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Recovering Data from a corrupt RAID1 set Sil3114 embedded controller, WD2500KS SATA drives

After installing a software program I was told to reboot.  When I did, the Windows XP machine I was working on failed to boot into Windows.  When I attempted to Start Windows Normally, I was told that C:\Windows\System32\system was corrupt and advised to reinstall Windows to repair. That is where it got sticky.
My windows XP installation was on a (software) Raid1 mirror set of SATA drives.  To reinstall windows I was compelled to install the driver during the install process. Honostly I didn't recall which of the several drivers provided by the board manufacturer was the one used for the original install.  I attempted to use one then another then another without finding a solution that allowed me to install to the raid set.

The BIOS Raid management page shows the raid set as "invalid raid set".  Eventually I popped a spare IDE drive into the machine and installed Windows on it in the hopes of attaching one (or both) or the original XP installation Mirror set for recovery of various files.  No joy.

I've tried installing Windows management tools from the Raid controller manufacturer (Sil3114) one such tool called Array Manager shows the drives attached to the controller but shows both are marked as "orphan".

While there is an option to "Delete Orphan" under the Device Menu item I'm afraid to do so because I don't known the ramifications.  Both copies of the manual for this program I've been able to locate have pages missing where the topic of "orphans" is supposed to be!

It's all very frustrating.  I'd love to recover some files like my outlook address book, email, various virtual machines I've configured -- all of which reside on this corrupted and so far inaccessible RAID 1 mirror set.

Any advice on how to access said files would be appreciated.  In my current configuration I have a 250GB IDE drive set up as C:, another 250GB SATA attached to the same RAID controller which is identified as E:, and of course the pair of 250GB SATA drives attached to the raid controller on the mobo but unrecognized by windows and recognized as "invalid Raid Set" by the BIOS Raid utility and as "orphan" drives by the Sil Array Manager program.
1 Solution
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Have you tried to connect the drives to STANDARD (non-RAID) controllers and then try to access them.  RAID 1 is just a mirror.  A broken RAID 1 will just result in two copies fo the same drive, probably one slightly newer than the other (assuming the RAID was broken recently).
johnwbrowniiiAuthor Commented:
Your comments got me thinking in a new direction.  I've been trying my best to "preserve" the configuration leaving the drives connected to the same SATA ports on the motherboard.  My motherboard actually has two sets of four SATA connectors.  One is from NVidia, the second (I've been using) SiL3114.  Both sets support RAID.
All my efforts have been undertaken while the drives have been connected to the SiL3114 set of ports.
In frustration a little while ago I opted to "delete orphan" on the drives designated as orphan in the SiL Array Manager utility.  I had hoped that action would allow windows to readdress the drives as standalon units rather than as a corrupted RAID1 set.  No such luck.
The BIOS RAID utility simply reported them as "reserved" rather than as "invalid RAID set".  As such Windows didn't recognize them and I was left with only options to create a raid set (which I suspected would have rendered the data irretrievable).
I then moved the drive from the SiL3114 set of ports to the nVidia nForce 4 SLI controller's set of ports.
BINGO! the drive is recognized and Windows assigned it a drive letter and quicly indexed the drive. I'm now able to browse and retrieve data at will.
Many thanks for getting me "outside the box".

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