Windows crashes after a few hours in RAID 0

By Everlong18
Apr 16, 2008
  1. I bought two new hard drives (Seagate 160GB DB35.3 SATA drives). They were cheap and I needed them quick, so I bought them to test RAID 0 on as I've never used it before.

    So I set it up and downloaded the latest RAID drivers for XP and Vista (upgrade with Vista upgrade disk). Got Vista up and running and began playing games on it. Then a few hours later the PC began to freeze up and I could only just get to the start menu to restart it.

    It was taking like 30mins to restart, so I did a cold reboot and restarted, but when it got to the bit where Windows was suppost to load, it just stayed at a blank screen. I put the Vista recovery disk in and it said the OS loader was missing.

    So I just formatted and then used XP with the latest RAID drivers, but a few hours after getting it up and running, the same thing happened when playing a game and it just stayed at a blank screen after restarting.

    I gave up with RAID 0 and just used Windows XP on a single drive and I've had no problems with it. Not crashed once and Windows loads/restarts fine and quickly.

    I'm wanting to upgrade to Vista Ultimate x64 next week in my quest for testing new things, and wouldn't mind getting RAID 0 because from the few hours I used it with Vista, it ran great with it.

    I don't understand why the OS loader went missing. Would it be a problem with the hard drives? I use the onboard Nforce MediaShield RAID controller on the M2N-SLI Deluxe motherboard. My friend uses the same controller on his PC and his RAID 0 runs fine and not had any problems.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,148   +597

    on a RAID-0, any error on the hd that impacts the integrity of the partition,
    will instantly lose ALL DATA -- even files that were not in trouble.

    this is a side-effect of files spanning volumes. you need a backup plan to
    avoid/recover from all raid-0 errors. BIG expense for such a trivial performance gain :(
  3. Everlong18

    Everlong18 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 36

    I know it's probably better to just use both hard drives seperatley, but I don't understand why it crashes after a few hours in RAID 0 then loses the ntlldr.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,148   +597

    effectively, you lost more than just ntldr -- the whole partition.

    see this for the RAID-0 diagrams
  5. Everlong18

    Everlong18 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 36

    Well why is the partition disappearing? I know power loss to a RAID 0 array can be fatal when it's writing data, but why does mine grind to a halt after a few hours. I had all the latest drivers for the SATA controller and RAID controller.
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,148   +597

    literally it is not, but there's such damage that it might as well have.

    do you understand the concept of RAID-0?

    consider a simple file of four sectors. On a raid-0 implementation, here's what happens:
    1. sector-1 -> hd1
    2. sector-2 -> hd2
    3. sector-3 -> hd1
    4. sector-4 -> hd2

    any loss or damage to one hd, corrupts ALL files on the Raid.

    if hd1 gets corrupted, our simple four sector file only has sectors 2,4 left AND
    the don't even point one to the other.

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