RAID 5 failure on XFX 780i motherboard

Hi All,

I have a MAJOR problem!
The RAID 5 Array on my own PC has failed!! and i need to save the DATA!

Here is the background.

XFX 780i Motherboard running Nvidia RAID
1x WD raptor as primary ( working fine)
4x 750GB WD SATA in RAID 5 Array as secondary data storage ( not working)
Vista Business

Problem:
last week my PC froze. i rebooted and it froze again.
it turned out an update i installed caused a problem with a component of Vista. so i ran a system restore and went back a few days a whalla! fixed..
but... with all the rebooting the Nvidia raid developed a problem.
it showed 3 logical drives instead of the 1 logical drive it should.
i read on an nvidia forum that this can happen with nvidia raids, and followed the procedure of deleting the raid, recreating and NOT clearing the MBR.
I have had to do this once before and it worked then. so i figured this would work again...
GUESS NOT!

when the PC rebooted i had one physical drive, but 2 logical dirves.
one that was 47Gb and one that was the 2045Gb of the rest of the drive.

HELP!!!

i need to somehow recombine the two logical drives and recreate the MBR? to show 1 drive and then use a recovery wizard to recover the data i need......

the only problem, i dont know how to create a new MBR? set the physical parameters of the Logical drive ( so that i only have one) and then peform the recovery.

i have tried to recover files using filerecovery with out doing this and the data seems fragmented, all pictures i pull bakc are broken and all word docs are garbage.

i need help!!!!
MAX points for this one
LVL 2
tech_tonicAsked:
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Hi tech_tonic, what is the actual size of your drives? From your description it looks like the size is over the MBR limit - 2048. You cannot create MBR partitioning on drives (RAID configuration) that exceeds this size in total. Thus I am suspecting that you had GPT drive in your configuration. But still, did you add new drives that RAID become so large? What was the actual size of single drive (RAID detected as single HDD in Windows Disk Management)?
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tech_tonicAuthor Commented:
Hi Noxcho,

i think you are right yes it was GPT.
there are 4x 750Gb WD SATA drives in Raid 5 Configuration.
ach drive has a usable size of 698.64GB.
in raid 5 this is/was a total of 2095.92GB

now, it shows the following.
Logical Disk 1 - 2095.91GB
Partition 1 - 2048.00GB RAW
Partition 2 - 47.91GB unallocated.



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tech_tonicAuthor Commented:
P.S. it was always setup this big. it was never added to or changed.
it was setup in the raid BIOS to these physical parameters and formatted inside of Vista.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
You need to find a way to convert the drive back to GPT as MBR partitioning style does not allow us to use space that exceeds size of 2048GB. At the moment it is MBR formatted and shows you correct table - 2048 + the size that exceeds this limit.
I did perform lots of tests trying to find a solution for you - conversion to GPT is not possible if any partition is created on HDD (RAID detected as HDD). This means that you need to delete 2048GB drive and then during installation of Windows convert the drive to GPT so to have access to all space.
As for data recovery, did you use GetDataBack software from www.runtime.org ?
This is the best software for data recovery to my mind.
My personal recommendation is to build new RAID of three drives that does not exceed the limit of 2048 to avoid problems in future and use one 750GB for backup storage purposes.

To your P.S. -  sure RAID can be configured this big in BIOS of RAID controller but partitioning style (MBR or GPT) is set by Windows only.
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tech_tonicAuthor Commented:
Hi Noxcho,

thanks for the comment,

what i need to know now is how can i create/restore a GPT partition.
my feeling is that if i can recreate the correct partition table then i can recover the files i need!!

can anybody help with this?
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Microsoft set this trap for you. You cannot convert the drive (RAID) to GPT if you have at least one partition on HDD. This is the fact.
Did you try GetDataBack to recover your data?
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tech_tonicAuthor Commented:
Hi Noxcho,

technically there is no partition set on the drive.
the "format" is RAW.

does this mean i can "delete" the raw partition then recreate a GPT partition and then recover data from it?
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Chances are 50/50. Not sure if the file recovery tools are working with GPT partitions but it is worth of trying.
If you fail to recover data this way then I would recommend trying to recover it from drives separately or bring it to recovery shop.
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tech_tonicAuthor Commented:
if i try to recover one drive at a time won't the files be "incomplete" and therefor not usable?

how is it possible to recover one drive at a time?
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
You see, data physically written to hard drives and file system is organized on virtual level only in RAID configuration that is detected as single HDD. Thus specialists must be able to recover the data from these drive. Just an idea come to me that your data was allocated according to GPT partitioning style and this could be more complicated than we thought. Just take out one drive, connect it to working system and try to recover data from it. You loose nothing.
BTW, I would do this way - connect another drive to this system, as single HDD and install Vista there. Then try in Windows mode to use tool like Drive Backup 9.0 to browse the existing partition with inbuilt Volume Explorer that can browse RAW partitions. If it can browse yours then copy out necessary data. Delete the current partitions and convert drive back to GPT.
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tech_tonicAuthor Commented:
Well... i know it has been a long time since i replied to this, unfortunatly it was not possible to recover the infomation.

i tried everything! including all raid recreators!

unfortunatlyi just had to just blow it away.
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tech_tonicAuthor Commented:
there was no solution, but kudos for all the help
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