Recovering failed RAID0 on Promise 20579 controller

by on Jan.09, 2008, under hardware

I know it is a stupid thing to use two 160GB drives in a pseudo-hardware RAID0 array for storing 300GB of important data. It all started as experiment to see how the array will perform and compare the performance with standalone hard drive. My MSI K8T Neo2-F mainboard has two SATA ports included in the VIA 8237 chipset and two additional SATA connectors provided by Promise 20579 chip.
So I created RAID0 array in the Promise BIOS without any problems and happily used it for couple of months. The performance was better than single drive which was good news. During the time I collected many files, database dumps, source codes, but also family pictures and videos, some movies, music and games – about 300GB of data. And just when I was finally about to backup everything and connected external USB drive, one of the hard drives in the RAID0 array made awful ‘I-just-had-enough-of-this’ click sound and the array disappeared from the system.
The management software provided by Promise is a joke – it is actually very ugly looking monitoring tool that doesn’t allow to do anything useful except showing message that array is in ‘critical’ status because one of the two hard drives is missing. So i rebooted into the Promise BIOS in hope to fix the problem from there.
Both hard drives were visible, the first one still a part of the array, the second one as ‘Free’. After some clicking I found out that the BIOS is so simple and stupid that there is no way how to rebuild failed RAID0 array. I’m screwed. The only options available to me were to display status of the array (critical) or to delete the array. Very nice!
So I called myself many names for being such idiot and accepted the loss of all my data. I decided to delete the array and never use it anymore. But to my surprise when destroying the array it asked me if I want to delete all information from the hard drive or leave it as it is – so I decided to leave it. I was surprised by that choice but then I thought that maybe there is still a hope for me – I tried to create new RAID0 array from the two disks and it asked me again if I want to initialize the disks or leave it as it is. Second choice is right, array was successfully created, I booted into Windows – and whew, my precioussss is back!
So in case you experience the same problem as me with Promise 20579 controller, as long as the disks are not physically damaged or dead you can still recover your data quite easily.
By the way – after backup the RAID0 is now gone. Next time I might not be this lucky.

1 Comment for this entry

  • Thomas

    I have exactly the same problem. One drive in my bootable RAID0 array failed without any reason or noise, the other one is still part of the array. BIOS sees both OK. I didn’t know what to do until I read your story. Thanks a lot. I hope it will solve my problem that easily tonight & I will succesfully reacreate the array & boot back to VISTA.

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