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[Guide] How To Install RAID On A Vista Machine

Discussion in 'General Software' started by CrAsHnBuRnXp, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. CrAsHnBuRnXp


    Oct 19, 2007
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    Things you will for achieving a RAID configuration:

    x amount of hard drives (depends on which RAID array you are working with.
    a working computer in which to install the array
    latest Vista RAID drivers (for nForce 4-7) download drivers at www.nvidia.com Make sure you download the correct version! (x86) (x64)
    flash drive or CD
    Your favorite beverage of choice

    *Please note this this guide is for nVIDIA nForce 4-7 chipsets!

    First thing you will need to do is hook up the hard drives to the SATA ports on your hard drive. You will then need to go into the BIOS and if it is not already, enable RAID mode.

    *This guide is assuming you are running 2 hard drives in a RAID-0 array*

    ** Please find this step below as it is crucial for you to do FIRST if you do not have a spare system to do this on!!!

    Before you continue any further in this guide I HIGHLY recommend you back up all your data on the hard drive as you will be formatting!!!

    The pictures below will may or may not (most likely may) differ from that of your BIOS. You should be able to find the RAID options of the motherboard under the Integrated Peripherals section of the BIOS. Then look for something along the lines of "RAID Configuration" or something of that nature. Once you have RAID enabled for the given amount of SATA drives, you will need to hit F10 to save and exit the BIOS.

    Once the computer starts to boot up, you will notice a screen for your RAID array entitled NVRaid Bios Utility along with instructions on how to go into this option. (Should be F10)

    Once you are at the screen for setting up your RAID array, you will see the option of which RAID mode you would like to use. You will need to consult the motherboard manual to find out what RAID arrays your motherboard exactly supports. If you want to use a RAID-0 array, you will want to choose Striping. In order to navigate around the screen you will need to use the TAB key on your keyboard along with the arrow keys. Next, you will need to choose a block size for the hard drive. If you plan on moving files that are large in size from your C: drive to another hard drive in your computer. I recommend using a 64k stripe. The bigger the stripe, the quicker it can move large files. Now, in the box to the left are the hard drives you currently have in your computer. In order to have a RAID-0 array it is recommended that you use two drives of the exact size, brand, and model number as depicted in the pic.


    Once you have located your first hard drive, highlight it using the arrow keys and add it to the box to the right. Do the same thing for the other identical drive as well.


    Once you are finished making the RAID array, hit F7 to save your configuration. After which, you will be prompted to Clear Disk Data (Yes or No), Choose yes. This will format the hard drives.

    Next, you will be taken to the final screen for the RAID setup process. This will show you your RAID array which you just created. It should mention on the screen that the array is Bootable. If it does not, hit B to make it bootable. You will know if it is bootable or not by the instructions at the bottom of the screen. If " Set Boot" is grayed out, then your RAID array is bootable. Now exit out of the windows by pressing CTRL-X.


    Now we get the joy of installing Windows Vista onto the RAID array.

    You have many ways to install drivers on an OS install with Vista and with every OS thereafter it will more or less be the same. You have the option of installing the RAID driver via a flash drive, floppy, and CD/DVD. Use whichever media is best for you, but I will be covering how to put it on a flash drive.

    **Once you have downloaded necessary files for the chipset for your respected version of Windows (32 or 64-bit), it is time to extract the files. You will need a program such as WinRAR to achieve this. I suggest creating a folder on the desktop for easy access labeled "Vista RAID drivers" or something like that. Something easy to remember. Right click on the chipset drivers you downloaded and choose "Extract Files..." and choose the folder that you created on the desktop. Now you will need to open the folder, go to IDE>WinVista32 (or WinVista64 pending what version of the OS you are using and which chipset you downloaded)>and copy the entire sata_ide folder to your flash drive. Now keep your flash drive handy.

    We now reboot the computer with the Vista DVD in the drive. Your DVD drive will still need to be set as the first boot device as per normal. Once you are prompted "Press any key to boot from the CD/DVD", press a key on the keyboard.

    Following which the Vista Setup should initiate.

    The first screen you should be prompted with is the "Language To Install, the "Time and Currency Format", and "Keyboard or Input Method". Click "Next" when your finished selecting your options.".


    On the next screen you will need to Select "Install Now."


    The following screen is where you will input your Product key for the OS. If you so choose so, you do not have to enter one. If you dont, you will have 30 days to enter in a product key to continue using Vista to its full potential. In this same screen, you can also choose whether or not you want to activate online. When you have selected your choices, click on next.


    The next screen will ask you which version of Windows Vista you have purchased and will provide you with every version of Vista available. You must choose the OS flavor that you bough as the product key is tied to only THAT copy you bought. No other.


    The next screen will show the EULA. Read them and accept to continue. If you do not accept, you will not be able to install Windows Vista.


    The following screen you will need to click on "Custom (advanced)".


    Now this next screen is where we will have to put the RAID driver. You will need to click on where it says "Load Driver" and then you will plug in the flash drive and browse to the sata_ide folder. Then click the OK button.


    Now you will have the nVIDIA nForce SATA Controller (x:\sata_ide\nvstor32.inf) (where "x" represents the drive letter) highlighted for you. Click on the Next button.


    Now Windows vista will go ahead and install the RAID driver. Your two hard drives should show up as just a single drive merged together. So if you are putting 2x80GB hard drives in a RAID-0 array, it will show up as less than 160GB. You will now need to create the partition on the hard drive and format. (You may have to click on Drive options)

    From there, you continue installing Vista as normal.

    I hope this is of some help to new comers and even some vets. :)

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