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Win-XP RAID problem

Posted on 2002-06-30
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Recently I bought a pc with 3x IBM 120GXP
- 2 used for RAID
- 1 as backup

RAID-drives are partition, containing 1
"C"-partition of around 5gb to install
Win-XP in.
The backup-drive being D, and the remaining
partitions on the RAID-drives, E, F, etc.

During installation XP reports the backup-
drive to be 'C', and the 5gb-partition on
RAID, to be D, i.e. the drive-letters are
switched.
There is no workaround.

The only solution I found is to delete the
backup-drive partition (C) go back in the
install process, re-enter the partition
section and now the 5gb partition, initially
labeled as D, now shows up as C.

However, all data on the backupdrive has
gone.

I have been messing around with the BIOS,
primary master, bootsequence and stuff, but
there is no solution there.

Hope anybody out there has...
I am no expert - think it might have to do with
the jumpersettings.
http://www.storage.ibm.com/hdd/support/d120gxp/d120gxpjum.htm

Obviously I wud like to have the RAID,0-drives to
be first set to be recognized by XP-installation.

tia
Marcel Wulffraat.

------------------------------------------------------
BIOS-Boot sequence:

1 Removable Device             Legacy Floppy
2 Other Boot Device            SCSI/Onboard ATA Boot
3 ATAPI CD-ROM                 Plextor
4 IDE Hard Drive               Disabled

BIOS-Main-page
Primary Master                 Auto
Primary Slave                  Auto
Secondary Master               Auto
Secondary Slave                Auto

When pressing 'auto' the flwg options show up:
None
Auto
User Type HDD
CD-ROM
LS-120
ZIP
MO
Other ATAPI-Device

--
At "User Type HDD" the backup-drive is selected, no other drives or options.
This is also the case with Other Atapi Device.

A7V333 Award BIOS states
Primary Master                 Auto
Primary Slave                  Auto
Secondary Master               Auto
Secondary Slave                Auto

IBM Utility gives me flwg info:

Selected drive
No. Device Address          Model Name       Capacity
1   ATA    Primary   Master IC35L060AWA07-0  61.49 GB
2   ATAPI  Secondary Master TOSHIBA DVD-ROM SD-M1612
3   ATAPI  Secondary Slave  PLEXTOR CD-R  PX-W4012A
4   ATA    PCI IDE 0 Master IC35L060AWA07-0  6l.49 GB
5   ATA    PCI IDE 1 Master IC35L060AWA07-0  61.49 GB

----

Motherboard Asus A7V333 Award BIOS

///
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Question by:wulffra
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by:magarity
Comment Utility
I can't tell if you are using software or hardware RAID.  Also, after you install XP you can use Computer Manager's Disk Management utility to set up the partitions and assign drive letters.  If you are creating all the partitions during the WinXP installation process, this is the cause of the confusion.  During installation, set up ONLY the boot partition, or 'C'.  All other drives and drive spaces should be unallocated.  After the system is fully installed, use Disk Management to create new partitions.  You will be asked what letters you want assigned to the new partitions at that step, as opposed to the install routine automatically assigning them.

However, you should be able to use Disk Management to change the drive letters.  Or does it refuse to relocate 'D' because that is the boot partition?  Is there a serious problem with the boot partition being 'D'?  WinXP does not care, so this usually only needs to be 'fixed' for cosmetic reasons.

regards,
magarity
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by:wulffra
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Magarity,

I am using hardware RAID. It is really functional right now.
However... during the installation-procedure at one point
XP shows a list of drives where user may install XP on.
My problem is: XP shows my single backup-drive as first option, assigning it drive-letter C and the RAID-set as 2nd option, drive-letter D.
What I do want is to have XP list the RAID-set first and
the backup-drive on the 2nd place.
On the RAID-set there is a 5gb partition and I want that to be C:
This I can accomplish only when during the installation process I delete the backup-drive (it becomes an 'unformatted drive') and then re-assign letter C to the 5gb partition on the RAID-set (first it was drive-letter D).
Then I can continue with the installation and lateron I can format the backup-drive and assign drive letter D to that.
But then again, all data is gone...

Furthermore, XP still puts boot.ini and ntldr on that drive...

