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Author Topic: Undoing Nvidia RAID HDDs  (Read 28097 times)
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€uro
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« on: April 08, 2007, 04:58:54 PM »

I have two 120Gb Seagate Barracuda HDDs which were used in Nvidia RAID arrays. When I have RAID disabled in the BIOS I cannot do anything with them. I cannot read, format, or install. If I turn on RAID in the BIOS an error is reported for a mirrored drive, but when I enter the RAID utility in the BIOS it locks up.
I want to use these two drives as non-RAID, so what I think I need is a bootable floppy/cd with a utility to sort the beginning of the drives out?
Has anyone been able to recover drives used like this please?
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shoarthing
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2007, 11:23:55 PM »

Hi - sounds odd: was this RAID array formed in the same motherboard as you are at present using?

Do you have an Win32 or Win64 install on a third HDD?

 . . . SATA is hot-pluggable; so if these dratted 'RAID' HDDs stop POST, you *should* be able to boot into an OS, then attach the logic cable to a [already powered-up] SATA HDD, then format the thing from there. Would probably make life easier if you used the default MS PATA/SATA drivers & uninstalled any NV drivers before trying this.

There are good [as in very] Linux partitioners - specifically a GUI'd partitioner called GParted (http://gparted.sourceforge.net/screenshots.php) (screenshots) - this features in most Linux 'LiveCD' distros; but if you don't have one to hand suggest you might d/l the SystemRescueCD (http://www.sysresccd.org/Main_Page), which is bootable & features GParted among other vital tools.

You *should* be able to set your mobo to boot from CD, then sort these HDDs out; if not, hot-plug the thing just after POST before the CD boots.

 . .  & yes of course you need to disable NVRaid in your mobo's BIOS.


Please post back with any further hassles or feedback on what happens.

[edit] since these are 120GB jobbies, you *should* be able to boot to a W98/W98SE/WinMe boot/system floppy, & type [with no other HDD attached but one of these iffy ones], at the A: prompt:

FDISK /MBR

 - -  this *should* sort out your hassle with these HDDs having a NVRaid 'signature'


[edit] these boot-floppies can be downloaded from Bootdisk.com (http://www.bootdisk.com/bootdisk.htm) as self-wrtiting images.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2007, 10:21:14 AM by shoarthing » Logged
€uro
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2007, 12:50:14 PM »

If I hot plug either of the ex-RAID drives alongside XP/vista I get a lock/crash. If I try to boot up with ex-RAID disc already connected & OS disc, OS disc will not boot, but the BIOS does not seem to complete. Should I flash the BIOS?
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shoarthing
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2007, 02:29:06 PM »

If I hot plug either of the ex-RAID drives alongside XP/vista I get a lock/crash. If I try to boot up with ex-RAID disc already connected & OS disc, OS disc will not boot, but the BIOS does not seem to complete. Should I flash the BIOS?
   . no, I wouldn't suggest you flash the BIOS. It all sounds a bit flaky to me.

If this were my problem, & I wanted the easiest way out, I would take these HDDs & a WinXP install CD to a helpful chum's house, which chum has an Intel-chipset PC w/ SATA connectors.

Disconnect his HDD(s) from his mobo, set the BIOS to boot off the CD [& temporarily disable any form of firmware 'RAID' his PC is using], attach your HDDs, boot to the install CD, format both your HDDs, cancel any install, remove your widgets, set everything on chum's computer back to whare it started, test it works, stand chum (at least) a pint of best.

[edit] would also avoid firmware 'RAID' - I have a lot of experience with real hardware RAID & with many kinds of firmware 'RAID' - the latter sucks.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2007, 02:30:52 PM by shoarthing » Logged
€uro
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2007, 02:31:03 PM »

Already flashed the BIOS & tried to boot XP with an ex-RAID disc. The OS booted halfway & then seized with the ex-RAiD disc making a buzzing sound at the point of OS seizure - they both do this.
Then I booted vista & hot plugged the ex-RAID drive - vista crashed.
I do not think there is anything physically wrong with the disc because when I tried to boot XP the ex-RAID disc, it does not make the buzzing sound initially.
I got into the BIOS RAID utility & it just showed the disc as not being part of an array.
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shoarthing
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2007, 02:41:48 PM »

 . . . what should & sometimes does actually work w/ NVRaid is to enable it, connect these iffy HDDs, then remove the array from both. It ain't clear whether you have done this.

