Repeat after me: What Could Go Wrong?

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by deusexaethera, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    What could go wrong? What could go wrong? I mean, seriously, what could possibly go wrong? :hsugh:

    I'm sure you've all had an experience or two where you asked yourself, taunting fate, what could go wrong, and if you were smart, you knew right then to run the fuck away from that idea. Unfortunately, you probably didn't, just like I didn't when I thought to myself "I think I'll backup my RAID array, wipe it, make a new array, and restore the backup; maybe that will make it run faster again." I even thought "I'll make two backups, just in case one of them gets corrupted; what could go wrong?" Well, I could be completely unable to reinstall Windows, or even to successfully write any files onto the new array -- that could go wrong.

    So the troubleshooting began. I replaced the cables, I pulled the drives out of the hot-swap bay and plugged them into the cables directly, I tried different RAID configurations, I replaced the controller with an identical spare, I tried using a single disk plugged into the motherboard (I could always expand it into a RAID later), I used multiple Windows install discs...

    "Windows cannot start because the following file is missing or corrupt: %windowsroot%\system32\hal.dll."

    ...every single time. Then eventually, I started getting a message telling me it couldn't read the HDD at all (regardless of which HDDs I tried to use, and regardless of combination), despite somehow being able to read the partition table and format the bitch over and over and over again. Nothing works; how can I get the computer up off its ass when the whole fucking thing is totally incapable of properly writing to disk, even when all of the parts have been substituted and the configuration has been changed? Maybe it's trying to tell me to let it die, and I should use the Dell Precision 530 I salvaged from work a few weeks ago instead.

    I don't know what to do. :hs:
     
  2. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

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    that'll learn you to cheap out on a hardware raid card. :p
     
  3. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    It's not the card. I can't even install Windows when I plug a single disk straight into the motherboard's SATA controller! Short of all three disks failing simultaneously right at the moment they were reformatted, this doesn't make a goddamn bit of sense.
     
  4. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

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    bad mobo? didn't someone have a single hard drive destroy a whole computer recently?
     
  5. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Well, I think I've concluded that the NetCell card doesn't play nice with the nVidia nForce chipset, but since the computer works fine other than not being able to write to the hard drives, I don't think anything's actually gone bad -- I think I've just got multiple incompatibilities on my hands.

    I suppose anything's possible, though.
     
  6. Harry Caray

    Harry Caray Fine purveyor of x.264, h.264 & TS HD-Video !!! HD

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    ummm, simple question.. you "sound" like a semi bright guy and after all these years on here, and talking the talk, I'd think you "might" have access to another machine ???

    Have you tried this card in another machine ?

    P.S. I always have spare mobos in my closet for testing or "just in case" ;)
     
  7. planetofape

    planetofape New Member

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    Its your ram.
     
  8. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I do have another machine. Two other machines, actually; one I'm giving to my uncle, and the other is sitting downstairs. I may end up plugging the card and drives into that spare machine, but I'm concerned that if I install Windows on the array on that spare machine, it still won't boot in my main machine due to hardware differences.

    Nonetheless, I have no life, so I'll probably try that this weekend.
     
  9. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    www.jungledisk.com is your friend for these situations. I just lost my Macbook but they saved me.
     
  10. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

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    i wouldn't install Windows on one and move it to the other. you should just use it to test/verify that the card is good and help determine your incompatibilities.
     
  11. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Hmm. The Asus A7V600 is $25 on eBay. Maybe I should pick it up and see if it'll play nice with my controller.

    Still gotta make sure the disks themselves work right, though...dammit, right when I've finally built that machine out as far as it possibly can be, shit's gotta start breaking.
     
  12. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    See how RAID sucks shit?
     
  13. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Worked fine until I fucked with it one too many times.

    Besides, as I've already stated twice, it still won't install Windows even when I plug a single disk directly into the motherboard. This isn't a RAID problem anymore, this is an everything problem.
     
  14. planetofape

    planetofape New Member

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    check your ram
     
  15. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I did. It's still there.
     
