RAID-5 degraded, but o/s won't boot

Have an Intel Matrix RAID-5 (v8.0.0.1038 ICH10R) w/ Windows 2008 Server Standard.

4 x 500MB drives (3 in array, 1 hot spare)

A drive failed during normal operation but the subsequent spare/rebuild operation also failed/froze the system as it became unresponsive within the hour.  I hard booted it.

The array intially showed REBUILD status and to boot to the o/s to heal itself, but the subsequent boot went BSOD (Security Registry Hive Failure/Corrupt/Absent).

Next reboot showed DEGRADED status (3 drives still in array, 1 in unknown mode) as seen at RAID BIOS/startup, but now it won't boot into Windows at all (just flashing cursor immediately after... no Windows boot manager, no safe mode options, etc.).  Does this repeatedly now.

Can boot from o/s DVD, but I can't do a Windows 2008 o/s restoration, as the array/partition isn't found when during the "restore-to partition" recovery option.

Thoughts?  I did see another thread about using a raid recovery s/w to boot and copy the data to a new drive, but getting the original array to boot is my main goal at this point.

Advise?  Thanks in advance!
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DavidConnect With a Mentor PresidentCommented:
It could, but w/o a hexdump of the first few blocks of each HDD, and some large strips of data to look at a lot of things, like XOR, remapping of data due to degraded disks, and parity checks, (and HDD diagnostics and error logs)

Then no way to know for sure.  It is PLAUSIBLE.

If you want the data back, you are just going to have to hire  pro and get them the hardware, or try the thing I posted, but that won't guarantee a recovery, it will take you to the next step which means at least the RAID is stable and operating with whatever data is left.  Actually there are ways to get even more data, but again, that requires dollars to be exchanged to a pro (and I am not implying or even hinting that I am the least bit interested. )

Going rate for a RAID recovery is now $1000 - $1500 per disk drive in the array.  This means you may be looking at $4000+ depending on the extent of the damage.  But then again, you might get 99.999% of it by borrowing some scratch drives and doing it by the book as I described.
You have a dual failure scenario.  Both filesystem damage AND a degraded LUN.  Realistically, you have a third problem, unreadable blocks.

So no matter what, if you can afford it, hire a pro. This is your best shot at a full recovery.

If you want a DIY, then here is A method
1. Get 2 x 2TB scratch drives (best)
2. Use a PC with 4 SATA ports, non-RAID.  
3. Download raid reconstructor (free to try, pay to buy)
3.5 run diagnostics on the surviving disks to see if any of them are in stress. If they are, stop, hire a pro.  If one of these disks dies, you have 100% data loss.

4. build a reconstructed 1.5TB physical array using the raw data from the 3 surviving imaged disks.  Do this by copying 500MB file images from each disk, placing it on the 2TB disk, so you have 3 x 500GB data files (you can use the compression to save some space).

5. Have it create a virtual drive that is 1.5TB.

6. Image that reconstructed drive onto a scratch drive.  You now have a reconstructed disk that is an image of the logical RAID.  This is what you then use with windows recovery tools to turn it into a bootable disk

7. Once the 1.5TB disk is bootable, you can then leave it at a 1.5TB disk, or buy another 500GB drive and rebuild the RAID5 set.  But that controller you have is crap. I can't recommend it ... EVER.  You are much better off going windows software RAID1.  You just had to buy 2 x 2TB to do a safe recovery, make that one RAID1, use 2 of the 500GB for another.  Use the 3rd for  another backup.
NightHawk10Author Commented:
Thanks for the detail.  One note, the command prompt at Windows 2008 DVD boot, does allow me to use DISKPART and I do see the drive, volume and partition and they appear fine/healthy I might add.  Any chance to use recovery/restore commands at this point?

I don't want to issue any commands that might blow away my future chances to keep the data intact, so I'm just asking at this point.

But yes, the Raid Reconstructor s/w route was the one I was alluding to (but hoping to avoid at this point).
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The easiest solution though would be to restore your system from your backups. That's what backups are for. And as Dlethe mentioned, change over to Windows RAID).
NightHawk10Author Commented:
Thanks, but in the original post, I can't do the restore... the Win2008 recovery option to choose a partition to restore to is blank (i.e. the RAID-5 partition is missing).
All diskpart and seeing the partitions means is that one whole block ... 512 bytes worth of data is recognizable.  

What about the other 4 billion blocks?
Reinstall the OS, then restore from the backup.
NightHawk10Author Commented:
Trying a restore via Window 2008 Install DVD (via an imaged Backup on a USB drive via Windows Backup) onto a single 2-TB SATA IDE drive (ruling out the RAID options for now).  Restore completed, but Windows just boots and reboots automatically before the final login screen.

Could the install be looking for something with the original RAID-5 config?  Or is the m/b and controller somehow screwed?

Options anyone?

NightHawk10Author Commented:
Thanks dlethe.

The RAID recovery s/w did work to span the array and dump it to a larger drive and I was able to access the data, but not boot from it unfortunately.  So an alternate effort to reinstall the o/s and settings was on tap... quite the painful route, but it got done.
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