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1 SSD boot drive - can I add RAID 1?

edited May 2011 in Hardware
Hi there,

I have Win 7 on a Vertex 2 SSD. I did the install in sata mode. I want to add 2 Seagate 1TB 7200.12 disks for storage in RAID 1. I have made the settings in bios and configured the array - but win 7 will not boot up in raid mode. Is there somethong I do wrong in adding the raid 1? Did I have to install win 7 in raid mode from the beginning? Thanks


  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    Adding a RAID1 array for storage should not have affected Windows' ability to boot. Please double check your system's boot priority and, failing that, disconnect your array to see if Windows still boots correctly from your SSD.
  • RootWyrmRootWyrm Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    No, actually, it will affect Windows ability to boot.

    Windows 7 has the same registry stupidity as XP in this regard. When you build a RAID array, it completely changes the handling and device naming for even non-RAID devices on the same ICH controller. Windows will not load the ICH Matrix RAID driver unless originally installed with the controller operating in RAID+AHCI mode. So not only can Windows not find the SATA device path it requires, it doesn't have the drivers loaded in the correct order to access the array correctly.

    So yes, you SHOULD install with the controller set to RAID mode in the beginning. You just don't have to have the array built from the beginning. (Speaking from experience.) You should be able to do a REPAIR of Windows 7 to fix it though.
  • edited Mar 2011
    Thanks guys!

    Yes, I did a clean install. Messed around with it a bit and found it the easiest when my previous install was very new. Kinda weird though that you have to do that - I could think of plenty occasions where you start out non raid and wish to go raid. But thanks for the explanation RootWyrm :-)
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    This is interesting, I was thinking about doing something similar.

    So, despite the SSD being the boot drive, the the Raid array just being a storage access solution, it was problematic?
  • edited Mar 2011
    Yes, for me the boot up process just stopped in the middle and rebooted no matter what settings I put in bios
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    Very interesting. See, I'm dependent on hard drives for some non essential storage, mostly my Steam install. All my photos and music too, but I have cloud back ups on those so I was thinking about building a Raid 0 array to tide me over until I could afford a big enough SSD for my Steam install. This is good info, thanks.
  • edited Mar 2011
    Ok, this i def. a bit off topic - but when I installed a fresh win 7 - it wouldn't find any of my drives - had to load the drivers from the mobo cd - then it wrote windows cannot install on this drive (for all drives) - the driver cd was still in the dvd-drive -so a change to the installation dvd again and a click on the refresh button did the job - but why no notification about this? Anyway I just wonder how normal people (like me) sometimes do this stufff :o)
  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    For future reference, you do NOT need to do a full reinstall or even a repair install to fix this anymore. This is the procedure we use at work for dealing with these kinds of changes. I have used it successfully many times to change a Windows server from a single drive to a RAID setup, change model of RAID card, or simply to move the drive from one motherboard to another.

    1) Boot into windows and install the drivers for the NEW hard drive controllers (or for the current controllers RAID mode)
    2) Open device manager and find your IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers, do the following for each one
    2.1) Open the properties page
    2.2) Go to Update Drivers > List Compatible Drivers
    2.3) Select Microsoft Generic drivers
    2.4) Repeat for each controller listed in device manager
    3) Shut down your system, make your configuration changes, clone the drive to the RAID array if that's what you're doing
    4) Boot back up, things should boot fine (I've never had a problem using this method anyway) You'll want to go back in and update the drivers again to use the correct drivers so you get full functionality.

    This has always worked for me. Of course, I've always used it on Windows Server, but it should work the same for their desktop OSes I would imagine. If not... there's always the whole sysprep (Solution 4) method if the above doesn't work. Still far less work than reinstalling everything.
  • edited Mar 2011
    That's good info ardichoke! Will remember if I should be in same situation sometime
  • edited May 2011
    I will be having a similar situation soon so i am trying to figure out the details ahead of time and you guys seem to know what you are talking about.

    i have built a RAID 0 array before so i know what to do in that respect. my soon to be issue(hopefully not an actual one haha) is that i will be buying a 510 series intel SSD which uses the sata III. but i also have 3 WD 640GB blue drives(SATAII) that i want to put into RAID 5. if i do go forward with this i will be using the ASrock p67 EXTREME 4 mobo(dont know exactly how the RAID drivers are for it). so i guess my question(s) is how exactly do i go about setting this all up? do i have to find the RAID/AHCI drivers and install them while i install windows on the SSD(ssd=OS RAID5=storage)?? or do i make the ARRAY first and then install windows? i guess i dont know the exact order in which to go about this process. ALSO....so you think there would be any conflict with the mix between usinf SATAIII(SSD) and SATAII(raid) or would that benefit this setup?

    any reply would help haha sorry so long.
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