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Issues installing Windows 7 onto a Raid 0 array

by n00bster1 / January 26, 2011 4:57 AM PST

Hi - hoping someone can help here.

I have just bought a copy of Windows 7 and two brand new 2TB HDDs. What I want to do is raid the two drives together with raid 0 and install Windows onto the array. This would give me a 4TB C drive with Windows installed.

So far today I have had little success...

After reading as much I can I have discovered that I may not be able to install Windows onto a 4TB drive and may well have to partition a 2TB section to install Windows on. I am fine with this, even if this means loosing the other 2TB (hopefully I can partition this into another drive, but I'll worry about that later).
Unfortunately I have discovered that I accidently bought an upgrade version of Windows 7 and the product key will not allow me to install Windows as a clean install. This should not be a problem as I have a working copy of both XP and Vista.
I installed XP onto a 2TB partition on the raid array and attempted to upgrade to Win 7, this did not work and told me I had to format and perform a clean install (which I cannot). Next I attempted to install Vista and this is where I have run into issues.
I am now unable to install any OS on the raid array. I can see a 2TB partition but when I attempt to install onto it I receive the following error message "Windows setup could not reinitialize the deployment engine. To install Windows, restart the installation".
After reading several forums I tried formatting the array using a DOS prompt but after 3 hours (when the format got to 100%) I received the error "all NTFS boot sectors are unwriteable. cannot continue. format failed". I have also tried to format the drive using Gparted (a linux-based boot application allowing partitioning and formatting etc.) this also failed with no obvious error message.

I am now completely stuck, any help would be much appreciated.


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That sounds right.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 26, 2011 5:09 AM PST

But let's see what RAID system was used? I re-read your post and didn't find it.

It could be the upgrade version but I've used that to install clean (I used prior discussions and had my old Vista DVD at the ready) so I'm left to wonder what hardware RAID you have.

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Wish I could tell you...
by n00bster1 / January 26, 2011 7:19 AM PST
In reply to: That sounds right.

Wish I could tell you right now... The info is in a cupboard in the bedroom and the missus is asleep Sad

It is built into the motherboard and all I do is plug two drives into seperate SATA plugs and it does it all for me. (All I can say right now is that it is an ASUS motherboard).
I had a raid 0 array set up with Vista in this way and all i did was plug it all in and it worked..

Im guessing the problem I have is the size of the drives.

I'm interested that the upgrade version allowed you to clean install - I got it to install at first but it would not accept the product key I have. Then I found a microsoft article saying this is what happens if you try to do a clean install with an upgrade disc...

Currently I have installed Vista on a single drive and I am carrying out Windows updates so I can try to upgrade it to Win 7. Will see what happens

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If you can install and activate XP on another drive
by Steven Haninger / January 26, 2011 7:25 AM PST

in that same machine, you should be able to use the Windows 7 upgrade disk to do a clean installation on the RAID array. You will need to break the array first and remove Vista. You will need to have the motherboard disk with the RAID drivers for Windows 7 to pre-install. It might be worth a shot.

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by samkh / January 26, 2011 9:03 AM PST

Your issue is not RAID. If you setup RAID in BIOS, XP, Vista and W7 will install.

Now, about installation - you must have either XP or Vista installed on a hard disk before you can use the W7 Upgrade disc. If the hard disk is bare, W7 Upgrade won't install. So go ahead and install XP or Vista, then insert the W7 disc.

For XP you will get a msg like "can't upgrade, must restart and format" because there is no software upgrade from XP to W7. But the XP is needed to run the W7 Upgrade disc launcher. Go ahead, it WILL work! This is the preferred method when you have a W7 Upgrade disc.

Vista is capable of upgrading to W7 but because it IS an upgrade, the Vista installation has to be clean and good, maybe even needing Vista hardware drivers for success. I would avoid using this method.

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by n00bster1 / January 26, 2011 9:13 PM PST
In reply to: Confusion

Thanks for the help guys Happy

I have got Win 7 up and running (and activated) now Happy
I changed my mind this morning and decided to scrap the raid array. I'm now running Win 7 on one drive and plan to install Ubuntu on the other and have a dual boot system. I've been thinking of trying Linux for ages but didn't want to get rid of Windows because I enjoy gaming.

Can anyone tell me how much performance increase you gain from having a raid array? I understand the principle (2x heads in one 'drive') so does that mean that read/write speed is doubled in a raid 0 array?

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Forget striping
by samkh / January 26, 2011 11:58 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks!

SSD prices are falling out of the sky and for $100 (see Shell Shocker 1 today), get a 60GB boot drive and it will outperform any 2 HDD stripe w/o the noise and heat. 60 is more than enough to hold W7 and several programs. Store your data (w/backups of course) on 5400rpm large cap disks.

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It's not double.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 27, 2011 5:21 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks!

For long reasons it's not. And there are benchmarks out there. My biggest gripe about RAID 0 is that if you thought data recovery was hard with a single drive try it on RAID 0.

It may be faster but there are other tolls to pay for it so at the end of a day I wonder if it paid off.

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Smart choice in scrapping RAID. About the performance
by Steven Haninger / January 27, 2011 8:42 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks!

boost, you need to remember that all heads in a single drive are physically connected and don't operate independently. You can double the number of heads but this doesn't mean that all heads can move to the desired location at will. If drive manufacturers could make products with all heads operating independently, I'd have to think a large performance boost would be possible. I don't know if they've tried and given up on that idea. I would think such would add more mechanical parts and maybe create some odd torque and vibration issues. Any modern drive will out perform RAID 0 arrays of years back by a fair margin so it doesn't seem all that useful other than for some sort of bragging rights.

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