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Help with RAID, HD, or IDE controller crash. Help?

Hello,
   I hope someone can give me good news.  I have a new ASUS a8v deluxe motherboard with a C drive (20GB) running Windows 98SE, a RAID (2 x 160GB) brand new drives running Win 2K SP4 and a storage drive 40GB no OS.  I have 2 sticks of 512 MB brand name RAM, CDRW and floppy drive.
  Last night 2000 SP4 was running really, really slowly and when I went to navigate the 'my computer' window it halted, flashlight came out for about a minute looking for drives and then finally it found everything.  It got slower and slower until I had to shut down as it appeared to frozen.
  This morning whether I boot into Win98 or 2000 it goes incredibly slowly and I can hear a new whirr whirr, pause, whirr whirr, pause that I've not heard before.  It seems to be coming from a hard drive but I can't figure out which one by touching them.  After trying to unplug the drive without an OS and not finding any change I tried rebooting again.  I can still reboot into Win98 (at least get the flash screen to show and about every 3-4 minutes I can hear the drive chug as it starts to load the startup software) but when I try to boot into my RAID setup I get I/O error 1028 or 1024 or something like that.
   I assume one of my RAID drives has puked.  How can I confirm this?  Will running the bootable CD that came with the hard drive be able to assess the drive even if it is still set up in a RAID setup?
  How can I save the data from my RAID? by the way it is a Raid Strip 2+0 for performance.

  If I take my blank drive, move it into the C drive position and install Windows 2000 SP4 I assume it will be able to see the data on the raid drive even if I don't try to boot from the raid drive right? (the file system on the RAID is NTFS so I can't see it from my Win98SE drive.  I just need to copy a few things from it that aren't backed up previously.

  I assume the motherboard is fine..is there a quick way to run a motherboard diagnostic?

  What I don't understand is that if the RAID drive is bad, why does Win98SE move in incredible slow motion as it is trying to boot, and if the Windows 98SE C drive is bad, why does the RAID drive move in such slow motion?  It makes me wonder if my IDE controller on the MOBO or drivers are bad.

Thanks for helping me through this mess.

Jeff
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docknibbs
Asked:
docknibbs
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1 Solution
 
CallandorCommented:
The way to troubleshoot this is to unplug all drives (you have to physically disconnet the IDE cable, to prevent interference) and plug in each OS drive or set separately.  Check in the BIOS if the drive(s) are detected correctly, and if they are, set the boot preference to that drive.
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rshooper76Commented:
You should also be able to get into your RAID controller BIOS and run a diagnostic on the RAID itself.  If you are using a software RAID you should be able to do something similar as well.  Also, most hard drive manafactures have software that can be ran on thier drives to diagnos and even fix some problems.  Normally you load this software on a DOS bootable floppy, boot the computer with this floppy and run the diagnostic from there.
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rindiCommented:
You don't mention what type of raid you have implemented. Is it raid 1? Anyway, you should be able use the raid config utility (the one that you can start with some shortcut key sequence when the PC starts up). This utility should show you which drive is failing.
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docknibbsAuthor Commented:
Followup questions.

1.  The RAID boot utility shows that the Raid is configured and online and working fine.  I've had it once in a while that my RAID will go down and show that it is only detecting one of the 2 drives.  After a couple of restarts it is fine.  Does that imply one of the drives is bad?

2.  If I unplug my Win98SE drive (C drive) I no longer get my multiboot options because they are housed in the boot.ini file on the C Drive.  The E drive (raid 0+2 on 2 separate drives) can't be booted when the C drive is unplugged can they?  I'll boot and since the C: boot ini file is missing I"ll get a boot error.
3.  I'll run diagnostic testing on the hard drives and see what it shows.

4. . I should be able to unplug the RAID setup completely (IDE cables as well) and then if one of the RAID drives is bad, Windows 98 should boot at normal speed and operate without long pauses right?

