2 Replies Latest reply on Apr 4, 2011 10:26 PM by Fordum

    Disk Size Limit For RAID BIOS, or Am I Just An Idiot?


      Folks, running on too little sleep, trying to wrap my head around a problem.

      I'm an electronics engineer, pretty fair with computers. Manage to keep all mine and the ones in my office running well.


      Friend of mine asked me to help him with his Dell. He had managed to completely fill C: drive down to 120M! From 160G.

      He had gone online to Dell, and they had sold him a 1T drive.

      I went over and started checking.

      Turns out he has a RAID 1 system in his machine.

      Its using, I think, the intel matrix storage manager version ICH7R.

      The BIOS level is:Opton Rom v  ICH7R.


      There are 2 spare SATA ports on the board. My first idea, was to connect the two new drives to those two ports, go into the RAID console, and create a new RAID 1 with them.

      Then, make an image of the drive he has now, and transfer it to the new drives and replace the original ones with the new ones.

      My image software, will adjust the partition sizes accordingly.


      At the present time, there are 4 partitions on the drive. A small FAT, an NTFS driveC, an NTFS driveD, and a small FAT32.


      Then, I discovered that there was not any spare  power cables for the two SATA drives.

      So, I went with plan B.


      I removed one of the drives after powering down the machine, and installed one of the 1TB ones. The machine told me I had a problem, and I told it to rebuild the mirror.

      I left it at the login screen so Windows would not be bothering it, and it rebuilt it in about an hour.


      I checked, and everything was functional.

      The RAID console said I had a normal 149G mirror and one drive had about 950G free.

      So, I swapped in the other drive and let it rebuild the mirror again.


      At this point the BIOS of the machine recognized a 1TB drive being controlled by the RAID controller.

      The RAID console saw a normal 149G mirror, with two drives having about 950G free.



      At this point, I went into the admin tools, but the drives page did not see any unallocated space.


      No problem, I have a partitioning program that should let me set things up.


      It sees no unallocated space either. In fact nowhere can I see the unallocated space.


      At this point I am stumped. Am I going to have to fdisk the drives first?


      However, that 149G number looks suspicious to me. Is that the largest that RAID controller can see?  If so, can I get it to see the rest by updating the drivers or the management console?


      If all else fails, I can always just break the mirror and make them just single disks. But this guy is very bad about backups, despite my attempts to make it as automatic and easy as possible, so I would like to keep  what little safety that RAID 1 gives.



                  Thanks,  sorry about the long post, but  I wanted to give as much info as I could.





      Message was edited by: Fordum All that, and I forgot......He is running Windows XP Pro pack 3

        • 1. Re: Disk Size Limit For RAID BIOS, or Am I Just An Idiot?

          The feature you are referring to is called "Capacity Expansion". You essentially had originally created a 160GB RAID 1 and now want to increase the size of the RAID1 to be 1TB (now that your disks are bigger). (tom's hw talks a little bit about it here http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/OPTING-RAID-LEVEL-MIGRATION,1594-4.html ).


          According to the Intel website, it is not supported for ICH7R



          I believe your solution could be to simply create a New RAID1 volume using the remainder of those disks.  This is called a Matrix RAID Array.

          Directions are here:  http://www.intel.com/support/chipsets/imsm/sb/CS-022648.htm?wapkw=(MATRIX+RAID)


          Then you will have two separate drives shown in Windows (160GB and an 840GB) that are both using the same disks.

          • 2. Re: Disk Size Limit For RAID BIOS, or Am I Just An Idiot?

            Thanks for the info. I thought I had searched the Intel site, but I missed that table. Thanks for the link.

            Sounds like the story of my life. Its never easy.

            This is the first time I have run into a RAID 1 setup that I could not use like a single drive. But none of my partitioning tools can see the unallocated space. Due to the ROM chip not passing it through I suppose.


            My problem is, its a Dell XPS/Dimension 400/9150, and Dell loves to play games. In addition to the two regular partitions, they have two hidden partitions on the drive. One in front and one in back. They have to do with system recovery, but if you aren't careful with the partitons, the computer won't boot.

            So, I would rather not add any right now.


            The D drive, is a storage drive for a crippled copy of Norton Ghost that came with the machine, and is apparantly no longer functional. Tomorrow I am going to stop by, and check to see what is on D. If its all old Ghost files, I will delete them, and move 99% of D drive space to C drive.

            That should get him by until the weekend.


            This weekend, I am going to add a drive to one of the unused ports, since I have gotten a power connector in now. Then I will make a verified image file on it.

            After that, I will break the mirror and I should be able to repartition one of the drives.


            Then, I will try to boot from that one. If it does, I will wipe the other drive, and use it and the repartitoned one to make a mirror.


            If that does not work, I still have the image.


            Does that sound reasonable? Any suggestions or recommendations welcomed.