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Windows 7: Dual boot Windows 7 & Vista on SSD and 2x HDD's in RAID0

30 Dec 2010   #1

Windows 7 64bit and Vista 64bit
Dual boot Windows 7 & Vista on SSD and 2x HDD's in RAID0

What I wanted

Right here is my situation. I have been running Windows Vista 64 for about 3 years off of 2 HDD's in RAID0 and I just got a 60GB SSD which I wanted to install Windows 7 on it and still be able to dual boot my Vista 64 from my RAIDED drives. And then shrink the partition on my RAIDED drives to roughly 50% and create a new partition on them for my Windows 7 install to also be able to use to install programs and files. Which I was told elsewhere is totally possible.

Windows 7 Install

When installing Windows 7 on my SSD I couldn't get it to install with the SATA MODE in the BIOS set to RAID, it would say "cannot install to this disc, check if its enabled in BIOS". So I had to set it to AHCI MODE, which worked, so I unplugged every drive in my system and installed Windows 7 on the SSD like this.


So the problem is when I plug my RAIDED drives back in they will only boot when the MODE in the BIOS is set to RAID but then the Windows 7 on the SSD doesn't boot as that only boots when the MODE is set to AHCI. In my BIOS the SSD is only visible in AHCI MODE, my RAID drives are visible in both MODES but as Intel_Array in RAID MODE and as 2 seperate drives in AHCI mode.

So I am in a bit of a pickle and not sure what to do... I don't mind have to change the SATA MODE settings in the BIOS to dual boot back and forth, but will I be able to shrink and re-partition the RAID drive so Windows 7 can use them? With the MODE set to AHCI I can boot to Windows 7 from the SSD, and after installing the Intel Rapid Maxtrix Storage Controller I can access most files on the RAID array so it does detect the RAID array even when its set to AHCI but will not boot the RAID array in this MODE.

I fear the problem may be with my BIOS, Motherboard or the Storage Drivers as the RAID mode should be able to support a RAID array aswell as a stand alone drives using AHCI. But for me it seems when I enable RAID MODE, AHCI fails to work on the SSD. This could be because I installed it on the AHCI MODE but thats all I could do.

My system:

Abit IP-35 motherboard
Intel Core 2 Duo E2160
2x 250GB Western Digital in RAID0 booting with VISTA 64 (for about 3 years).
1x 60GB NEW Corsair SSD with Windows 7 (64) on it.
1x 640GB Western Digital Storage drive (currently unplugged).

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Dec 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP


I would copy my files out of the RAID to import to Win7, then when you're finished with Vista un-RAID it's HD's to use for storage, User folders, backup image, etc. There isn't any reason to keep Vista.

User Folders - Change Default Location
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2010   #3

Windows 7 64bit and Vista 64bit

Yeah I will copy out all files, but I need to run dual OSes for a while, as I have internet history (for work), projects, programs, programs user data and settings which I am not sure I can migrate all in one go and if they will work 100%, just by installing the program in 7 and trying to copy over the user data and settings of that program from the Vista install... so I was gonna do it over time as and when I need said program etc... And then eventually delete Vista.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

31 Dec 2010   #4

Windows 7 64bit and Vista 64bit

After digging it looks like I have a too old version (v7.5.0.1017) of the Intel Option ROM AHCI controller and it needs to be v8.9.0.1023 or higher and I have no bios updates from abit as it's bust. (typical).

So yeah raid card is the only way but they aren't cheap so not worth it IMO. Technically I can dual boot, just not at the same time, I have to change the SATA mode to AHCI for the SSD and to RAID for the RAID array for them to boot. Which isn't a problem.

BUT thing is in AHCI mode I boot into Windows 7 from my SSD, after installing Intel Maxtrix Rapid Drivers it detected my RAID array when I goto "My Computer". The Vista array is there and I can see all the Vista files, so is this a software RAID then? And when I shrink the Vista RAID partition to 50% and have 50% free can Windows 7 use that free 50% RAID to install files even though BIOS setting is set to AHCI and not RAID? I think it can as it already shows the files from the array which it couldn't do if it can't see or use RAIDs?

The Dr's Office Intel RAIDFix RAID Driver Repair

Do you think I should try this or because my BIOS ROM version is too old it won't make a difference what the registry says anyway? Also I could just try it but if it doesn't work and I can't get back into Win 7 can I change it back to AHCI mode without entering Win 7 or some way of getting into Win 7? I am under the impression that it changes the Registry value to RAID from AHCI and then you have to also select RAID in BIOS then it will boot into RAID mode, but if it doesn't work can I change back to AHCI in bios and obviously leave the Registry to RAID and still be able to boot AHCI mode cleanly?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2010   #5

Windows 7 64bit and Vista 64bit

Also before I installed Windows 7, I plugged in the SSD and booted into Vista from my RAID (obviously in RAID mode) and in "My computer" it detect the SSD then, I could have formatted and used it or just tried installing Windows 7 on it after formatting it. Would have it helped or not at all due to the outdated BIOS?

It seems as though in Windows both the RAID and the SSD are usable when booting from the SSD into WIN 7 and when booting from Vista RAID, regardless of BIOS SATA mode setting. So Windows drivers are all good.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2010   #6
Microsoft MVP


I would use the drivers given by Win7 as they should be current. Newer are quickly delivered via optional Windows Updates, and hardware can be serviced with drivers by enabling this: Automatically get recommended drivers and updates for your hardware

You could test installing Win7 from Vista within the RAID to see if you like that arrangement, although Win7 is not always friendly to RAID install. I would back up a Win7 backup image and all data externally so you have a path back to AHCI SSD install: Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
System Image Recovery

First I would back up my files from Vista, as you could lose that RAID at any point if switching back and forth. You can back up your Program Data by unhiding that folder in Control Panel>Folder options>View. Back up History using freeware at Internet Explorer Backup - BackRex Software Perhaps having these accessible to Win7 will make migration from Vista and RAID easier.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
You could test installing Win7 from Vista within the RAID to see if you like that arrangement, although Win7 is not always friendly to RAID install.
Hi Bodmil,

I completely agree with GregRocker about the flakiness of RAID0 as a boot device under Windows 7.

I'm not entirely sure whether it's the motherboard drivers or Windows 7, or a combination of both, but I had a huge amount of trouble getting Windows 7 to install on a classic RAID0 using Intel drivers. In the end, I gave up and installed the OS to an SSD (by default under AHCI mode). Later on, I setup up a classic RAID0 for my data/storage drives without any problems. We have seen loads of problems here recently (at least 5 that I can recall in the last few weeks) with people having similar issues with RAID's as OS/boot drives.

I suspect at some point, once you have moved over to 7 completely, that you might consider a setup similar to mine. If you do, give us a shout if you need any help with that, but it sounds like you have a fair idea of how to achieve that.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Dual boot Windows 7 & Vista on SSD and 2x HDD's in RAID0

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