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Intel Rapid Storage Technology, hard drive problem.


One of my computers has a pre-2011 motherboard on it.  That has certain implications regarding drives larger than 3TB, and maybe other hard drive issues.  I am now having a problem (which has occurred a few times before) which is this:
If I disconnect any drives in the system, then it stops booting up.  This has been explained as some kind of effect of the MBR being distributed amongst the several drives, and if one is missing, the system can't boot.  It is supposed to be repairable using the windows boot disk, repair option, repair startup option.

The problem I'm having is that I've disconnected all the extra drives, and now the OS won't boot.  Furthermore, the BIOS doesn't even see my OS drive.  I can't do anything.  I can't repair it with the OS disk because it doesn't see the drive.  I've tried messing with AHCI settings, RAID settings, no luck.

What is the deal with the Intel Rapid Storage Technology?  I had to install it at one point because I added 4TB drives to my system, and until I installed RST, WIndows 7 couldn't see the drives with their capacity.  But now I realize that RST is more for RAID situations, so I don't get what is going on.  I don't like it.  Ever time I've had to add or subtract a disk, I've had this problem.  But now, I can't fix it anymore.

How can I make the disk bootable again?  I can connect it to another computer and do stuff there if necessary.  And if anyone can help me understand RST and why I need it, that would be helpful too.  Last time, this problem was solved by rearranging my boot priority settings in the BIOS.  But now, the bios can't see the drive so that setting is empty.  And the drive is not broken or dead, either.

Hoo boy! This is gonna be fun...not.

1) Check compatibility info here. If that doesn't provide any relevant data next...

need to:
2) Identify make and model of drive
3) Which chipset you have. (utility here)

FWIW Intel's RST makes s/w modifications and adds capabilities to certain onboard drive controllers. But it is primarily intended for use with RAID. It also adds a few non-RAID features such as a "Rapid Recovery" feature (primarily for mobile users) plus hot-swap and native command queuing for specific SATA drives in a multi-drive configuration.

In most situations, whenever you just want to use a drive that's not supported by your chipset or OS, you're better off waiting for the drive manufacturer to provide an updated driver. If they don't - or don't direct you to a specific a third party driver - you're letting yourself in for all kinds of grief.

need to:
2) Identify make and model of drive
3) Which chipset you have. (utility here)
-40hz (August 23, 2013, 05:00 PM)
--- End quote ---

Might also help to know make/model motherboard and exactly which port the OS drive is plugged into.

If you still have SATA ports to spare, you could try another one and see if Win7 detects the drive. I had once one controller failing on a mobo. It came with two one for normal drives, one for RAID. Swapping ports did the trick for me at the time.
Then again it also sounds like the BIOS on that PC has problems handling drives of a certain size, making them "invisible".

From experiences with different motherboard manufacturers (but mainly Asus) I can say that most are not too shabby to supply BIOS updates that enhance the support of bigger hard disks, make small fixes etc. for motherboards that are 2 to 3 years old. If you do such a thing, make sure your PC is under power for as long as the updating procedure takes!

I agree with 40hz's comments wholeheartedly and never advise to use RAID in any single user setting. If you want speed, buy faster hard disk(s) and employ a decent backup strategy for the data on the drive(s) if you want your data duplicated.

The amount of time you gain during the time RAID is active on your system, you lose multiple times over when the sh?t hits the fan. And be happy if you yourself are still able to fix it. Expect a boatload of money to migrate from your wallet to the commercial one(s) who (think they) can fix these kinds of mishaps.

The drive management software you'll get when installing Windows 7 sometimes tries to "help" too much, when it detects multiple drives in a computer. That is another impression I got from reading the problem description. I found it very helpful when installing any version of Windows to just connect the drive I want it to boot from, connecting the other drives after installation has finished.

Again, the inkling of time a computer gains by booting up from multiple hard disks running side by side, will get you in lots of misery.

Less is more and the KISS principle are the best guides when installing a PC. At least in my experience.

As example: when installing my main database server at the time (2010/2011), I used a small 250GByte SATA2 hard disk for the OS and the database software itself (on separate partitions). All the database data files are on the SATA3 disks connected the 6GB ports that Asus mobo has. As setups go this is simple, expandable and relatively easy repairable with run-of-the-mill software.



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