Windows 7 Software Raid Mirror - No Warning when failed?

Discussion in 'SSDs & Data Storage' started by orbidia, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. orbidia

    orbidia n00bie

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    In Windows 7 Pro, I made a software mirror raid of two sata data drives through disk management - not through the motherboard bios. I want to be able to move the disks to another computer in the future.

    To test a raid failure, I disconnected one of the drives and booted into Windows 7. Surprisingly, there was absolutely no warning at all that one of the drives has failed. There was no triangle in the system tray or any pop-up messages. The "mirror" with only one drive seemed to work perfectly. I went into disk management and it shows the "Failed Redundancy" on the missing drive. I couldn't even find an error in the event viewer of the failed drive. I even tried Windows Troubleshooter and it didn't even tell me about the missing drive.

    Obviously, if there isn't some kind of warning somewhere of the failed drive, I'd never know the raid is degraded. Is there a service maybe I turned off which would allow this warning to show up? How does windows let someone know the mirror raid is degraded???
     
  2. danman

    danman [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,670
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    The event viewer should have something logged.
     
  3. orbidia

    orbidia n00bie

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Thanks for the response.

    I can't believe Windows 7 doesn't give even a hint to the user that their mirror raid is degraded. So if I'm not actively checking disk management or event viewer then I would have no idea that my files are not being mirrored. If the second drive failed later, then I guess the raid would stop working and nothing could be recovered. What's the point of a mirror raid if nothing is being mirrored and the user is never maid aware of that fact?!

    Isn't this a major problem with Windows Mirror Raids??? Shouldn't there be some kind of pop-up message when windows boots or maybe a yellow triangle in system tray? I thought I remember a system tray yellow triangle in XP with a degraded mirror raid. Did Windows 7 get rid of that warning?

    Well, if I can figure out exactly what the event view notification is, maybe I can implement a more obvious notification using the info in this thread:
    http://www.winvistatips.com/raid-1-mirror-failed-redundancy-automatic-notification-t610291.html

    But it seems like a proper "degraded warning" should be automatically happening when a mirror is degraded. If I figure out a solution, I'll post it here. I'll probably just try the motherboard mirror raid instead of the windows software mirror raid next.
     
  4. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    6,013
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    I've never used the MS RAID options and IDK what advantages/disadvantages they have over the Intel/AMD options.

    If you're using the Intel RAID with it's RST i'm sure it would let ya know.

    I have no idea about AMD.
     
  5. orbidia

    orbidia n00bie

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Alright, I've done some more tests. I'll post the results here in case someone Googles about this because this information is difficult to find.

    Windows software RAID 1 MIRROR = NO WARNING THE RAID IS DEGRADED!!! No pop-up message, no yellow triangle in the tray. HELLO WINDOWS? This is important!
    You must look in the disk management to find a warning of the degraded raid and I couldn't even find the warning in the event viewer...
    Another disadvantage of this raid is that windows makes the mirrored drives into "Dynamic Drives." This isn't so bad but if you simply take the disk out and put it into a USB enclosure and put it on another system, it won't work. You need to install it as a SATA drive which I didn't test but that should allow it to work in another system. I've read that dynamic disks are more easily corrupted but I've had no experience with that.

    I wondered if on my system I had disabled some service or did a registry tweak which stopped the "Raid degraded" warning from showing up. I remember on XP a yellow triangle would show up in the system tray with a degraded raid. I double checked that there are NO WARNINGS by re-installing Windows 7 Pro SP1 fresh and making a RAID 1 through Disk Management. And when I unplugged one of the drives, nothing on the desktop suggested the Mirror was bad. Only in Disk Management. So I know this has nothing to do with services disabled or registry tweaks - this was a default Windows 7 Pro SP1 installation. When I tried to hot plug the drive back in to re-create the failed redundancy, the drive showed up as "foreign" and then it wouldn't let me re-create the raid. At least the mirror drive worked. I also checked the event viewer to see what the errors were when I purposely degraded the raid by unplugging the drive. There were no errors listed - not even any warnings! The only warning hinting something was wrong was that their was an error trying to rebuild the raid when I plugged the drive back in.

    This is a major oversight to WINDOWS 7 MIRROR RAIDS! What's the point of having a mirrored drive if the user never knows the Mirror Raid is degraded??? In my opinion, it is a bad idea to use the mirror raid 1 functionality built into Windows 7.

