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Missing system file drives in RAID array

By bob ·
On a system with 2 SATA drives in a RAID 0 array, the system will not boot reporting a missing or corrupt file. ( <Windows Root> \System32\hal.dll )
In an attempt to repair,(setup repair option) the machine reports that there are no drives to search for a present windows installation. It doesn't see the raid array.
There is a ton of very valuable information that would be damaging to this company if lost. ( No backup)
Is there a way to save this information?
Can I install an E-IDE drive and put an OS on it and be able to read the SATA RAIDed drives, or just reload the OS without formatting, creating an OS that does work and can use/read the existing non-OS files?

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by p.j.hutchison In reply to Missing system file drive ...

If the info was important, why wasn`t it backed up?
Putting the boot or system volume on a RAID array is a bad idea. A mirrored (RAID1) would be much safer.
Install a IDE drive, install a basic OS and SATA drivers and you should be able to boot and read the RAID again.

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by bob In reply to

Hindsite is definately 20/20 w\binolculars.

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by Blackcurrant In reply to Missing system file drive ...

Hi

You can use an adaptor to read your SATA drive from an IDE connector on another computer's motherboard. I cannot remember the exact model but the maker's name was Manhattan.

Have you tried to repair the OS, rather than reinstalling? Our file server has a RAID array, and the OS (Win2K Server with Small Business Server 2k), went down a couple of months ago. I rebooted from the installation CD and choose repair. However, because the server has a RAID array the installation disk requested that any RAID drivers required are made available before the installation fully intialises. This involves pressing F6, and then inserting a floppy with the drivers on it, which are then installed. Repairing the OS fixed the problem.

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by bob In reply to

The NetAdmin, here, told me closely the same thing. He said to boot the machine to the OS CD and press F6 when directed to do so and reload the RAID drivers.
I have the original RAID driver floppy disk.
The machine successfully loaded the RAID drivers, but booted to a prompt instead of repair.

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by sgt_shultz In reply to Missing system file drive ...

yes, of course. the raid driver is missing, that's all. one thing you can do is go to RAID adapter website and look for dos drivers for the RAID card. and step by step for using them. excellent chance you will find them. then you can make ntfs boot disk with that on there and read your drives. let us know if you need help with that it is not hard. directions at support.microsoft.com
i am sure you didn't install it this way so please forgive my colleagues teases about backups.
another thing you could do is a 'rescue' installation of your os on another drive (oops, i see you already propose that idea. (if i were there i would pat you on arm and say yes, that is correct thinking and trust your instincts). install the raid driver with that rescue installation and use that os to see and repair your funky one. see support.microsoft.com and search for your exact symptoms. you will get help with the steps we describe here. you will live thru this and you will know exactly how to backup and recover system now. keep chin up. if you can, take opportunity to review and understand boot process. consider breaking array and ghosting your os or use raid1 (mirroring) instead of raid0 (striping wo parity). raid1 is for performance not all raid fault tolerant as you now see.
does rdisk repair backup the hal guys? could he do repair to fix this?

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by sgt_shultz In reply to

oops again. meant raid0 for performance and raid1 is fault tolerant

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by bob In reply to

Continued from answer 2.
The machine now works toward going into the repair console, but immediately after, asks which windows installation that I would like to boot to. Since there is only one, this is not a difficult choice, but when selected, the machine only goes to a prompt. chkdsk stated that it repaired something, but now I am faced with the missing file: Windows\System32\Config\System.
Sarge, when you told me that the original missing file was from RAID, I thought that I had it made. Especially after what the NetAdmin told me.
All three answers have been very informative and I can see that they are, in combination form, the road to recovery from this disaster. How do I reward all of you points?
I tried to change the directory in the prompt to the CD, in an attempt to copy the missing file for replacement, but it wouldn't accept any change of directory commands.
You fellas got any more ideas? Or, am I going to have to install that IDE drive after all?
Will installing a second Windows setup allow me to view and use the documents and applications from the original installation if I don't format during installation?

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by bob In reply to Missing system file drive ...

Point value changed by question poster.

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by bob In reply to Missing system file drive ...

This question was closed by the author

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