My RAID 1 array keeps failing

vbimport

#1

I recently RMA’d my ASUS P4C800 Deluxe and received a P4C800-E Deluxe, which supposedly has better RAID performance. With the P4C800, I only experienced a problem with the RAID twice over a period of a year and each time it was rebuilt with no problem.

I am using the same two Maxtor 160GB IDE 8MB ATA/133 drives in a RAID 1 (mirror) configuration, the same setup as before. Before defining the array I formatted each drive. I created one 30GB partition and one 125GB. Then I did a fresh install of Windows XP, got all the updates, and installed most of my applications. During that time I rebooted many times and the RAID was said to be functional.

Later on, I copied 110GB of data from a backup hard drive to the 125GB partition. I rebooted soon after and it came up saying the array was “critical.” I rebuilt the array and everything seemed fine. I installed some more applications and rebooted a few times and each time the array was said to be functional.

I was about to call it a night and decided to defrag C: (30GB partition.) I did an offline defrag with Perfect Disk. After the reboot, the array was functional. I then did a smart defrag. On the next reboot the array was “critical.” I tried rebuilding it again but it came up saying something like “cannot find second disk, or it has less free space than the source disk.”


#2

The message is “Spare disk is not found, or has less capacity than the soucre disk.” Which could mean one of the disks is bad, but they both worked fine individually right before putting them back into the array. What could be causing the array to get all out of whack when there’s a lot of data transfer going on?


#3

Some RAID controllers are dodgy, some combinations od drive and controller are as well. Run full diagnostics on both drives, you’ll probably need to run that on the drives individually on a non-RAID config.

If the drives check out, then replace the power and data cables and try again.


#4

What software do you recommend I use to do diagnostics?


#5

How about using Maxtor’s diagnostics? DL from Maxtor or use the floppy that came with your drivers.


#6

I used Maxtor’s Powermax utility and one of the drives isn’t being detected. Strange how it went bad right out of nowhere. I formatted it, put it on the RAID, installed Windows, used it for a while and then it was gone.

Now I can’t get the other one to boot. Windows starts to load and the system reboots. I’ll just reinstall Windows anyway.

Should I go through the trouble of moving my drives around? I have my OS drive on the Promise controller and I have two drives on the Primary IDE for storage. Would it be better to have the boot drive on the Primary IDE or will it be fine to have it on the RAID controller running in IDE mode?


#7

I haven’t reinstalled Windows yet, but I moved my OS drive to the primary IDE and my two storage HDDs to the Promise controller. Windows boots fine now, but the other two HDDs aren’t being detected.

Under device manager, I now have: “D347PRT SCSI Controller” and “Promise FastTrak 378 ™ Controller”

I don’t remember seeing the SCSI controller under there before. Also, the Promise controller now has a exclemation point and says “This device can not start (code 10).”


#8

Windows can’t see any drives unless the controller is seeing them and offering the array. You need to go into the RAID BIOS to see what the drives are doing and re-create the array.

If you re-install Windows, you must use the F6 option to install the RAID drivers first, then install.
You should also be able to take any functioning IDE drive off the RAID controller and connect it to mainboard IDE and access the contents. (assuming RAID-1)


#9

I have the Promise controller running in IDE mode now. When the computer boots, instead of the FastTrak screen there is a SATA controller screen. It lists the drives I have connected to the Promise IDE, but they are also identified as D0 and D1. Also, under the BIOS my OS drive (master on Primary IDE) is listed as TXSATA378 under boot devices and on the main page it is listed as Third IDE Master.


#10

It wouldn’t let me edit my last post. This is more accurate:

I have the Promise controller running in IDE mode now. When the computer boots, instead of the FastTrak378 BIOS screen, there is a SATA378 TX2plus BIOS screen. It lists the drives I have connected to the Promise IDE, but they are also identified as D0 and D1. Also, in the system BIOS, under boot devices the two drives are listed listed as “TXSATA378 D0” and “TXSATA378 D1.”


#11

I finally found a thread on another board with a solution to a vaguely similar problem. One guy found out if you set the Promise controller to RAID 1 and configure the drive as a mirror, you can get a single IDE drive to work.

However, form my experience, if you try it with two connected you cannot set a single drive as a mirror (I figured I could set each drive to be independent mirrors.) As a test, I set one of the drives as an independent stripe. During the check disk (before Windows), the drive was recognized. However, once I logged in and Windows was loading everything the system locked up.


#12

Problem solved. I had set the Promise controller to IDE mode, and that’s all I should have had to do. After all this time I finally realized it was a problem with the Windows drivers. From what I’ve read I needed to install the 378ATA IDE drivers. Windows should do it automatically, but the RAID drivers are similar in some way, so Windows just uses those. When you try to update the drivers with the correct ones, Windows thinks it already has better drivers installed. I had to go into the Add New Hardware wizard and manually select the 378ATA drivers.