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Reusing a former RAID Member as a data drive

Posted on 2016-09-06
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Last Modified: 2016-12-08
I have a Windows 10 64 bit Pro system, RAID 5 machine. I recently swapped out one of the older (35,000+ hours) for fresher hardware. The raid consists of four 2 TB SATA drives.
I took the old 2 TB drive home to stick in my Win 7 PRO 64 bit DVR computer to reuse as a data drive. I put it in, booted, and got no confirmation dialog from the CMOS of the new drive. It booted normally into Windows 7. The 2 TB drive? Shows up as TWO physical unallocated disks in Disk Management, one 100 GB, the other 5.4 TB. Of course I can do NOTHING with these drives in either the CMOS, (where it reports as normal, 2 TB SATA drive), or Windows. It looks like Windows is "reading" the RAID information and mounting it accordingly. Any of the options in Disk Management either are not available or fail on an I/O error. Not sure how I will clean off this drive to be useful as a simple 2 TB data drive. Any ideas? There does not appear to be a wealth of freeware to address this issue. I'm not sure if these things can be addressed easily in DISKPART without affecting the O/S bearing hard drive, (which is Disk 0). This single drive mounts and Disk 1 and Disk 2.
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Question by:afrend
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 41786214
It mounts the partition table presumably reflecting it as unformatted.
You can delete the partitions and do with the drive as you see fit.
Diskpart
List disks
Select <this 2TB disk>
Do what you need delete partitions, recreate newbees, etc.
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Author Comment

by:afrend
ID: 41786236
Thank you, but that's the problem I can't seem to get around. DISKPART lists the one 2 TB disk as two physical disks.
I think that's why I get the I/O errors when trying to use Windows Disk Management tools as Windows "thinks" it is two physical drives. Neither drive has partitions to display in DISKPART.

What I'm not sure about is what the clean and clean all commands actually do in DISKPART in this situation since the two disks listed are actually one. I'm not sure DISKPART is the tool for the entire job of combine and reformat(?) the drive to it's actual 2 TB state.

Thank you.
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 41786251
Download the HDD Test utility from your HDD manufacturer's website.
For Seagate it would be Seatools and for WD - WDDiag.
Then fill with zeroes this drive using this tool. It is like erasing the drive. After that the RAID information should not be anymore on the drive.
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Author Comment

by:afrend
ID: 41786264
Thanks. I'll need to try that one. Hadn't thought of that. I will try that tonight when I return home.
Thank you.
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by:ArneLovius
ArneLovius earned 125 total points
ID: 41786742
I would create a gparted live CD/USB and boot the Win7 machine with the 2TB disk connected and see if it can fix the partition table.

I wonder if you have a similar RAID chipset in both desktops which is causing it to show as two disks, if so, you might have a better result with a SATA/USB adaptor.
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by:andyalder
ID: 41786792
What controller was the disk connected to before you decided to reuse it? Normal RAID metadata wouldn't make Windows see it as two physical drives since it's only data that Windows doesn't understand.
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by:arnold
arnold earned 125 total points
ID: 41786996
Usually, windows will not be able to read the RAID config......
The Port on your motherboard might be also of the same type as the Controller used, a path on which AndyAlder is suggesting...

intel SATA RAID.....
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Author Comment

by:afrend
ID: 41788100
I looked into it a little deeper last night, and realized that the CMOS was indeed seeing the drive as disks 1 and 2 there as well, so sorry about that bad information.
Yes, they are both similar HP Z class workstations with RAID capability in the CMOS, It's weird, because when I put the drive in the first time, the CMOS didn't alert me to accept the new hardware. Instead, the Windows boot process got much longer. Not the CMOS, but the Windows boot, as if it was looking for a RAID array after entering the Windows boot cycle. Very weird.

Apparently, the drive tools for Hitachi drives are actually an IBM development, and I found little success in finding the actual tool that will allow me to write zeros to the drive and restore it to a non RAID member condition and report it's actual size to the operating system. I could find an HGST (?) legacy download that wouldn't run on Win 7 nor 64 bit system. Everything else seemed to be link paths to memberware/crapware. I thought something called EAS was the deal, but it only allowed file replication and recovery. No drive tools, and I can't seem to remove that application now. This is why I hesitate to purchase such a tool as you no longer know what you are actually getting. God, I miss USENET binary groups.

I removed it last night with the intent to bring it to work where I can hook it up as an attached device and see if I can manipulate back to normal that way, then left the house without the drive. I'll pick this up tomorrow.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 41788217
Booting from liveCd (Linux) could do it. Your system includes drivers to delete in future, you need to boot using repair mode, and delete the disk/partitions there before the OS loads and sees the drive as a logical volume. An alternative during bootup, enter the controller and wipe the volume there.

Do you hve HP insight installed on your home system, the storage tools within that might be what wiould have enabled you to delete the foreign logical volume.
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 41788233
Hitach Drive Fitness Test: https://www.hgst.com/support/hard-drive-support/downloads#DFT
Works on Windows 7.
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Author Comment

by:afrend
ID: 41788364
Thank you. I did that one last night. I did not run on the 64 bit system. I was unable to find a 64 bit edition.
This one just opened to a splash screen and froze there.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 41788373
You may have to elevate your account rights before running it.....
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noxcho earned 250 total points
ID: 41788847
Believe me or not but I just downloaded the tool to my Windows 10 64bit Pro and started it there.
I have used the WinDFT.exe file.
HGST.jpg
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Assisted Solution

by:ArneLovius
ArneLovius earned 125 total points
ID: 41789464
As per my previous, I would use gparted live to see what it thought of the disk, and see if it can "clean" it
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Author Comment

by:afrend
ID: 41789864
So strange...

I plugged it into a SFF machine running Win 10 Pro 64 bit that has no RAID capability in the CMOS. The CMOS saw it as it was, a 2 TB disk.

It came up in Windows as a single disk with a 2 GB drive D, a 7 GB, drive E, and about 1.700 GB unallocated space.

I downloaded the HGST tool again, and it took right off on this system, currently writing zeros to it.
I can only speculate that having a RAID CMOS in the original target machine was causing the strange behaviors in the DVR computer, and that may be why the HGST tool behaved as it did? I don't know.

I will let this do it's thing, format it, bring it home, and stick back in and see what happens, but it should be good to go.
I'll award point tomorrow. Thanks to everyone for their input(s) on this one.

Arne Lovius, please inform me about gparted live. This is new to me. I'm not at all versed in Linux. Thank you.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 41790497
gparted is a tool available on all Linux LiveCDs it is functionaly what the old FDISK used to do
....

HGST and other vendor Harddrive diagnostic tools only work on interfaces where they have direct access to query the SMART/Drives .....
When your Drive is connected to a port  that supports RAID functionality, the HD tools can not query the HD as it is being translated by the RAID controller.
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Author Comment

by:afrend
ID: 41791237
Mission accomplished.

I had to let the HGST tool run all night. Came in and it had completed this morning.
Still had the partition table that I had before I wrote zeros to it. No changes.

I guess I made this harder than it needed to be.
Went into Disk Management, and deleted all the partitions, created a new simple volume, formatted NTFS.
About 10 minutes total work.

Not sure if I could have done that with the Win 7 box that kept seeing as a RAID array 0f 5.4 TB...

Live and learn, I guess. Myopic vision is easy when working on IT stuff, so easy.
Thanks all!
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Author Closing Comment

by:afrend
ID: 41791243
Thank you all!
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