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Thread: How to install SSD boot drive and 2 HDD in RAID1 in Windows 8




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    Default How to install SSD boot drive and 2 HDD in RAID1 in Windows 8

    I'm trying to setup my Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center machine with the OS on my SSD and 2 HDD in RAID1 for the rest of my storage needs.

    There seems to be a lot of posts offering solutions to or just highlight very similar issues but none specify to both Windows 8/8.1 and my motherboard (or an AMD setup) and more importantly the solutions for similar setups have not worked. I'm at the point of giving up and either using the windows software RAID or just having the drives work without RAID. This is mostly because ASRock, after a few e-mails, called me (very impressed with the personal touch) to tell me that its just not possible. Frankly I struggle to believe this as it seems like a pretty common setup if you are using the RAID feature they tout in their specs. Maybe my post will confirm or provide a more positive answer but regardless I thought it would be useful for anyone else going in circles search the boards to find some guidance. The documentation is pretty poor.

    If you are trying to do this sort of setup and have not installed anything yet STOP. I would recommended trying to install with RAID mode selected in the UEFI. As I understand it once you install in AHCI mode there is some back pedaling. Also if you're debating the Samsung Evo SSD purchase you might want consider that the Magician features may not work in RAID mode (even if the SSD is not in RAID).

    After a steep learning curve my setup now behaves in one fo the following ways:
    1 - boot up in RAID mode (selected in the UEFI) and see the RAID1 setup but Windows fails to boot. The boot up ends in a blue screen which says ":( Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We're just collecting some error info and then we'll restart for you." it will reboot and you can get windows to troubleshoot but it offers no solution. Only option 2 fixes the problem
    or
    2 - boot up with AHCI, Windows does boot fine but the RAID1 is not setup

    To avoid confusion with other setups here are the important specifics of my setup:
    - Windows 8.1 Pro
    - FM2A88M Extreme4+ (this offers an AMD Controller not Intel)
    - AMD A6-6400K Richland
    - Samsung Electronics 840 EVO-Series 250GB
    - 2x WD Black 2.0Gb
    - Also have an ODD

    I have not tried starting from scratch again. I assume that would mean changing in the UEFI to RAID mode and installing windows from the ODD again. Given ASRock's advice, it seems pointless. There is a few hours of re-installing I'd have to do but I think I could do it if I was given some assurance it would work.

    Other than that the solution I thought most interesting but regardless does not work for me came from contributions from parsec and benryan to the following thread:
    Struggling with Raid 1 on ASROCK Z87M

    The theory is that the reason it doesn't boot in 1 is that to save boot time windows only applies the AHCI drivers so if you boot from RAID it can't boot. For windows 7 you can fix the registry so it will use the RAID drivers and for windows 8 you can boot in safe mode which will load all the drivers. Here are the respective Microsoft KB links for those solutions:

    For Windows 7
    Error message occurs after you change the SATA mode of the boot drive
    For Windows 8 (the KB is a little confusing as the instruction mention IDE but apparently you can equally use the advice switich IDE for RAID)
    "INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE" error message after you install a third-party ATA-miniport driver or change the SATA mode of the boot drive on Windows 8-based computer

    ASRock's advice was actually that I could do the setup but I would have to buy another SSD so I could set that up in RAID0/1 too. Can that really be right?

    Any thoughts?

    Last edited by EnglishmaninNY; 12-23-2013 at 01:25 PM.

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    Default Re: How to install SSD boot drive and 2 HDD in RAID1 in Windows 8

    I'll post some images here tomorrow.

    Update - Ok today is tomorrow and I tried to post but apparently but I'm getting an error "This is not a valid image file"?
    Last edited by EnglishmaninNY; 12-23-2013 at 10:28 PM. Reason: Promised update to this earlier post

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to install SSD boot drive and 2 HDD in RAID1 in Windows 8

    First of all, given the RAID software I've worked with in the past (all Intel), and what I've seen others do with RAID, you should have no problem doing what you want to do. It is not an exotic setup, and just needs a little configuration at first, with some knowledge, and it should be fine.

    But, I have heard of some difficulties working with AMD RAID software and Windows 8. It seems the RAID configuration programs must be accessed and run in unconventional ways. At least that is the impression I've been given, I have yet to read the AMD board's manual myself.

    Regardless, the general way to create a system as you described is this:

    Install the SSD only in the PC during the Windows installation. The other drives can be in the PC of course, but do not connect them to the power supply.

    Before you install Windows, go into the BIOS and set the SATA mode to RAID. Changing to RAID mode after installing Windows in AHCI, etc, mode can be done, but you must know exactly what you're doing since it involves a registry edit. Always better to select RAID mode first. RAID mode should not bother or interfere with a single SSD's operation. IMO, the support personnel did not understand you, or do not know what they should know. You don't need another SSD.

    From your board's download page, for Windows 8.1, download this file: SATA Floppy Image ver:6.1.0.00117. Ignore the floppy reference, old terminology from the XP days. This file contains the basic RAID driver you need to install during the Windows installation phase when you can install a SATA driver. The file contains folders for each version of Windows, you only need to copy the files from the Windows 8.1 64bit folder to the main folder of a USB flash drive. That is the media you'll load the driver from, connect it to a USB 2.0 port on the boards I/O panel.

    From there you continue and finish the Windows installation. Do NOT remove the USB flash drive until Windows restarts for the first time, then you can just pull it out.

    Now that you have Windows installed and running, install the full AMD RAID driver, the AMD Bolton RAID Driver ver:6.1.0.00117.

    Next connect your HDDs to the PC, start it up again and create your RAID 1 array. That is usually done either with the AMD RAID software Option ROM utility, available during POST, or with a Windows RAID configuration program supplied by AMD.

