F2A85-M PRO RAID-1 Corrupt files after Windows update

Posted on 2013-12-12
Last Modified: 2013-12-24
Asus F2A85-M Pro with RAID-1 configuration running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit SP1.  Computer has been working flawlessly until this weeks Windows updates.  Now it boots to Windows with several corrupt file messages and fails to login with more errors.  Cannot open Task Manager at any point.  Pulled both drives and Scanned for viruses = Clean with Malwarebytes and Norton full scans.  TDSSKiller nothing found either.  Boot to Safe mode is not successful.  Ran the chkdsk /r an it repaired hundreds of errors.  Still no change.  Attempt to run system repair I am stuck at loading drivers.  Running system repair from RAID-1 or DVD.  RAID controller is an AMD chipset onboard the motherboard.  Downloaded all available versions from Asus website, but W7-64 drivers always come back as drivers do not belong to this hardware?  I have also tested both drives with WD lifeguard extended tests = OK!  I do have a backup image from before the Windows updates I will use if all else fails.  Want to understand what caused and why before this is a recurring issue.
Question by:Jason Johanknecht
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 39717572
You are using a fakeraid adapter.  Expect such things.  They are unsuitable, drivers are poorly written, and they are incapable of working properly though common failure situations.

The fix is to either
1. Buy a decent dedicated RAID controller  (> $100), which is overkill for RAID1.
2. Go to native windows software RAID1.  (Which can't be done w/o backup/restore or reload the O/S).

Author Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 39717591
I have been using these RAID and Promise RAID controllers for many years on many file servers and accounting computers.  I have had troubles with one in the past, but not this serious.  My RAID-5 devices use expensive controllers with cache to get performance, all made by HP in ProLiant servers.  This is a simple file server for 5 computers in a small business office.  I am aware of software RAID in windows and have tried it, but doesn't have the capabilities of the AMD/Promise controllers.

Any one else have any ideas?
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 39717623
Look, the RAID is done by drivers that get loaded during the boot process. The drivers do not have the intelligence to deal with drivers failing to load at the proper time. This guarantees corruption because the RAID breaks. That is what happened & why.
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Author Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 39717803
Windows does boot to the logon screen.  Then it gives errors after attempting to logon to any user of which there are 3.  Both drives contain the corrupt files, so yes I agree that files can become corrupt.  No different than a single drive non-raid system.  So far I have found that Windows update finished installing at 3:20AM Wed, and Norton logs last entry is 3:21AM Wed.  I am going to work on reading the logs next to see if anything was detected and removed.  The other thoughts are BSOD with the RAID drivers or power failure.  I will have to resync the drives upon fixing anyways, so a broken raid is tolerable with this RAID controller and easily fixed later.

Asus is working on the driver issue when trying to run the repair, since the drivers fail to install clean OS as well.

Please keep the ideas coming.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 39717828
No, the deal is when you have a fakeRAID adapter and update patches the O/S can get confused about the files it needs to update and what disk they are on. Cached data can get flushed to another HDD at a different location.   A single non-RAID system doesn't have to deal with these other scenarios.

Just resyncing the drives will probably not be enough. You could actually have only one copy of the correct data file on disk B, which would then get overwritten by bad data on Disk A with a resync.

Best practice is to make a full copy of the secondary drive (the one that will get overwritten by resync), then sync.  Then you compare files with the backup you made to see if any are different and manually reconcile.   Unfortunately, I am not aware of any freebie windows based programs that will do file comparisons between two sets of disks.

Author Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 39717904
AMD RAID writes identical information to both drives simultaneously.  Reads only from the primary drive.  I think you are referring to the sync about bad data overwriting drive B when I reconnect both drives.  Yes, I already made images of each drive in case there is a difference in the data.  So far my best guess is that during the automatic restart of Windows updates it failed to complete 100% and wasn't able to revert like it would normally.  Second guess is that Norton IS 2014 false identified a file during the update and caused a BSOD, which caused the file corruption mid stream installing the updates.  Normally this would be resolved using the DVD to repair install, but the load drivers is still where I am hung up.  Working with Asus engineer to hopefully resolve the cause of the issue.  

Next test is too see if data corruption affected program data and documents.

The secondary issue with Asus is the RAID drivers not loading.  They believe this is due to firmware for the RAID not being compatible with the available download.  Waiting for an older version to be sent to me.

Accepted Solution

Jason Johanknecht earned 0 total points
ID: 39718883
Using a different RAM test bootable CD I was able to diagnose failed RAM.  Removed one and retested for 12 hours on the second and found one error on that one as well.  The first stick of RAM that was removed error out nonstop immediately upon starting the test.  I am replacing both sticks of RAM and retesting to make sure it is not a mobo issue.  Atleast now I know where the corruption started.  Will attempt to repair OS after the test.

Author Closing Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 39737644
Hardware failure eventually self diagnosed.

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