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Can a RAID5 array rebuild when booted from CD for O/S or should I start from scratch AGAIN?

I have a Server 2003 R2 that crashed - Adaptec 2410SA w/RAID5 (3 drives only) - 1 drive failed then another before the replacement arrived. Purchased 4 new Seagate ES and set them up so 1 was a spare. During O/S install a drive came up as failed - I knew that wasn't possible so tried again, same result.

Decided the Adaptec must be the problem, so switched to onboard Intel ICH8R/DO controller. Installed everything, spent the last 2 days getting programs working, etc. Then tonight at 5:30 the Intel software tells me a drive has failed - the one that was on the same Adaptec port as the dead one from before.

I marked it as Normal and it started a rebuild, then about 1/2 hour later all I have is a black screen with flashing cursor. On reboot, ntoskrnl.exe is missing or corrupt.

Tested the 'failed' drive - it had 16 errors but passed after repair using SeaTools for DOS.

I have the 4th drive in the RAID now, it is telling me that it will rebuild when the O/S starts, but Windows won't start. I booted off the CD to do a repair, but it doesn't recognize that there is a Windows install. I was getting ready to F3 out to quit when I see the HDD lights are flashing like it might be rebuilding...

Do I wait and see if it is? (In Windows it said the rebuild could take 21 hours!) Am I dreaming that this is going to turn out well? Should I just bite the bullet and start over - perhaps with RAID1 this time?

The client has been down since Sunday - I'm not looking forward to having them arrive tomorrow to nothing!
1 Solution
Paul SCommented:
Even while rebuilding, the data should be consistent (just running slower), do not expect a rebuild to solve an issue that is happening now. With RAID a disk failure should cause no problems (theoretically), just slower performance during a rebuild. You need to boot to a disk that has the appropriate RAID driver and run chkdsk on your logical volume (The C drive), if that doesn't fix, then restore from full backup or start installing the OS again.

I would not expect the rebuild to fix the no boot issue (it is possible, but very slim chance)

I have dealt with many many disk failures in my life.
onsquirrelAuthor Commented:
I basically figured I was euchered, just in the denial phase I guess! I`m already working on the redo...

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