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recovering data from a Raid drive in a SATA system


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#1 basmntdweller

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 07:24 PM

First the basics,
Win7 in a Dell Studio XPS
Original HD was set up as a RAID even though there was only one HD in the system. It came from Dell that way, I don't know why!
Original drive started having problems. Twice it came up with an ACPI error on boot up. I shut it down and headed out to pick up a new drive. I hooked up the new drive and attempted to add it to the system as another RAID drive. Unfortunately on boot up after adding it, my original drive would no longer boot. I disconnected the new HD just to be sure there wasn't a conflict of some kind but it was now completely dead as far as booting goes.
I disconnected the old drive and put the new one in it's place but I could no longer get access to the controller BIOS to select it as a RAID or SATA drive. The regular BIOS would let me set it as a RAID but something else was keeping it from being fully recognized in order to reload Win7. I gave up and set it as a SATA and went ahead with loading windows and most of the rest of my software.
My system is up and running fine now but I have been wondering if there is a way I can connect my old RAID drive and attempt to get some of the data off of it. I had not backed it up for several months so I have lost a number of pics and a bit of music.
I tried to connect it but the bios won't let both function in the system at the same time. I have wondered if a USB drive adapter might get the drive connected and talking but don't have one handy at the moment. I am guessing that I would probably have to have software to read it since it isn't FAT based?
Any ideas???

Thanks, Matt

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#2 AustrAlien

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 09:39 PM

Hello and :welcome: to the BC forums.

There is a little confusion in your mind about RAID: Although you may have seen some settings suggesting that your setup was somehow configured as RAID, with only one hard drive in the system, it most certainly was not. So, there is no RAID involved at all in your system.

The old hard drive has a problem: Whether it is the hard drive itself or the file system, we don't know at this stage, so first thing to do is recover all your important data from the old hard drive ... and then you can go about wiping and testing it.

I suggest the following as the easiest and most-likely-to-work solution to retrieving your data from the old hard drive:
  • On your working system, create a LIVE Linux CD to boot from and transfer your files.
  • Shut down the computer and connect the old hard drive.
  • Boot with the Linux LIVE CD, and copy your files from the old hard drive to the new one.
  • Shut down the computer, remove the CD, and disconnect/remove the old hard drive.
When you now boot the computer to your new hard drive with Win 7 on it, you should have all your copied files available from the old hard drive.

Included below is my canned speech for using a LIVE Linux CD to backup a non-working Windows system to a flashdrive or external hard drive.

If your computer is not able to boot into Windows or simply not able to access the internet, you can use a LIVE Linux operating system run from a bootable CD or flashdrive instead of Windows, to access the internet, to access files on the HDD(s) and do other tasks.

:step1: Using a working computer:
  • If you wish to use a LIVE CD ...
  • Download the Linux version of your choice (usually an .ISO image file).
  • There are many options to use for a LIVE CD. I suggest that you try one of the following:
  • Puppy Linux (download file size 128 MB)
  • Ubuntu (download file size almost 700 MB)
[*]Burn the .ISO image to CD: If you do not already have a suitable burning program for writing .ISO images to disc ...
  • Download and install ImgBurn.
  • Ensure that you UN-check the box agreeing to install the Ask toolbar during the installation.
  • Place a new (blank) CD disc in the drive tray.
  • Choose Write image file to disc.
    • Under Source, click on the Browse button: Navigate to and select the .ISO file that you wish to burn.
    • Place a check-mark in the box beside Verify.
  • Click Posted Image
[*]When the CD has been burned and verified as successful, it will be bootable.
[/list][*]OR ... if you wish to use a LIVE flashdrive ...
  • Go to UNetbootin - Homepage and Downloads and at the top of the page, click on Download (for Windows) to download the application.
  • Follow the instructions further down the page under the heading Installation & Screenshots.
  • Run the application to download and install the Linux version of choice to your flashdrive.
  • I suggest that you try one of the following:
  • Puppy Linux (download file size 128 MB)
  • Ubuntu (download file size almost 700 MB).
[/list][/list]
:step2: Boot the problematic machine from the LIVE CD or flashdrive.
  • (You may have to configure the Boot Menu or BIOS Setup Menu to boot first from the optical/CD drive or the flashdrive, which ever you are using.)
  • Choose to run the Linux operating system from the CD or flashdrive without making any changes to your computer.
    Do NOT install Linux on your hard drive.
  • When the Linux operating system loads ...
  • You will be able to navigate to all the files on your HDD.
  • You can backup your files by copying them to a flashdrive or an external hard drive.
  • Before using the internet (if you choose to use Puppy, for example) you may have to:
  • Configure/set up the internet connection
  • Download a favourite browser
    (With Ubuntu the foregoing should not be necessary.)
[/list]You may find one of the following guides useful:
Recover files from Windows XP hard disk using Puppy Linux

