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need to move a raid0 array

By fluffhead
May 26, 2005
  1. My Computer is failing, and I need to save my RAID0 array.

    The RAID is a Promise PDC20276 ATA 133 RAID controller on a Gigabyte GA-7VAXP motherboard.

    The Computer had been running fine for a couple of years, and then suddenly stopped working. I can still access the bios of the motherboard, but I can no longer get into windows XP, it freezes on a black screen. If I boot from my windows xp cd, it goes through the normal process, intil it says starting windows xp and then freezes. If I hit CTRL-F on bootup, i can get into the bios type menu for the raid array, and it says the array is funtional.

    Ive tried swapping the CPU and memmory, and video card, but I dont think they are causing the problem. Ive also removed any unnessasary cards/devices. I am aslo sure that the bios settings are not the cause. I assume its probably motherboard related, as software wont run properly off a cd as well as off the hard drive.

    I do not have a backup, dont bother telling me I should have made one.

    My questions are...

    Can I move the drives to any other motherboard with an ATA raid controller? for example a sillicon image RAID controller, or does it need to be the exact same controller (which I cant find)?

    Does anyone have any other suggestion of how I can get access to the data on the RAID array? Maybe a utility than can be run from floppy or CD?

    Thanks Alot
     
  2. tdeg

    tdeg TS Rookie Posts: 348

    If you have a highspeed connectiong, try downloading Knoppix.

    Its a live linux distrobution (runs from the CD). You might be able to get some data off. It has CD/DVD burner software so you might be able to burn off the data you need.

    Worth a try and it shouldn't hurt anything. Plus you get a chance to play with Linux.

    http://www.knoppix.net/

    edit : sp mistakes....
     
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    I feel like I should know the answer to this, but I can't remember doing this in the past. I would think moving a physical RAID array to another computer that supports the same RAID setup would work fine, but I haven't actually done it to prove it.

    FIRST, try to diagnose the problem in your existing setup. Probably the best thing to do is avoid transferring your drives into another system, so we don't have more variables to worry about.. You've got enough to worry about already, Hehe!

    There may not be a problem with your disks (physical) or your array / file system (software) at all. It may be a Windows problem or something silly. If you feel your disk(s) may be failing, I like to run drive diagnostics like a mad man to find out. Check out this thread: http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic7602.html for diagnostic utilities.

    Something else I like to do for RAID setups is take the drives out and test them individually using your regular, non-raid IDE / SATA / SCSI channels (if available). This helps eliminate extra variables like a bum RAID controller.


    If you must remove those drives and place them in another system, I don't think it will hurt to try... I have not done this before though, so I cannot verify with factual experience that this can work or it is even safe. So, please take great care because while your data is important to me, I can't claim repsonsbility for data loss. :angel: But as reassurance, I see no problems with trying this and I would do this with my very own RAID array in a simliar situation.

    Anyhow, there are two things that come to mind that you need to make certain of if you'd like to do this.

    1.) The new RAID card must support the same level of RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1 etc..)
    2.) The new RAID card must support the same stripe/block size (Many RAID cards give the option of 16kb, 32kb, 64kb etc..)

    The next thing to be aware of is you'll need to recreate the array. So once the drives are in, go to your RAID card BIOS setup and create a new array using the existing drives. PLEASE DO NOT FORMAT, INITIALIZE OR CLEAR BOOT SECTOR unless you want to lose your data. Use your common sense here - Any halfway decent RAID card will ask questions before it makes permanent changes like this.

    Creating an array can be done without erasing your data because an array is mostly "imaginary". The array already exists on your physical disks, but you'll be telling the controller what kind of array it is and if the settings are correct (correct RAID level and stripe size), it should work fine. Again, this is theory...

    When you get your array setup in a new system, please know that it will not boot up into Windows magically. This is a limitation of existing Windows installations to migrate to another system.. Not a problem with the RAID setup. However, you should be able to read the RAID array from your existing Windows installation on that computer. Sort of like hooking up a slave drive to an existing master... And with this, I would hope you can copy your data from the array to whatever means you have of backing it up.
     
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