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Booting XP from hard disks attached to a Silicon Image SiI 3114 SATARaid Controller


I am having trouble setting up my system to boot from hard drives attached to a SiI 3114 SATARaid Controller. My system is:

Motherboard: Epox EP-8RDA+
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2400+
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce2 MX/MX 400
RAM: 3*Corsair CMX256A-3200C2 256MB
SATA controller: Silicon Image SiI 3114 SATARaid Controller

Hard disks:
2*Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 200GB hard drives, setup as RAID-0
(partitioned - 50GB & 330GB)
1*80GB IDE hard drive & 1*30GB IDE hard drive

I currently have Windows XP set up on one of the old IDE hard drives, but would like to install in on the RAID drive. I set up the 2 SATA hard drives as RAID-0, and they work OK from the old Windows XP installation. I then took out the two IDE hard drives to install Windows XP onto the RAID drive. During installation I pressed F6 to select the drivers for the card, which worked fine and the installation copied all the XP files to the 50GB partition on the RAID drive. However, when the XP installation re-started it was unable to find any drive to boot from.

I have tried:

Looking in the motherboard's BIOS for SATA settings (none found)
Flashing my Motherboard's BIOS with the latest version
Changing the BIOS to boot from SCSI (as there is no option for SATA)
Changing other options in the motherboard's BIOS (e.g. "Use fail-safe default", "Use optimised defaults")
Installing Windows XP on a spare IDE hard disk, to see if the bootloader has the RAID version of Windows as an option (it didn't)
Installing Mandrake Linux on an IDE hard drive, to see if it's bootloader finds the RAID version of Windows as an option (it didn't)
Pressing F3 or F4 or Cntrl-S on startup to go into the RAID BIOS (I never see any text for this come up, though, but it says to try this on various websites)

Do you know how I can set things up to boot from the RAID drives?

Many thanks

Andy Cooper

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andymcooper
Asked:
andymcooper
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1 Solution
 
WatzmanCommented:

Is this controller card a PCI Plug-in card?

Normally, for all of those, you change the boot method to boot from SCSI, and the motherboard will detect the onboard BIOS of the Raid card and turn booting over to that bios.

I know that you tried the SCSI boot, but I'm thinking that the issue is not in the motherboard bios, but in the Raid controller bios (which is separate).

Also, did you make a partition on the RAID array "active"?  The failure could be caused by "no active partition" on the boot device (boot device=RAID array).  Note that the Microsoft utilities probably cannot make a partition of the RAID array active, as they will only make the primary partition of the primary master drive active.  You will have to use a raid array utility (should be in the bios or should have come with your raid controller) to do this.
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andymcooperAuthor Commented:
The controller card is a PCI Plug-In card.

In my current installation of XP, within Disk Management it says that the partition which I tried to install XP on is Active.
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al-hasanCommented:
Andy: how far does the boot process proceed?

Regards,
has.
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andymcooperAuthor Commented:
With only the RAID hard drives attached and SCSI selected as the 1st boot device in the BIOS, with boot from other device enabled the system tries to boot from the 2 CD drives then tries to boot from the network for a while then says "Disk boot failure - insert system disk and press any key"

This happens within the NVIDIA Boot Agent v 1.82

When I have the other hard drives attached it comes up with the usual selection screen for the 2 versions of windows I already have installed, but no 3rd option fot the new installation of windows.
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al-hasanCommented:
Andy:
"Disk boot failure - insert system disk and press any key"
this means the BIOS boots up correctly, and then it will not find any hard disk to continue the boot process. Can you see and recognize the hard disks or better the RAID card in the BIOS when it does the power on self test? After recognizing the RAID card, it should check the hard disks connected to it (done by the RAID bios now).

In many BIOS variances there is a setting 'Boot from other device' or similar to this. Can you disable the network boot and the CD boot possibility too, and try again? I think Watzman's explanation is excellent, there must be a setting in the BIOS of both the card and the mainboard itself. SCSI should be the correct setting.

