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HDD Mirroring, WIN XP

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  • HDD Mirroring, WIN XP

    Ok. I will be receiving the parts for my Upgrade today (mentioned in the Multiple IDE Devices Thread).

    These are :

    ASUS A7V266-E MotherBoard RAID
    with a AMD XP 1900+ CPU
    and 1GB 266MHZ

    Existing system:
    P3 1000
    768MB RAM 133MHz
    3 HDD :
    1 40 GB HDD,
    2 20 GB HDD
    GeForce2 GTS
    Sound Blaster Audigy Gamer
    52X CD-ROM
    12x PC-DVD ROM
    running on Win XP PRO

    and I will be setting up the system this evening.

    I have read that a system using RAID will run much faster if you have your primary disk mirrored. (meaning that people will do it not only for security reasons but for performance reasons too).
    I hope you will help me with the following questions:

    1. Is this true??
    2. As you can see 3 HDD ( 1 40 GB & 2 20 GB HDD's ). I ussually keep all my downloads and MP3's on one of the 20GB drives and I use the 40 GB as a primary master for my o/s and applications. The second 20 GB is still idle. Can I do the same ( keep the 40 GB for the O/S)and mirror the 2 20GB HDD's??
    3. How do I go about the whole installation. Will the mobo come with instructions on how to proceed.
    4. How should I connect the HDD's (Primary, Secondary e.t.c)to get the desired result.

    What would u suggest??

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    As I mentioned earlier in the other thread, you will need a RAID capable board to allow for the mirroring that your wanting. If not, then you MUST have an add-on RAID adapter (normally a PCI card) to handle the chore for you. That said, here are some answers for your questions...

    1- No, it is not true. Mirroring will not give you better performance at all. It is not designed to. It will only give you redundancy (two copies of your data in the case that one becomes corrupted). Striping is where the performance boost comes in. It will take the two 20GB drives and fool the OS into believing that they are one. The advantage (and speed boost) comes from the fact that when you copy information to this RAID partition, the OS will be copying to both drives at once. This is how you get a performance and speed boost.

    2- Assuming that you have the RAID version of your board, you will want to set the two 20GB drives into the RAID channel and set them up accordingly (either striping [RAID0] or mirroring [RAID1]). The 40GB drive will be the master on your IDE Channel1, and the optical drives will be set into the IDE Channel2.

    3- Again, considering that you have the RAID version of your board, there will be instructions in the manual covering the installation of a RAID onto your system. I would recommend, however, that you hit the website of Asus just to make sure that you have the most up to date drivers for the RAID.

    4- Covered in #2 above.

    Something else to consider is the fact that you'll have to install motherboard drivers. Seeing that you are migrating from an Intel system, I'd like to touch on the facts of life concerning AMD based systems; namely the installation of the VIA 4-in-1 drivers. It is imperative that they be installed right after Windows goes onto the machine. Use this order for your install and all should work fine:

    - Install Windows
    - Install VIA 4-in-1 drivers
    - Install video card drivers
    - Install sound card drivers
    - Install DirectX (unless you use's already present then)
    - Install any other drivers for system components

    The order is very important or your system will more than likely crash a lot.

    Good luck!
    Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill
    My Toys


    • #3
      Actually I think that I remember reading somewhere that Windows 2K and XP can do software RAID themselves but I spose Kheldar can tell us more about that. :smokin:
      <center> </center>


      • #4
        I don't think that I'd want to go with a software RAID setup... it just seems to me that the initial bootup would be confused until the OS was able to trick the system into believing that an actual RAID was present.

        I don't think that you could fool the BIOS for bootup... could you?
        Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill
        My Toys


        • #5
          I just can't find the article again but I'm not sure that it works on the OS but works for the data back I think. :?:
          <center> </center>


          • #6
            yeah, 2K can do software RAID, but only on a non-system drive (ie, drive where win2K isn't installed).. but as you were saying, it is a bit dodgy.. uses more CPU processing power and in the end probably isn't worth the trouble...


