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Old 12-17-2008, 04:59 PM   #1
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Is it possible to dual-boot Vista and Linux on Fakeraid?

Synopsis: Need advice on how to dual-boot Vista x64 and Linux on Fakeraid

Have just built my first homebrew computer to replace our family's 6 year-old Pentium 4 XP box. I'd like to dual-boot Vista x64 and some form of Linux 64 (probably Simply Mepis 8.0) with the aim of eventually converting my user base (my wife) over to the Linux lifestyle. I'm still a Linux greenie, but learning and enthusiastic -- my wife hasn't even sprouted yet.

I also want RAID-5 to eliminate the headache of full backups and even worse, full system restores while gaining at least a little performance, but unsure how to go about it in Linux.

From what I've learned from the forums, the South Bridge of the mobo is more than likely only Fakeraid, which explains why the mobo manual gives a procedure for loading a RAID driver in Vista. I've also searched and searched and searched the forums and InternetLand to see if there is any kind of "Linux Raid Driver" and have run across words like Linux Logical Volume Manager, MultiDisk and DMRAID which kept creeping into the conversations.

The gist of it all indicated that just plain FakeRAID and Linux was a boatload of trouble and that dual-booting MS and Linux with Fakeraid even more so. And don't even get me started on the tales of woe involving partitioning such a beast to support ext3 and FAT32. Someone was so pessimistic as to say that it was impossible to have a FakeRAID dual-boot Linux and Windows. I became despondent. The only thing that keeps me going is the fact that the posts and articles were at least three years old, giving some hope that a leap in RAID-Linux technology between then and now has solved the problem.

Granted, this is going to be primarily a Vista machine, so if that's the only place to support RAID, so be it (hafta keep my betrothed happy!) and I'll just get a little misty-eyed whenever I play with my RAID-less Linux.

Here's the pertinent technical stuff:
CPU - AMD PHENOM X4 9950 2.6G - Black Edition
Mobo - Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-DS4H, has an AMD 790GX North Bridge, AMD SB750 South Bridge
Hard Drives - Three SATA Hitachi Deskstars, 500GB each
DVD Burner - HP somethingorother, on the IDE channel
Will be using Vista's bootloader, then add an entry for GRUB because of the unexpected nasty things MS tends to do during service packs.

So far, I've turned the rig on and set up the BIOS including assigning the three drives to a RAID-5 Logical Disk. Also booted up from a Simply Mepis 7.0 live CD and did a (very) little poking around just to prove to myself that the DVD, video, USB etc worked. Did NOT look to see if the OS reported one or three drives (it was 1:30 am and wasn't thinking real clear). Haven't done Vista yet because it's still on the UPS truck. If a floppy disk is needed for boot, I have a Toshiba external USB drive and also have plenty of USB thumb drives.

Did I leave anything important out?

So. Here are my questions:

1) HAS there been a technology leap that allows Vista and Linux to play nice together on Fakeraid? If so, what is it?

2) What is all this Linux Logical Volume Manager, MultiDisk and DMRAID magic I keep reading about? Is it a reasonable alternative to Fakeraid? Maybe disable Fakeraid in the BIOS and leave the RAIDING to one of these guys?

3) If none of the software solutions above are viable, what about a true RAID controller with its own honest-to-gosh processor doing the heavy lifting instead of piggybacking off my overworked CPU? What are the gotchas to look out for when dealing with this?

4) Should I scrap the Vista/Linux dual-boot and consider running Linux inside Vista in a virtual box?

Probably spent way too many words and time describing this but it's been therapeutic. Keeps me from shooting up the post office. Pointers to other forums, Howtos, Tutorials, witchdoctors and the like will be much appreciated.
Old 12-17-2008, 05:22 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ivoidwarranties View Post
Probably spent way too many words and time describing this
Yes, way too much. I only have so much interest and time.

Pointers to other forums, Howtos, Tutorials, witchdoctors and the like will be much appreciated.
Fakeraids are fun, but be careful of them. The biggest negative is that you are reliant on the BIOS for any maintenance that needs to be done.

To use fakeraid in Linux, you must install the "dmraid" package. It will automatically sense the array(s) and put a device(s) in /dev/mapper for the array(s).

For Ubuntu try this tutorial I found using Google. I know nothing about Mepis.
Old 12-18-2008, 08:39 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice, both technical and literary. The link you recommended is excellent!
Old 02-05-2009, 05:33 PM   #4
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Fake Raid: Win XP - Ubuntu Disaster

I have a similar issue;

Dell 8400 with a fake raid setup and XP.

Installed similar and did not see a partition so I selected the the second RAID drive for the install.

Result XP and Ubuntu would not load. Recieved error 21

Tried Super Grub Disk, removed error 21 but still will not boot.

Tried to fix XP with Recovery console but asked for a system admin password! I never used a system admin password so I cannot use Recovery console.

What should be my next step? Found a good article on fake raid setups and ubuntu but nor sure what will happen if i install the dmraid package?

Any assitance would be appreciated.



dual boot, raid

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