You *may* also have to use the NVRaid array config utility to set/sign each/both as 'JBOD' [ie as 2x independent disks].

The info which is freaking your mobo out is contained in each HDD's MBR [master boot record] - it sounds from here as if your mobo does not have a simple way of wholly disabling NVRaid - I once had a fairly similar hassle with a Tyan K8WE Thunder which a client had set up w/ NVRaid. In that mobo you had to specifically remove/disable each SATA port from being used/scanned/controlled by NVRaid.

« Last Edit: April 09, 2007, 03:08:53 PM by shoarthing » Logged
€uro
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2007, 10:15:50 PM »

There are individual enables for the two sata ports which are at present disabled. But it seems that if any two drives are running I get problems/crashes. Even the vista disc shows as a degraded mirror if RAID is enabled, but I do not want to do anything with the vista disc because losing it would be too much. The discs were not deassigned from being RAID in the BIOS although I have done this for the 2 spare HDDs today, but with no improvement.
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shoarthing
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2007, 11:40:43 PM »

. . . . The discs were not deassigned from being RAID in the BIOS although I have done this for the 2 spare HDDs today, but with no improvement.
- right: I assumed you'd have done this sort of thing early on. You definitely need to remove the NVRaid array-member signature from these HDDs.

As I said above, you may find that you need to use the NVraid util to assign 'em as JBODs, before being able to adress them properly using normal utilities.
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Graham
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2007, 03:34:48 AM »

I would suggest getting Seatools (http://download.seagate.com/seatools/registration.nsf/desktop?openform) from Seagate, check the HDs and do a low level format.  If you are uncomfortable with the page I sent you too you may wish to go to an earlier page. (http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?locale=en-US&name=SeaTools&vgnextoid=720bd20cacdec010VgnVCM100000dd04090aRCRD) and download the DOS version of Seatools. I know some folk would be uncomfortable with the first link because it asks for email addies etc.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2007, 03:41:56 AM by Graham » Logged

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jazzbo
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2007, 03:58:13 AM »

Greetings C**0 and Shoa****ng

If you are certain your cables and jumpers are correct you might try wiping the drives with a utility that pays no mind to formating..
 I like to use one called "BCWIPEPD"..This is the command line version of a file wiping utility called "BCWIPE"..

On the older version I use the Command line utility comes with the Windows freeware version(ver1.07) There is a text file with instructions..This is a powerful wiper and pays no heed to formatting or partioning..

http://www.jetico.com/index.htm#/bcwipe3.htm (http://www.jetico.com/index.htm#/bcwipe3.htm)

http://www.jetico.com/download.htm (http://www.jetico.com/download.htm)

Get a Windows 98 start disk and place the wiping utility on the 98Start Disk..

Boot it up to run it  but be very careful if there are other HDDs present,to use the proper drive number..

If the boot record or lower level (post factory) formatting is causing the problem this will wipe it..

jazzbo............................
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shoarthing
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2007, 09:08:48 AM »

Graham & Jazzbo - Hi; the deal appears to be [I may of course have misread/misunderstood OP] that his system will not get past the POST screens with either of the two previously RAID'ed HDDs attached, nor is it possible to hotplug either into a running Win install.

 . .  therefore it ain't possible to run any utility on 'em, tho' I agree that Seatools from a floppy sounds sensible.

Have thought about this overnight, & am pretty sure that the hassle is that OP hasn't [or can't] remove the array from NVRaid's memory area.

So, would suggest:

Unplug PC from the mains supply.

Press the ON switch/button [this uses up any small residual current in the PSU].

