Brien Posey's Windows Blog

Dec 3 2008   1:48AM GMT

Disk Array Failure

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Today I had to deal with a situation that I don’t think that I have ever run into before. On Thanksgiving I had a disk in one of my RAID arrays fail. Being that it was Thanksgiving and all of the stores were closed and I had a bunch of relatives in town, I couldn’t just go to the store and get another drive. It wasn’t the end of the world though, because the volume that failed was a RAID 5 volume, so I still had access to my data. That being the case, I just got online and ordered another drive.

On Saturday the new drive still hadn’t arrived, and a second drive on the array failed. That failure meant that I lost access to the volume. Because of the nature of the server, the failure didn’t effect anybody other than me, so getting the array back online wasn’t critical.

Today the drive came in, and I picked up another drive at the store to replace the second failed drive. I shut down the server (Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2), replaced the drives, and brought the server back online.

The problem that I ran into was that two of the drives in the array still had data on them, and two were blank. For some reason, Windows saw the array as two separate, non functional arrays, with four drives each.

To fix the problem, I shut down Windows. Since I was using a hardware based array, I booted the machine into a special array configuration utility that exists at the BIOS level. The utility identified two of the disks as orphans. I deleted the orphans, and was left with an array set that was corrupted. Therefore, I deleted the array set, and then booted Windows. This time, Windows saw the array as gone. I was then able to use the array configuration utility to recreate the array group. From there I recreated the volume, and restored my backup.

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