  16. planetofape

    planetofape New Member

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    90% of the time that I've had problems installing XP it was bad ram. Not finding files or copying them is a symptom of bad ram.
     
  17. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I'll run memtest86 while I'm doing a brain transplant on my Dell Precision, then.
     
  18. 5Gen_Prelude

    5Gen_Prelude There might not be an "I" in the word "Team", but

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    If you're just playin around at this point, what SATA mode are you installing Windows in?
     
  19. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Both of the SATA controllers in my machine (onboard and PCI) are RAID controllers, and as far as I know, they both run in IDE emulation mode.
     
  20. 5Gen_Prelude

    5Gen_Prelude There might not be an "I" in the word "Team", but

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    Most allow you to set it in the BIOS though (onboard) - did you check?
     
  21. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Strangely, there was no setting in the BIOS for the onboard RAID controller.

    I don't think it's going to matter, though; I think I found a way out of my wet paper bag. That other computer I said I had? Well, it has Firewire and room for 4 disks, and right now there's only one disk in it. So I pulled out the whole shebang from my main computer (disks, cables, and controller) and installed them in the spare as a secondary drive. Now I'm restoring the backup onto the RAID using the already-functional Windows install on the spare machine. Dunno why I didn't think of that sooner.

    I do have one question, though; I have the option to restore System State, which was part of the backup I made, but I don't know if restoring it will overwrite the spare machine's Registry or whether it will get unpacked onto the transplanted RAID. I also don't know whether the backed-up Registry will get restored without having to restore the System State.

    Does anyone know the answers to these two questions? If I can get these last two issues resolved, I think I'm in the clear -- unless of course it still refuses to boot when I put the RAID back in the main machine. But...one problem at a time.

    - - -

    I also discovered along the way that the onboard SATA RAID on the main computer's motherboard supports booting from an SATA CDROM drive -- very convenient, because my IDE CDROM is now in the spare machine.
     
  22. 5Gen_Prelude

    5Gen_Prelude There might not be an "I" in the word "Team", but

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    Restore System state will overwrite the current system. It's intended use outside of ASR is to recover a known good point - but on a working OS.

    I have long since given up restoring anything but data unless I'm really screwed or pressed for time.
     
  23. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Then I guess I'll get to find out if my main machine's registry got backed up in file form along with the rest of the Windows folder.

    I guess if all else fails, I get to reinstall Windows on the RAID in the spare machine, then restore the backup that way. Hopefully it doesn't come to that, though, because this shit is taking long enough as-is.
     
  24. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Well, I got it back up and running. I ended up using the spare machine as a host, and I ran Windows Setup in ASR mode to restore the backup I made; then when it was done, before it had a chance to reboot and try to load Windows, I shut it down and put the RAID back in my main machine. Booted up fine.

    Of course now my video score is 1000 instead of 2400, and my disk score is the same as before, so...guess I shouldn't have fucked with it.

    I thought to myself, I have the exact same RAID setup in my father's computer, and it continues to work fine (though a little slower because it doesn't use Raptors), but in his case I had to buy special cables to clear the obstacles inside his computer. (It's a 3U rackmount.) Hmm...maybe my cables are bad?

    Well, I'd love to find out, and technically speaking I should be able to find out since I own three NetCells and they all came with 5 cables apiece, but damn if I can find any spares anywhere in the house.

    Figures.
     
  25. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Damn! Okay, I thought maybe there's a problem with the chipset drivers, so I removed them using DriverCleaner and then reinstalled them. My disk score didn't improve any, but my video score hit 3340! That's almost 1000 point higher than it's ever gone before! (I reinstalled the video drivers too, but strangely that's what caused the score to tank down to 1000. Who knows?)

    Anyway, I know not everyone here believes in benchmarks, and I'm certainly no benchmark-racer myself, but I paid for PCMark anyway because it gives me a way to see what's working and not working in my machines. Like, I defragged my father's recording computer (it was a mess) and its disk score went up 750 points. Shit like this really does make a difference.

    Now that I'm back on level ground, I get to keep figuring out WTF is wrong with my RAID. Which, compared to having a bricked computer, feels pretty darn good. :big grin:
     

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