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rstehle
03-07-2008, 01:28 PM
I just got a newer Dell computer that has Raid capability. I am interested in adding a 2nd HDD, and turning on Raid 1. I have had hard drives fail in the past, and would hate to loose a drive that had my Vixen files, after working so hard to sequence 300 channels for 8 songs. I have purchased an additional drive that is compatible with my system. Can any of our partners out there give me any info on how to activate Raid 1? Can this be done after the system has been used without loosing an data on the primary drive?
Thanks for any help you can provide.
Randy

blurp
03-07-2008, 04:42 PM
I've never seen a controller that would let you do that. Every one I've ever seen (probably over a thousand), you have to build the array and logical drives BEFORE putting anything on them. I'd be very surprised if a controller would let you set up a mirror set without destroyig all the data on the drives.

Virtus
03-07-2008, 05:22 PM
I suspect you'll need to look in one of two places to turn on support for that option: in your BIOS or in an application that came preinstalled on your PC. I'd go to the Dell website and use their "Online Chat" help to see exactly how to do it on your particular PC.

I agree with blurp also that I've only created a RAID (of any level) before adding the OS, applications, and data files. Dell should be able to tell you exactly what they meant on the box or ad when they mentioned support for mirroring drives.

Jeff Millard
03-07-2008, 05:34 PM
Blurp is correct. If you are setting up a raid array up you need to restore after building the logical drives. It's like starting out with a new hard drive.

The raid capability of the Dell Dimension 8400 PCs can be set from the Bios utility. When you boot it look in the upper right of the screen (it's real quick) for F2/F12 and select F2 to get to the Bios utility. Raid is one of the menuitems. There are several chioces.

My system has 4 SATA ports. The setting I chose (can't remember which one) has four physical drives, all 160Gb. So that's the values I will work with here.

In my setting there are two logical drives available total. Each one is 160Gb and has a mirror. Raid stops the system if it encounters errors to a physical drive. You remove and replace it and in about five minutes the mirror is restored and it's as if nothing failed. I've only had one drive fail, and didn't lose anything.

Some of the other seetings will let you combine all four for one logical drive at 640Gb, or have the same setup as mine but just one logical drive for 320Gb. I like the way mine is set up because I like to keep all my download stuff on a separate logical drive just for sorting purposes.

BTW, all Dell manuals are available in PDF on Dell's website.

Jef

blurp
03-07-2008, 06:50 PM
Some of the other seetings will let you combine all four for one logical drive at 640Gb

That's right, but DON'T DO THIS. It has ZERO fault tolerance this way. If any of the drives fail, you lose everything. That's 4 times as much chance of losing your data. FYI, this is called JBOD (Just a bunch of disks). Technically, it's not even RAID, since the first word in RAID is Redundant. But most manufacturers still call it RAID, ad configure it with the same utility.

jderba
03-07-2008, 07:09 PM
What I would do is to get 2 new drives and put them in your computer in addition to your "C" drive. Then I would mirror those drives together and leave the "C" drive alone. Move your Vixen files from the "c" drive to your new mirrored drive.

Jack

Jeff Millard
03-07-2008, 07:25 PM
What I would do is to get 2 new drives and put them in your computer in addition to your "C" drive. Then I would mirror those drives together and leave the "C" drive alone. Move your Vixen files from the "c" drive to your new mirrored drive.

Jack

I don't think the Dell will allow you to Raid a set of two and have a third that isn't configured the same way. You get either raid for all or none...

Jeff

Jeff Millard
03-07-2008, 10:01 PM
Here's the link to the Dell manual section (http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/my_systems_info/manuals?~ck=ln&c=us&l=en&lnki=0&s=gen)

This is the instructions right from my 8400 manual:
Note the very last step...

