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Solved: "NTLDR is missing" and Raid 1 (mirror) configuration - Help! (correct title)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Bit0101, Sep 19, 2010.

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  1. Bit0101

    Bit0101 Thread Starter

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    Sep 19, 2010
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    Hello, I'm an italian guy and I don't speak a good english.
    That's my problem:
    I've a pc with a "Raid 1" configuration (mirroring) with windows Xp Sp3 and two WD hard disks.
    Two days ago, I noticed a red alarm message from my pc: "degraded raid".
    After entering in windows xp, my computer recognized a second hard disk, the mirror one.
    So I was able to see and modify my first hd (C:, the booting one) and his mirror (E: ), but this last one
    had more data than the first one!

    I tried to start up my computer with only one hard disk at a time (the other was phisically
    disconnected) and windows started normally in both cases. So no hard disk was damaged.
    So, I tried only E: hard disk (obviously recognized as C: ) and then C:. Then I attached E: so
    my pc had both C: and E: hard disks, but the alert message remained (degraded raid).

    Yesterday night I tried one last time to start only with E: and I had no problem. So I shutted down my pc and reattached C:.

    This morning I started my computer and the raid configuration was ok (no red error message!), but
    I've seen an error message before the windows xp screen: "NTLDR is missing".

    What's the problem?
    Probably my pc doesn't know from what hard disk start windows xp? Does it have problem to
    recognize the boot hard disk?
    What I've to do?
    1) phisically disconnect one of my hard-disk alternatively? But in this case may I lost my data?
    2) delete the raid array? But in this case I surely lost my data stored in the hard disks!
    3) insert the windows cd and type R to rebuild a not functional windows? It works on raid 1 configuration?

    Thank you for the support that you can give to me.


    ----------------------------

    PS: I give you other data about my pc:
    - Windows XP Sp3;
    - AMD Athlon (64) 3200+;
    - Ram 1Gb;
    - 2 hard disk SATA (mirroring);
    - Motherboard Asus A8N-SLI;
    - NVIDIA nForce(tm) RAID Class Controller

    -----------------------------

    ABOUT MY BIOS:
    My priority boot:
    1. Removable (floppy)
    2. Cdrom
    3. Hard disk
    In the hard disk section, i see only this: SCSI-0: NVIDIA MIRROR

    In the MAIN window of my bios I think I don't see my two hard disks:
    Legacy diskette A: [1.44 ecc]
    Primary Ide master: DVD RAM
    Secondary Ide master: STDVD ROM
    First SATA master: [NONE] ----- probably my first hd must be recognized here?
    Second SATA master: [NONE] ----- probably my second hd must be recognized here?
    Third SATA master: [NONE]
    Fourth SATA master: [NONE]

    Onboard device configuration (NVRAID configuration):
    Raid enable: ENABLED
    First sata master: ENABLED
    Second sata master: ENABLED
    and the other sata e ide stuff are DISABLED

    ------------------------

    My BIOS RAID (F10):
    Nvidia raid utility:
    Boot - Id - Status - Vendor - Array - Model name
    Yes - 1 - Healthy- Nvidia - Mirror - ecc

    and if I push "Enter", I can see my two hard disks:
    Adapt - Channel - M/S - Index - Disk model name - capacity
    2 - 0 - Master - 0 - WDC ecc - ecc
    2 - 1 - Master - 1 - WDC ecc - ecc
    But i can't use the arrows to select one of the two hard disks.

    Please, help me! I'm also a beginner with my pc.
     
  2. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    13,664
    I would urge caution.
    There are two reasons for this message
    1. The raid array has failed and there is NOT a failed/failing HDD
    2. One of the drives has failed.
    I would immediately back up all data, just in case the system becomes unbootable.
    As the NTLDR is now reported as missing I would suspect that the hard drive MAY have failed.
    As I understand it and I confess to not having a great deal of knowledge regarding RAID arrays, once you booted with one of the mirror HDD disconnnected you destroyed the RAID array.
    Attached is the NVIDIA link for instructions on rebuilding the RAID, but this may already be on the computer in the NVIDIA programme, if that has been used rather than the manual configuration of the BIOS.
    ftp://ftp.tyan.com/manuals/m_NVRAID_Users_Guide_v20.pdf

    MY BEST ADVICE IS TO BACK-UP as I said, albeit of course the purpose of the RAID is to create the mirror. There is I think a good chance that you may not boot at all if you persist in disconnecting and connecting drives.
    If it was me I would run a HDD analysis programme to check if it is a failing drive and then either replace the drive or rebuild the RAID and fix the NTLDR with Recovery Console.
    HOWEVER I urge caution for two reasons
    1.You say you are a beginner and these are not easy and simple matters
    2.You would be best waiting for help from someone with greater knowledge of RAID than me.
    Totally as an aside I would question whether or not you reallly have enough ram, not that the ram issue is the cause of this.
     
