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Raid 1 Disk Configuration Problems

Posted on 2011-03-01
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
The best I can explain this problem is as follows. I built a computer for my client that consisted of 2 500GB sata drives configured in RAID 1. The client has sensitive data that I wanted to ensure that they wouldn't lose if a bad hard drive would occur on a single disk system. When I first built the system it showed 1 500GB Partition like it should in RAID 1. A couple days ago the system had an error message about some problem with an array. This message popped up in Windows 7 after the system booted. When you go into computer it now shows 2 drives that have the same info on them. The main drive has current data but the second drive has data from a couple weeks ago. I am thinking the the array went down some how. How would I configure the RAID array again and write the current data on the secondary hard drive.
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Question by:powerpcman
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by:
dlethe earned 100 total points
ID: 35014577
The mirror broke a few weeks ago and nobody noticed is what happened.

I suggest getting a quality RAID controller that csn send out alerts if there is a problem, and even uses idle time to make sure that the 2 disks stay in sync 24x7.
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 100 total points
ID: 35014582
How you reconfigure depends on the RAID controller.  Windows client operating systems cannot do a software RAID 1 so you must be using a Hardware RAID.  And how they are setup depends on who made the RAID controller.
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by:BITCooler
BITCooler earned 100 total points
ID: 35014648
1. Backup the critical data on the disk that is current before you loose it.

2. What is your controller make / model ?

3. Did you use enterprise SATA drives ?
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by:arnold
arnold earned 100 total points
ID: 35014893
The BIOS may have reset changing the SATA from RAID to AHCI/SATA.
In any case Built-in MB SATA RAID still relies on the system CPU versus a true HW raid which has a controller that handles/manages the errors and recovery from failure.

If there was a failure of one of the drives, I do not believe the way the drives are presented would have changed to the way you are reporting.
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 35014917
No, if the BIOS had reset the setting, you would have "Lost" all of your data .... because in RAID mode, the first X blocks are carved out specifically for the controller's metadata that it puts at the beginning of the disks.

(unless you have some incredibly stupid off-brand RAID controller that doesn't use metadata.)
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 100 total points
ID: 35016620
Sounds to me like it's fakeraid on the motherboard chipset so if it's Intel the metadata is on the last two blocks, not at the beginning of the disks. Useful since you can turn RAID on without having to reinstall the OS but not useful in that if it decides to throw a wobbly and disable RAID you don't notice it unless you look in disk manager and notice an extra disk has appeared.
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Author Comment

by:powerpcman
ID: 35032047
When I go into the RAID controller settings and view the drive assingments it says the number 2 hard drive smart status is critical. I tried to do an image to a new a new drive but no go.
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by:arnold
ID: 35032937
Usually in a RAID 1 group you need to kick the failed drive out. Then replace it and trigger the rebuild.
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Author Comment

by:powerpcman
ID: 35033538
So there is an option in the RAID setup for this? Would it be called something else?

Thanks
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by:dlethe
ID: 35033559
Ordinarily you would yank it out to inform the controller that the disk died, but in your case the  system is in stress, and there really is no way to know if the controller has bugs, or NVRAM is faulty, or metadata, drivers or anything like that is acting up.

Yanking a drive requires all the firmware & settings to be operable and correct.  On a flaky system you NEVER want to rock the boat.

I wouldn't do anything out of the ordinary until you have a full backup that you have verified as good (that you actually tested)
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Author Comment

by:powerpcman
ID: 35037685
When I connect both the system will boot up. Is there anyway I could image this to a single drive?
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 35038555
Yes, buy runtime.org RAID reconstructor software.  It can take any RAID level (using hardware or fakeware RAID, just not windows-software RAID) and image it to a sufficiently large disk drive, and strip off the metadata.  It is free to try & test, and you pay to actually save the image.
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 35039011
If you connect both and it boots then all you need is an external USB disk and imaging software such as clonezilla to boot from. Since it's still connected to the system that has whatever RAID on it the metadata doesn't come into the equation.
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Expert Comment

by:Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]
ID: 35975574
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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by:dlethe
ID: 35975575
I disagree.  All questions were answered. Points should go to all experts as responded as there were several questions.
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by:arnold
ID: 35978273
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by:dlethe
ID: 35978415
works for me, charge the points and award as arnold suggested.  
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