has had a similar experience, and how they solved it. Were you able to recover that windows install? How? Did you update drivers? Did you give up IRST altogether?

I can try to upload logs, but I cannot get into windows, so a lot of things won't be available, and I'm not sure how I would transfer the information to another computer to post here. If there is some specific log you'd be interested in, let me know, and I'll try to get it.

Thanks in advance for your help,


My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2012   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Have you gotten the latest driver: RAID: Intel® Rapid Storage Technology Driver for Intel Desktop Boards

And some further reading about RAID: Why RAID is (usually) a terrible idea
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2012   #3

Win 7 HP 64

Thanks for the link to the RAID discussion. I read through it, and respect his position, especially since he has data to back it up. I would like to offer my opinions on RAID. I know tone can be hard to carry across in text, but I'm only expressing my opinion, and I'm not attacking you. Just trying to avoid a flame war....

Anyway, I've been running RAID 0 for years. I started with 2-250GB drives, and more recently moved to the 1 TB drives. What the article said is absolutely true, there is a much higher chance of data loss, and the machine is much more complex. I have lost data due to RAID corruption, but it was a secondary effect. The primary effect was the motherboard dies, and the replacement wasn't able to read the RAID array, or I didn't try hard enough.... In either case, I'm comfortable with the potential loss of data, and I've never experienced a failure where the RAID being corrupted was the primary failure, although one could argue this latest failure was a RAID issue, but I view it as the EVEN MORE complex IRST failing, and not the RAID array. And I bought the enterprise class RE4 drives, with built in redundancies to even further limit the chance of drive failure.

I already use some of his advice, and store everything important on an external drive, and I have considered buying a hardware RAID controller, but I guess RAID isn't $300 important to me, so I continue to use the on board controller. I can see a improvement in load times, as I'm usually one of the first players to load a map in any game.

Also, that article was written in 2007, and I'm sure on board controllers have gotten better with time, just like on board sound has gotten better. I still prefer an add on audio card, but I have used the on board sound for months before I decided to get an add on card.

As far as the original problem...

I've reinstalled windows. A clean install. My theory is: I can reinstall windows in an hour, so if it takes me longer than that to fix a problem, I"ll just reinstall and be better off, so I usually reinstall every 6 to 12 months anyway. I'm continuing to use my RAID 0 array, but I'm not going to use IRST for a while. 2 failures forcing a reinstall of windows in 3 months is too much for me.

I'm not going to mark this as solved, since the root of the problem was not solved, but I'll bookmark this site, and if I ever do try IRST again, I'll post the results. I've also bookmarked the site you linked to, since there looked to be some useful articles.

Thanks for the help,

My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 Apr 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

The fact that you use RAID with caution puts you ahead of many who post on here when their RAID fails. I usually give that link because despite the age of the article, it still applies for the average user who does not have the experience necessary to use RAID and maintain the data properly. I'm not going to take offense to you disagreeing unless you did so in a rude way, which you did not. In fact, your points are well taken and understandable, and you did a great job backing up your stance.

As to the clean install, I am glad you are comfortable with doing a clean install. I wish we had more people like you who were willing to go that route to resolve problems. I take it the latest drivers for IRST do not cut it? I'm wondering if it would be worth it to contact Intel and provide them with your setup. I question whether the RAID setup you were running is commonplace and maybe that is why it is not yet properly supported? I know SSDs are still fairly new technology, so not all bugs have been worked out with the controllers using them. Maybe this is part of why your system did not quite work as expected?

I will be the first to admit that I do not have a ton of experience with the new setups and controllers. I only know what I have read and seen on these forums. I was kinda hoping by responding to your thread, maybe it would keep it alive enough for someone who does have the experience to respond, although with the uniqueness of your system, that may have been too much wishful thinking. As I said, I think what you are trying to do may warrant a contact with Intel to let them know the troubles you have had with the configuration you are running. Maybe they will have some useful feedback or your feedback will result in better updates for their controllers in the future.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2012   #5

Win 7 HP 64

I hadn't even considered getting in touch with Intel. I'll look into that. I rarely post to forums, since I'm usually able to find my answers on Google... which I guess is due to someone else posting on a forum. I should probably post more often, especially considering the "early adopter tax" I pay.

