Gigabyte Motherboard failure, RAID 0 OS install, getting Windows 7 x64 to boot after motherboard replacement.

Posted on 2013-06-03
Last Modified: 2013-07-06
The Gigabyte motherboard on one of my Home PC's died at the weekend (only one running Windows 7, as a Linux, Solaris, OS X geek), probably should just bin the machine, but thought I'd have a go at getting the system back, as my gaming box, and occasionally like to dabble.

Anyway popped down to the local electronics specialist and picked up a near identical P965 based Gigabyte board, should be close enough to allow me to reactivate the Win-7 OEM licence once booted (possibly after half an hour on the phone to MS). Anyway the first issue was the OS was on a RAID 0 array, on the Gigabyte SATAII ports, rather than the Intel, so had to redefine the array in the BIOS, appears this wipes the MBR on the disk array, so obviously wouldn't boot. A not so quick fiddle with a Windows 7 recovery disk (dosen't see the RAID array, well not without downloading and burning the appropriate Gigabyte RAID drivers to a CD, and installing at the appropriate place. Anyway got the MBR back and the machine attempted to boot but failed at some point, blue screen for a fraction of a sec, after 5 or so sec's on the Windows splash screen, and the usual automatic reboot to the advanced options, the machine won't boot into safe mode or command prompt either, same issue. Used the recovery disk to CHKDSK the array, and found / fixed a few issues, but still won't boot.

Now the first issue is the Recovery Disk can't find / see any of the restore points on the volume, so is there some recovery console command line magic to specify where the Recovery console version of the Restore point tool should look on the Volume for restore points, as I'm hoping this would be the quickest fix?

Is there a way to force windows to log / display for a few secs what's up rather than automatically rebooting (without booting first)?

Alternatively is there a mechanism to access a Windows 9x style step-by-step boot option, so you can identify what's causing the crash, and hopefully skip on the next cycle?

Obviously can't use the Windows 7 upgrade / reinstall option as the machine won't boot (unless there's some magic i'm not aware of to kick of an upgrade without booting first), and don't want to do a clean install if I can help it.

So after ideas / suggestions.

Oh I have many True Image backups, sitting on a Samba mount, but trying to avoid a network restore, as the backup set comprises a full backup, that's over 3 yrs old, and numerous incremental images, so would probably take a day or more to restore.
Question by:arober11
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 39216909
A crappy fakeraid controller configured as RAID0 is bad news to begin with. There is no tolerance for bad block recovery.  After what you describe you have data corruption, filesystem damage, and lost files.

If you want as much data back as you can get,  you should acquire a scratch drive large enough to handle the backup, then restore to that and boot to it.   After the recovery do what you can with the corrupted RAID0 by copying over what you can get.

Then, if this was my computer, I would build a fresh new RAID1, then use that.  I don't care what kind of I/O you run on that PC, RAID1 will not only be faster, but it will give you protection against bad blocks and drive failures.

Your RAID0 does NOT do read load  balancing. Wndows sofware RAID1 DOES.   Turn off the RAID controller and let the O/S do dynamic software RAID1.
LVL 26

Author Comment

ID: 39217011
I have a NAS based backup of the system, and took an image of the disks, to another local drive, before playing. Essentially the box was a Games machine, and for running the odd Windows only toy such as Visio, so nothing critical on the box, but can recover it. The OS was installed on a RAID 0 array for speed (Aware RAID 0 is a pile of xxxx, but SSD's were pricey in 2009).

Just looking for quick options to get the machine to boot, to allow me to reactivate the OEM OS on the new mother-board, as obviously the MAC will have changed, but hopefully not much else: Same CPU ID, Graphics Card, Hard Drives, chipset..... (Not sure what MS look for).  I can then have a play, when I get some time, and possibly replace the RAID 0 array with an SATA II SSD, as relatively cheap these days.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 39217282
Your RAID is done with the BIOS & device drivers.  It isn't a hardware controller.  As such, different BIOS & Different drivers will often break it.  

Do you have any details on the old BIOS/DRIVERS? Is this even the same controller chip? Often these systems and $2.00 RAID controllers change like the wind so it is possible that even though you have same make/model of motherboard now, it uses a different controller chip

So before going further, visually inspect the motherboards and compare the controller chip make/models, and revision code.  

You can also buy a product at called RAID Reconstructor.  Boot to windows (or Windows PE), turn OFF the RAID controller so 2 individual disks are exposed, and add a scratch drive for a target device.  The software will reconstruct the 2 RAID0 halves into a single HDD image that you can  then clone to the scratch drive.

Once cloned you have a reconstructed RAID0 (that will have errors but still better than nothing).  Note you could also just leave the virtual reconstructed RAID0 as a logical drive, and copy to a network drive or something.
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LVL 26

Author Comment

ID: 39221572
dlethe: - nope, Gigabyte use their own hardware, see: Q_22690540, and per my original post I have access to the volume, and already have both a volume and device backup, so your last post irrelevant.
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Expert Comment

ID: 39286637
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

The question has either no comments or not enough useful information to be called an "answer".
LVL 47

Accepted Solution

dlethe earned 500 total points
ID: 39286638
No, the Gigabyte is a fakeraid.  This is NOT a RAID controller.  The work IS done by the BIOS & DRIVERS.  If they are screwed up in any way it will not work.

The page above clearly says the RAID is an Intel ICH8 chipset.

Now google "ICH8 fakeraid"

You will see over 3000 hits confirming this is a fakeraid controller and affirming the problems.

Here is also a link that addresses a busted fakeraid 0 on the gigabyte and perhaps will provide a solution.   But be warned, ICH8 RAID0 is dangerous.   If you need a large single device, it is much better to use the native windows software RAID1 by slicing out a single partition (say 32GB) on each disk, SOFTWARE mirroring them and making that the C: drive
Then use native software RAID0 to make a d drive with the remaining space, except for enough swap, and carve 2 separate swap from each disk..  This will be  MUCH better, faster, and safer.  

1. No fakeraid and driver issues.
2. Windows RAID1 does read balancing.  The ICHx does not.  So all reads in C drive will be, in perfect world 2X faster.
3. with 2 separate drives for swap, in non-raid, then the O/S can also load balance to insure swapping will have little or no affect on I/O.  This is not possible with ICHx based raid.
4. Your o/s is mirrored. You are protected from catastrophic data loss on C drive in event of a drive failure.
5. you have ability to put your most important files on the C drive.
6. IN event of a intel fakeraid update, or even migration, or anything else, you won't risk total data loss.  Had you done this to begin with, you would not be down now.
7. If you want large block I/O, then you can make the D drive have a larger NTFS chunk size, like 64KB for optimal throughput.   You are stuck with doing 4KB I/O in the fakeraid.   So you absolutely will get better throughput with the dynamic software RAID.    If you have database, then you can put index files on the C drive, so you will have 4KB I/O and also read-load balancing.  In perfect world you will get better than 2X IOPs on C.  Real-world expect at least a 75% improvement.
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Expert Comment

ID: 39294357
accept #39286638 as solution

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