Thanks
JDK
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rindiCommented:
1. If the raid boot utility sometimes only detects one drive, this can mean one of your disks is going bad. It can also mean the power contact is no good. This happens often if you don't have enough connectors on your powersupply (which is most likely the case in your config and number of disks), and you have to extend these connectors by using the Y-type cables. £These cables often don't connect tighly enough. You could try squeezing the metal connectors tighly together, and then reconnecting them to your drives.

2. It depends on the type of raid you have setup (hence my question earlier). If it is raid 1, you can disconnect 1 drive and you should still get E. With raid 0 you won't get E.

4. If your raid is 0, make sure you remember which IDE channel is connected to which drive (if you are using different channels).

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docknibbsAuthor Commented:
Rindi,
  Your comments are great.  I do have Y-connectors because of the number of drives.  So can I assume that my power supply is supplying enough power?  I'll double check the y connections and make sure they are tight. However, right now the RAID setup is detected ( assuming all the connections must be tight right now) but I can't boot from it.  If one of the hard drives is dead, would the RAID detect an intact array (2 drives) or does it detect the presence of the drives and not their proper functioning?

My raid is 0 and both drives are on a single cable coming from the Promise Raid controller IDE plug on the mother board (this is a separate IDE channel specifically for RAID).  The standard IDE channel has my C and D drive on one cable and my tape backup and CDRW drive on the other.

Thanks
JDK
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rindiCommented:
If one of your drives were dead, the raid controller wouldn't detect an intact array, you'd get some sort of error message. What could have happened though, is that you array was dead in between, and since raid 0 is everything else than safe, and your array probably was dead in between, the array may have been broken earlier, and then your data on those drives would have gone now (it may have set up a new raid which may be functioning, but without your old data on those disks, so that may be the reason you can't use E now).

The powersupply might also be too meager to supply all your hardware. the link allows you to calculate the size you would need:

http://www.jscustompcs.com/power_supply/

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docknibbsAuthor Commented:
OK,
   So if the RAID went down because of a past power problem, but now was rebuilt does that mean that the data is gone?  Isn't the data physicallly still on the drive?  How could you recover the data?  Anyway to piece it together from both hard drives separately?  If I could boot from another drive and look at the contents of the E drive would it look blank even though there was a RAID full of data on it moments before?

Thanks
JDK

BTW, I calculated my power useage at around 350W using peak numbers from the calculator and I'm pretty sure my computer has a 350W power supply.

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CallandorCommented:
You never want your power supply to be at the peak requirements; you want a little headroom to allow for fluctuations.

Are both RAID drives detected correctly in the BIOS?  This must be true before anything else can happen.  I am troubled by the fact that you were detecting one drive intermittently; that may be the cause of your other problems.   www.runtime.org has a utility to recover data from a RAID array called RAID Reconstructor, if you want to try it.
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rindiCommented:
You can try using the above link, but it may already be too late. I just want to advise you never to use raid 0 for anything except temporary data. With raid 0 you get more speed (and disk space) for less data safety. Raid 1 gives you very good data safety, but no speed improvement and you can only use half the space of the raided drives. Raid 5 would give speed improvement and data safety, but you need at least 3 drives and one of those drives you loose for the striping of the array. Most cheap, motherboard controllers only support raid 0 and 1, plus maybe some variations of these.
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docknibbsAuthor Commented:
Hello,
  So last night I went home and ran the Maxtor drive utility on all my drives.  It turns out that my 40GB drive that I was just using as a spare drive in the system was failing or had failed.  Why that drive slowed down the use of the others I don't understand but it failed the tests.  When I unplugged and removed that drive my boot speed into Win98SE was back to normal.  I still can't boot into my RAID setup.  It gives me a 'can't find Windows 2000 boot ... error screen'

  So here is my thoughts.  I suspect the data is all there but that somehow the boot sequence is corrupt.  I'm planning on replacing the dead 40 with an 80 that I have around the house.  I will install Win2000 on that with support for my Promise controller.  That should allow my new drive to 'see' the RAID setup and I'll know if I can get the data off it or not.  Correct?

