I have a Studio 540 BIOS 1.09 with Vista Home Premium x64 that I want to reconfigure for RAID 1. I installed an identical second disk, set the setup BIOS from ATA to RAID mode, and created the RAID 1 volume in the Intel ROM (Ctrl-I on boot). I then did a reboot with the OS Reinstallation DVD in the DVD drive (SATA attached Tsstcorp RS-H653F). The DVD spins up a bit but then no boot device is found.
What's going on?
Things I tried:
1. I switched back to ATA mode and the Reinstallation DVD boots as expected, so the drive has no trouble reading the DVD.
2. Tried various boot orders and choosing the DVD as boot device directly.
3. Unplugged the SATA cables for both disks and tried booting from the DVD with the DVD SATA cable plugged into each SATA port.
4. Booted a Linux SystemRescue CD-ROM in the DVD with RAID mode enabled--no problem.
Is there a reason the Dell OS Reinstallation DVD doesn't boot with the BIOS in RAID mode? How am I supposed to install Vista to a RAID if the DVD won't boot?
The manual for the Studio 540 says this should work (it cautions I will have to reinstall the OS), but the instructions suggest that each SATA port or drive can be set RAID or ATA. My BIOS doesn't match the manual. Instead it looks like RAID is enabled on all SATA ports or none. Is the problem that the Reinstallation DVD won't boot with the SATA attached DVD to a RAID enabled port? If so, it's interesting that the Linux CD boots without any trouble, so it must be a problem specific to the Vista Reinstallation DVD.
Josh - Have you made any progress with this? I am in the same boat but have not yet had time to start my setup. I've got my second drive physically installed but when I switched the settings to RAID, the boot failed (not from CD but from hard drive) so I changed the settings back and have not gotten back to playing with this. I'm hoping to save some headaches by learning from others' experience.
The PC won't boot from the hard disk after you switch the BIOS from ATA to RAID mode. This is normal behavior. You will need to reinstall the OS if you want to reconfigure your two drives as a RAID array.
I was able to configure my PC with a RAID mirror but you will want to understand some limitations in the Studio BIOS. Although the Dell manual suggests each SATA port can be configured independently as RAID or ATA, apparently BIOS changes were made and the setting affects all ports of the on-board SATA controller . With the controller set to RAID, the Dell-provided Vista reinstallation DVD won't boot. However, once you have Vista reinstalled the DVD drive does appear to work normally. It just won't boot the Dell DVD.
If you want to proceed, you'll need to boot the Vista reinstallation DVD from an external DVD drive attached to a USB port. Consider the external DVD drive an investment to use with a netbook. Alternatively, it might be possible to install a SATA card for the DVD drive. But this would take up a slot and if you go to all that trouble you might consider attaching the hard disks to a more sophisticated RAID controller and leaving the DVD and any non-RAID disks attached to the on-board SATA. Soon you will be building your own PC, right?
Using an external DVD drive did work for me and I keep it handy in case I need to repair Windows. I haven't tried making a Windows recovery DVD--maybe that WILL boot (My Linux utility discs boot with no problems).
To RAID your Studio:
1. Back up your data to external media.
2. Change BIOS setting from ATA to RAID.
3. Press Ctrl-I on boot to enter Intel RAID setup and configure RAID volume from your two disks.
4. Install Windows using USB-attached external DVD drive. Vista will see the RAID volume as a single disk.
5. Install drivers from Dell drivers DVD. Be sure to install Intel Matrix Storage Manager.
6. Run Windows Update, get driver updates from Dell website, and pick up the Intel Matrix Storage Manager update from the Intel site.
My understanding is that this RAID feature is partly in the BIOS and partly in the Intel Storage Manager console Windows tool. Should a drive fail, you can rebuild the mirror volume using the Storage Manager console while still using Windows. Alternatively, I *think* you can rebuild the volume from the Intel Ctrl-I BIOS, but you won't be able to use the PC until it's done and rebuilding a volume takes a long time.
Let me know if this works for you.
Josh - Awesome tips. That's the first time I have seen the process laid-out the way you did above. I think that will help some folks. I dove into this at lunch (without having seen your reply). I didn't back anything up since this is a new PC, but I followed steps 2 and 3 above (compiled from other things I'd read online). When I built the RAID volume within the Intel Matrix tool (ctrl-I) I already had the Vista disk that came with the PC in the (internal) DVD drive. At some point, I got a prompt letting me know that my actions would clear the drive and I accepted. I'm not sure if it booted from the disk (I'm thinking that it must have) but whatever the case, it booted (maybe a couple of times - I can't remember) and allowed me to re-install Vista without jumping through any major hoops. Getting all of the drivers individually reinstalled from the DELL disk and re-installing all of the other software took some time (still have some work to do there, actually) but all-in-all, I'm amazed at how smoothly it went.
Now, when I boot, after Vista brings up the desktop, I get a note telling me that my drives are protected from a single drive failure (all of the indication I think I need to be sure the RAID 1 set-up worked! So yeah - I'm psyched. Now to get my few games re-installed and move on with my life. (at least until I think of the next project)
BTW: From your step 6 above (I would have forgotten that one but Windows did it for me) - There were a TON of updates and it took forever for my DSL connection to download all of them (I wouldn't have thought such a recent installation would be so far off).
Thanks again! ~ Rich
I'm glad to hear your PC booted the OS reinstallation DVD with the SATA controller set to RAID. Something about my PC or reinstallation DVD required me to use an external drive to boot. Go figure!
Folks, I just got my Dell Studio Slim desktop and am interested in setting up with RAID. Can you give the model/spec of your RAID controller?
I've no idea of the model or specs on the RAID controller. It's built into the motherboard. It's not clear that RAID is supported by DELL on the Studio, but you should be able to get it working by following the instructions in this message thread. You WILL have to reinstall the OS, and you MAY need an external DVD player to do this. Your OS reinstallation disc is, I'm sure, quite different than mine. Mine was Vista 64 and yours is probably some form of Windows 7.