Having trouble setting up 2 SATA hard drives as a stripe set in WinXP Pro
August 23, 2004 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Having trouble setting up 2 SATA hard drives as a stripe set in WinXP Pro. (more inside)

First the specs:
Dell Dimension 8300
P4 3.0ghz
1gig RAM
Intel 875P Chipset
Existing 80gb IDE HD (no problems)
2 new WD 80gb SATA HD
WinXP Pro

Motherboard has 2 SATA ports (i.e. onboard SATA ports, not an add-in card), installed drives and cables, and plugged in legacy power plugs. No problems.

WinXP Pro recognizes new drives as installed.

Go to Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Computer Management/Storage/Disk Management and the drives initialized fine. WinXP recognizes the drives and correctly lists their capacity.

Create new volume, striped, assign a drive letter, everything fine.

Begin format=system freeze. Total lockup. No response of any kind to keyboard or mouse. Hard system shutdown is only recourse.

System BIOS recognizes SATA drives and reports their capacities. WinXP recognzies volume but reports it "is not formatted". (duh).

No matter how I try to format, with the GUI or command line, system lock up within 60 seconds or less. No progress shown before lock up.

So I assume I have everything plugged in properly since WinXP is able to identify the make/model of the drives and their capacity. Surely if I had something just not plugged in properly the OS would not be able to identify the drive maker and model???

Ideas or suggestions?
posted by Ynoxas to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
What brand of SATA controller do you have? Almost all of them have built in RAID that you can use to your advantage. I've set up my machine like this and it's EXTREMELY fast.
posted by shepd at 9:26 PM on August 23, 2004

Response by poster: The SATA controller is on-board the motherboard. I have no seperate controller card.

The striping (RAID 0) is exactly what I am going for. WinXP reports that using the onboard controller I can use "software RAID", which admittedly is not as good as having a dedicated card, but will serve my purposes on this rig.

I am familiar with setting up dynamic drives and multi-drive volumes from configuring servers with RAID1 and RAID5.

Everything goes according to plan except the final step of formatting. Attempting to format the drives results in the entire computer being completely hung up. Only resetting the power button will fix it.

So again, the part that concerns me is, my drives are obviously plugged in and recognized since WinXP can tell me their make and model and capacities.

But formatting, whether done from the GUI or from a DOS prompt, results in a hard lock on the computer.

I have also upgraded the BIOS with the latest available from Dell (Bios version A06).

I've also downloaded the Intel Software Installation Pack or whatever its called for my chipset (875P).
posted by Ynoxas at 8:02 AM on August 24, 2004

I recently set up a shuttle machine with RAID1 - similar problems as you initially, but then I found I had to download a special utility from the manufacturers site to make a floppy disk I could boot from and partition/format the drives properly. So you may possibly need to do something similar?

(I'm sure you know this already, but just in case you don't - RAID0 probably won't have much benefit for 'normal' desktop computer usage. If you're doing video editing or something, then it's a different kettle of fish. A 2-drive RAID0 will also double your risk of data loss due to drive failure.)
posted by cell at 9:53 AM on August 24, 2004

Response by poster: Question closed.

I have no idea what triggered it to work properly, but after several (and I do mean several) rounds of "unplug, move, change cable, restart" etc it suddenly began working magically. I can only assume a cable was not seated properly, which I find hard to believe since the SATA connections make a bit of a "lock" when they connect. *shrug*

I now have my 2 80gig drives striped as a RAID 0. Woot.
posted by Ynoxas at 3:19 PM on August 24, 2004

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