  My other thought was to boot from my Win 2000 CD and either attempt a repair or do a fresh install (keeping the file system intact) to my E drive (RAID).

Thoughts on which route is safer/better?

Thanks
JDK
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rindiCommented:
I think it is safer first not to touch (repair) your raid setup, so installing on your spare drive is better. Also try Cal's link to get the data from your raid.
Is your 80GB spare also a maxtor? I've just seen so many maxtor drives stop working... In my opinion they are the least reliable drives, I think about 50% of those maxtors I've seen have broken... It may be worth checking the homepage for warranty of your disk, that normally is no problem with maxtor.
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docknibbsAuthor Commented:
Rindi,
   I tried Cal's link but it asks me to identify the name of the drive.  I wasn't sure how to do this.  I guess I could boot into my bios and read off the letters/numbers that make up the name of the drive.  I thought that the two drives had the same name (they are identical drives bought at the same time but I thought they still would have different IDs/names) but I can double check.  Once I put the proper names in I'll see if that program will scan them and get the data off.
  The 40 GB spare that crashed was a Maxtor.  In fact, my original Maxtor 40 crashed and this was the one that Maxtor sent out for a replacment (it has a orange sticker on it indicating that it was a serviceable drive or something to that effect).  Looks like they didn't fix it very well.  I'll double check its warranty and see if I can get another.
  I'll keep you posted and thanks with sticking with me on this problem.

JDK
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rindiCommented:
You got another drive back, not your original one. To me it just seems maxtor had big problems with the powermax series drives, mainly those of 40 GB, and it seems the same with different models of that drive (there is one which is very slim, as well as bigger models, and I've had problems with all of them). Anyway, I won't ever buy maxtor drives again, as I have had at least 50% failures with them, and the drives weren't old. My current favorite drive is the samsung spinpoint, which comes in IDE and SATA versions, doesn't get as hot as other drives and is the quietest on the market. I haven't had any failures with them yet. The only disadvantage is they don't seem to make them larger than 160GB.

If you run maxtor's powermax utility you will see the drives model number and serial number, if that is what's necessary for those tools in cal's link?
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docknibbsAuthor Commented:
Rindi,
   My drive is under warranty until July so I'll work on getting a new one.

  I found out that if your right click on the field that asks you to put the drive name in in Cal's program it pops up a list of all detected drives in your system.  The problem is that with 2 160GB drives in the RAID it needed that much space to copy the files back to.  I don't have that much extra space so I couldn't use it.

  Anyway, I tried to do a Win 2K repair from CD but it couldn't detect an installed system on the RAID setup.

  Assuming the worst I deleted the array and rebuilt it without changing any of the 'data' that might be on the drive yet.  This time after rebooting I was able to boot into RAID Win 2K.  It was funny, some of my desktop icons were gone, when I checked my documents only 3 of the folders were there.  My itunes folder had some music files listed and not others and the links to the music didn't work.  In the users folder there was a new folder listing my name as a user but with the suffix .bak after it.  This implied that it was a backup and sure enough, in there was a duplicate my documents, my music, my pictures, etc with all of my data in it.  I simply had to copy it back to the real my documents folder and reconnect the programs to the data and I was all set.  Whether my motherboard RAID drivers knew to reconstruct the RAID data in a backup folder when it rebuilt the RAID array or what I don't know how that backup folder got there because I wouldn't have backed up to the same disk and it wasn't there before the crash.

Either way I'm on the road again, I just have to figure out if I should boot from a separate drive and keep only data on the RAID and chage it to a mirrored setup to preserve security or if I can continue to boot from RAID but save a backup of the data on a separate drive or tape drive.

Thanks for sticking with me and enjoy the points RINDI

JDK
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rindiCommented:
Thanx too and good raiding!
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