Creating a RAID Level 1 Configuration
1 Set your computer to RAID-enabled mode (see page 22).
(Page 22...
Setting Your Computer to RAID-Enabled Mode
1 Enter system setup (see page 112). (The F2 thing on startup)
2 Use the up- and down-arrow keys to highlight Drives, and press <Enter>.
3 Use the up- and down-arrow keys to highlight Drive Controller, and press <Enter>.
4 Use the left- and right-arrow keys to highlight RAID On, press <Enter>, and then
press <Esc>.
5 Use the left- and right-arrow keys to highlight Save/Exit, and press <Enter> to exit system
setup and resume the boot process. ...end page 22)
2 Press <Ctrl><i> when you are prompted to enter Intel RAID Option ROM.
3 Use the up- and down-arrow keys to highlight Create RAID Volume, and press <Enter>.
4 Enter a RAID volume name or accept the default, and press <Enter>.
5 Use the up- and down-arrow keys to select RAID1(Mirror), and press <Enter>.
6 If there are more than two hard disks available, use the up- and down-arrow keys and space bar
to select the two disks you want to use to make up your array, and then press <Enter>.
7 Select the desired capacity for the volume, and press <Enter>. The default value is the
maximum available size.
8 Press <Enter> to create the volume.
9 Press <y> to confirm that you want to create the RAID volume.
10 Confirm that the correct volume configuration is displayed on the main Intel Option ROM
screen.
11 Use the up- and down-arrow keys to select Exit, and press <Enter>.
12 Install the operating system.

Note: after looking at the directions, I cannot tell for sure if it would let you make a second logical drive mirrored in Raid 1... and leave the Primary drive as a non Raid drive. From these directions it actually looks like it is possible to pick and choose. I didn't try that when I set mine up. I did notice when I was looking into this that I still have the original drive from the machine when it was delivered. I never booted the machine up with that drive in it. So it has the full install on it, unused.

rstehle
03-08-2008, 12:45 PM
Thanks for the information all. I was kind of afraid that I might have to reinstall the OS after setting up the Raid config. Was hoping there was a way around it. Wish me luck!

Jeff Millard
03-08-2008, 03:19 PM
Thanks for the information all. I was kind of afraid that I might have to reinstall the OS after setting up the Raid config. Was hoping there was a way around it. Wish me luck!

I've been thinking about this all night long. And there might be a way around it. If you were to replace the original drive and add two new identical drives set to Raid1 (hopefully larger than the original) and those drives had a utility that transfers the contents of the original drive including the OS to the new drive(s) (W/D's drive utility is really exceptional at this, but they all have something) I think you could keep you current configuration. Then... shelve the old drive, don't use it. It, with the drive transfer software will make a nice restore utility for your system if you get some buggy software somewhere.

Jeff

jderba
03-08-2008, 03:54 PM
Was hoping there was a way around it. Wish me luck!

I've set up a lot of raid controllers, but I'm not familiar with whatever Dell has put together for it's new workstations. You won't know if it's possible to set up your raid until you look at the controllers setup utility. Just pay attention to what you doing and take your time.

Good Luck :)

Jack

blurp
03-08-2008, 06:44 PM
I've been thinking about this all night long. And there might be a way around it. If you were to replace the original drive and add two new identical drives set to Raid1 (hopefully larger than the original) and those drives had a utility that transfers the contents of the original drive including the OS to the new drive(s) (W/D's drive utility is really exceptional at this, but they all have something) I think you could keep you current configuration. Then... shelve the old drive, don't use it. It, with the drive transfer software will make a nice restore utility for your system if you get some buggy software somewhere.

Jeff

This just might work. If you are going to try it, check your device manager first and make sure that the disk controller driver is up to date and has yor specific controller in its name, not some generic-looking driver.

What I'm getting at is to make sure that the RAID driver is installed before you try to boot up on the new drives in a RAID configuration. You'll have the best chance of this working.

Good Luck

Tech Christmas
03-09-2008, 12:24 PM
rstehle if it is not too late DO NOT set up your system as a RAID. There's a better way.

The major problem with mobo RAID is that if your computer dies (or your proprietary Dell power supply) you can't get your data. You'll need to buy another computer just like it and reset the RAID etc etc. PITA. (remember, with RAID you can't just move your drive to another computer)

RAID is great if you're a bank or an oil rig and you have live data and you can afford zero down time. In reality what you want is backup.

Here's how you do it better.

