How To Install a RAID Configuration on Windows XP
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install a RAID configuration on Windows XP. I would encourage anyone contemplating this to read as many tech forums on this subject as is reasonable.
Read Steps 1-6 BEFORE PROCEEDING:
1. Build your computer with all the components installed including the drives for RAID configuration. If you have a card reader, unplug this from the MOBO port for now. Start the computer and make sure that all fans are running and you can boot into BIOS. If you already have a prebuilt computer, do the same. Sorry, you WILL have to reinstall Windows XP. BACK UP YOUR DATA FIRST. ONCE THE OS IS INSTALLED, YOU CANNOT GO BACK AND INSTALL RAID DRIVES. THE RAID INSTALL MUST OCCUR PRIOR TO AND DURING OS INSTALLATION. You will also need a REGULAR (NO USB) FLOPPY DRIVE hooked into your MOBO. If necessary just scavenge one from an older computer and hook it up temporarily. Vista users can use USB. It would be best to flash your BIOS to the most current stable version.
2. Boot into your BIOS. The go to Main – SATA Configuration and change the setting from IDE to RAID. Hit Enter. Go to Boot Sequence and make sure that the CD/DVD drive is the first boot device. Hit Enter then F10 to Save and Exit. Reboot.
3. At the POST, watch for the RAID Screen, it will only be there for 3 seconds. Hit <CTRL I> to enter the RAID configuration screen. From there select “Create RAID volume”, name it with no spaces. Select RAID type (0, 1, 5 or 10), Select drives to be included (don’t include your main drive (C:) for RAID 5), Select striping rate (64 or 128) Hit Enter. Create RAID volume. ENTER and exit.
4. On another computer, that has a floppy drive. Go to Intel’s website and search for Intel® Matrix Storage Manager. Find the 32-bit Floppy Configuration Utility and create a RAID driver floppy with this utility.
5. On your new computer, insert Windows XP installation disk. Have the RAID floppy disc ready but do not put in drive yet. Reboot your computer and watch for “Press any key to boot from CD…” Hit the space bar or any key. BE READY TO PRESS F6. Watch the bottom of the screen just as the OS disc loads, you will see the message to press F6 to load third party RAID drivers. PRESS F6 NOW. A different screen will come up. Press ‘S”, put floppy in drive and hit Enter. This will load the RAID drivers for the OS installation. Once completed, hit Enter to continue the installation.
6. You will see the screen to install Windows XP on a drive. Select C: drive and follow the prompts. You will need to format your drive for NTFS, do not use QUICK format. This will take 30-60 minutes. Leave the floppy in the drive. Be there just before the system finishes formatting the drive. The system will then load the SETUP files and will reboot. REMOVE THE FLOPPY BEFORE THE REBOOT and hit Enter. Let the system run and on the new screen DO NOT “Press any key to boot from CD” — just let the system run. It will go into the “Installing Windows” screen. Follow the few prompts and let the system complete the installation and reboot. Finish the remaining prompts and you are set.
NOTE: IF YOU GET A BSOD AT ANY TIME DOING THE ABOVE, TAKE OUT THE OS INSTALLATION DISC AND REBOOT INTO BIOS. BE READY TO HIT <CTRL> I AND ENTER RAID CONFIGURATOR. DELETE THE RAID VOLUME YOU HAD CREATED AND THEN EXIT BACK INTO BIOS. GO INTO THE SATA CONFIGURATION AND CHANGE IT FROM “RAID” BACK TO “IDE”, INSERT WINDOWS DISC BACK INTO DRIVE AND HIT F10. REBOOT AND THEN START AT STEP 4.
ONCE THE SYSTEM FORMATS THE C: DRIVE AND INSTALLS THE SETUP FILES AND REBOOTS, BE READY TO ENTER BIOS BEFORE CONTINUING INSTALL. GO INTO SATA CONFIGURATION AND NOW CHANGE SETTING FROM ‘IDE’ TO ‘RAID’, HIT F10 AND LET THE SYSTEM CONTINUE INSTALLING OS.
IF YOU STILL GET A BSOD, SHUT THE SYSTEM DOWN WITH THE POWER SWITCH AND UNPLUG. WALK AWAY FOR 5 MINUTES. NOW GO BACK AND BOOT UP SYSTEM AND GO INTO THE RAID CONFIGURATION (<CTRL I>). YOU SHOULD SEE THE C: DRIVE LISTED AS A NON-RAID DRIVE AND THE OTHERS DRIVES AS MEMBERS OF THE RAID VOLUME (FOR RAID 5.) GO TO HARDWARE CONFIGURATION. YOU SHOULD SEE ONLY 2 DRIVES (FOR A RAID 5 CONFIG), THE C: DRIVE AND THE RAID VOLUME. IF SO, JUST HIT F10 AND REBOOT. START AT STEP 5.
7. Once the OS loads, reboot into BIOS and go to Hardware Configuration to verify there are only 2 drives: C: and RAID volume. Boot into RAID configuration screen (<CTRL I>) and make sure that the C: drive is a ‘Non-member Drive’ and the RAID drives are all Members of the RAID volume. Exit and reboot into Windows.
Now here’s the trick that nobody tells you about. If you open “My Computer” you will see only the C: drive. The RAID drive will not show up. That’s because there is ONE MORE STEP…
8. Right click one My Computer. Select “˜Manage” then ‘Disk Management.’ In the right screen, you will see the C: Drive listed as ‘Healthy.” You will also see you optical drive(s). The RAID drive is an unallocated drive without a drive letter.
9. Right click on the Unallocated drive and assign it a drive letter, usually D: but watch your optical drives. If they are D:, first right click on them and change to E: and F: (if you have 2 drives.) The alternative is to list the RAID volume as F:. Then you will need to format the RAID volume. Use the default NTFS format. Click “OK”. The formatting may take over an hour depending on your setup. Once completed you will see the RAID volume with the letter you assigned to it and it will be listed as “Healthy”.
10. Go to “My Computer” and now you will see your RAID drive with the letter you assigned to it.
Congratulations, you have successfully installed a RAID drive. Install MOBO setup drivers and graphic card driver. Run Windows Update and get all critical updates. MAKE A BACKUP IMAGE of the C: drive. Keep this image FOR AS LONG AS YOU HAVE YOUR COMPUTER. If anything gets corrupted, you can go back and reimage the drive, saving you hours of time starting from scratch.