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Windows 7: I Broke Windows 7

18 Aug 2014   #1

Windows 7
I Broke Windows 7

Hi all,

First time posting. Sorry if I require a little patience.

I just broke Windows. I was trying to install Ubuntu, so I shrunk my C:/ partition, removed my recovery (heh) and HP Tools partitions, and used Gparted (live USB) to split the free space into a root, swap, and home directory.

Here's where the trouble starts. In order to get Gparted to create the partitions, I needed to run the following commands:
sudo mdadm --detail -scan
then, for each of the drives listed (2):
sudo mdadm --remove *drive name (e.g. /dev/something that starts with 'm')*

Then, gparted created the partitions without complaint. My understanding was that it was something about stopping raid arrays... maybe. Windows still started fine, so I was happy.

Then, I went to Ubuntu to install. Ubuntu didn't see any partitions, and I found this:
partitioning - Dual Booting - Ubuntu Installer doesn't recognize Windows 7 or find partitions - Super User

so I used dmraid and presumably broke my raid. The ubuntu install failed anyways, and now, obviously, windows won't boot.

Any thoughts? I don't care about getting ubuntu any more, I just want my windows back. Is there a way to undo the dmraid command?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2014   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1

You might have to reinstall Windows. Do you have the Win 7 DVD?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2014   #3


Are you sure you have RAID on an HP Factory install? This is unusual. What kind of RAID was it?

You'd have to restore your RAID first but your data may be lost. Once you do that then mark Active C and run Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times to see if it will start.

If not I'd unRAID since we see nothing here but problems with Win7 and RAID, then Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7.

In the future the best method is here to Dual Boot - Windows 7 and Linux

You should always have your data backed up externally along with a Win7 backup image. To do risky operations like you did without doing so is the same as saying you don't care if your data is lost.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Aug 2014   #4

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1

I've been using Intel desktop RAID for more than five years and I haven't noticed any RAID related issues with Win 7. Win 7 and Intel desktop RAID are fully compatible and I think the OS is more reliable with the RAID volume.

I don't know what type RAID, if any, the OP is referring to. But, if his two drives were in a RAID configuration, then I don't think there is a way to "unRAID" without a clean install.

The challenge here is to get an accurate description of the original setup and system specs. A lot of thread starters are clueless and it makes understanding the problem difficult.

From what I've been reading lately, I don't think RAIDs are an issue with Win 7, but I do think use of third party disk utilities to partition and resize partitions is a problem especially when the drives are in a RAID configuration.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2014   #5


My point is that all we see are problems with RAID, never any successes - at least until an offhand comment like yours.

But your experience with RAID will be valuable here if that is indeed what OP has.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2014   #6

Windows 7
Sorry about the cluelessness

Yeah, I'm OK with a clean install, most or all of my important data is backed up, and I can reinstall all my programs. I do have a windows 7 install USB.

As for the original configuration, the RAID existed out of the box. The idea, in my limited understanding, is that there is a 32GB SSD to which some commonly accessed files are offloaded to to speed things up. I deleted the metadata while trying to get a dual boot set up, and my lack of education in these matters proved fatal. oops.

As for configuration specifics, I don't know the HDD and SSD config, or specifics about what kind of raid it was. Any way I could find that out? I can poke around with what's left of the computer to glean some info (boot from live ubuntu DVD, maybe?) if you let me know what would be helpful for moving forward. I'm not sure how to reconfigure the RAID either....

Thanks for your help!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2014   #7

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1

If your system was in a RAID configuration, we would need to know the specifics: 1. What type of RAID?, e.g. 0, 1, 5, 10, etc..., 2 Who is the manufacturer of your RAID driver? Intel? Marvell? Adaptec? or, another company? 3. What version RAID driver?

If this was an out of box RAID installed on your new machine, you should be able to get all the information from the manufacturer's website and the specs on your setup.

You may also have a restore disk if you have all the materials that came with the new system. If you have a restore disk, it may be just for the RAID setup or may include the OS and manufacturer installed programs as well. If you have a restore disk, do you also have a Win 7 DVD?

If you can provide all the information accurately, we can get you back up and running in your original out of box configuration.

There are usually a couple of ways to setup the RAID and BIOS settings are critical. There are different ways the RAID is implemented as well. The RAID could be built into the chipset or it could be an add-on board. There are software RAIDs and hardware RAIDs. So, we need the specifics so we know how to proceed.

Also, if you want to set up a dual or multi boot system, that's fine as well. We can do that easily if you indicate what you want before we start the repair.

Why did you use the third party disk utility, Gparted? I think you can do what you need to do using the Win 7 computer management console - storage - disk management. I think it's safer that using a third party program to adjust and configure your partitions.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2014   #8


You should have said you have MSATA which is a hybrid drive that's RAIDed to a 32gb SSD in order for the SSD to provide a paging file and often boot the OS. This theoretically speeds up the system but most who reinstall without it say it doesn't make any difference.

How to Enable or Disable it is discussed in these tutorials: Install Windows on MSATA (SSD) Drive - Windows 7 Help Forums
Install Windows on System with MSATA and ISRT - Windows 7 Help Forums

We have even helped users reinstall the OS to the 32gb SSD with most programs and all User files going onto the HD.

I would start with confirming that IRST is enabled in BIOS and elsewhere as described in tutorial. If it won't start then boot into the Win7 installation media or Repair CD - System Repair Disk to see if you can access your files via Copy & Paste - in Windows Recovery Console.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2014   #9

Windows 7

Your description of the SATA drive and SDD is correct. I'm working on finding out the details of the RAID setup now, and I'll post details as soon as I can hunt them down. I do have a windows 7 installation USB.

So I tried to find the Smart Response setting in Bios, and I wasn't able to hunt down the setting. There were a pretty limited number of options in the menus, but I'll try to find more specifics on how to enable that.

I tried to copy files as you showed using the repair option on my Win7 installation USB, but it seems to only recognize 39.9GB of space in a completely empty C: drive. That's a little baffling to me since I have a 500GB and a 32GB drive... thoughts?

As for why I used Gparted, it's because the windows disk partitioning tool can't format to ext formats, needed for linux. I shrunk C: in windows, to avoid damages, and then used Gparted to divide up the freed space. Gparted isn't what ruined windows, though. The windows 7 boot failures started after I used dmraid while installing ubuntu. As I understand it, dmraid removed the metadata that links the two drives. or something.

Thoughts on how to get windows to recognize the SATA drive as a valid and reasonable place to install windows?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2014   #10


You may have UEFI which requires special steps to boot installer as shown in UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) - Install Windows 7 with.

Then follow the steps to reinstall to MSATA with IRST. One of the 2 tutorials linked earlier should apply.

I see your problem as using tools not best for Win7 trying to install another OS that may not work with UEFI. You only need to follow Dual Boot - Windows 7 and Linux
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 I Broke Windows 7

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