Cloning Dell Optiplex RAID drive

Posted on 2011-09-06
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I purchased a bunch of Dell Optiplex 980 systems with 2 identical SATA hard drives to be configured with NO RAID. When I got them, Dell had sent them with both drives installed and the A04 Bios showed that the RAID option was selected, and based on the size showing, I guess they set up RAID1. They also had preloaded the OS and software.

I wanted the second drive to be simply cloned and stored as a backup if the running drive was ever broken or corrupted - I did not want RAID, nor did I want to break the RAID and have to reinstall everything. So I simply pulled the second drive and put it aside for safe keeping.

Once the machines were fully configured for deployment, I used a SATA to USB adaptor and the Apricorn EZGig II software to do a full clone of the single internal drive to the now USB exteral drive, and the software copied the drives successfully and I again put the cloned drive away as a backup.

This past weekend, one of the systems had a hard drive failure. So I pulled the bad drive from the SATA-0 slot and put in the cloned drive and tried to restart. I got an error saying that there was no drive found (or something to that effect). Bottom line is that the cloning does not appear to have worked.

The only thing that is different from this and many other machines that I have done this on is that RAID (and I can only assume it was RAID1) has confused the issue. So the question is... How do I get the cloned drive to be seen by the machine so I can use it, or if that is not possible, how can I clone the single drive that is listed in the BIOS as RAID. I do not belive that I can remove the RAID without loosing all the data.

Question by:Rich
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Ghost will allow you to backup the files, you can then go into the raid utility and wipe the raid, change it to raid 0
and then with ghost, you can restore it to the drive.

If you can't access the drive from ghost to back it up, don't destroy the RAID.
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Mohammed Rahman earned 500 total points
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If it was setup to RAID 1, I would advise you to install the OS and all the other applications with the RAID 1 array active. Doing so, it will mirror the stuff from disk 0 to disk 1 (it will also serve as backup, no need to use thirdparty backup tools). Once you are done with all the installations and configurations, disconnect the disk 1 SATA cable and the power cable, and degrade the RAID array. The will NOT delete any data from the disk 0 or disk 1. Now the computer will be without RAID, you will have a backup to use in the event of disk 0 failure.

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mody2579. That sounds simple enough to work. So if I just plug in the second disk, the hardware should take care of the clone. When that is done, simply unplug the second disk, leaving the first, which is what I have running now. Then, if the first disk goes bad, I can simply swap in the second disk and all should be good. I will have to try it on the spare workstation later today. Do I even need to degrade the RAID array, and if so, do you happen to know how to get into the BIOS RAID control on the Optiplex? I do not get a "Press <ctrl>i" or any other message during boot to get to the RAID manager to do the degrade.
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by:Mohammed Rahman
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You may need to enable RAID in the F2 BIOS in order for the Ctrl + I to work.
Go to Drives in BIOS and then SATA Operation, Select RAID ON or RAID Autodetect / ATA. Then you will get the option to enter the RAID BIOS by pressing the Ctrl + I.
You can then configure RAID 1 in the RAID BIOS. Raid 1 may also be termed as SPANNING or Mirroring in the RAID BIOS. Once you setup the RAID 1 array, install the OS and all the applications. Disconnect the Disk 1 physically and turn ON the computer. You may get the message that the RAID has been degraded. You can go to the RAID BIOS and destroy the array and set the SATA Operation in F2 BIOS to RAID Autodetect / ATA. In the event of Disk 0 Failure, simply connect the SATA cable of the Disk 0 to Disk 1 and I am sure it should boot.

Author Closing Comment

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Thanks, Putting in the second hard drive caused the <ctrl>i option to manage RAID to appear, and then once in windows, the control for the RAID type (RAID 0 or RAID 1) and disk selection tool was used to create the RAID 1 configuration. I have them all mirrored now, but will have to remove a disk to see what happens, and then after a while, pretend that that disk had failed and put back in the other disk to see if it will bring it back to its original state.
Thanks for the help and info.

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