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Old 04-21-2009, 08:59 PM   #1
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dual boot debian with vista in a 3 drive raid 0 configuration

I am a little confused. I have a laptop running with vista ultimate in a raid 0 hardware configuration. They are 3 250gb 7200RPM drives. I want to install debian, but I am unsure how to correctly do so without ruining my raid config. I tried booting the install DVD but when I get to the partitioning screen it shows the 3 drives seperate from eachother, instead of one entire raid 0 configuration. How can I install debian without disrupting my previous vista install, and still keep the raid 0 configuration intact? I would also like to keep raid on debian as well. I have been reading about this and I have found that a lot of suggestions say to go ahead and dual boot it with the vista core install, but I have also found more that say to install it on one of the seperate drives. As you can see, I am currently very jumbled :P. If you could help, I would greatly appreciate it.

Old 04-22-2009, 02:46 AM   #2
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Any particular reason you want to keep the raid array?
Raid 0 is problematic when your operating system(s) crash, unless you have a full backup of all data and settings on another drive like a USB external. Because you pretty much have to bring it to professionals or spend a couple months and a lot of money acquiring the right software and learning how to use it in order to recover your data by reconstructing and mounting the raid array with another OS. Unless you have a OEM recovery option where it can reinstall the OS and not lose your data. Most often the manufacturer can supply a floppy or CD iso to boot from to do such a recovery if Vista is hooped.
And if you have Intel Matrix raid controllers, you're probably not gaining anything according to the general consensus online.
I think Vista Ultimate is fast enough for me without Raid 0, but that's just me, and I do have 3.4GHz processor and 4GB of dual channel RAM.

Enough with the parental nag, nag thing. question most people will ask is "is this hardware or software raid?". It is important to know what kind of Raid setup you have, and the type of controllers as you may need firmware to use the controllers. Look at section 2.2 of the Debian installation guide -->
Debian is all open source, free. Proprietary stuff is not included with the installation media, this is the stumbling point when trying to install on existing raid arrays from what I've deduced so far.

If I may suggest...
You can resize the Vista partition through disk management in Administrative tasks in Vista control panel to make room in the raid array for a Linux installation. Ubuntu is based on Debian, I use both Debian and Ubuntu and don't see much of a difference other than it is easy to install proprietary stuff in Ubuntu, and when you go to play a .wmv or .mp3 in Ubuntu, it'll say you don't have the right codecs and offer to intall them, where as Debian usually just chokes and you have to cruise the forums asking why it choked. I've been using Debian for years now, and only recently started using Ubuntu 8.10 and am slowly switching. Ubuntu has an "Alternate CD" available for download, if I remember correctly it is based on Ubuntu 8.04 which will be supported for a longer period of time than Ubuntu 8.10. From what I've read looking for information to post here, the alternate CD will recognize and install on most existing raid arrays.
Old 04-22-2009, 08:58 AM   #3
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If it were true hardware RAID Debian would see it as a single drive.. Since Debian sees 3 seperate drives, that tells me it's Fakeraid..

The Ubuntu Fakeraid Guide is pretty comprehensive on how to install to that configuration.

Wet Willy is correct on the Ubuntu Alternate Instal CD
According to the latest FakeRAID spec, Intrepid users can now install directly to SATA RAID with no additional setup or configuration required. This is is not yet supported in the Ubiquity graphical installer so you must use the Alternate Install CD. The installer will prompt you to activate the RAID partitions, which will make them available to the partitioner and allow you to continue with the installation as normal.
For Debian you would have to use the manual process outlined in the how-to
Old 04-22-2009, 10:49 AM   #4
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Raid 0 is fine. I have used it for a long time already (dual boot with WinXP). However do take backup of your user files e.g. to a separate backup hd or DVD-RW, tape etc. The risk of crash increases, but from a low level if you have some decent hard drives.

Many DVDs have options that you have to set at boot time. you should normally get some prompt about that. The sort of parameters I have seen for this on others is domdadm, dodmraid. Haven't tried Debian DVDs, but look for those sort of boot options when you boot the DVD.


Last edited by monsm; 04-22-2009 at 10:53 AM.


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