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m1st
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Cleaning RAID disks with DiskPart

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Recently I came across a problem with Windows 7 which was solved, as a temporary solution, by re-installing Windows without formatting. This was done in an effort to not lose personal data. Everything now works fine, and I was able to successfully recover and back up my files.

This is the thread where I explain and solve my problem: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/software-os/f/3524/t/19628693 

Now I am left with a disk full of useless files, and I want to make a clean installation of windows, to make a fresh start.

I've read through Philip's tutorials (he solved my problem in the above thread) about a clean install of Windows 7, but I am concerned about how DiskPart>Clean All will affect my RAID 0 volume. I currently have 2 500GB Hard Drives arranged in a RAID 0 array through Intel Rapid Storage Technology (I believe this is called fakeRAID, but I really don't know much about this), making a single 1TB volume. 

Will this just clean the volume, maintaining the partitions and the RAID 0 configuration? (there is also a Dell Startup Diagnostics partition) 

Or will this completely wipe the drives, deleting partitions and making the separate disks non-RAID? If so how do I set this up again, after wiping the drives? Will I need to perform any additional setup before attempting to install Windows again?

Also, the Dell Support site lists a firmware update for my HHDD model under the SATA menu, but I read somewhere to NOT apply that update to a RAID drive. I would like to apply this update if it somehow helps with the performance of the drives, because I have had problems with them before: one of them randomly fails, with a slight clicking noise, but recovers after a few system restarts without any problems. Still, I don't know how to do this, and I don't want to mess everything up. If this update helps, how do I install it, and when?


I have a Dell XPS-8300 (late 2010) desktop PC, running Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit, and I want to reinstall the same version.

My HHDD are both Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500GB, member disks of a RAID 0 array controlled by Intel Rapid Storage Technology.

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RE: Cleaning RAID disks with DiskPart

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Sorry, fixed the link.

Your approach seems sound but you do not need to change the SATA mode. Just leave it as RAID. The Intel RAID BIOS determines which drives are in an actual array.

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RE: Cleaning RAID disks with DiskPart

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Hi M1st,

If one of your drives randomly fails with a slight clicking noise, I'd strongly recommend replacing it.

Anyway, here is Dell's article on working with RAID. I'm pretty sure the XPS 8300 supports hardware RAID using the Intel RAID BIOS (Ctrl-i). Using that, you'd be able to separate the drives, run any firmware upgrades and re-enable the RAID for OS installation.

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m1st
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RE: Cleaning RAID disks with DiskPart

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Osprey, thanks for your reply.

If one of your drives randomly fails with a slight clicking noise, I'd strongly recommend replacing it.

Yes, I would actually like to replace both drives for a single 1TB or maybe 2TB Hard Drive, but I currently lack the money so I'll stick with this RAID config in the meantime.

Anyway, here is Dell's article on working with RAID

Your link points to a SSD firmware update, which I do not have. If there is such I guide, I would very much like to read it, as I'm really not familiar with working with RAID.

I'm pretty sure the XPS 8300 supports hardware RAID using the Intel RAID BIOS (Ctrl-i). Using that, you'd be able to separate the drives, run any firmware upgrades and re-enable the RAID for OS installation.

Thanks! I will try to do this, although I have some doubts about how to mix Clean All in there, because I have never done it before, least of all on RAID member drives, and I would like to avoid messing them up.

Muy guess is that I should:

  1. Make both drives non RAID with Intel BIOS
  2. Clean both drives seperatly with DiskPart > Clean all
  3. Change BIOS settings to SATA
  4. I'm guessing formatting here is not needed, so I would apply the firmware update
  5. Change BIOS to RAID again
  6. Make RAID 0 Volume again in Intel BIOS
  7. Format the new volume
  8. Install OS.

Is this correct? should I do anything in any other order?

Thanks in advance

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7- Gold

RE: Cleaning RAID disks with DiskPart

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Sorry, fixed the link.

Your approach seems sound but you do not need to change the SATA mode. Just leave it as RAID. The Intel RAID BIOS determines which drives are in an actual array.

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m1st
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RE: Cleaning RAID disks with DiskPart

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You're right, changing the SATA mode was not needed. I have now successfully cleaned the disks, put the RAID volume back together and installed the OS. When I tried to update the HDD firmware, I got a message saying it was already up to date, so I guess everything is ok for now.

Thanks for your help!

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7- Gold

RE: Cleaning RAID disks with DiskPart

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Great! Glad to hear!

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