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Corrupted windows 7 machine

My machine does not boot.  It has Windows 7 Home SP1 x64 on a ASUS P5N-E SLI motherboard running a RAID 1 mirror from the BIOS.  The RAID is nvidia (I think)
When you boot the machine it hangs in the "detecting array" part of the POST forever.

I removed the drives from the machine and attached them as USB drives to another machine to remove files.  The drive is recognized but says its not initialized.  When i try to initialize it, it gives me an "incorrect function" error for 1 of the drives and a "the drive is not ready" error for the other.

How can i read this drive to remove the files, or better yet fix them so i don't have to reinstall windows?

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Shane McKeown
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Since this is a RAID array you need to be careful, don't think you can just split the drives and try to access data from either, you need something to rebuild the array

Check the above, you need something like it to get to your data again I think
On an nVidia RAID 1 array, you should be able to remove one drive, and boot from the remaining drive. Change RAID settings in BIOS after removing drive. I have had to run chkdsk /r on the drive to remove errors before drive would boot.

I would try to clone the drive to ensure there is a backup copy.
Also due to the system being a RAID 1, it is possible if something was corrupt in the first place that the MIRROR would/could also rebuild the bad or corrupt partition to the second drive.

That being said it is also possible that your first drive is possibly failing.  YOU DO NOT want to initialize the drive.  Initializing the drive will in essence wipe the data from the drive.  Changing or altering the configuration of the drive itself can and potentially will render the original partition unreadable without data recovery tools.

Running CHKDSK on the drive fixboot fixmbr are some ways to recover potentially recoverable media.

My suggestion is to first check and make sure the first drive in question is indeed failing/bad.  

Second is to recover data form either drive.

Before trying to make it bootable again.  Otherwise again, any mods/changes can cause more damage than good.
But do remember that any modification or change to the drive can also render recovery harder and harder at each change/mod.
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Booting up with either drive (2 WDC 320GB SATAII) attached in RAID config just sits in "Detecting Array" in POST indefinitely.

Booting up with either drive with RAID disabled goes to a flickering cursor in POST.

I did notice that 1 drive is constantly detected in the BIOS with no information (0 Bytes) while the other is only detected sometimes (also with 0 bytes)

This make chkdsk and Bootrec unusable.  I find it highly improbable that BOTH drives failed...I am going to try them in another PC to see if they are recognized.
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Try connecting them directly to the motherboard in another machine - USB enclosures add their own electronics which can mess up signal translations.  GetDataBack ( or Recuva ( can be used to read the data.
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I tried it on a DELL PC at work...set the BIOS to both SATA/ACHI and SATA/ATA and both times it sees a drive but gives me no information about it.  No size in GB, sectors, etc...

What are my options?
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in the just says SATA drive...but not the size and sectors etc
1 of the 2 sounds like it spins up...the other makes not sound
The drives are physically broken so i was not able to get data off of them.  I'm sending them one of Western Digital preferred data recovery specialists.  Lets hope this pricey solution is worth it.

Since both drives are broken the specialist explained that it was probably something like an internal power surge.  This is right in line, as i noticed that the PS was working but its fan was not spinning.  I promptly replaced it, but unfortunately not quickly enough.

Thanks to all

sorry to hear of the drives failure.  I wish you luck in the data recovery.  Most likely the drives will probably have "recoverable" information.  As it seems that the drive is probably not grinding or making any mechanical noise failure.  It may still be expensive, but chances of recovery sound good.
Best guess is that voltage spike took out the drive electronics and that platters are still intact and recoverable. In the future, I recommend that you backup to an external drive and/or an online service. I use a RAID 1 array to accommodate single hard disk failure but also copy an image to an external drive and backup important files to Dropbox. I also recommend that everyone use a UPS for spike protection and to buffer voltage fluctuations.