  3. Bit0101

    Bit0101 Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Thank you for your response, Macboatmaster.

    I don't know if the array has failed because, now, there isn't the red error message about the degraded raid. The only message I see is a white one and all I read is that raid is functioning.

    Probably I know why my pc creates so many troubles.
    I have two hard disks: C: (the boot one) and E: (the mirror one).
    Yesterday night I started with only E (C was phisically disconnected) and (today) I rebooted my pc with C+E hard disks. I think now my pc is confused. It doesn't know if booting with C or E.
    >>> Probably I had to do this procedure:
    - starting with only E connected (and I've done it);
    - starting with only C connected (so the pc remembered that C was the booting one) (I've not done this one);
    - starting with C+E connected.

    I don't know if this is the reason of the failure. I'm a newbie for Raid technology.

    PS: I can't download the pdf in your link.


     
  4. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor

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    Messages:
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    There is nothing wrong with the link I have just activated it again.
    Pls wait for further advice from someone more conversant with RAID
     
  5. Bit0101

    Bit0101 Thread Starter

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    Sep 19, 2010
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    Ok. I'm waiting for someone specialized in Nvidia raid.
    Thanks Macboatmaster.
     
  6. Bit0101

    Bit0101 Thread Starter

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    Bump!
     
  7. valis

    valis Moderator

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    let me move this to hardware; probably get a bit more notice there.
     
  8. Bit0101

    Bit0101 Thread Starter

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    Thanks Valis.
    I'm still waiting, but tomorrow i'll try to do another attempt.
     
  9. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Messages:
    32,678
    OK, the ntldr msg is pretty easy to fix however I would do some other things first;
    1 That asus board you listed in your specs has had quite a few bad caps. Open the case and give the board a VERY close inspection with a bright light. Look for any leaking/bulging/discolored capacitors. Pics below.
    2 If you do not find any bad caps, then download the WD diagnostic and test the drives. This runs from bootable media so no need for the os to even be installed.
    3 If both drives pass both the long and short tests, you can attempt to fix the problem. This can be done one of two ways. You can boot with your xp install CD and do a repair install of xp OR you can copy the ntldr file manually from the xp CD.

    To copy manually;
    1 Put the xp CD in the CD drive [set CD as first boot device in the bios] Note asus boards will boot from the first or master CD so make sure that if you have two CD drives you put the disk in the correct one.
    2 Choose repair from the first menu. This starts the repair console.
    3 Type "fixboot" without quotes and hit enter
    4 Type "COPY D:\i386\ntldr C:\" and press ENTER.
    5 Type "COPY D:\i386\ntdetect.com C:\" and press ENTER

    Note if your cd drive is not D, then use whatever letter.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    One other thought. Raid is next to useless for the home user and onboard raid is useless. If you really must have raid, then get a real raid controller card like a promise or highpoint card. There is a reason why these cards cost more than a motherboard; performance and reliability.
     
  11. valis

    valis Moderator

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    thanks, crjdriver........was hoping you'd trip over this......(y)
     
  12. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    No problem. You know if I had a dollar for every onboard raid problem, I might not be rich however I could go out for a nice dinner :D:D
     
  13. valis

    valis Moderator

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    nice......:)

    I've not had that much experience with troubleshooting raids.......need to get off my patoot and set up a test box, I do believe.

    Regardless, I'm subscribed to this one now, and rare is the day that I don't learn something from this site.....
     
  14. Bit0101

    Bit0101 Thread Starter

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    Thanks crjdriver!!!
    I've controlled my computer and found no bad caps. But, it's about 8pm here, so tomorrow I'll check again!
    I'm also downloading the "data lifeguard diagnostic" for DOS (floppy) and for WD black series, that I've found here:
    http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=613&lang=en

    So you recommend to install ntldr and ntdetect.com files from Windows xp cd to ONLY C:? Not also to E:?

    My idea (as a newbie) was to booting my pc only with C: hard disk (previously disconnecting E: ), so, I think, my computer re-recognize the booting hard disk (C: ).
    And then reconnect E: and start the machine with both hard disks.

    Now, after that problem, I really don't like Raid 1 systems. I've also read that if the motherboard is broken, it's very difficult to recover data from hard disks.
    Probably I've to create an "image" with Norton Ghost before I delete my Raid 1 array (with the lost of my data). :(

    NOTE: I don't now if that can be important, but the technician that installed my Raid 1, also created a link with a third (independent and old) hard disk. It was useful because I was able to work during the day with the old one and to install my software in the Raid 1 the night.
     
  15. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    OK, the os or the recovery console is only going to "See" one drive ie your raid array. It is not going to "See" individual disks unless you break the array. Install the files to the root of the active partition [should be C]

    Next you are correct with onboard raid, it is very difficult to recover data if you no longer have the mb. Another reason to use a real controller card.
     
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