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Boot device not found on RAID1

Hi experts,
A friend of mine brought his quite old Dell PC to my place. The machine doesn't boot anymore. There's the well known error message "Boot device not found". When I look further I notice there are two 1GB drives in Raid-1 and there is also an error message saying RAID 1 failed.
BIOS gives me two options:
- delete raid
- disable raid
The first thing I tried was removing the first disc, hoping the system would start from that disc, but that didn't happen. Only connecting the other disc didn't help me.
I connected both discs (one after the other) on the sata port of my working Windows 8 computer. The discs are found, but not initialized. I suppose initializing them will delete all data.

Can I disable the raid without losing any data? I clicked on the option, but BIOS warned me all data could be lost, so I clicked on cancel.
It is not very important to get the system working again, the only thing that is important is to try to save all data on the disc(s).
Any ideas.
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GeertWillemarck
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GeertWillemarck
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3 Solutions
 
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
I wouldn't make any changes without looking up the specs and raid controller documentation on the system.  You can enter the service tag and view the specs, components, drivers and manuals on the system.

Enter the service tag on this page

http://www.dell.com/support/my-support/us/en/19/Products/
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DavidPresidentCommented:
The most likely scenario is that the ancient drives actually FAILED.  If you want the data back then consider paying $500+ to a data recovery firm.  Anything you do puts that data at risk.

When you have older drives that are certainly out of warranty you don't want to even force a rebuild You have no idea which disk is more current, and if the system ran degraded or died in the middle of a rebuild.  Only a pro with the right software and insight can tell you that.
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GeertWillemarckAuthor Commented:
Long live Ubuntu.
I don't want to be too optimistic, but I think I might have found a solution. I booted from a Ubuntu disc and both discs are recognised by Ubuntu.
Apparently RAID1 must have been broken a long time ago because the most recent file on the first disc is more than a year old. The other disc seems to be up-to-date.
I'm making a copy of both discs to an external usb-disc for the moment. With a little luck all data can be copied without losing any data.

I followed another approach than the suggestions above, but still both comments do make sense. Reading manuals and checking driver updates must always be the first step and rebuilding the raid could lead into a disaster because the system ran indeed degraded.
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Tony GiangrecoCommented:
You can quickly close this posting by clicking Accept Multiple Solutions and selecting the suggestions you mentioned. the posting will close immediately.

Hope this helps.
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GeertWillemarckAuthor Commented:
Comment one pointed in the right direction, but was no real solution.
Comment two is a solution, but quite expensive and time consuming.
My solution was for free and very fast.
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