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Trying to get RAID 1 working on MSI mobo with Server 2003

By Vigilante
May 13, 2006
  1. Hello once again my fellow PC users. Got an issue, need some advice or a swift slap in the face. Whichever comes first.

    I've got a MSI Neo V2.0. The MSI info page on this mobo is here:

    It's important to note that the mobo box is exactly "Neo V2.0". It does NOT say "Neo 2 V" or "Neo-V V2.0" etc... It is an MS-7030.

    Here is the issue. This is running Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard Edition.
    We originally set this machine up with a software RAID in Windows. But recently the system had some kind of crash and the software RAID was useless for recovery. And because the disks were Dynamic disks, most recovery tools couldn't access the partitions. It was a big mess, but we finally got some files recovered.
    After that was over we decided to do a hardware mirror instead. And not use Dynamic disks. The HDDs are IDE, and the mobo, which is nForce3 250, supports IDE RAID.

    Here is where it gets weird. Windows is already installed onto one of the HDDs while we were recovering off the 2nd. So when we were done, we stuck the 2nd HDD in the case and booted up Windows. The HDD showed up as a foreign disk etc... but we were able to reactivate it and see the old data, which is cool, and important to note, we CAN SEE the data.

    So next we went into the BIOS, turned on RAID support for the primary and secondary IDE channels. Then went into the RAID program by pressing F10. Created the mirror, and when it asked to "clear disk data" we said yes at that point.
    However, it didn't work, the system actually threw a missing nt loader error. WTH?
    We feared the HDD was trashed now because we selected to clear the data. But when the RAID set was deleted and RAID turned off in the BIOS, Widows booted again, and both drives had all data just the way they were. Hmmm, so no data was actually "cleared"?

    Alright, stay with me. So next, today, I went into the BIOS and turned RAID back on and set up the mirror again, making it bootable, and telling it NOT to clear the data. Once again it created the mirror, called it "healthy", and during bootup it says the RAID is good.
    This time I actually get a boot loader, asking to choose Server 2003, OR the 2nd mirror drive. I forget the exact wording of the boot option.
    But when I select Windows from the list, a second later the screen blanks off and the PC reboots. While looking closely at it before it reboots, I can see a blue screen!
    There was no option in the boot options for turning off automatic reboot, so I don't know what the BSOD is or if it really is a BSOD.

    So once again I deleted the RAID set and turned RAID off in the BIOS. And once again Windows boot normally, and BOTH HDDs had all original data as though the "healthy" RAID set did nothing at all!!

    So this is coming to a close. I have some questions, observations:

    1) If the RAID set is healthy, shouldn't one of those drives loose some data as the data is being mirrored? Why is the drive perfectly intact? When does mirroring actually begin? Is that still done in Windows?

    2) I thought maybe Windows required a RAID driver to be loaded before creating a RAID set, but I can't find out what my RAID chip is. Just generically the nForce3? Or perhaps some Silicon or Intel ICH chip?

    3) I saw somewhere online a thing called the "NV RAID Utilites". I thought that was what I needed, from nVidia, but searching for it found only one page with "beta" IDE drivers containing the IDE and the NV RAID Utilites. I thought, go for broke, and installed this, but I see no new software for any RAID utilities. What the heck is NV RAID Utilities? The page for that is:
    You can see it has a driver version 4.12 and utilities version 4.12.

    Anyways, that's enough details for now. But does anybody have experience creating a mirror set with a MSI mobo like this? Or trying to create RAID on a Server2003 disk, given that I can't find many drivers that support it.

    Basically, I've done a load of junk on it, so throw some ideas out there and give me something to do, cause I'm out of ideas. The user manual for the mobo is useless for this.

  2. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,634

    A quick update:

    I just turned off auto-restarting after a BSOD and then setup the RAID again just as before, choosing NOT to clear disk data. This time I actually just get missing NTLDR. ARG. I rebuilt the array, and this time I get the BSOD which gives little detail except the code 0x0000007B. Which MS says could be bad drivers or a boot sector virus (makes sense huh?).

    The plot thickens...
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