    Yes, I've skipped details but that is the general scenario. I've been having problem downloading manuals from ASRock's FTP server lately, so cannot check your board RAID installation guide.

    I'm curious about where the difficulty or problems appear along the way.

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    Default Re: How to install SSD boot drive and 2 HDD in RAID1 in Windows 8

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    I'm curious about where the difficulty or problems appear along the way.
    I think the difficulty is that I didn't install in that way. I installed in AHCI and I'm trying to switch back and following the steps in the KB I linked are not doing the trick.

    Are you suggesting I should start over? Is there anything else I can try? I'm going to see if I can use the manual registry change suggested for Windows 7.

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    Default Re: How to install SSD boot drive and 2 HDD in RAID1 in Windows 8

    Quote Originally Posted by viper1979 View Post
    You want to keep the drives in raid, but you want to select your boot drive as the SSD. Check your boot parameters and which hard drives you have selected as boot drives.
    -T
    Not that you may not be right but I think I've already done that. I changed the drive order in the AMD-RAID Array configuration so that the SSD is first. The ASRock advice I was given however is that RAID always takes priority.

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    Default Re: How to install SSD boot drive and 2 HDD in RAID1 in Windows 8

    Quote Originally Posted by EnglishmaninNY View Post
    I think the difficulty is that I didn't install in that way. I installed in AHCI and I'm trying to switch back and following the steps in the KB I linked are not doing the trick.

    Are you suggesting I should start over? Is there anything else I can try? I'm going to see if I can use the manual registry change suggested for Windows 7.
    I was afraid of that, which is the usual mistake when trying to use RAID. The registry edits for Windows 8 are different than Windows 7, and all the guides you can find for changing from AHCI to RAID are for Intel systems.

    That last part is important, since the registry entries for drivers in the guides are ONLY for Intel systems, not AMD. Add to that the newer AMD "88" chipset and "Bolton" AMD RAID software, and the guides are not correct for those systems.

    Sorry to say, there is nothing else you can do. Either install Windows 8 again in RAID mode, or try to edit the registry. If you google on "change from ahci to RAID", you'll get hits but they are for Intel systems and Windows 7. The only guide for AMD and Windows 7 I found is this one:

    How to install AMD RAID driver after Windows installation - Super User

    Frankly, I recommend reinstalling Windows 8 in RAID mode. Also, studying the RAID installation guide on your board's download page (under manuals) is essential.

    RAID arrays should not take priority in the boot order, unless that is a quirk of the AMD RAID software.

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    Default Re: How to install SSD boot drive and 2 HDD in RAID1 in Windows 8

    So I re-installed and that did do the job. FYI - FM2A88M Extreme4+ includes an Easy RAID installer which will help copy the RAID drivers from the included DVD to a USB stick.

    The key learnings are:
    1 - If you are going to use the RAID controller, setup windows in RAID mode EVEN IF THE OS WILL BE ON NON-RAID DRIVE.
    2 - Samsung Magician will not work with RAID mode EVEN IF THE DRIVE IS NON-RAID.
    3 - First install on the OS drive then connect the RAID drives and set those up
    4 - ASRock support is surprisingly responsive but always a good idea to check out TweakTown

    Unfortunately the RAID has gone haywire but I'm fairly confident this is a separate issue. I just got a "KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR" on booting up and the last two times I got into windows, the RAIDXpert was throwing up the status window with a number of errors and drives have been working over time.

    Parsec thanks

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    Default Re: How to install SSD boot drive and 2 HDD in RAID1 in Windows 8

    Glad my guidelines helped you, they are basic RAID practices that I did not invent.

    One thing though, while the Magician software does not recognize RAID mode, it can still work with single, non-RAID SSDs in some cases.

    In your case it does not work because of the AMD RAID driver, sorry to say. Magician works fine with the Intel RAID driver in RAID mode, but only with single drives of course. That information is in the Magician Installation Guide:

    Samsung SSD (Solid State Drive) 840 series | Samsung SSD Website

    Regarding your problem with the RAID 1 array, if you need to rebuild it, you may want to use the Windows Diskpart command (from an Administrator command line window) to run a clean command that should remove any old data on those drives.

    Otherwise, you believe those HDDs are or were working fine?

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    Default Re: How to install SSD boot drive and 2 HDD in RAID1 in Windows 8

    RAID is working. V. Happy.

    I'm not sure why the errors came up but I think what was freaking me out more was the huge amount of hard drive activity. I got into the RAIDXpert and it turns out that all this activity was just a scan or setup routine which has now finished. FYI - This is 12+ hours process.

    At the link you shared there is a Firmware update for the Samsung Evo SSD. Is this something I should try to install and if so how? Probably topic for another post.

    Thanks again. Merry Christmas.

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    Default Re: How to install SSD boot drive and 2 HDD in RAID1 in Windows 8

    When I clicked the link in my post, it brings you to a general Samsung SSD download page. If you go to the top of that page and find the second major category, Samsung Magician Magician Software Download, there are three files you can choose, one of them being the Installation Guide. That document lists the software and chipset/driver compatibility, which is all I wanted you to see. I still can't upload an image file to add to a forum post, that has always worked fine until the last few days. Otherwise I would have put that table in my post.

    I think that some RAID software will verify a RAID 1 volume at times, which may be even on every cold boot. Do you mean that took 12+ hours to complete? If so, that is ridiculous, do you even have many files stored on it yet? I'm not sure you even trusted it yet.

    Since the Magician software won't work for you when using the AMD RAID software in RAID mode, you must use the ISO file firmware update program, with a bootable optical disk or USB drive. That firmware update is not essential, you can wait to install it at your leisure.

    Merry Christmas to you as well!

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