Windows XP Freezing After Installation of PCI RAID Card

Posted on 2006-03-27
Last Modified: 2007-10-18

I've just purchased an ITE IT8212-based PCI RAID card, marketed in my country by Q-Tec as "IDE RAID133 PCI Card 2 Port". The interface is 2xATA supporting four devices.

The disks I'm using are two Seagate Barracuda 160 Gb disks, one a 7200.7 and one a 7200.9.

The installation went surprisingly well... I was able to create a RAID 0 array across the two disks and partition and install XP on it. However, when I started copying files from my backup drives to the new array, I noticed some odd behaviour. It would go fine for some time, maybe a couple of minutes, but then it would just stop on some random file... could be a small file or a large file. If I let it sit for 5 minutes or so, it'd keep going, and stall again after some time. I tested copying between some of my other disks not connected to the card, and they behaved normally, but any copies involving the new array exhibited this behaviour.

Anyway, I have gotten all my data over onto the new array, and now it's started on something new... Every once in a while, the Explorer process locks up, using 95-100% of the CPU. It can be while I'm doing anything... last time, I was just browsing around the file system, but it's happened when I wasn't working directly with explorer. If I kill the process in task manager and load it again, everything is fine.

Some more specs about my machine... The motherboard is an Asus P4S533-E, CPU Pentium 4 2.0A, memory 1 Gb DDR400, video nVidia GeForce 4 Ti 4200.

To try to correct the problem, I checked and updated the drivers for the RAID card and all my chipset drivers. The only thing I haven't done is updated the motherboard's bios, because I don't have a floppy drive. I've checked for resource conflicts, but the only other PCI device I have is a Leadtek Winfast video capture card, and I've disabled as much as possible in my BIOS (parallel port, etc.).

So, does anyone have any suggestions? Any programs I can run to try to figure out what explorer is doing when it freezes?

Question by:Brucmack
    LVL 87

    Accepted Solution

    Do you ever get a BSOD? Or does the PC just reboot? If that is the case, make sure you have disabled automatic restart (Right Click "My Computer", "Properties", "Advanced", Startup and Recovery "Settings", in System Failure). If the PC reboots it shouldn't but now show you a BSOD with a stop error and possibly also a filename. Post those errors here, they might help remedy your problem.

    Download the UBCD and run memtest86+ on this CD. Bad memory often brings up the error you describe. Also use the other Tools on the CD to test your PC, mainly the HD manufacturer's tools (you might have to connect the HD's to a standard IDE connector in order to be able to run the tests). Also make sure yiz have the newest raid and mainboard drivers.
    LVL 76

    Assisted Solution

    It also might be the power supply.  You plugged in three new devices.
    If you got a RAID card, why are you using raid 0?
    If any drive in this RAID 0 configuration goes, you completely lose all the data.
    LVL 76

    Expert Comment

    Oops, make sure the card is seated snuggly in the slot as well.

    Author Comment

    Some clarifications:

    There are no BSODs or system restarts. It's only the explorer process that is locking up and eating any CPU time it can get. I'm sure it's not memory, because I get no errors when booting from my other disks and not using the raid array.

    I have had all of the hard disks connected through the motherboard's IDE connectors, and they all work fine.

    I'm using RAID-0 because I'm doing a lot of video editing, so I need the space for transient, uncompressed video files. All my importent stuff is backed up to other disks.

    As I mentioned, I have also updated the RAID and chipset drivers.
    LVL 87

    Expert Comment

    Maybe the drivers aren't updated enough. check the manufacturer's site for newer or beta drivers. They might also have some more info regarding your problem.
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    A BIOS flash may be in order. If the mobo does not "natively" support RAID, I believe that a BIOS flash will solve the problem, IF a BIOS update to support RAID is available for your system.
    Though you do not have a floppy drive there may be another way:

    The following is from:

    Ok, seriously who includes 1.44 floppys in computers anymore? I know
    when I am building new computers, I don't include them anymore. With
    USB Thumbdrives, CDRWs, and DVDRs so cheap anymore, it doesn't make any
    sense to transfer files via the old-school floppy. Which is all well
    and good until you need to flash the bios of the motherboard, and the
    manufacturer didn't include a windows apps to do it. So what are you
    to do? Well this article will show you how to create a bootable cdrom
    and flash your bios with it!

    flashcd.iso is an image of a bootable dr-dos 7 cd. In order to make it
    usable to also handle your bios flash files it has a cdrom driver and
    mscdex.exe loaded. What you will be doing is adding your bios flashing
    program and bios file to the .iso and then burning the .iso to cd.


    The best way to flash a bios is using a clean booting 1.44 floppy disk
    but lots of pcs are built these days where the manufacturer thought it
    was a a cool idea not to include one.

    If you have another pc with a floppy drive, you should really first try
    copying your bios flash files to a clean, bootable dos floppy and then
    burning a boot cd from the boot floppy that contains the flash utilities
    and using that cd on your floppyless pc.

    Or better yet, see if you can add a floppy disk to your pc.

    If the above are not options then using this util and instructions is
    another way to address your dilemma.

    Please be aware of the possible implications of flashing before you
    proceed and ALSO make sure that:

    1. The bios flash upgrade from your motherboard maker actually addresses
    the problem you are trying to solve.

    2. You make a backup of your bios which you should be able to do on your
    hard drive but also save the backup to a cd so you can get to it later with
    a bootable cd such as this.


    First download the Base image of the bootable cd.
    There are 2 files in this zippack, this readme and the flashcd.iso file.
    If you just burn the .iso as a test you'll see the bootfiles as drive A:
    What you are going to do is add your bios flash files to flashcd.iso and
    then burn your bootable cd which will include your bios files which will
    be seen in drive R: I'd also add the bios backup file you made.

    I use UltraISO to do this. It's a free trial.

    To add bios files:

    File | Open | Select flashcd.iso | Open | Image windows shows bootable |
    Select your bios files in the lower window | Drag to the top window | File |

    Note that oddly, the file size of flashcd.iso may not change.

    To burn:

    File | Open | Click on flashcd.iso | Open | You'll see your bios flash
    files on the right | Tools | Burn

    Also note that if using another program it's best to use the same program
    to copy files to the .iso and use the same program to burn the modified .iso

    When you boot with the cd the startup files will be seen as drive A: and
    the bios files will be seen as drive R:

    Keep in mind that adding files to an .iso is still a new science. Also use
    a good brand of media.

    Kindest regards
    Ed Jablonowski (
    Last Updated ( Monday, 13 February 2006 )  



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