Removing RAID 0

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by philby, Mar 1, 2011.

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  1. philby

    philby Registered Member

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    Hello all

    I'm helping someone buy a new desktop and they are drawn to the Dell XPS 8300, which set me thinking...

    That machine comes with a 2 x 1TB RAID stripe. If the user wanted to remove the RAID set, and run the box with 2 discrete disks, I understand that there would probably be a method to do this via the BIOS.

    However, my question is: Given that the destruction of the RAID set would kill everything on both disks, how would the original OS be re-installed to one of the newly segregated disks, in the absence of a Win 7 disk.

    Would it be as simple as imaging the Dell EISA partition first (I'm assuming there would be one) and re-installing Windows after re-instating this image to one of the disks after the RAID removal?

    Or would the Dell EISA partition be expecting to see the original RAID configuration and consequently fail when recovering the machine to factory default?

    I'm reasonably familiar with imaging/partitioning etc. but have never considered de-RAIDing a machine before.

    I've always used retail Windows disks and never bothered with (and always removed) EISA partitions on my machines, so I'm not sure what their limitations are after original hard disk set ups have been altered.

    I imagine that this, from the Dell system-builder, doesn't mean a full Win 7 DVD, so I'd be worried about ending up with no OS after the RAID removal...

    OS Media : MUI Windows 7 Home Premium (64 BIT) Resource DVD [add £5.00]

    Thanks in advance

    philby
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  2. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Yes, you only have to take an image, remove the raid, and restore it afterwords.

    Panagiotis
     
  3. philby

    philby Registered Member

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    Thank you - so it's that simple!

    Just to make sure I really understand:

    1. I image the EISA Dell Recovery partition (Macrium, in my case)
    2. I figure out how to kill the RAID striping via the BIOS
    3. I re-instate the EISA Dell Recovery partition image to one of the 2 HDDs
    4. I create a system partition (active/primary) alongside ("to the right of") the re-instated EISA (Macrium WinPE + Diskpart, in my case)
    5. I boot into the Dell Recovery Environment and re-install Windows from the EISA

    Does that sound about right? It's going to cost this guy £1300 to find out if I'm right!!

    Thanks again

    philby
     
  4. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    I'll answer you tomorrow. Is bed time here.

    Panagiotis
     
  5. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    Just make sure the image size can be contained within one of the hard disks.
     
  6. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    philby,

    Why not restore the Win7 image too. Dell have done all the hard work of installing drivers, etc. Be careful that Dell haven't installed the booting files in the Recovery partition. Win7 will not be the System, Active partition in that situation.

    Are you sure you can't buy the computer without RAID? You can in Australia.
     
  7. philby

    philby Registered Member

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    Thank you very much for your help!

    If I understand right, it's even simpler and I've been massively over-complicating things:

    1. I set up Windows to the user's preference
    2. I image C:\
    3. I kill the RAID via the BIOS
    4. I re-instate the C:\ image to one of the disks

    - provided that the boot files are within C:\
    - provided that the C:\ image is smaller or equal to the new system-dedicated partition I create on the first HDD

    Incidentally, I had a session with Dell-online-chat; they insist that the machine cannot be supplied without the striping AND that the striping cannot be removed via the BIOS!!

    Can the manufacturer 'lock' the BIOS like that (I'm assuming that's how they make the striping irremovable)?
     
  8. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    The raid 0 may not be in the bios. I have 3 raid 0 machines, and none of the have the raid 0 in the bios. It is in a separate raid manager.

    This is one of those things that if you have the machine and can't figure it out, leave it alone, unless the manufacturer support will help you. I had to break my raid 0 array on one machine to test the hard drives. My vendor support talked me through it, and then talked me through re establishing it.

    If Dell won't do it, then I wouldn't buy from them.

    Pete
     
  9. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    it is not usually setup from the bios. the bios may have a setting for raid but that is usually for a secondary controller first thing you need to do is see if windows was set up on only one partition most times the boot files will have been put on a separate 100mb partition which can be easily fixed (simply search for remove 100mb win 7 partition many guides are out there)

    once you have fixed that simply image whatever remaning partitions you have and restore them to the same (on the singl drive you will need to create the same partitions or you can put one on each drive etc...

    not hard to do.

    most of the time during boot up you should see where it says to hit a key to enter raid setup mode. if not you may have to look in the bios and disable fast boot up or quick or somtimes it will say show logo etc this was you see the whole boot up log and later you can leave it or put it back..
     
  10. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Philby, you cannot kill a raid from the mobo bios. First you'll have to remove the stripping from the RAID Bios (rom of the raid controller) and then you can disable the raid controller alltogether (if you want) from the mobo Bios.

    At your question, about how to proceed you must absolutly save the track0 and the EISA partition, besides the OS partition. Some manufactures modify their custom windows in a way that if they don't find the EISA the OS will not boot.

    I doubt that Dell have removed from their bios the ability to disable the raid controller, but you'll have to send a tech support request about this for being sure.


    Panagiotis
     
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