However, strange, you mentioned above
"I set up the 2 SATA hard drives as RAID-0, and they work OK from the old Windows XP installation. I then took out the two IDE hard drives to install Windows XP onto the RAID drive. During installation I pressed F6 to select the drivers for the card, which worked fine and the installation copied all the XP files to the 50GB partition on the RAID drive. However, when the XP installation re-started it was unable to find any drive to boot from."
IMHO this means, your mainboard is perfectly able to find some disk where software can be installed - so it should be set 'active'. How did you do the XP installation on the RAID-0? Cleaned the disks by formatting them, even deleting the partitions? Or did you use what was there, and installed it right over it?
And how did you set the RAID as RAID-0? You had to enter the RAID bios, right?
Somehow I have a feeling you should just set the first disk on your controller card as active again, and try the 'fixboot' from the recovery console. Did you ever disable the IDE channels you will not use, i.e. probably the primary channel where you had the IDE drives before?

Regards,
has.
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andymcooperAuthor Commented:
Has,

Thanks for your response. I don't see any reference to the SATA hard drives or the RAID card in the BIOS self test, and have never seen an option to enter the RAID card's BIOS. I installed the hard drives using a Java application from Silicon's web site, and I did have to wipe the drives first to set up the RAID0.

The 'Boot from other device' in the BIOS is enabled, and I have tried various different options for the boot order.

To install XP I didn't re-format the drive as I had just formatted it from within my old XP installation. I will try the fixboot then try installing XP again, but doing a full format this time.

&e
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al-hasanCommented:
Andy: to enter the raid bios: please try <F10> instead of <F4> or <Ctrl>+S , maybe this one works. Just found some information about some Dawicontrol raid card, which uses the same SiI 3114 as the raid chip. And they tell that in the raid bios you can create and delete and rebuild all the raid features, but no mention about anything related to the boot-up. So I am afraid this track will lead us no further.

In the mainboard bios, apart from the boot settings ('boot from: SCSI') there should be a boot order (or priority) as well, further down. Can you see whether that one is set to 'SCSI before ATAPI'? For the moment, I would disable all the other boot possibilities.

Could be that you had to switch the RAID card to another PCI slot.

Hmmm, there could be some jumpers on the card, which (dis|en)able the bios.

But most of all, I would set the primary partition as 'active' once more. Do you happen to have a Windows 98 CD? Boot it up into an a:-prompt and run fdisk from there, set it active and if it shows active, undo it, set another partition active and then the original one again. When we have this, we still need to do the bootloader. But first let us find the correct drive after the bios check.

Regards,
has.
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andymcooperAuthor Commented:
I have just tried:

fixboot in the recovery console
Installing XP with a full format first from within the installation procedure
F10 at start up
Moving the PCI card to a sifferent slot
There are 4 jumpers on the card, one for each drive, and I have tried putting a jumper on the 1st and then the 2nd, which have drives attached.

None of which worked.

Also, there is no 'SCSI before ATAPI' option in the BIOS

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al-hasanCommented:
fixboot repairs the start files (already on the partition), while fixmbr should have been done first.
That leaves to set the partition as active... please. Please do it with fdisk, or what do you have available?

Regards,
has.
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andymcooperAuthor Commented:

I have just tried setting the partition as active using Partition Magic. It was already active, but I set a different one active and then set the boot partition as active. I still got the same error messages so I tried fixmbr then fixboot from the recovery console, but I still get the same errors.
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al-hasanCommented:
Andy: thank you. So our worry is definitely before the disk is addressed.

Let me put our situtation together:
# 1:  BIOS boots, but you cannot see any message where the Sil 3114 RAID BIOS is listed on the screen. However this should be the case, with an option to enter the (RAID) BIOS.

# 2: As soon as the RAID BIOS is recognized, it displays the attached hard disks on the screen. This does not happen when your computer boots up - instead you get the message "Disk boot failure - insert system disk and press any key".

# 3: Then the MBR of an active hard is looked for, to continue the boot process. So far we do not proceed.

Step three we do not reach. Not even the step one here. This leaves two possibilities:

> 1: RAID controller is not recognized in the mainboard's BIOS (at the moment I guess this is the case).