            • #7
              Kinda what I was figuring, and the non-system drive maks sense. That's where I was leading above when I was asking about fooling both the BIOS and the OS.

              So... it's either making sure that you have the RAID enabled motherboard or getting yourself a RAID add-on card. Let us know, idlebones, if everything turns out well. :)
              Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill
              My Toys


              • #8
                Ok guys.

                1 Day later and after a lot of stick from my girlfriend here are the results..

                Before starting, below are my system specs now:

                Asus A7V266-E RAID mobo
                CPU AMD Athlon XP 1900+
                512 MB 266 MHZ RAM
                3 HDD's: 1 40 GB & 2 20 GB
                DVD Creative 12X
                Plextor PlexWriter 24x10x40A
                Creative Geforce 2 GTS
                Sound Blaster Audigy Gamer

                Warning!! This might be a long reply.I just felt the need to tell u the whole story in case you could give me a more experienced insight.

                I managed to setup the PC after printing all the manuals and articles (including Darthtanion's initial response, whom I thank very much.. :) ) I could find on the web.

                My main hard drive was a 40GB and was partintioned as follows:

                1) 5 GB (C Drive) Running Win ME in order for me to be able to use my OLD CD-Writter, a Philips CDRW400 Series. (Damn Philips never released drivers for neither win2K or WinXP..,only for win98) I was forced to buy the PLEXTOR now.
                2) 35 GB (D Drive) Running WinXP PRO to do all the rest..
                Dual Booting of course.

                My secondary drives were 2 20 GB HDD's were I stored mainly my MP3's, my downloads and my game save files plus the transfer settings utility files made by winXP. They both had about 10GB of data on each.

                Down to the nitty gritty now :)

                Setting up the PC was fairly easy. My only problem was to fix the AMD Processor speed because the Asus motherboard's largest multiplier was 10.5 and I needed 12 (12 x 133) in order to clock the processor to 1600MHz for the processor I am using (Athlon XP 1900+). I had to use a jumperless configuration and set the speed from the BIOS.
                I installed the 40GB on the parent Primary IDE Controller using the thin ultra ATA ribbon, the 2 CD's on the parent Secondary IDE Controller with the Plextor as Master. Following ASUS's instructions I installed the 2 20GB HDD's on seperate ultra ATA ribbon's. 1 on the Primary PROMISE RAID IDE Connector and 1 on the Secondary PROMISE RAID IDE Connector. Both set with Master Settings as stated in the manual.
                Everything worked great. The system worked fine. I set the jumper on the board to RAID instead of ultra ATA so that I could fix the aray as told to me by Darth. It worked fine and I set it for striping and it recognized them as 1 40 GB. Great.

                Just out of curiosity I tried to boot up both WinME and WinXP after the changes to see what will happen..The system is honestly sh#t fast, but as I expected both O/S's locked up.

                I decided to go ahead next day and I started by booting up XP from the CD and went ahead by deleting both partitions after a lot of tries cause it just refused to load to that point. I actually had to disconnect both RAID drives and do the installations just with my main drive connected. This allowed me to get into the installation of winXP but for some funny reason it would always freeze when formating the HDD..(any ideas why??) I managed to get past that by Quick formating the drive..funny huh?? I guess why?

                The installation finished, I installed the VIA software (as Darth had told me) so I shut down and connected the drives again (both in array in striping mode). It worked, it showed 2 40GB HDD's in XP but when I went to double click on the array drive it said that it could read the drive..Does this happen because they both have some of their own data on them it cannot merge in some way in order to read the drive..???
                After this failure and because I needed the ISDN drivers for my modem in order to contact yall i shut down, switched the jumper on the mobo to the Ultra ATA setting instead of the RAID and I now using the 3 HDD's as single drives in WinXP. All is fine but I must say that I noticed that XP booted 5-10 faster with the 2 drives in array (striping). Do u think it is worth it for me to transfer all data from the 2 20GB HDD's onto my main drive(40GB), format the drives (or format it as an array when in XP as a 40 GB drive??) and try again??