Any suggestions?

brgds/Marcel
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by:magarity
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Physically remove the drive(s) you don't want to be used by the XP installation.  Only add it (them) after the system is running happily.  If there is important data already installed on one or more drives that need repartitioning, be sure to back them up.

Again, XP doesn't care that it boots from 'D'.  Unless you have some application that insists the system has to be on 'C', this project is for only cosmetic reasons.  Do you really need to re-label the drives in this pattern?
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Author Comment

by:wulffra
Comment Utility
How to remove drives? physically ? some else suggested the same thing...  
Who told me to actually disconnect a drive, install XP, then reconnect the drive.
I don't know whether this will help and wonder whether
this shd be done during each install.
Also, I'd like to know:
a. wud it be sufficient to just the powerplug out of the back of the drive? (and leave the 80-wire flatcable seated, because it is very difficult to get there. On the other hand I don't know whether there will be whatever signals be sent to the drive that might cause damages to
the electronics of the drive)
b. WHY wud this solution help? I mean what is being changed to the effect that when the software is re-installed again later I would not encounter the same problem?

Now, just a few negative aspects of the setup right now:
- LiveUpdate of the BIOS (being one of the features of
my motherboard is impossible: the BIOS shd be set to default. However, when it is set at default, the system won't start anymore
- a drive-image of the Windows-partition is impossible (this is something I very much like to do). Some important files (boot.ini and ntldr) are on the backup-drive, which as said Windows lists as first drive.

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by:magarity
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I don't think you are selecting the 'advanced' section of XP setup at the very beginning.  During setup it will ask where to install.  It will default to what it thinks is the best guess.  Instead of letting it do that, you just need to DELETE all the other partitions except where you want it installed.  I think you are leaving the other partitions intact.  

It SHOULD look like this:

Disk 0
    Unpartitioned space 61GB
Disk 1
    5 GB primary partition
    117(or whatever the RAID totals)GB unpartitioned space

I think at installation time it looks like this:

Disk 0
   61GB primary partition
Disk 1
   5 GB primary partition
   117GB partition

That second model is incorrect.  XP will put miscallaney files on disk 0 because that is listed first.  Remember:  XP has NO IDEA what you've set the boot order to be in BIOS so it assumes the first drive is where it needs to put a couple of startup files.  It will ONLY ignore the first drive if it is unpartitioned space.  AFTER installation is the time to create the new partitions, and you can assign them any letter you want at that time.  If the partitions are flagged by XP's installation routine as potential boot volumes, then you can't change their letters later as you have discovered.

So, if you get to the point where XP wants to know where to install,  do NOT accept the default.  Select 'Advanced' (I forget the exact wording) to modify the existing partitions.  Delete them ALL and create just one on the RAID for your system files.
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Author Comment

by:wulffra
Comment Utility
Hello to you, you are right - and also I delete the first drive so it looks like:
Disk 0
   Unpartitioned space 61GB
Disk 1
   5 GB primary partition
   117(or whatever the RAID totals)GB unpartitioned space

That's my problem.. all data has gone.
Then after XP is installed I format that drive and use
it for applications, whatever.
One way or the other boot.ini and ntldr show up on that
drive and in fact they shd be on the 5gb partition.
As they are not, making a drive image of the XP-partition
is useless, as per your original suggestion.
I went along this path last time and still these 2 files
are on disk 0.
Strange enough.

I now think I will try to solve this problem by disconnecting Disk 0, so to say, by merely unplugging
the powercable. First I'll boot up with DOS-disks and delete thos boot.ini ntldr files, then power unplug
then install XP and pray. In 2nd instance plug the HD
on again.
So:
Disable the backup drive
Reinstall the XP to the 5Gb partition.
Re-enable the backup drive.
When booting again, make sure the BIOS is set to boot off the SCSI / RAID device first.

Something like this - maybe you have some additional recommendations?
tks!
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by:magarity
Comment Utility
Unplugging the power cable but not the data cable is a perfectly acceptable way of disabling a drive when the data cable is hard to reach.  Sorry, I'm at a bit of a loss to explain this behavior of putting those files in place even though there is no partition...