> 2: RAID controller's BIOS is not working properly.

I understand that you are not content with the situation now, and I confess we first looked too far up in the boot chain. Do you have a chance to test this card in another computer? Do you have the documentation for this card? Who is the manufacturer of the controller card? If I am not mistaken, Silicon Image SiI 3114 is the chip controlling the hard disks. We must work on this card being recognized in the BIOS of the mainboard.

Regards,
has.
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al-hasanCommented:
BIOS:

Andy, please check in the BIOS settings under 'Advanced BIOS Features' the content of 'Hard Disk Boot Priority'. Should be line two. If possible, select here 'SCSI'. As well, disable the 'Boot Other Device' while the 'Second Boot Device' should be set to 'SCSI' (not Hard Disk). This is not (yet) the solution, as the BIOS has to recognize the card whatever settings we have here.

Your Epox board does have its own SATA RAID controller built in? Did you try it out, or did you disable it in the BIOS? Under 'Integrated Peripherals' -> 'IDE Function Setup' I would disable whatever is not needed, especially the 'OnChip Serial-ATA' entry. Or at least first hang the SATA drives to the SATA connectors and see what happens. Luckily you have no data on them...

Still no boot message from the Sii 3114 card?

Regards,
has.
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andymcooperAuthor Commented:
Has,

Your report of the situation so far looks right to me.

My mother board is the EP-8RDA+ , see:
http://www.epox.com.tw/eng/products_content.php?ps=229
It doesn't have on-board RAID (the EP-8RDA3+ does)

Also, the two options you mention in the BIOS are not there (I suspect they are for a different motherboard).

I do not have the box for the card where I am now, but will let you know when I find out the manufacturer of the card

&e
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al-hasanCommented:
Andy: somehow I have a faint feeling that all this (BIOS settings) will not help either. There seems to be something wrong with the card, or at least the card's BIOS. Can you please put it into another computer and see whether there is any message in that one's BIOS at boot time?

Seems Epox has one mainboard manual for both boards mentioned. Better if it has no onboard SATA.

Regards,
has.
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andymcooperAuthor Commented:
I have tried the SATA card in another computer, but it didn't work. Then again, it was a v. old machine so I don't think we can draw any conclusions from this.

The SATA card doesn't have a brand anywhere, and 've searched all over it for clues about the make, but couldn't find any. The only info on the web I can find is on a Japanese page, found through a google image search (!):

http://tinyurl.com/9za9z
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andymcooperAuthor Commented:
Just a thought, but is there a way to boot from a floppy, with the drivers on for the SATA card, then boot up windows from there?
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al-hasanCommented:
Andy: in that other computer, there should have been at least some message displayed while the POST runs up. Well, in case of RAID  would you not agree to better trust the data to some supported products? I looked at the page, and I assume it is the once priced at 78 usd (78000 korean won = 78 usd). Not sure whether that one is bootable at all.

See, I like to help you, but here we are stuck. You could try another controller card, whether that one works in your computer (it should), then we can be rather sure this korean one is not working the way you expected it.

Boot from a floppy: you should be able to boot into your system (on SATA) using a XP boot floppy with the correct boot.ini entry on it. But not sure here, sorry.

Regards,
has.
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al-hasanCommented:
Could be this one:
http://www.mtwo.com.tw/product.asp?Product=SATA4000
sometimes sold as Sunix SATA4000:
http://forums.techarena.in/showthread.php?t=8561
Still could not access more information on their webpage besides that it _is_ able to boot.
So the message in the BIOS POST is extremely important for the proper functioning.

Regards,
has.
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andymcooperAuthor Commented:
OK, I'm giving up on this one. It looks like I cannot boot from the particular card I have. Thanks for all you help, has.

&e
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al-hasanCommented:
Andy: sorry to see you give up. And wish you would not have rewarded me with any points - your problem is still there, unsolved. Hope some admin here can return you the points, for further use. To find the correct solution would have been a great satisfaction for both of us. Thank you however, too, and good luck for you.

Best regards,
has.
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