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SATA RAID 1 - wont rebuild

Posted on 2006-05-18
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
XP PRO, DFI motherboard, Nvidia Nforce RAID
I had someone install my system with two identical drives in RAID 1. I installed a lot of programs and have been using the pC for a month. Suddenly, it won't boot - corrupted system file...
Not beeing really experienced with RAID, I ended up physically switching cables and the second drive booted ok. However, now the raid controller warns of both array members as corrupted , plus windows explorer now sees the second drive as a new drive in the system.
I want to mirror them again withour losing any data but when I go to F10 - rebuild option, nothing happens ( maybe because it thinks both drives are corrupted.)
I tried thru Nvidia Mediashield in windows, but it locates TWO ARRAYS, one of them is the original  with C D partitions, the other is the new drive with F G partitions. this last array has the option "exclude array " available. The first one doesn't.
for each array it states
 ---ST....( drive description)--- healthy --size  ---channel ( primary or secondary)---master
---mirroring ---degraded---size

so what do I do?
I am thinking of making a Norton Ghost image to a firewire external drive and then trying to rebuild. Is there a way to do this whithout losing data/ windows installation?
alternatively, can I rebuild from zero and then use the image to get my system back to previous stae without having to reinstall everything? (this was the point from the beginning...)
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Question by:Tulipa
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by:rfportilla
ID: 16713939
remove the partitions on the second drive, restart the computer and enter the raid utility.  You should be able to rebuild from there.
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Author Comment

by:Tulipa
ID: 16714746
didn't work - I used partition magic, deleted all, entered the raid utility - NOTHING happens when I click rebuild.
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 16715189
YOU CANNOT RE-MIRROR  them without losing everything on the drives.  Once you break the RAID 1 mirror, almost all on-board controllers will not let you "dynamically make" the RAID again.  At this point, your best option is to backup the good working drive to another drive on the standard IDE controller and keep a copy of that setup (make sure it is OK before going ahead).  THen "remake the RAID 1 in the RAID BIOS -- this will wipe BOTH RAID 1 disks clean, and now you can copy back all the data.

Mind you some RAID controllers will check to see if the RAID 1 mirror has a vialble drive with data, before it tries to remake the RAID from scratch.  These controllers will automatically rebuild the RAID for you, but do NOT NOT NOT depend on this.  You need a backup of all the data just to be certain you do not lose it. !!!
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 16715396
The original fault you had wasn't due to a bad array, but rather because of a bad file(s), such errors can't be recovered from by raid, you need a backup to do that! So raid only saves you from disaster if there is a hardware error from a crashed disk, and backups save you from software errors, like broken files, you need both!

The disk you removed the partitions from, try to put it on the controller as a single drive and use the controller's utilities to remove this disk from the array completely. Then put the good disk back inside and now, using this as the source disk, you should be able to rebuild the array.

If your windows can boot into safemode, run sfc /scannow from a command prompt, and make sure the XP installation CD is inside the drive. If you can't boot into safemode, run a repair installation of windows from the XP CD. Ignore the first repair option that would just get you into the repair console, but enter "r" on the 2nd repair option. This will repair the windows installation without changing settings, rerun SP2 after that and also run the windowsupdates.

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Author Comment

by:Tulipa
ID: 16716904
rindi,
please explain better - if I manage to rebuild the array, as you suggest, what will happen when I boot?
is this when I run the sfc/ scannow option with the XP CD in the drive, and if so then what happens next?
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Author Comment

by:Tulipa
ID: 16716913
scrathcyboy:
this is a system drive, so does copying all data back make the new raid drives bootable?
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by:mcp_jon
ID: 16717665
" this is a system drive, so does copying all data back make the new raid drives bootable? "

No it won't!

Unless you " ghost it " !

Best Regards !
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by:mcp_jon
ID: 16717692
Even so, I believe you can copy the Info from one single disk and mirror it,  again.

