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Messerschmitt

Installing Win 7 and RAID

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I have an ASUS motherboard Z87-A.

I'll have a SSD for drive C and want to setup a RAID made of 2 x 3TB for my drive D storage.

Currently I'm planning to just leave my SSD in and install Win 7 first, then add the 2 HDD's and setup the RAID. Is this doable? I remember in the past when if I installed Windows with legacy HDD option in BIOS, I couldn't change it to AHCI (for SATA). Is this similar?

Any tutorial that I can follow in order to correctly add a RAID for drive D? And most importantly, can I install Windows on my SSD and add the array later?

Can I leave Sata mode into AHCI, then change it to RAID when I add the 2 3TB hdd's?

Hoping I can get windows installed today

Edited by Messerschmitt

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I'm presuming based on your other topic that you have figured this out already, but here is a relevant reply.

When installing Windows on a system with multiple disks/arrays, I would recommend that you only have the OS disk/volume present at the time of installation. The reason for this is twofold:
1. Windows Setup will sometimes write boot data to another disk/volume than the one the OS is installed onto. The issue with this is that if the other volume is removed or has a problem, the OS won't boot.
2. Windows PE will assign disk numbers based on first-come first-served enumeration. Because all hardware is different, even between different systems with identical hardware, the system may make available disks in an uneven order. As such, there are situations where a card reader or RAID volume on a controller gets enumerated before the SATA ports, and this can cause an issue in some installation scenarios because Disk 0 ends up being something other than what you would think. I have never seen an ODD get Disk 0 designation, and have yet to see a NAND/NVMe in M2 slot be anything other than Disk 0... Because you cannot control enumeration of disks to Windows, the best practice is to remove the possibility of the incorrect device being detected as Disk 0.

When using motherboard RAID in the scenario outlined above, the controller needs to be capable of creating a array with 2 or more member disks and 1 disk set to JBOD. Unfortunately, specs for RAID on motherboards rarely have a matrix of possible combinations documented, and there are definately instances of desktop motherboards being incapable of this configuration. The only way to know if it is capable is to attempt to do it, or find someone who has tried or has the board.

For an Intel chipset board with Rapid Storage controller, you set the SATA mode to RAID. Then you would reboot and enter the RAID software and create 1 array using the two disks, and set the other disk as a JBOD member disk that is separate. If it allows this configuration, then you can either disable the array, or disconnect the disks physically, to install the OS. After the OS is installed, re-connect/enable the array disks and boot into the RAID setup to verify the array is healthy. Then boot into Windows, go into Disk Management and you'll be able to format the virtual disk that is detected.

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@Trip

2 disks or 3 disks? ;dubbio:

Who talked of JBOD?

@Messerschmitt

Which kind of RAID? (0 or 1 only possible with two disks)

jaclaz

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Using generalities, a non-specific desktop motherboard with RAID capability will typically have only one storage controller option for all of the disk connections. As opposed to a workstation or server class board which can have two controllers, assigned to specific or selectable ports. In the general use case of a RAID capable desktop board, it would infer that changing the SATA mode to RAID will change all of the ports to that controller.

So the SSD in the first post would need to be added as a JBOD, while a RAID0 or RAID1 is used for the two 3 TB disks.

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54 minutes ago, Tripredacus said:

Using generalities, a non-specific desktop motherboard with RAID capability will typically ...

But here we are speaking specific, detailed, Asus Z87-A (the OP posted this info), which comes with Intel Rapid Storage, which  - last time I checked - allowed just fine to make a RAID volume out of two or more disks leaving the boot/system drive alone.

I doubt you will ever be able to find "JBOD" anywhere on Intel or Asus related documentation.

jaclaz

 

 

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Well perhaps, but it is, in effect, what a disk on a RAID controller is when out of the array. With a desktop board, you do not get the luxury of having SATA ports not be on the controller when you change the setting in the BIOS. On modern systems, only M2 sockets get this luxury.

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33 minutes ago, Tripredacus said:

Well perhaps, but it is, in effect, what a disk on a RAID controller is when out of the array. 

... and a disk on a raid controller when out of the array has nothing to do with a JBOD setup, which is another thing:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-RAID_drive_architectures#JBOD

Even grammatically, you cannot make a "bunch" from a single disk.