Make a Dell restore CD
Take your existing drive out.
Put the new drive in on the same IDE port.
Use the Restore CD on the new drive. (now it has Windows et al.)
Put the old drive back on the same IDE port as before and put the new drive on a different port.

Now the machine will boot off the original drive and see the other drive as a D drive.

Use Backup software to backup your data every night to the other drive.

If your C drive fails, you second drive is bootable and has your backup; all you have to do is move it to the original IDE port and boot. If the machine dies or the PSU dies, you move the HD to a different machine. (or you get hit by lightning like one of my clients who is fighting this battle this week)

No stress, no grief and (yes this is true) much LESS chance you'll lose your data.

Wayne J
03-09-2008, 01:05 PM
hmmm, I like that way. I may have to go pick up a new drive and do this. Is there any other details that should be mentioned?

Tech Christmas
03-09-2008, 01:20 PM
Just one that I can think of now... If you do run raid 1, MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE you have a UPS and the software installed. If you're running RAID and the power goes out you can hose the array. (because the drives get out of sync and they can't write as they go down do to lack of power)

The fix for this is either a very long rebuild process or (worst case) the array dies and you lose your data. This is worse in RAID 5 but still is an issue with RAID 1.

But I do have one more tip... since you don't have the limitations of the RAID if you use my methods above, go ahead and get a bigger drive for the D drive. We both know you're going to want it. ;-)

EDIT: I got a few PM's so lemme add this: Yes, it will work with SATA drives. Most biosen will let you change the SATA boot order so you don't have to swap the drives just change the boot order. ALTHOUGH I LIKE TO REMOVE MY MAIN DRIVE WHEN I DO THE RESTORE CD. That way I can't hose the wrong drive. (you can leave it in the case, just unplug the SATA cable)

You can also use one of the thousands of programs to sync 2 directories to do the backup... Then you have near live data. Just keep everything you want in the 'My Documents' folder and sync it to the D drive. -- Simple done.

Macrosill
03-10-2008, 09:24 AM
I currently back up my data on a NAS, Network Accessible Storage device, fancy name for a network drive. I simply synch My Documents daily. And I get the added benefit of having my files accessible from every pc in the house. No more kicking the kids off machine A because I need a file on it.

We have gotten a bit off topic, myself included. The topic is how to activate Raid 1.

wbuehler
03-10-2008, 10:44 AM
Yup Raid can have it's problems but if you use Raid and disbale the cache on the drives themselves you shoud be fine in the event of power outage. But to be safe yes get an UPS it not only protects in the event of power outages but spikes, brownouts, ...etc...

You could also use an image program like ghost and make a backup image of your PC to a spare drive.

Bill

Tech Christmas
03-10-2008, 12:40 PM
rstehle, Brian has a good point... if all you're looking for is backup, a NAS is hot fast and not that expensive. (I like Buffalo Linkstations)

Dual Drives:
Cheaper
Self Contained
More redundancy (bootable)

NAS
Not that much more money
More versatile (act as file server and computer independent)
Probably a bit easier for the non-techie. (YMMV)

Although if all you want is backup, heck, a USB 2.0 drive is dead simple.

Is that enough choices for you? lol

rstehle
03-10-2008, 02:29 PM
Tech Christmas, yes, I think I have plenty of options to consider. Thank you for all the info. All things considered, I think the option of having 2 HDD's (non Raid) is the best for me. I already tried the external drive backup route and it works great - if you remember to back up often. I like the idea of having a 2nd drive that is bootable and has all my files on it.
Thanks again,
Randy

rstehle
03-11-2008, 12:18 PM
Tech Christmas, and all who helped with their input -
Just a quick update - 2nd HDD installed (non-Raid), backup software downloaded and installed, should be good to go!:D
(Hint for anyone adding 2nd HDD with SATA drives, 2nd HDD does not have a jumper installed..........)
Thanks for all of your help and information.

Tech Christmas
03-11-2008, 02:23 PM
Glad it worked out... You used that software I pointed you to? And liked it?

and no... ;-) no jumpers on a SATA drive. ;-)

rstehle
03-11-2008, 02:59 PM
Yes, I used the software you steered me to. Was pretty easy to configure, now I'll have to see if it works....:)