Like I said, i'm comfortable with the risks associated with RAID. I have the 2 SSDs because I was running 2 separate RAID 0 arrays. 1 with the SSDs for the windows install (60 GB) and 1 for programs (2 TB), talk about complicated! This got to be too much to manage, trying to keep programs from using up that precious 60 GB of SSD, so I thought the SSD caching would make things a lot easier. Apparently it has not.

i never got that install of windows working again, so I never tried the new drivers. I've bookmarked this page/site to update if I ever try it again.

Some numbers for you to consider, and these are off the top of my head from benchmarks I ran a while ago, so don't take them as gospel...

1 HDD will read at about 70-100 MBs. 2 in RAID 0 will pretty much double that for sustained reads. Small random files do not gain a bonus.

1 SSD will read at about 200-250 MBs, with the 2 in RAID, I saw numbers in the 400-450 MBs range, which seems slow to me. the OCZ Vertex SSDs I have are about 3 years old, and they were sub par at the time anyway, but they are considerably better than my mechanicals are. I would expect that since SSDs now fully saturate a SATA 3 GBs line, they are capable of over 300 MBs each, and the SATA 6 GBs equipped ones should be even faster, perhaps approaching the speed of my RAID with a single drive.

I've had good luck with RAID drives. Overclocking, on the other hand, I have not had good luck with, but that's another story.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Sounds like good speeds for the drives. The speeds you have make me a bit jealous, in fact, even if they are not as fast as the newest allow. Until I see more stability for SSDs, I still plan to stay with the platter drives myself.

Let us know if/when you decide to try the setup again with the newer controller drivers. In the experience I've had helping others on here with SSDs, it really helps to have the SSD firmware up to date, BIOS up to date, controller drivers up to date, and chipset drivers up to date. SSDs seem to be very finicky if they are running with any of their support software/firmware outdated. I imagine as support for the drives gets better, this will be less of an issue. I believe most of the problems are due to the relative newness of the technology.

As for your last two sentences, I also have had no luck with overclocking. I also avoid RAID since many forum posts on here have led me to believe that it is a pain to maintain and Windows 7 "does not like RAID" from what some have said. There is a good forum on here if I ever decide to design a system to do overclocking. Right now, my two computers already run a bit hot due to stock cooling, so I dare not risk it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2012   #7
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64

Hi Jason,

As Writhzeden already implied, we generally see two groups of RAID0 users : those that use it as a secondary drive to the boot/OS drive, and those that use it as a boot/OS system. Most of the time you will see us not recommending the latter - it just doesn't seem to work that well/at all 99% of the time. I'm not entirely sure why.

Yours is probably the first serious setup we have seen where the Z68 chipset and SSD is being utilised to cache to the RAID0 HDD's. As far as i am aware its fairly newish technology in that its not seen often, not here anyway. I wonder if there are still some bugs that need ironing out? Is it worth checking for the latest chipset drivers?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2012   #8

Win 7 HP 64

I guess I managed to get into both categories the way I previously had my machine set up :)

You're right. SSD caching is only became available with Z68 chipsets, which I guess are about a year old, maybe less. I really was impressed with the technology. It was easy to configure, and did exactly what it said it was going to do. What more can I ask for! I was willing to chalk up my first loss to the "Maximum Performance" mode being enabled, especially since I was warned that data loss could occur, but I would have hoped the "Optimized" mode would be a little more fault tolerant, but I pay the tax and move on. At some point I'll try it again. Can't just have 2 SSDs sitting in my computer and not doing anything :), but for now I"ll just run my RAID.

I agree with your unstated policy. RAID adds a lot of complication to a computer, and a lot more things can go wrong. I've slowly worked my way up to the system I run now, starting with IDE drives!!, and needed a BIOS flash to enable SATA drivers on my first motherboard. Oh those were the days!!! Now everything is just plug and play. No drivers needed. No walking 3 miles through the snow, uphill both ways..... Oh wait, wrong story.

Now, after much trial and error and reinstalls of windows, I'm comfortable and experienced enough to run these types of things, but for someone just starting out, its a lot of hassle, and I could not recommend it to such a person. Forums like this and others scattered around the web have helped me a lot, and I thank people like you that have the time, patience, and dedication to roam sites like this, looking for people to help, and giving Google places to direct my own searches.

If I ever get around to reenabling IRST, I'll be sure to post on here, and provide links to where I download all the drivers I use.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Intel Rapid Storage Technology C: Drive Corruptiion

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