An image is worth a thousand words:

AO6uo.png

jaclaz

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Then perhaps it is backwards, and that some RAID software will refer to a single disk outside of an array, while still being managed on the controller, as a JBOD disk, even if singular.

Terminology aside, there are still some RAID software on desktop boards that do not allow for a single disk to exist outside of an array and documentation for those boards rarely mention such a thing. Usually only find out if it is possible by attempting it, unfortunately.

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2 hours ago, Tripredacus said:

Then perhaps it is backwards, and that some RAID software will refer to a single disk outside of an array, while still being managed on the controller, as a JBOD disk, even if singular.

Terminology aside, there are still some RAID software on desktop boards that do not allow for a single disk to exist outside of an array and documentation for those boards rarely mention such a thing. Usually only find out if it is possible by attempting it, unfortunately.

Sure. :)

Sometimes form is not substance, but the issue is that we already have a whole bunch of ambiguities in the language, think of disk vs. drive vs. disk drive vs. the thing that gets a drive letter (which is a volume or a partition or both) to which you add some Chinglish, the generally poor quality of documentation (particularly when it comes to "advanced" topics such as Raid and similar) and you understand how - even set aside my built-in pickiness :w00t::ph34r: - we must try to be as exact/accurate as possible or however attempt to make things as clear as possible.

jaclaz

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On 12/3/2018 at 5:28 PM, Tripredacus said:

1. Windows Setup will sometimes write boot data to another disk/volume than the one the OS is installed onto. The issue with this is that if the other volume is removed or has a problem, the OS won't boot.

This should be avoidable by making sure the disk on which the OS will be installed comes before others in BIOS boot device order.

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28 minutes ago, UCyborg said:

This should be avoidable by making sure the disk on which the OS will be installed comes before others in BIOS boot device order.

No, it isn't, or, if you prefer, it only happens on the vast majority of systems, but not necessarily on all of them.

The booting PE has been documented to  in some cases to detect disks in a different order from BIOS, and of course another number of factors may be involved, like the exact way the disk is partitioned (before or during the install) and the exact way the OS is installed (via normal setup, third party automated tools, dism apply, etc., etc.).

Since it costs nothing at install times to disconnect the "other" disks it represent a foolproof way to make sure it doesn't happen.

jaclaz

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Is there anything written somewhere on the phenomenon of changing device boot order affecting which disk will be picked for writing boot files? In my case, both Windows and Linux see disks (I have 3) in the exact same order. It's consistent with the numbering of the corresponding SATA ports. Changing device boot order in BIOS does not change the order in which they appear in either OS, but it does affect which disk will be picked to write boot files to when installing Windows.

I never experimented with what would happen if the first target disk didn't have active partition. Would it just look for the next and error out if it doesn't find it or error out right away? Another scenario to consider. I suspect such error would be shown on the interface where you pick where to install the OS. Wish I remembered if anything different was shown on the disk selection screen back then. Does it show all active partitions on every disk as System or just the one it finds suitable to write boot files to?

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No I think the myth of it reflecting BIOS boot order stems from "I saw it once, it must always be this way" phenomena. And heck, it might actually work that way for some specific board and/or BIOS version, but it is not designed to work that way and certainly can't be used as a general fact for all computers everywhere.

It was proven through observation that Windows Setup will sometimes write the boot entries to other disks. Microsoft never has written up a why or a how to resolve (not even a simple, disconnect your other disks during install KB) and their representatives on forums fall into the trap of "that is how it works sometimes" when it obviously seems like a bug... one that has been present since Vista. The Disk Selection screen does not have anything to do with where the boot files are written, that is the problem. Disk Selection simply is the UI portion for Setup to manually format disks/create partitions and to create the answer file it uses and set the image target. The bits that deal with running BCDBoot (which I don't think it does directly, rather uses some API calls) after installing the image, prior to the reboot into phase two, is done with some other magic. And even this critical phase of installing Windows is not configurable via an XML file create with WSIM. Alas, this issue has existed for such a long time, and has such a small impact on support, even if it were determined why it does this (by testing a butt ton of configurations that no one has time for) I doubt they would even fix it.

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