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Old 02-07-2013, 10:50 PM   #1
soubuckeye
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Question Linux on thumb drive trying to recover RAID 0


I have a 2007 vintage system running Windows Vista with a 500gb HDD in a RAID0 (2x250) configuration guided by Intel Matrix Storage.

The computer is having issues booting. Windows will BSOD quickly, and the system is pretty much unusable. Investigation shows that the 2nd device in the RAID array shows "failed." The cause - I suspect - COULD be a couple of power losses that took place in quick succession during recent weather - power lost, came back 30 seconds later, stayed on a minute, cut out, etc, several times. Thus, my theory is that the partition table on drive #2 of the stripe is goobered up. I've managed to get into Vista's safe mode a few times, but not long enough (without BSOD) to start moving files off the system. SO, as my emergency "Plan B," I am booting Linux (Mint 14.1) via USB Flash Drive. Ironically, I was in the process of obtaining an external HDD for backing up files, etc. (anticipating eventual failure on a system going on 6 years old!)

My plan has been as follows: Boot into Linux as emergency access to transfer files over network (or direct via USB) to another computer and the backup HDD. Then, remove the dying HDD, and replace or simply go with half the storage space.

I'm at the point where I am into Linux just fine. However, when I look at the disk offerings, I see two 250gb HDD's, and neither of which I can access/mount/etc. Going the command line route, I've tried DMRAID. "-ay" gives me the "wrong number of devices" error (I presume because the stripe is currently seen as broken, which is the issue confessed with "-s". Using "-r" sits and thinks for a second then appears to have worked, but then going back the "-ay" route gives me the same problem. I'm following this route based on the following forum thread: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php...with_Fake_RAID I'm feeling like I'm at the end of my rope with what DMRAID can offer me. But, I might be on the right track there.

Simply put, what would be the BEST way to have Linux "see" the fact that I already have a RAID set up via Intel Matrix Storage?

While I am certainly a Linux noob, I am a pretty quick study and have a bit of technical experience working with the guts of computers going all the way back to the hedy days of DOS. Command line instructions aren't lost on me, so don't be afraid to get down and dirty.

Thanks, everyone, in advance!

-Eric Shock
 
Old 02-08-2013, 09:10 AM   #2
michaelk
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RAID 0 splits that data across the disks with no redundancy. If one of the disk fails the data is unrecoverable. AFAIK you are on the right track with dmraid but again since it is RAID 0 you may be out of luck.
 
Old 02-08-2013, 01:45 PM   #3
NyteOwl
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If you have a failed drive in a single stripped array (wrongly called RAID 0) the array is not recoverable. As michaelk indicates, the data is written across alternate sections for the two drives. If one fails you lose, for example, every second sector worth of data that resides on the failed drive.

To make sure it isn't just a software glitch reporting failure, use smartctl and test the drive that has failed.

The lesson here is never put anything on a "RAID 0" array that you care about losing. Ideally, don't use "RAID 0" at all. The slight performance boost isn't worth the risk of data loss and/or downtime.
 
Old 02-08-2013, 08:39 PM   #4
soubuckeye
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Thanks for the responses. I've heard plenty of the horror stories about the pitfalls of RAID 0. Luckily I kept a backup copy of my most crucial files (read: the family digital photos) in a couple places so while I'm looking at the loss of some stuff painful to lose, I could be a lot worse off.

What has me thinking that I'm not COMPLETELY lost with the data is that Windows WILL boot - I can generally get to the point of being logged in to the account, but that is when things freeze. If the array was totally FUBAR, then I don't think it would even boot at all, and I would continually get the "no operating system" error after the POST screen. That, and some of the research I've done leads to me to believe that it could very well likely be a software glitch with the Intel Matrix side of things. I've even read a couple of posts on other forums that describe taking apart the array, then putting it back together (avoiding reformatting, & making sure its in the exact same order, etc). In one instance, it suggests using the program "TestDisk" the other. Simply put, I have some options.

Although conventional wisdom says (in the words of George Carlin) I am SOL and JWF, I'm not convinced that I'm out of the game, yet.

-Eric

Quote:
Originally Posted by NyteOwl View Post
If you have a failed drive in a single stripped array (wrongly called RAID 0) the array is not recoverable. As michaelk indicates, the data is written across alternate sections for the two drives. If one fails you lose, for example, every second sector worth of data that resides on the failed drive.

To make sure it isn't just a software glitch reporting failure, use smartctl and test the drive that has failed.

The lesson here is never put anything on a "RAID 0" array that you care about losing. Ideally, don't use "RAID 0" at all. The slight performance boost isn't worth the risk of data loss and/or downtime.
 