Clear the CMOS for at least 30 seconds - the manual will show which jumper/button/pads are to be used.

Reboot [no HDDs attached], go into BIOS, make sure NVRaid is disabled for all SATA ports, set BIOS to boot from CDROM.

Reboot [one iffy HD attached] to WinXP install CD.

Format HDD.

Repeat with other HDD.

 . .  please post back here wth results/hassles.

 

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€uro
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2007, 10:13:26 AM »

I formatted 2 spare drives using XP pro install disc yesterday, with no improvement. There are 4 x 120Gb drives altogether, although I only have 2 sata ports on this mobo. One disc has XP pro plus a partition containing a backup image of vista. One disc has vista ultimate, & the other two are spares. Although the bootable 2 discs have worked happily when connected simultaneously (hence the backup image of vista), they are not at the moment. I can boot to vista if I unplug the XP disc.
I do not want to disable booting for either OS. Tools that low level format sound like they will destroy my OS, although they could reclaim the spare discs. So really I have 2 problems:

(1) reclaiming spare discs

(2) reclaiming OS discs.

I will have a look at these tools.
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shoarthing
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2007, 10:43:35 AM »

I formatted 2 spare drives using XP pro install disc yesterday, with no improvement. There are 4 x 120Gb drives altogether, although I only have 2 sata ports on this mobo. One disc has XP pro plus a partition containing a backup image of vista. One disc has vista ultimate, & the other two are spares. Although the bootable 2 discs have worked happily when connected simultaneously (hence the backup image of vista), they are not at the moment. I can boot to vista if I unplug the XP disc.
I do not want to disable booting for either OS. Tools that low level format sound like they will destroy my OS, although they could reclaim the spare discs. So really I have 2 problems:

(1) reclaiming spare discs

(2) reclaiming OS discs.

I will have a look at these tools.
- you seem to have missed the point I made above: the hassle is probably not [or mainly not] in the HDDs; but in the onboard NVRaid, which retains its array settings somewhere in the CMOS.

Clear the CMOS as described above & see what happens.
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€uro
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2007, 02:00:30 PM »

Hello SHoarthing, I said that I had flashed the BIOS at reply #4.
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jazzbo
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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2007, 03:52:11 PM »

Hi Folks

Like Shoa****ng says You need to Clear the BIOS of Extendended Data..

When you say "FLASH" the BIOS I assume you mean to obtain the latest BIOS upgrade from the BIOS Company..Just so I dont have to re-read all this;Did you mention What BIOS  you are using?

At the risk of stating the obvious;"Flashing" the BIOS is not the same as "Clearing/Reseting? the BIOS..Indeed if you had Cleared the BIOS,to begin with,thusly,potentially, removing the extended RAID configuration data;Flashing with the latest BIOS upgrade/update might very well  put the RAID dynamics back in there..

I'm not sure of the terminology but ;Does yous MOBO have a BIOS redundancy/recovery Chip?

If-so-facto you may need to do whatever it takes to impose the cleared/reset BIOS configuration onto this protected BIOS backup chip to "UNRAID" the setup..

If the genre of your BIOS requires a drive overlay to fully address the entire 120GB of the drives maybe issues could arise(MBR?)..

Also You might chect your A.C.P.I.(Advanced Configuration Power Interface) is of the latest and properly suitable for your setup..
Since I am speculating here;If faced with this problem I would have to google-up some info before proceeding and after exhausting ALL potential Windows remedies..

Maybe even De-activating or Removing the BIOS Backup chip while clearing the BIOS..

If you want to save the stuff on the HDDs'  ;Wiping is out of question..

I dont know about VISTA but if you can boot to the WindowsXP Pro disk and access the Console there is a utility to find all of the Windows installations and Also a utility to "FIXMBR": as suggested by Shoarthing and indirectly by Graham-with the Seagate Tools(I believe there is an MBR fixer in the Seatools...

This is an interesting problem and quite possibly solvable by available means..

jazzbo.....................



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