    Intel CHIPSET BIOS MIRROR RAID = Warning upon bootup that the raid is degraded.
    You won't know the raid is degraded until the next cold reboot. This could be a problem if someone uses sleep all the time. But Intel has a fix. If the full Intel RST drivers are installed (not the F6 only driver), a small program called Intel Control Center is installed. Intel Control Center sits in the system tray and if anything goes wrong with one of the drives, the icon changes to have a tiny yellow triangle with an exclamation point. Clicking that opens a status screen showing the Raid is degraded. So the Intel Raid has full warning on boot and within the windows tray that the Raid has a problem.

    Another advantage of the Intel chipset RAID is that windows sees the Raid as a single "basic disk." If one drive goes bad, the working drive can be pulled out, and it can be plugged into any computer, even through a common USB enclosure. The drive will show up as a single "basic disk" and all the data will be available.

    In short, if you want a mirror Raid, Windows 7 software raid is not good and Intel Chipset with full RST Drivers and the Intel Control Center seems ok. A true hardware raid card would obviously be best. Hopefully someone is helped by this because I spent too much time trying to figure it out...
     
  6. Sovereign87

    Sovereign87 n00bie

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Thanks orbidia for these very useful informations !

    I can confirm too that there is no notification when the raid is degraded in Windows 7. This single point makes Windows 7 Software RAID completely useless for me now :rolleyes:

    Cool ! Thanks for the info !

    Yes but this will work only for RAID 1 ;)

    Anyway, thanks again for the infos. I will use the onboard RAID controller of my Asus P8P67 EVO REV 3.0 to create my RAID 1... well, until I buy a NAS :)
     
  7. mwroobel

    mwroobel [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,769
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Even worse is you have to do some research (or guess) on which errors will actually be brought up that you want to catch. Error 11 is a general disk error, but breaking the mirror is a separate error.
     
  8. marcerickson

    marcerickson n00bie

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Trigger the error in Event Viewer by making the mirror fail by - oh, I don't know - maybe - unplugging one of the member disks?

    You can then get Event Viewer to send an email - you may have to set up an email client on the computer with settings for an email account.
     
  9. mwroobel

    mwroobel [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,769
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    That is not the best way to do things. Even if you do that, it will likely kick up an error 11. But error 11 is just one of the errors that can pop up when a mirror breaks. It can also pop up error 7, error 15, error 41, error 51, error 2001 and error 12294 (and even more errors depending on what drivers/controllers are involved) which will break the mirror but for different failures. You have to trap for all of them.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  10. Red Falcon

    Red Falcon [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    9,295
    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    A shitty Microsoft Windows feature, or lack there of, big shocker.
    This is why individuals with Windows need to use FakeRAID or hardware RAID.

    For software RAID, stick with UNIX or Linux distros.
     
  11. marcerickson

    marcerickson n00bie

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
  12. marcerickson

    marcerickson n00bie

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Thanks, mwroobel - I'll try that too.
     
  13. Unknown-One

    Unknown-One [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    8,862
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Er... I just tried it on one of my boxes with a software RAID 1 mirror, and I was notified.

    About 3 minutes after I unplugged the 2nd disk, a yellow triangle popped up in the system tray notifying me of the failure (this popup was logged with Event ID 26).

    Then it began periodically logging disk errors (Event ID 15) into the event log.

    Not seeing the issue here...
     
  14. agent8

    agent8 [H]Lite

    Messages:
    70
    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    Thanks for bringing this up, I am about to do raid 1 with windows. Now I am not so sure.
     
  15. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    6,013
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    The Intel RST did let me know @ a RAID failure in RAID0 but the OP asked about a MS error notification.

    An Intel RAID WILL alert you to a problem.

    Looks like we're talking about two different things and it seems like the OP doesn't know there's a difference?
     
  16. mwroobel

    mwroobel [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,769
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Unless you have a specific need or expectation to bring this array to a new windows box with dissimilar hardware, if you have a chipset with at least an Intel ICH7 you will be better served by using the onboard Intel RAID1. Lower level control, better drivers and notification if problems pop up.
     
  17. marcerickson

    marcerickson n00bie

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    I trapped for all of those error numbers from the System log and from the Disk source. Hopefully that will be good enough - I'm shipping this computer to a non-technical user who's about 1200 km away.

    Thanks to all, especially mwroobel.
     
  18. mwroobel

    mwroobel [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,769
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Glad to help, that's why were are all here!