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Changing Raid Arrays

This is a discussion on Changing Raid Arrays within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Anyone ever changed from a Promise RAID controller to an Intel (875P) RAID controller (obviously rebuilding the array in the


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Old 07-16-2004, 01:36 PM   #1
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Anyone ever changed from a Promise RAID controller to an Intel (875P) RAID controller (obviously rebuilding the array in the process) and then restored a Ghost image of either the drive or the partition?
I guess the main question is where does the RAID BIOS reside? Does it put information on a portion of the disk that would be overwritten by restoring a DISK image?
When I selected the Promise RAID option on my ASUS P4C800 E Deluxe it brought up the FastTrack RAID BIOS at bootup after which I installed the OS using the F6 to load the correct driver. I assume that the information on the RAID array is passed on to the OS by the BIOS just as the regular BIOS passes on IDE information. Windows XP will then load the Promise FastTrack RAID drivers and boot to the desktop.
If I have been using the FastTrack array and now switch to the Intel array and restore a Ghost image that was using the Promise driver will the OS refuse to boot because it has been told by the BIOS that the array is an Intel and it doesn't have the drivers? If so I assume I would get a "no disk installed" error message.
How can I get around the "chicken and egg" syndrome? I want to switch to the Intel RAID but do not want to reload all of my apps. I don't mind loading the OS but loading all the apps again is (in the words of the Car Talk guys) 'a Royal Pain Diaz'.
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Old 07-18-2004, 09:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
I guess the main question is where does the RAID BIOS reside?
It is embedded in the system BIOS. In the case of the Promise, there is both a SATA378 BIOS and a FastTrack378 BIOS.

[quote]Does it put information on a portion of the disk that would be overwritten by restoring a DISK image?[quote]Yes.

Quote:
If I have been using the FastTrack array and now switch to the Intel array and restore a Ghost image that was using the Promise driver will the OS refuse to boot because it has been told by the BIOS that the array is an Intel and it doesn't have the drivers?
Yes.

Quote:
If so I assume I would get a "no disk installed" error message.
Sort of. You will get a BSOD on bootup. The error will say something like this:

A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer. Remove any newly installed hard drives or hard drive controllers. Check your hard drive to make sure it is properly configured and terminated.
STOP 0x0000007B (0xF7C84640, 0xC0000034, 0x00000000, 0x00000000).


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How can I get around the "chicken and egg" syndrome? I want to switch to the Intel RAID but do not want to reload all of my apps. I don't mind loading the OS but loading all the apps again is... a Royal Pain
I do not think you can do it. The RAID sector contents are not standardized across manufacturers. I assume you are talking about RAID0 here.

Even if you set the Intel to RAID and borrow 2 SATA drives to trick IAAR into letting you install its software, then swap the Promise SATA drives in place of the borrowed SATAs....... because array configuration data is written to the drives themselves they will not be compatible with the Intel RAID. The Promise-RAID drives won't be recognized by the Intel. I think the array will have to be created fresh. You might get lucky, but I doubt it. You could try it, but you'd better back everything up first. Ghost would be good for that.

- - - - -

We are blue-skying now. This is really ridculous, I cannot believe I am going here. We are TOTALLY DREAMING now, but it's interesting to puzzle the possibilities.

You would need:
1. An IDE HDD large enough to hold Ghost backups of all your RAID partitions; forget imaging drives... because of the RAID sector differences a drive image would be pretty useless.
2. A large-disk paritioning utility to do the offline partitioning... something like PartitionMagic with a Rescue Disk.
3. 2 additional SATA drives, with which to trick the Intel IAAR into letting you install it.
4. Symantec Ghost 2003.


Here goes...

a. Attach 2 more SATA drives and an IDE disk. Pray your power supply can handle the load.
b. Power up and hit DELETE but do not CTRL+I or create an array.
c. Enter BIOS, configure the Intel for RAID, and fixup the Hard Disk Drives menu and the boot order to put your Promise first.
d. Boot XP on the Promise and install the IAAR floppy on the way up, then install the full IAAR under Windows. Try not to let it create any arrays.
e. Use Ghost to copy all your OS+apps partitions onto the IDE disk. Take notes on all the partition sizes and details, such as Basic/Dynamic(?) and format type (NTFS). Make 2 copies of Ghost Boot Disk floppy.
f. Make 2 copies (4 floppies) of the PartitionMagic rescue disk.
g. Shut down XP.
h. Reboot from the Ghost Boot Disk floppy to be sure it works.
i. Reboot from the partition tool floppy to be sure it too works.
j. Remove the 2 extra SATA drives and plug your Promise drives in their place.
k. Power up, CTRL+I and see what happens. I don't think it will let you do anything but create a fresh array. So do that.... you need an array. At this point your Promise data is probably gone.
L. Reboot from the floppy having the partition utility on it. Partition the new array the same sizes as the Promise was using, and then format those partitions.
m. Reboot from the Ghost Boot Disk floppy and use it to copy the saved partitions from the IDE drive to the respective new Intel array partitions.
n. Shut down and unplug all the extra hard drives except the Intel array.
o. Reboot, hit DELETE, enter BIOS and again adjust your Hard Disk Drives and Boot Device priotity, this time to put the Intel array first.
p. Cross your fingers and boot XP.

Does this look like less work than reinstalling your apps? It's all a lot of thrashing about. And I doubt it would go without a hitch. But if it fails, at least you've got Ghost images on that IDE drive, from which you can go back and restore the Promise array.

-clintfan
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