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Old 01-03-2013, 06:48 AM   #1
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Default Raid mirror looks gone

For the last 2.5 years I have been running Win7 64 on a AMD 760G motherboard with a raid mirror consisting of two 2TB Seagate Sata drives. First year using a Gigabyte motherboard, which had onboard video fail, then moving the pair of drives to a MSI with same SB710 raid chip with little issue. Six months later one of the Seagates dropped out of the raid array without explanation, but it failed the long Windows based Seagate test and oddly would not show its serial number in the Seagate test, but I could see it in the Raid boot configuration screen.

I left the failed drive in the system, dragging my feet to open it up and do all the RMA stuff, and bought a third same model ST3200542AS 2TB 5900 rpm drive. Installed and assigned to the array the mirror rebuilt without issue.

Last week I noticed windows update had been turned off for the last year or so, and I turned it back on and ran all the critical updates with no apparent issues. New years day the system is running as a network media server, but nothing is going on, "maybe" I had a browser window open looking at the news on google, but I am on a second PC working when I hear the system beep and it restarts.

At first it seems to sort of work, but I notice Avast antivirus is not running, and says something like its out of sync, but didn't use that word, but something like it. I open chrome to see if I can find some answers, don't, and over a about an hour the system crashes a few more times and eventually wants to run CHDSK (check disc however its spelled) which complains about 100 or so regions, which makes no sense to me as its a raid mirror array.

I ran long memory diagnostics, no issues, and ran Dos Seatools which confirmed my bad drive from a year ago was bad, so I finally pulled it from the system and plan to send it off for RMA in morning, but my array is showing as fine. When I try to boot with it I get a no boot manager message and my Window7 install CD doesn't see any OS.

I have an image from right after the motherboard swap, but the 2TB array was FULL of media, 26GB free space.

What should I be trying next?

Should I turn off the raid in hope that I don't fubar both drives and can rebuild it later once Win7 is sorted?

Is there some standalone Linux that I could boot from a DVD rom and inspect the array contents?

Last edited by mikeford; 01-03-2013 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:12 PM   #2
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Not even crickets eh? Any suggestions on maybe a better place to ask this question?

The 2TB of data has some real value to me, pictures that can't be replaced, plus a ton of stuff that would be a major PITA, and size of what needs to be recovered is slowly sinking in on me. I plan to pursue this one level below crazy expensive recovery service.

I don't trust the MSI motherboard, specifically its SB710 based raid controller, so that system will not be booted again until all data is secured on another system.

I'll build a new system, either targeted for later server media PC HTPC use, or I may put together a system optimized to attempt recovery from. Highly likely, Biostar I I got back from RMA on a video issue that uses the same SB710 raid chip.

Buying three new 2TB drives to make image copies of the two in the current raid array as well as the drive that was in array and failed last year that is due for RMA. Data may not be recoverable at all on the drive going to RMA, but I might also get a few files off it that are lost on the other two. Cost of a drive is less than potential data value, and if I get very little, then its a drive that can be reused.

Buying a SSD for Win7 64 and maybe all applications to run on, leaving the final array as data only.


Suggestions on recovery software?

Seagate has a $99 well regarded package, OnTrack and Acronis are also being considered.

Suggestions on a system to run the recovery on?

MB and OS type are completely flexible if there is good cause to use something specific.

Plan is to get the new system fully up and stable prior to attaching the old drives and attempting any recovery.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:01 PM   #3
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pop in a system rescue cd (a live linux distribution).
With a little luck that builds a dm-raid array you can examine.

For the next time, remember to use Windows volume management for your RAID needs - no controller in the loop to mess things up. You may want to verify that the PSU in the crashing machine is still fine. Sounds like it could be at the root of the problem.

Finally: i suggest you use different file systems for OS and data, to avoid damage to the file system with data, when the system is unstable for any reason.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:37 AM   #4
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I think I am cutting to the chase, just downloaded Seagate DIY recovery software, picked up a WD RED 2TB drive at Micro Center. They were out of the Samsung 840 120 GB drives I am thinking I want, but I may pick something up tomorrow at Fry's and plan to use that for OS and applications and only put data on the big drive.

Blows chunks the raid appears to have saved me from nothing, so when I get the Seagate back from RMA I may only use it for a brief regular connection and backup and leave it off stored in a box unless needed. OTOH the RED drives are rated 24/7 so I may give them a shot mirrored or maybe 3/2 raid.

Thanks for the tip on the Power supply, pretty sure its a good Antec 480 or something, but in looking for what it was I found a felt dust layer on ALL the fans, case, PS, and cpu, but clearing them resulted in a 5c drop and wasn't hot prior to that. They will all get a major dust out prior to reassembly.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:20 AM   #5
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RAID is not a back up solution, it's an online redundancy solution. always keeps an offline backup of critical data.

RAID 1 drives can be access individually in every case I've encounters. Just plug them in to a regular controller and you may still be able access the drives.

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Old 01-05-2013, 07:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ch33zw1z View Post
RAID is not a back up solution, it's an online redundancy solution. always keeps an offline backup of critical data.

RAID 1 drives can be access individually in every case I've encounters. Just plug them in to a regular controller and you may still be able access the drives.
Thats my plan, run recovery software on each of the drives and see how much I can save of the old data, then the new system is going to include off line back ups.

*** Downloaded the Seagate software, its not stand alone, requires a running windows system, which is not a deal killer, but makes it likely I try something else since it may be days before I have a stable system up and running again with Sata 2 or 3.
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