In the Raid Software,  do you have the option to create the Mirror again ? If so, does it ask you if you want to copy from disk 0 to 1,or 1 to 0 ?? That can  be one way to go !

Best Regards !
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Author Comment

by:Tulipa
ID: 16718600
mcp_jon:
I have a question about "ghosting it": won't the new "Ghost" have the raid information on it as well, or will it behave as a normal ghosted drive?
I only have the option of REBUILD, DELETE, and CLEAR DISK.
However, as i already reported, the rebuild option refuses to work.
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Assisted Solution

by:mcp_jon
mcp_jon earned 1200 total points
ID: 16718738
I think not, that ghost doesn't keep the Raid Info. but... I'd search a little deeper.

Regarding your Problem, try this :

1 - Take the good drive  out
2 - Plug in the Bad
3 - Go to Raid Manager
4 - Choose the Delete,  if it performs well, good.
5 - Shutdown
6 - Place the good disk and go to raid manager, write down and post back what is says. My guess is that it will warn you that there's a configuration on the disk, and if you want to keep or discard. Say Keep.
7 - Reboot
8 - Raid Manager, Try to Rebuild.
9 - Try to Normal Boot !

Best Regards !
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 16720493
"this is a system drive, so does copying all data back make the new raid drives bootable?"

Sure, you will have to do a few steps though.  You say the second drive boots OK by itself.  So you need to copy all that data off to another drive NOT part of the raid pair.  You can remove it and clone it on another system, and as long as it is not the running drive, all the registry will be backed up as well.  You can do this with ghost if you like, or even xcopy, which will clone all the files, but not all if it is the running drive.

If you don't have another machine and you clone the OS drive to a USB, you will not be able to recover it without a reinstall of the OS, because if the RAID initializes both drives when you remake the RAID, they are both blank.  Now you have your OS on a USB drive only.  Now if your BIOS allows booting from a USB device, you will see this in the boot order of the BIOS, then you will probably be OK, boot to the USB drive and copy everything back to the RAID pair.  But that is not likely to work on most systems.  Better if you can get the working drive out to another system and clone it there, and then put that drive as a spare IDE on the RAID system.  

Now if the RAID clears off the data when you remake it, your system will boot from the IDE drive because it cannot boot from the RAID, with no data on it.  Hope that all makes sense, it is a problem with RAIDs.

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Author Comment

by:Tulipa
ID: 16720759
I am backing up a ghost image of the good drive to a firewire drive - if the RAID rebuild does not work/ clears off data when I remake it, my plan is to initialize the new array, then using the norton ghost diskette, boot up PC Dos and ghost and then re image the backup onto the raid disks - will this work?
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Expert Comment

by:scrathcyboy
ID: 16720927
YES -- but only if the ghost boot disk has the drivers to see the firewire drive.  So test it before you remake the RAID.  Boot from the ghost DOS disk and do some DIRs -- dir C:  - dir D:  - dir E:

see what you get.  If it does not see it, go to a site like these to get the drivers set up FIRST !!  --

http://www.summitlake.com/COMPUTERS_NET/FireWire_Drivers.html?reload_coolmenus
http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/ghost.nsf/docid/2000112112190325?Open&src=&docid=2002030415014425&nsf=ghost.nsf&view=docid&dtype=&prod=&ver=&osv=&osv_lvl=
http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/ghost.nsf/pfdocs/1998082612540625
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Accepted Solution

by:
scrathcyboy earned 800 total points
ID: 16720991
Also check this list of ghost switches for boot order -

http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/ghost.nsf/pfdocs/1998082612540625

Once your boot disk can find the firewire drive, you are set to go.  This might all be unnecessary, the RAID might just redo itself fine -- when you try to make the RAID again, do not choose to initialize the disks.  So you might find if you do not initialize it (put drives back in original configuration) it works again.  But if not, you will be happy you did the ghost and made sure you can recover from firewire before losing the OS.
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