How do I stop RAID 1 and keep data?

By gggayle
Jan 1, 2008
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  1. I have a Dell :( with two drives in a RAID 1 mirror array. My programs have become virtually useless over time. IE, Word, Excel, Macros, Adobe, etc are all experiencing functionality problems; if I can use them at all.

    A simple reinstall is out of the question. Something got screwed up (with MS, not possible...lol) and I am unable to reinstall office. I cant even get updates or uninstall it. Yes it is a legal version.

    What I want to do is reconfigure the drives so they are two separate drives. purchase XP SP3 and Office Professional, then wipe one drive and install both on that drive. I can then leave the other drive as is, since it has some software that I need and the company is no longer in business to issue a new license. (They said I would have to keep my computer to keep using the software. I bought the software when they were on their way out. Because no one else had what I needed to do. Too bad they had a fantastic product.)

    My RAID is part of the motherboard and I have software called Intel(R) Matrix Storage Console. In poking around what there is of the program. There isnt much I can do in that other than create arrays.

    There is one more space inside the computer to add a 3.5 inch drive and I have 2 empty SATA ports. I have tried to add an external SATA drive, but the system tried to add it to the RAID. I do have a spare 4pin power and could get a new cable to allow for an extra IDE drive. I'm not as techno as I may sound. Is the IDE a 40 pin ATA/100 connector? I'm hoping that by using a non SATA drive it will not attempt to add it to the RAID. Then I could make it my boot with the replacement software then leave the RAID as is.

    Is it possible to do what I want or do I need to get a new computer and install one drive as a second? Will the new computer accept it as a normal drive and not think it is part of an array?

    If it were not so expensive to get an iMac configured the way I would need it to run this cr*p then I would do it in a flash.
  2. gavinseabrook

    gavinseabrook Newcomer, in training Posts: 528

    Well, what you can do is make sure that you have all your IMPORTANT STUFF BACKED UP! Then when you go into the raid configuration utility, remove the current raid array, and then create a new one. Usually they will give you different options of what type of array to create. I would suggest a Raid 0, or if it gives you the option, allow it to configure the drives as "SINGLE" drives.
  3. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,582

    both drives have the exact same data on them
    mirroring like this can slow down a system it is writing to 2 drives
    in theory you should be able to remove one drive and the other will operate
    so in theory maybe disable raid in bios and the drives should read independent of each other
    remove 1 drive test this if you still have data
    and can format the other drive in another machine try that
    then remove the raid config or clone the 1st again if you want to backup your stuff
    with any of the 2 drives do a standard clean install
    raid should be able to disable in bios
  4. gggayle

    gggayle Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I previously had to replace the motherboard and power supply on this system. I was scared to work with the raid part. A friend of mine told me to remove one drive as a test before using both drives. I have heard that it is very easy to loose your data.

    The test worked, the system operated on the one drive in degraded mode. When I added the other drive it rebuilt the drive.

    I have heard that a raid drive is in a different file structure than a non raid drive. If I pull a drive, turn off the raid. It will wipe the drive that is still connected. Then I would do a clean install of Windows and Office. I'm concerned about when I reconnect the second drive. Since it was part of a raid, will the system be able to read it with raid off?
  5. blarghwastaken

    blarghwastaken Newcomer, in training

    I don't really know anything about RAID, but I honestly don't think if you remove one drive, all the data on the other is just going to go *poof!* Isn't the point of RAID 0 to protect your data? i.e. if one drive dies, you have the other with all the data you had on the other drive?
  6. gavinseabrook

    gavinseabrook Newcomer, in training Posts: 528

    The point of raid is that if one drive fails, you switch them and let one rebuild the other. But there are many different types of raid. Some raids combine the space from both drives, some mirror drives, some keep them as two seperate drives acting like and IDE controller would. You should be able to delete the array (BACKUP YOUR DATA FIRST) and then recreate it as a seperate type of raid.
  7. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,623

    blarghwastaken, what u are talking about is RAID1 if u remove one disk from RAID0 the data is gone as one drive only has half the data. RAID1 is a backup and he will have his data on each drive.
  8. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,582

    raid 0 is combined drive yes you can lose data
    raid 1 is mirrored one drive has same data as other

    do a wiki search
    i have set up raid non raid does not remove data
    its when you rebuild the system raid type that you will not see data from the older raid it's like reformatting data is there just hidden
    recovery software can get this back as long as you don't write to drive
  9. gggayle

    gggayle Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I checked the Intel support website and it says do not change the raid configuration in BIOS or you WILL loose all of your data. Pulling one drive then changing the configuration will wipe the remaining drive. My concern is will the other drive still think it is part of an array when reconnected and as I have heard, raid uses a different file format for saving, so will I be able to access the data on the reconnected drive once raid is turned off in the BIOS?
  10. blarghwastaken

    blarghwastaken Newcomer, in training

    I was aware that there were different types of RAID, I was referring to the mirroring one (RAID 1, apparently) which is what gggayle is using, right? Like I said, I'm pretty ignorant, but even if the drives were meant to rebuild each other like gavinseabrook said, you should be able to keep your data by using one, but alas, maybe not. In that case RAID mirroring sounds like a terrible idea with no benefits to the home user that you couldn't get from a hard drive and a back-up program. Backing up is always a good idea, but you could've done that using another HDD without asking any of these questions. What I'd do is just buy an external HDD and back everything up and format the drives. It'd cost a bit for the drive, but who couldn't use an extra HDD anyway? Also, if you have an XP disk already, I wouldn't go out and buy another. You paid for a copy already, don't do it again especially since you seem to think MS was the problem in the first place.
    rambling blah
  11. gggayle

    gggayle Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I was ignorant when I bought the system. I thought RAID was the backup solution I needed. Only to find out it is not a true backup. If a file gets messed up on one drive it gets messed up on the other. I should have just had a regular system with two drives, then it wouldnt be such a pain. The only thing a RAID 1 is good for is a drive failure. It isnt worth the money for a home user. Now I know.

    I realized that I can not set up a new boot drive even if I do diable the raid. I do not have the drivers for all the hardware that came with my system. I intended to make the rescue disk, but waited and the system got screwed up before I could make it (It only took two days for it to mess up). It's now out of warranty so I'm SOL.

    So I think I will build my own system with generic parts so that DELL does not have control of what I can and can not put into my computer. They have alot of proprietary parts and you can not replace them with anything other than DELL parts.

    I was hoping to avoid a new computer, but I looks like I will have to go that route.
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