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SATA RAID1 inaccessable after installing SiI3114 SATARAID5 drivers

Posted on 2006-05-03
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Last Modified: 2008-02-26
I have 2 250GB SATA drives attached to the SiI3114 controller on an ASUS A8N SLI motherboard.  Since I got the drives, they have been used as storage for pretty much everything and I've had no problem with them.

But, my OS drive cratered, so I installed Windows XP Pro on the array (which was already set to boot).  F6 to install the SATA drivers and the install went just fine... Windows loaded up and I started installing drivers. Once I installed the drivers for the Silicone Image SATA RAID controller and rebooted, the array was no longer created in the RAID config (F4 during POST).  Both drives are still detected, but the array was lost.

I immediatly removed both drives and set one asside and powered down the system, waiting on my replacement OS drive.


Yesterday, I got my replacement drive for my OS and setup to install be disconnecting everything but the new drive (and CD-ROM of course).  Again, F6, Windows, drivers... I did NOT install the Silicone Image driver this time.

Everything was good so far... so I started the task of trying to get the original RAID1 detected in the fresh install of Windows.  At best, I can get Windows to detect the drive (as a 'bare" unpartitioned space), ar worst, Windows does not detect it at all.  I've tried using the free trial of EasyRecovery Pro when Windows XP does detect a drive, but it crashes on the "Advanced Recovery" step ?!

At this point I'm at a loss... I called DataRecovery.ca and got quoted between $700 and $1500... a bit out of my price range, LOL.

500 points to anyone that can come up with even a partial solution (so I can recover some of my digital photos)
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Question by:Alaeth
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Expert Comment

by:xcromx
ID: 16597970
Sounds like a driver issue...

http://www.softwarepatch.com/software/filerecovery.html

You could go into Safe mode and Uninstall the driver for your Raid...Can you even get to windows ?

there is alot of free ware to get the files you need..

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Author Comment

by:Alaeth
ID: 16598077
I cannot even boot the Windows installation on the RAID drive(s) since they are no longer detected as a valid RAID.  I have tried rebuilding the array once (using manual rebuild from one to the other) but they are still detected in Windows as only a blank, unformatted drive.

Currently, the only way to get into Windows is from the clean install I did on the new drive (to replace my original OS drive).  Sorry for the confusion, but I don't care about booting from those drives per se, but just getting the inaccessable data off :)

I don't belive this is a driver issue, but I do think installing the SiI3114 drivers did "somethng" to the RAID information stored physically on the drive.  I'm fairly sure the information is all there, but the header (and probably FAT) has been destroyed or overwritten.

I will try File Recovery 4 you posted when I get home tonight... the documentation seems promising and I may be able to recover using that.

Since this was originally a mirror RAID, I can keep one drive disconnected while I try various recovery methods on the other.  I beilve RAID1 uses exact sector writes, so the drives should be identical (in theory).
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Accepted Solution

by:
Callandor earned 2000 total points
ID: 16598151
RAID Reconstructor from www.runtime.org has a good reputation, as well as their other data recovery program, GetDataBack.
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Author Comment

by:Alaeth
ID: 16602511
Results:
The program xcromx listed appeared to locate the drive, but was unable to "attach" to it (or otherwise scan it).

However, the program Callandor listed (GetDataBack for NTFS) does appear to work, plus it allowed me to verify it would recover the data before I bought it.

Thank you both for your input, but I must give Callandor the points since his solution worked for me.

I recovered over 18GB of digital pictures... time to back them up somewhere else!
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Author Comment

by:Alaeth
ID: 16619157
Final Post on the topic:

I managed to recover all the data I needed (plus do a whole bunch of "spring cleaning" by ignoring stuff I didn't really need).  Here are the steps I took trying to recover the data after input from the experts...

1. booted into Windows and downloaded GetDataBack and test it on the drive - data visable, and file integrity appeared fine (actually, the MFT was detected so I would assume 100% recovery possible at this point)
2. connected the second drive of the mirror set to the non-RAID controllers and reboot (so both drives NOT connected to the RAID controller)
3. partition/format the second drive, and use the registered version of GetDataBack to copy the desired information off
4. Shutdown and connect both drives to the RAID controller, create a new mirror RAID (RAID1) using the partitioned/data drive as the source (offline sync - about 3 hours to get the array rebuilt)
5. reboot into Windows.  Doh! still no data!
6. Shutdown again, and take the "good" (primary) drive off the RAID controller back to the non-RAID controller (creating a "degraded" raid set).
7. Reboot into windows again and partition/format the degrated RAID.  Again copy the data off and shutdown.
8. Reconnect the original drive back as the secondary RAID drive and boot into Windows.
9. Data was visable, but RAID set showed "degraded" (as I expected).
10. Left the system overnight and this morning everything was green and happy.

Whew! Who knew RAID sets could be so complex?  I still don't know why installing the RAID drivers caused the array to be marked as invalid, but Silicone Image should definatly post a warning indicating that installing the drivers will destroy any and all data (unless you are savvy enough to know how to recover it).

Thank you again for your help, I'm buying DVDs on the way home to create some off-site backups :D
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