Old 02-09-2013, 02:21 PM   #5
NyteOwl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soubuckeye View Post
What has me thinking that I'm not COMPLETELY lost with the data is that Windows WILL boot - I can generally get to the point of being logged in to the account, but that is when things freeze. If the array was totally FUBAR, then I don't think it would even boot at all, and I would continually get the "no operating system" error after the POST screen. That, and some of the research I've done leads to me to believe that it could very well likely be a software glitch with the Intel Matrix side of things. I've even read a couple of posts on other forums that describe taking apart the array, then putting it back together (avoiding reformatting, & making sure its in the exact same order, etc). In one instance, it suggests using the program "TestDisk" the other. Simply put, I have some options.
It is entirely possible it might boot partway into the OS before failure depending on the stripe size and fragmentation of the install. If the needed boot files are all within the first stripe on the good first array drive they the startup would only fail when it first went to read the failed drive.

That is not to say that it may not be a software problem, which is why I suggested using smartctl to test the failed drive.

If you remove BOTH drive from the array at the SAME time, when you try and reassemble the array, the Intel controller will wipe the drives. You can take one drive out of the array at a time for testing (eg smartctl) and put it back before removing the other, without having the Intel controller reformat the drives.

TestDisk may help recover some files but no guarantee it can recover a bootable OS.
 
Old 02-10-2013, 06:44 PM   #6
soubuckeye
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Well... A small update.

Neither smartctl or TestDisk helped for me on Linux. BUT I did just enjoy a measure of success! I created a WinPE disk, and got in. I was able to view my C: drive fine, and was even able to copy over an important XLS file I needed. While it's only one file, it's a hugely important one to me. Not only that, it gives me hope that I will be able to come out of this ok. My next try will be to run a WinPE-friendly version of TestDisk to see what happens then. I say that because the WinPE environment saw the array, wheras I never could get Linux to.

Thanks for the input everyone has given thus far!

-Eric
 
Old 02-12-2013, 05:37 PM   #7
soubuckeye
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Talking Final update - resolved

The miracle happened.

Following advice I found from many searches of Google, and reading many threads (some years old) about similar problems, I have the issue fixed. For posterity, and to hopefully be able to help someone in the same way it helped me, I will share the steps I took:

1. I went into the Intel Matix Storage Manager controller from the POST screen (Ctrl-I on my Dell), wrote down ALL information about the array. Name, stripe size, order that the HDD's were in the array, etc. I then DELETED the array. That's right. Even though it warned me that I would lose all data. Trust me... Even though this was described as a workable solution on 3 different boards that I found, it took a lot to hit that "Delete" button that last time to finally confirm. A huge leap of faith, there.

2. I immediately rebuilt the array using the EXACT same name & settings as for the old array. The 2nd HDD in the array that was showing "Failed" quickly came up as "Ok."

3. Rebooted. Obviously, there was no boot sector found, so I went into WinPE. Loaded TestDisk, and ran it. Nothing found after the first analysis. Ran the "deeper" analysis, and it quickly found the old partition. Had it write the new partition based on what it found on its analysis, and rebooted, waiting to see if Windows Vista would load as

4. Windows would not load - several DLL's show corrupted. Meh. Others who have used this technique (from my research) ran a quick system repair from their Vista install CD/DVD and life was good. Skipping this step for now to go on to the next.

5. Loaded up Mint, it now sees my array, and ALL of my pre-existing files. I'm now in the process of copying EVERYTHING on the computer's HDD to my NAS. Copy now, sort it out later, right? Yes, I know it's slow as hell copying an entire 500gb HDD over a home network, but it will be worth it when done. My NAS does not have a USB or Firewire port, only the Ethernet / cat 5 connection.

5. I will be running a full restore/reinstall of Windows at my own leisure. Apparently the 2nd HDD is NOT junked - but was a glitch within Intel Matrix Storage Manager that made it THINK it was junked. Maybe I might go back and delete everything and re-do the array as something OTHER than a Raid 0. Or maybe just use the system with Linux. It did play a role in saving the system. Not sure yet.

Not to shill for other forums, but it is only appropriate I include the sources that helped me as well:
http://forums.majorgeeks.com/showthread.php?t=192585
http://forums.extremeoverclocking.co....php?p=3329132

Thanks once again to all those who provided advice on this thread. The feedback I got here did provide a knowledgeable sounding board to help me figure out a solution.

-Eric Shock
 
Old 02-12-2013, 05:47 PM   #8
michaelk
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Well done.
 
Old 02-12-2013, 06:13 PM   #9
notsure
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That sounds like fun (besides it being your valuable data)! Glad to read of your success.
 
  


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