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Rebuilding a Promose Raid array on Asus motherboard

Posted on 2006-10-20
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Got a problem with the following:

- Asus motherboard (P4P800-E)
- Onboard Promise Raid Controller (Fastbuild Util 2.01)

On boot, the following is displayed

Problem is detected with array : 1
Critical Status:
A disk memmer of a mirrored array has failed or is not responding.
The array is still functional, but fault tolerance is disabled.

However, the Fastrack utils sees both drives (i.e. both are connected and functional).
Also, booting with one (either) of the drives connected, Windows XP boots normally.

So it looks like the array has lost sync.

I have got a new HD of the same type (Maxtor 6L250S0 SATA) but the rebuild function in Fastbuild says there is not enough capacity.  Looking at the original drive and new drive in View Drive Assignments, the original drive capacity is 25100MB capacity and the NEW one is 250059Mb.  I presume the new drive must have some bad sectors, but because its smaller, I presume this is the reason the Raid controler won't allow it to sync.

Three questions:
1. Can I get the Raid array to sync using the old drives
2. How can a new drive with exactly the same model number have a different (lower) capacity.  If due to bad sectors, how in the hell can you buy a NEW drive and be sure its going to have enough good sectors to join the array?
3. If I have to start again and rebuild completely, how do I 'zap' the original SATA drives?

Thanks
SF

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Question by:sheepfarmer
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garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 17774597
With modern S.M.A.R.T. drives I'm surprised at the difference in capacity of the same model #'s => any bad sectors SHOULD have been replaced with spares.   But nevertheless, you have the problem ... so to answer you questions and suggest how you can resolve the problem ...

(1)  Your controller's not likely to suddenly have an epiphany and decide all is well;  so I'd say the answer to #1 ("... Can I get the Raid array to sync using the old drives?") is NO.   I'd be very reluctant to even try -> modifying parameters in the RAID setup software could simply wipe out the array.

(2)  "... How can a new drive with exactly the same model number have a different (lower) capacity." => As I noted above, I'm surprised it does.  I have NOT seen this with any recent drives (although I don't buy Maxtors anymore -- too many bad experiences with them a few years ago).  Drives with S.M.A.R.T. capability (almost all current drives) have "spare" zones that are used to automatically remap bad sectors => I would certainly expect the same model # drive to have the same capacity.

(3)  "If I have to start again and rebuild completely, how do I 'zap' the original SATA drives?" => You could use dBAN (http://dban.sourceforge.net/), Active KillDisk (http://www.killdisk.com/), or any of several other utilities designed to thoroughly erase a disk.

From what you've said above (about either disk booting okay), I presume you've broken the array and are using the disks independently now.   Assuming that's true, here's what I'd do:

(a)  If you have a copy (or if you're willing to buy one), run Spinrite against each of the current two disks, to confirm whether or not they're okay.  [http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm]   This is the premier utility for testing disks.

(b)  Assuming your disks are okay (or that you've replaced any bad ones) ... IMAGE the disk you're currently using to another drive (an external USB drive would be fine).

(c)  Wipe the array (using dBAN to thoroughly wipe the disks).

(d)  Recreate the array => Note that this will work even with your new disk; the array will simply be the size of the SMALLEST disk of the pair you provide.

(e)  Restore the image to the new array.
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by:sheepfarmer
ID: 17775114
Regarding IMAGING the disk - What would you recommend? - I have Ghost 10 but it requires install on the OS - Is there a bootable CD Image program available?

SF
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by:garycase
garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 17775179
I use Boot-It NG [www.bootitng.com], which boots to its own environment.   There's a free demo download that will work fine for what you need here => be sure to select CANCEL at the first prompt (so you don't install it on the disk);  then OK ... and then Partition Work.   The interface is a bit "geeky" ... but it's an excellent tool.

Acronis TrueImage also has a bootable CD that can do the imaging outside of the OS.

... in any event, I absolutely agree you do NOT want to use "live imaging" (imaging from within the OS).

If you want to use Boot-It, see my first post here for details on creating the image:  http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Microsoft_Network/Q_21549976.html    ... and read the posts right after it for details on how to create a bootable CD (or floppy).

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by:sheepfarmer
ID: 17783972
Thanks for your excellent answers - its going to take some time, but you have provided me with a good path to follow.

Thanks
SF
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