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Remove RAID from Dell Precision 690 and Re-install Windows

Posted on 2011-09-16
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Last Modified: 2016-12-08
Hello GURUs,

Here are some plans I have formed.  Could you please look them over and point out any wrong-headedness on my part?  Maybe someone with a lot of experience particularly with RAID setups on Dells will find some problems…

I currently have a Dell Precision 690 with two 72k rpm hard drives configured as RAID 0.  I would like to install a 10k HD without using any RAID.


1.      On another machine, go to Dell online,  enter my service tag, and downloaded all of the drivers available (select windows xp 32 bit for the OS because that is what I will be using even though my 690 supports 64-bit).
2.      Connect a USB floppy drive (hopefully it will show up as A) to the machine on which I downloaded those drivers
3.      One of those downloads is R165652 – the SAS Raid Controller Driver.  Supposedly it is safe to double click this… it should, I think, prompt me for a diskette and write the HD controller drivers to the diskette in the USB diskette drive (rather than extracting or installing anything on the local machine)
4.      Follow same procedure for R168483.EXE which is supposed to be the firmware for the SAS raid controller.  I am less sure about this one… shouldn't it also create a diskette?  Here are some instructions I found for this file… although my downloaded exe does not have a diskette icon but a file-extract icon.
a.      Get 1 blank, formatted floppy disk.
b.      Double-click the new icon (it looks like a floppy diskette) on the desktop. The Self-Extractor window appears.
Click Setup. A black MS-DOS window appears with a message indicating that you need 1 floppy diskette.
c.      Press the [ENTER] key.
d.      A message appears prompting you to insert a blank floppy diskette.
Insert a floppy disk into the floppy disk drive.
e.      Press the [ENTER] key. A message appears indicating that all data on the disk will be erased.
f.      Press the [y] key and then press the [ENTER] key.
g.      The files are copied to the floppy diskette. If the procedure requires more than one diskette, repeat steps 5 – 7 until you reach the end of the diskette set.
h.      After all the files have been copied to the last floppy disk, press the [ENTER] key and the MS-DOS window closes.
5.      Now go to my Dell 690 and press cntrl-C while booting… to access the SAS controller BIOS.
6.      Delete the existing Raid that is setup
a.      Delete the virtual disk
b.      Press Y to delete the RAID volume
c.      Configure nothing else in this BIOS
7.      Update the main BIOS from the diskette created in step 3
8.      Update the SAS controller firmware from the diskette created  in step 4
9.      Physically remove the two 72k rpm drives currently installed and add my new 10k drive connecting it to HD0 on the mother board
10.      Enter the main BIOS
Under the DRIVES section change I currently (while still using the 2 drives in RAID) have
      SAS controller = On
      Diskette drive = USB
      Drive 0: SATA-0 = Off
      Drive 1: SATA-1 = Off
      Drive 2: SATA-2 = Off
      Drive 3: PATA-0 = On
Drive 4: PATA-1= On
SATA Operation = AHCI
I think that here I need to leave the SAS controller on (because I will be still be using that controller even though I am not implementing any raid) but I will need to set Drive 0: SATA-0 to ON.  I will also go ahead and set SATA-1 and SATA-2 to ON because later I will add back those two removed hard drives as two additional non-raid drives.  I will leave SATA Operation = AHCI.
11.      I will probably have to save those changes, reboot and re-enter the BIOS in order to add my new HD to the boot sequence.  When I still had the raid, the boot sequence had an entry that read "#0558 ID 01 Lun 0 Dell Virtual".  After rebooting with SATA-0 = On and a single drive installed, I hope to see that drive listed in my list of boot-sequence selections.
12.      My Main BIOS and HD controller BIOS should now be properly configured.  So now I will begin to install windows (I will be installing 32-bit Windows xp pro onto my 64-bit capable Precision 690).
13.      I will press F6 to specify additional HD controllers
14.      At that point I will put the diskette created in step 3 into my external USB-Floppy drive and hope that setup looks to that drive and also finds the appropriate driver there.  If I am given a number of controllers from which to choose I will have to guess but I am thinking that I might see something that says AHCI and I would want to select that one.
15.      Now I should be able to finish installing everything as per usual.
16.      After Windows is installed I will install the other driver files I downloaded from Dell (even if the OS installed drivers for those items)
a.      Chipset - Intel driver - R119727.EXE
b.      Chipset - Broadcom driver - R121903.EXE
c.      Sata Driver for Matrix storage manager - R158601.EXE
d.      Sata application for Matrix storage manager - R165148.EXE
e.      TEAC Card Reader Driver- R176587.EXE
f.      Video nVidia Driver for Quadro FX550 - R194270.EXE
g.      Audio - Sigmatel onboard sound - R127208.EXE
h.      Network - Broadcom Driver- R161008.EXE
17.      I will add back my two 72k rpm drives and they should appear as new drive letters.
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Question by:santaspores1
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 500 total points
ID: 36549306
You can hook up the USB floppy before starting just to check it is recognised OK in the BIOS (as you are correctly hinting not all USB floppy drives are). That should eliminate "hopefully" from your plan.  If you are using the Dell reinstallation CD that came with the PC though you shouldn't need to worry about separately adding the SATA drivers as they are already incorporated on the Dell disk.