Recover files from Windows Vista hard disk using Puppy Linux

Recover files from Windows 7 hard disk using Puppy Linux

The easiest way to copy files/folders in Puppy is to drag-and-drop from one window to another. To do this open a window showing what you want to copy. Open another window showing the location that you wish to copy to .... and move the windows so that you can conveniently see both at the same time.

Now, simply drag the items you wish to copy from one window into the other. Simple.

Edited by AustrAlien, 07 October 2011 - 09:43 PM.

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#3 basmntdweller

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 04:27 PM

It has taken me awhile to get back to working on this thing but I just finished doing all I know to get it working. I made up the Ubuntu CD and tested it first. It worked just fine and I even spent a day or two running Ubuntu instead of Win7.
In my original post, I stated I was getting an ACPI error on boot. This was wrong. I wrote that without rechecking the error, relying on my memory instead. ACPI sounded right when I wrote the post. The actual error was "AHCI Port0 Device Error, Press F2 to resume"
The old drive is absolutely set up as a RAID1 drive. When I connected the old drive and disconnected the working drive, the Bios wouldn't let me go any further until I changed the SATA mode to RAID. After doing that I kept getting the AHCI error and the BIOS wouldn't allow Ubuntu to start. It gave me an option to enter a RAID setup BIOS which I got into but there were no options other than resetting the drive and similar options. None that would help me get it running to get data off of it. It did correctly ID the drive and show it's status as a failed drive.
I would have taken some screen shots but I have never gotten decent screen shots with a camera and AFAIK, there isn't a way to do screen shots in the BIOS screens.
At this point I am guessing all data is lost unless you guys have some other ideas.

Thanks, Matt

#4 AustrAlien

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 04:47 PM

Do you have a model number ... or some other identifying information, so I know exactly what information to google ... to find your exact machine?
AustrAlien
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#5 basmntdweller

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 05:19 PM

I looked up my old order but nothing is said about RAID setup.
It has been too long but I am thinking I ordered it to be set up as a RAID but I knew I could get another HD way cheaper than what Dell was going to charge me. I think I may have intended to add the second drive after I got the system but forgot about my plans when the PC finally got here. Since there was nothing to remind me that it was a RAID I just went on about my business until the drive started to die.
I am going to attempt to attach my order in the form of a web page since I couldn't figure out another simple way to display it. Hopefully it works!

Matt

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#6 AustrAlien

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 10:09 PM

I have reviewed the documentation provided for your particular model (DELL Studio XPS 8100) but unfortunately, it is merely an overview, and not a detailed description, of the BIOS Setup Menu. It does not provide enough information for me to try and figure out what might be going on.

System Setup: Dell™ Studio XPS™ 8100 Service Manual

Could you please try for some "screenshots" ... pics with your digital camera:
  • Turn the flash OFF and hold the camera very still (rest it on something if necessary).
  • Make sure there is no extraneous light being reflected from the screen.
    You should be able to get some reasonably good images without too much effort.
Posting a screenshot: How to insert an image in a forum post ...
  • If you do not already have an image hosting web site, go to photobucket and create an account (free).
  • Log in to your new photobucket account and upload your pic(s) ... you can make a special album to put them in if you wish.
  • Hover your mouse (mouse-over) the image that you wish to post.
    You will see some options appear below.
  • Click on the link in the lowest option, labeled IMG code, and you will briefly see it change to "Copied".
  • Now paste that link (it will be enclosed by "img" tags) where you want it in your forum post.
See also the following links:

Inserting An Image Within A Post
How To Capture And Edit A Screen Shot

I am particularly interested in what options you see under Advanced Chipset Features > SATA Mode, which I think is the setting you have to change in order to get one or the other hard drive to boot (or be seen) in your case.
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