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How do I remove the RAID from a Windows 7 PC

Posted on 2015-01-16
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Last Modified: 2016-12-08
Hi,

My husband had a Windows 7 PC built for him using an AMD RAIDXpert solution to protect his data using 2 identical disks. This has not proved to be as safe as he envisaged since, at the weekend, one of the disks failed and the RAID did not carry on using the other one. He had to take the PC to a local expert to have the disk replaced and rebuilt, losing his ability to carry out his work for 3 days. He has decided that, if the RAID can't be relied on, he would like to get rid of it and use the 2nd drive as a clone of the 1st, which would be his live system. He would do regular manual cloning as well as his usual data backups.

His question is, can the RAID be removed, leaving 1 disk live in its current state, without having to resort to a complete system rebuild? If so, he would like to know how since he is not familiar with RAID configuration or removal.

Any help would be gratefully received.

Cheers,

Joan
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Question by:JoanEdington
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14 Comments
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:frankhelk
ID: 40553398
The most basic solution would be to just back up the system as image to an external hard disc (i.e. with some CD based software "Acronis" or "O&O Drive Image" to just name 2 of much other programs capable to do that). Having an external backup would be a good idea anyhow ... ;-)

The deconfigure the RAID into separate disks. Restore the image onto the first one and format the other one to be clean. Unse your image generating software to back up the system as image (more space friendly) to the secondary disk. Most programs support incremental backup, so the next backup after x days/weeks/months/(...) wouldn't take hours to run.

Back up regulary, and store a "worst case backup" of that on some mobile HDD in another place.

Greetings
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40553415
Yes, it can be removed. Take full system backup using backup tool (I don't know if you already use one) like Backup & Recovery 14 Free: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/
Then boot the PC into RAID interface where the RAID was configured and remove the RAID.

After that boot the system from a Recovery CD for Backup & Recovery Free (should be created from installed copy before removing the RAID) and restore from backup over this single drive.

Another option is to disconnect one drive - remove RAID, disable RAID in BIOS and then reconnect the drive.

It must be able to boot from any of these RAID1 mirror drives.

If it won't boot - simply start the machine from Recovery CD for Backup & Recovery 14 and perform P2P Adjust OS which will adjust the OS to boot from non-RAID configuration.

As for backup. Instead of using manual backup - use scheduled backup approach. Paragon has a tool called Drive Copy 15 which can do daily clones of Diks0 to Disk1 based on schedule. So that if disk0 fails - your husband can easily switch to Disk1.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40554875
>>  one of the disks failed and the RAID did not carry on using the other one.   <<  this suggests the raid was not a good one; probably an onboard raid?  if you use raid, best go for a good raid controller, or a software raid.
it can even be a software problem - copied over on both drives
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Author Comment

by:JoanEdington
ID: 40555061
Thanks to everyone who has answered. Unfortunately, my husband is not experienced enough to carry out the RAID configuration. He has a manual which says to hold Ctrl & F while booting to get into the utility but, when he tries that, nothing happens. I think he will have to bite the bullet and take the PC to the company that installed the RAID in the first place.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40555066
seems the best solution then !
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LVL 47

Assisted Solution

by:noxcho
noxcho earned 2000 total points
ID: 40555136
If it is the onboard RAID then should be enougb to disable in BIOS. Or tell us the full model name of the motherboard.
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Author Comment

by:JoanEdington
ID: 40555446
Hi Noxcho,

The motherboard is an ASUSTeK Computer INC. F1A55-M LE Rev X.0x.

We looked in the BIOS and all we could see that might be relevant was against the SATA drives where there was an option of choosing RAID, IDE or AHCI. It was set to RAID. Is it really as simple as changing to IDE? Although I have a fair amount of experience in computers I have not dealt with a RAID PC. My husband is considerably less experienced and I think would need step-by-step instructions. I don't know if that is possible.
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LVL 47

Assisted Solution

by:noxcho
noxcho earned 2000 total points
ID: 40555482
Yes, as said - if your husband did not buy an additional RAID controller then it is onboard fake RAID and is disabled via BIOS - SATA settings.
Yes, change it from RAID to IDE compaible mode and save changes by pressing F10. Then restart PC.
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 40556357
But do a FULL backup first
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Author Comment

by:JoanEdington
ID: 40556471
Thanks noxcho. One last thing he is asking though. What will the state of the 2nd disk be after disabling the RAID? Will it be usable as a clone or should it be formatted first?  I have one very nervous hubby since he needs his machine for work.
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LVL 47

Accepted Solution

by:
noxcho earned 2000 total points
ID: 40556529
Once the RAID is disabled I recommend to physically disconnect one of the drives. Try to boot with a single drive. Check if it boots with a single drive because some systems fail to start if the driver for IDE controller or AHCI is not installed.
Once you boot to Windows successfully you can connec the other drive via USB box and delete partitions from it. Depending on the bckup approach you are going to use (clone or backup into a file) you can format it or use a cloning software which will do copies of this drive to second drive by schedule.
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Author Comment

by:JoanEdington
ID: 40566178
Hi noxcho.
Many thanks for all the help you have given me. It has been well noted for the future. However, my husband decided that, since he wanted to install a SS system disc, he would rebuild on that and simply re-format his original drives, after backing up all his data etc. The RAID will have been removed when the disc was installed by the company who sold it to him in the first place.  
Even though he didn't follow up on your advice, it was obviously good advice so I will accept the solution.

Thanks again.

Joan
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Author Closing Comment

by:JoanEdington
ID: 40566181
Thanks noxcho.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 40566471
Thanks for feedback Joan.
Have a nice weekend.
Nox
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