RAID Gone West

  NeilMcG 17:50 16 Mar 2007
Locked

First time posting, so please be gentle!

I have the following setup which was working fine for the past twelve months or so:

XP Pro on a home built machine with following specs:

Asus P5GDC Deluxe mobo
P4 3.6
1 gb RAM
2x Maxtor SATA 300gb in RAID 1 using Intel ICH6R RAID controller

Now on boot I get BIOS type screen showing that:

ID =0 Name = NeilsRaid Level = Raid1 (mirror) Strip = N/A size = 279.4gb status = degraded, bootable = yes

Physical disks:
Port 0 Type/status = Member disk (0)
Port 1 Type/status = Error Occurred (0)

If I continue to boot to Xp I get the old type login box, I enter user name & password, loading personal settings & then get following error message:

"a problem is preventing Windows from accurately checking the licence for this computer. Error code 0x80090019"

I have tried swapping around the SATA cables & using fresh cables & it would appear that one of the drives has gone west, but I thought that the point of having a RAID1 setup was that you could continue to work normally with one disk?

I should also mention that the machine did boot twice with both disks showing as member disks and the raid status as 'rebuild', Xp took longer to load but still returned the licence error.

A search for the error code showed a problem with WinTools & a workaround, machine will boot to safe mode but I cannot login.

If I reset disks to non raid in the RAID utility will I lose all my data?

Help!!!

Neil

  UncleP 00:25 17 Mar 2007

Sorry to hear about your predicament. I don't think I can offer a real solution but, having had a degraded RAID1 setup, I might be able to answer a few questions and make some suggestions.

In my case the degradation occurred when a repair company installed a replacement DVD-RW and managed to get the drive letters mixed up. The contents of the two HDs became unsynchronised and the RAID array failed. However, as intended, the machine operated correctly on one disk, labelled C: as expected, while the second reappeared as E: and was visible and readable. It took me about a week to find out how to re-build the array, as the utility for this purpose available on booting-up did not work. In the end I was told of an alternative on the (Abit) CD which ran under Windows. I wiped the E: disk, ran this utility and all was fine.

So I suspect that the information on your good disk is ok - the chance that both HDs would fail or become corrupted at the same time is small (but not zero) and what you are up against is the extraordinary behaviour of WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage!) of not allowing you to operate your machine if it has a problem determining whether your copy is valid or not.

Some questions:-
(a) why do you think that one HD is failing, rather than the disk contents became unsynchronized?
(b) did you try to rebuild the array at any point? On my system you can attempt to do this before booting into Windows by pressing the F10 key when invited so to do - unfortunately without effect, as I mentioned above.
(c) did you try operating with the faulty disk removed or switched off?

Some suggestions:-
(a) could you mount the faulty disk as a slave in another (working) computer to see whether it can be read, and to run a scan and SMART tests to determine its stability?
(b) contact Microsoft; I believe there is a way round the 'failure to check licence' problem which they don't publicise widely as it might compromise Windows security
(c) I believe it is possible to remove or switch off WGA, at least temporarily. In fact I think I've seen a cooment on this forum to that effect, but haven't been able to locate it so far.

  UncleP 22:05 18 Mar 2007

Found this on the Microsoft website - not much help, I'm afraid, but it does indicate what you're up against
click here

It looks as if the simplest solution might be to copy off your data files and re-install the OS from scratch, replacing the faulty HD if necessary and if required.

  NeilMcG 22:00 21 Mar 2007

I think one of the HDD's is gone as I have swapped over the connections and the dodgy one will not work on either channel, the good one shows on both.

I did try to rebuild on the second of the two occasions that both drives showed good, but to no avail.

No joy wih faulty disk disconnected, Windows still cannot check licence.

I also cannot boot into safe mode, it asks for user/password, defaults back to Administrator and requires a password... now banging head repeatedly off wall!! :(

  UncleP 20:54 24 Mar 2007

It looks clear from what you say that your problem originated in the failure of one of the HDs, which should not in itself have resulted in an inability to operate your computer. The subsequent failure by Windows to verify the licence could arise from data or software corruption, or even that it considers that the system configuration has changed significantly. These both seem unlikely to me, but I'm not an expert in this area (if any!).

So I suggest you post your account of events on one of the Microsoft feedback forums, for example

click here

or contact them by e-mail. Alternatively, the firm that supplied you with the RAID controller software may be able to offer some advice, if only on who to contact.

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