Is this XP Professional?  If so, I think it supports software RAID-5, which will allow you to use all three drives with parity striping.  You would have just as much storage space and you wouldn't need to bother with backups.  Just a suggestion to consider if you can't get this to work.  Also, if the RAID controller channels can be set to be regular IDE channels you can also use regular software RAID.  I realise you might have bought this board just to have this capability in hardware, but it is just a suggestion in case all else fails.
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by:wulffra
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Hello to you again, tks.
Well, I'll do the following
- startup with DOS-boot disk
- delete all systemfiles in the root-dir
(I checked, there are boot.ini, ntldr, boosect.dos, $ldr$, bootfon.bin, ntdetect.com and txtsetup.sif - but some of those files might be leftovers of an install from HD I wanted to test out a few days back, but that install I interupted. The problems with the 3rd drive existed already)
- pc down
- unplug powercable from 3rd drive
- Reinstall the XP to the 5Gb partition.
- pc down again
- Re-enable the backup drive.
- When booting again, make sure the BIOS is set to boot off the SCSI / RAID device first

I think that's it.

And pray the problem is really solved, i.e. no system files are put on that drive.

I have XP Pro, but the onboard RAID supports 0 and 1 only.

If this works... the maximum I can get you is 500 points only, but the solution is worth double!
tks again magarity!
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by:
magarity earned 500 total points
Comment Utility
Don't worry about the points - just get it working.  This is a curious problem.  Did you get a chance to work on it again?

- unplug powercable from 3rd drive
- Reinstall the XP to the 5Gb partition.
***  Do not procede to next step until XP installation is complete.  There is a reboot or two during the normal course of installation.  Hold off restoring the extra drive at those stages.
- pc down again
- Re-enable the backup drive
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by:wulffra
Comment Utility
Okay, this weekend I am going to give it a try. Will definitely come back on this. first now going to backup
all stuff... you'll get the 500 when it works, don't worry...brgds.marcel
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by:wulffra
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here you are Magarity
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by:wulffra
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Last question: the 3rd (backup-drive) shd it be a primary
partition or extended partition?
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by:wulffra
Comment Utility
Magarity - I have succeeded. Hope it won't happen again but still wonder _why_ it happened in the first place and why it won't happen anymore. brgds...
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by:magarity
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You can't have an extended partition without a primary partition first unless you are using XP's "dynamic disk" partitioning scheme.  If you use dynamic disk, you can't read it without XP or 2000.  A DOS or Win9x disk would not see it.

It happened in the first place because XP was unable to know what the boot order is in BIOS so it assumed it needed some files on the first IDE device.
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by:wulffra
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Someone suggested me to make this 3rd disk an extended
partition. I don't have the details of the RAID-set available, but I guess one of the partitions is a Prim.partition?
The 120mb RAID-set consists of 6 partitions, 3 NTFS and 3 FAT32. So maybe one of them is a prim.partition.
Maybe I need to convert this back to a prim.part. when I decide to make a fresh install of XP again some time in future.
This dynamic disk thing: I kept away from it, don't see much advantages and it is not clear what the negative impacts may be.
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by:magarity
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You can't make a disk into an extended partition.  The definition of extended means it has to extend from some other partition.  So there has to be a primary.  But primary does not mean boot partition so don't worry about that.  Just use the Create Partition Wizard in Disk Management.  It will precommend one big primary partition unless you need it broken up into smaller sizes.
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by:wulffra
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Bad luck....:-((
Today I wanted to test everything and see whether the above would work when the drive is reconnected.

At the point I cud select the partition I got:

I got:
Drive of 58644mb 0 with ID 0 on bus 0 (atapi) [mbr]
   Not partitioned spare                9 mb
D: Partition 1 [FAT32]              58636 mb

Drive of 117288 mb, 0 with ID 0 on bus 0 (Fasttrack) [MBR]
C: Partition 1 NTFS                  4997 mb
E: Partition 2 NTFS                 22011 mb
F: Partition 3 NTFS                  4997 mb
G: Partition 4 FAT32                 4001 mb
H: Partition 5 FAT32                21281 mb
/etc/

When selecting "C:" Windows stated that 'to make it possible to install XP on the selected partition, some bootfiles are needed to be copied to drive 58644 atapi-mbr
(free translation from Dutch)

Windows:
Also there is no partition on this drive that is compatible
with XP..
..etc.
I should go back and create a partition that is compatible
with XP.

No alternative but to disconnect the drive again...
Incredible!

oh oh
Any idea??
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