You have the correct order for installing the drivers otherwise.
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by:santaspores1
ID: 36549653
MASQUERAID:  Right you are.  I can (and now have) test the floppy before hand.  I can also copy my downloads to the 690 and create the disks over there which is totally safe... I will be wiping that system out anyway.  

I am not using a Dell installation CD (don't have it).  I have a store-purchased stand-alone copy of XP.  So I will install the SATA stuff after XP is up.  

Thanks for the catch MASQUERAID!  I will distribute the points after I let it sit a bit and see if I get any more suggestions...
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 36549781
No problem - if you can source a Dell CD (and you've got an OEM sticker on the case for that XP version) you could save your retail license for another machine.
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by:santaspores1
ID: 36549895
I moved the following files to my 690
BIOS - WS690A08.EXE
SAS Raid Controller Driver - R165652.EXE
SAS Raid Controller Firmware - R168483.EXE

When I double click BIOS - WS690A08.EXE it does NOT ask me to make a diskette.  It asks me if I want to replace "A08 BIOS" with "A08 BIOS.  So I assume that (a) if I press continue it will actually flash the BIOS then and there (overwriting all values with defaults as well) and (b) I have the most up to date BIOS and don't need to flash it.  

When I clicked on SAS Raid Controller Driver - R165652.EXE it extracted files to a folder.  I assume that I just need to copy them to diskette and have handy at install.

When I clicked on SAS Raid Controller Firmware - R168483.EXEit extracted files to a folder.  It did not create any sort of bootable diskette. The readme tells me to boot to a dos environment and execute the batch file.  So I will need to try and find a dos boot disk.
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Author Comment

by:santaspores1
ID: 36550039
I created a DOS 6 boot disk.  I assume that I will be able to boot to that with my USB floppy drive, then swap out that diskette for the one that holds the SAS Raid Controller FIrmware and run the batch file there to flash the contoller BIOS.  
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Author Comment

by:santaspores1
ID: 36550081
I do have a del eom cd and I do have an oem sticker on the machine... but I am not sure the sticker matches the cd I have.  Is that still legit?  I do own the completely stand alone install, but it would be nice to have both.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 36550105
Re: ftp://ftp.us.dell.com/SAS-RAID/R165652.EXE
Yes just copy the files this extracts to C:\Dell\Drivers\R165652
To a floppy - it doesn't need to be bootable but must contain the txtsetup.oem file which is what the XP installer looks for.
Instructions are also in a test file in that folder.
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 36550126
You have to use a Dell CD if you are going to use the OEM license
See my article on OEM here:
XP, OEM and the repair/reinstallation - which disk do I need?
http://www.experts-exchange.com/A_3218.html
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Author Comment

by:santaspores1
ID: 36550208
It also seems that I missed a dell download.  R149166 - Dell Desktop System Software... it says it is needed for many things... including support for USB floppy drive.  I won't install this until after the OS is installed so I hope that isn't true.
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Author Comment

by:santaspores1
ID: 36550262
MASQUERAID, thanks for your continued help man - I appreciate it.  I will go read your article now.  But I do own a dell oem cd and the machine does have an oem sticker... just not sure if the two match or not.  If not, I can always use my stand alone version though.
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Author Comment

by:santaspores1
ID: 36550305
Read that article.  And am glad to have [plunked down a lot of cash] purchased the retail version.  
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 36550324
I'd not worry too much about that one :)
If you have SP3 all the R149166 patch does is set crash reports to Microsoft to also anonymously notify Dell and adds UDMA for optical drives.
For earlier versions of XP it adds some Microsoft hotfixes.
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Author Comment

by:santaspores1
ID: 36550624
Oh, I think I am going to create a slipstream CD with SP3 on it... so I won't bother installing R149166 at all.  Thanks for all of this great advice!!!
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