                Well there you have it, probably the longest and most boring post in the forums history (I think), but I just wanted to give u the whole picture..Sorry
                Thanx to everyone for their insight, I hope u have some ideas on this one..

                Athens, Greece


                • #9
                  First off, I really doubt that you'll have many of the folks around here complain because you gave too much info. We like to have a good picture of what you're going through so that we can better help you out with your problems.

                  So... that said, let's take a look at what we have here.

                  - About the only thing that I can guess as to why it crapped out in the first place is the possibility of the Promise RAID controller not behaving with the older Windows install. Since both of the OS's reside on the same drive, it is possible that WindowsME corrupted the boot sector of the drive in some way. That would explain why it scrapped both systems, and also it explains why you had to reformat and start again.

                  - The only way to work your RAID is to set it up and then format it just like a regular drive. The data on your 20s will have to be backed up and copied to the new setup after RAID is working properly. It is also possible that you have corrupted some of your data that is on the two 20s, so you might want to do some scans of those drives to see.

                  - WindowsME is a pretty crappy OS. I can understand why you are wanting to dual boot, but when it comes time to retire that old burner, then I would go with a dedicated WinXP system. It is much better than the ME, and considerably more stable as well.

                  Keep it up! :D
                  Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill
                  My Toys


                  • #10
                    First off on my behalf I would like to thank you Darth for the swift response. No wonder I read in another post that a lot of pepole commended your noble efforts to support them.. I was hoping for a response as it is late over here and as most of you probably have the same bug as me you must know that when you start with a project like this you want to get it all right as soon as possible ;) Waiting for a response that will give some experienced guidance seems like an eternity. You feel like your hands are tied.
                    Secondly I am happy to hear that many of the folks around here wont complain because I gave too much info. I just got the feeling that I was overexplicit at some points.

                    Just to set the record straight in case I wasn't clear, my main purpose was to have only 1 O/S (WINXP) on my rig after the Ugrade (mobo,cpu,CDRW) . My old setup was dual booting because I was forced to use WinMe just for the OLD CdWritter..With the Plextor installed now, the Philips will most probably go to charity (an orphanage e.t.c). It's not worth selling anyway, when you can get a 16X or 24X writter for just over $100 here, and that is just what I did. The Plextor is absolutely great. I use a 16X at my office and I am very satisfied..

                    I knew from the beggining that after I changed so many components (mobo+CPU) with the different setups on the new mobo I definetely had to do a CLEAN INSTALL on my 40GB.
                    I just wanted to use the 2 20GB HDD's in an array in order to speed up the system while still having them to save all my other files.
                    I didn't expect that the 2 O/S's I had installed would boot up anyway and I didn't care cause I knew I now have a CD-Writter that was XP compatible and that a CLEAN INSTALL is always better after such a major overhaul... I just did it out of curiosity at the beggining to see at what point they would lock up. I had read in an article that XP locks up if u change more than 2 components and for sure a completely new mobo has a sh#t load of new components of it's own on it...

                    -The data on my 2 20 GB's looks to be working fine after all now that they are working as independent individual drives( 40GB C drive, 20GB F drive & 20GB as G drive).

                    I will begin to transfer the data from both the 20GB HDD's to my main drive that is now running XP PRO flawlesly. I will then reboot, fix the aray again and format the 2 drives that are in the aray as a single 40GB from within WinXP to see what happens..
                    I keep my fingers crossed to see if then I will be able to access the arayed drive from within the O/S...:)

                    Other than that my only worry is I said in my previous post that I have done this installation only by quick formatting as it would always lock up during a full format in the WinXP PRO instalation. It works fine and XP is running A OK but it still p#ses me off.

                    I will keep you posted. Thanx again for the advice.
                    BTW With XP around be asured that I would not use another O/S except if I was forced to( like before). It is the business. and yes I agree Win98/me is pretty much crap. I hated these blue screens of death..

                    Athens, Greece.