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Booting Windows 7 on software raid


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#1 Laeffe

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 08:36 PM

Hi.

Hopefully I'm posting in the right forum now ;)

 

I'm trying to boot Windows 7 on a striped Windows software raid. All my googling so far has only told me it can not be done, but after seeing some of the cool stuff that has been done here (WinRAM and so) I think that maybe someone can give some input :D.

 

So, I have an Intel 910 Series SSD (basically 4 SSD'n on a PCI-E card) it is not visible from BIOS/UEFI and it has no hardware RAID (at least not enabled). So I want to run a striped RAID on it and install windows on top of it...

 

I totally accept that the boot partition and such needs to be on another drive and that's fine.

 

If this would have been Linux then the kernel and initrd would be on the boot disk and then it would load start the RAID and then continue booting, shouldn't that be possible with Windows as well?

 

Thank's guys and hope I was some clear ;)



#2 Rootman

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 11:56 PM

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#3 Laeffe

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 07:48 AM

Hi.

Not sure if it's only you ;)

 

I know that what I want to achieve is not the "supported way" and that any solution would be a form of hack.

 

What I ideally would like to do is put a boot partition on a regular drive, put some tools (GRUB4DOS or what not) and then start up Windows get the RAID going and then use the raid as system partition for Windows.

 

And again, yes, it's not supported and so on. But that's why I post to this forum. "Windows Extreme" sound like a good place to ask for help about extreme and unsupported setups ;)

 

EDIT: Minor "syntax fix"


Edited by Laeffe, 24 October 2014 - 07:49 AM.


#4 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 09:24 AM

Let's try to draw some tentative lines. :unsure:

 

A RAID can be assembled in TWO main ways:

  1. Hardware Raid
  2. Software Raid

 

And then there are several RAID levels.

 

Which one are you aiming to have (choose among level 0 striped - which is not actually RAID at all - level 1 mirrored, level 5 striped with parity, level 6 striped with double parity or level 10 or 1+0 mirrored without parity):

http://en.wikipedia....ard_RAID_levels

 

What specific hardware (motherboard and storage) do you have?

EXACT make/model please.

 

The point in the initial "division" is that a hardware RAID is normally "transparent" to the OS, whilst a software one needs specific settings and drivers.

BOTH need as target a number of devices that are normally accessible as "separate" devices.

 

:duff:

Wonko



#5 Rootman

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 06:20 PM

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#6 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 06:35 PM

Well, not really-really.

 

At least in the good ol' times, we managed to set up the "XP Kansas City shuffle" :smiling9: :

http://www.911cd.net...topic=21242&hl=

maybe, just maybe, something similar can be invented/put together for Windows 7 .... :unsure:

 

:duff:

Wonko



#7 cdob

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 06:36 PM

If this would have been Linux then the kernel and initrd would be on the boot disk and then it would load start the RAID and then continue booting, shouldn't that be possible with Windows as well?


A half broken approach was possible at XP:
Boot from USB/Firewire HD without BIOS support, Fake Signature Method
http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=21242

No idea if this approach works at Windows 7 too.

#8 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 06:38 PM

@cdob

Seemingly not only great minds think alike, but they also do it at the SAME TIME! ;)

 

For no apparent reason, I would add that possibly something in these "mixed mode" GPT/MBR threads may be of use :unsure:

http://reboot.pro/to...-gpt-partition/

http://reboot.pro/to...in-bios-to-gpt/

 

 

:duff:

Wonko



#9 Laeffe

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 09:28 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys!

 

Skimmed the links you sent and there is a lot of interesting ideas there, not really sure which approach I should focus on tho :(

 

I can start by describing my hardware a bit more:

 

I have a 800Gb Intel 910 Series PCI-E SSD card, and my goal is to install Windows onto it. "The problem" is that the card shows up as 4 SSD drives connected to one SAS controller (that controller supports hardware RAID, but it has been disabled by Intel and I don't think I can enable that without hacking the firmware and voiding the warranty). To get the best speed out of the card I want to run it in Striped mode and my plan is to use Windows Software RAID to do so but if there is a third party solution I'm interested in checking it out.

 

My motherboard is a GA-Z97X-Gaming 5 which has Hardware RAID but the SSD's on the 910 Series card does not show up in UEIF/BIOS and I don't think it would have been possible to use the motherboards Hardware RAID anyway (for the 910 card that is).

 

Approach to a solution:

1) Simplest solution is to just install windows on another drive (which I've done at the moment) and then install most programs and such on the 910 Series card.

 

2) Try to get Windows to start up the RAID during boot so it could be used as system partition. This means placing the loader, kernel and drivers on a disk/USB drive and then doing some cool magic. (the approach I've asked for earlier).

 

3) Boot up windows on another drive and then do some kind of remount ("bind" or something) and sort of move the mount point of c: to the 910 Series card. I've no idea if this is possible Windows.

 

If anyone has any input or other ideas I would really appreciate it :D

 

Br

Laeffe



#10 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 01:40 PM

To be absolutely clear, it is one of these?:

http://www.thessdrev...configurations/

 

I am perplexed about your note about RAID available in some firmware. :unsure:

 

There are two pieces of info still missing (or that I failed to grasp :ph34r:).

#1 if you open disk manager on a "normal" Windows 7 (installed on a "normal" harddisk, with the 4 SSD card connected) what do you see? (like 1 disk, 4 disks, what?)

#2 How exactly you would like the thingy to be setup the "striped mode"? (and possibly how have you it setup right now and whether you already tested and compared performance)

 

Not at all to put you down in any way :), but it has IMHO to be understood if the way the thingy is made (if I get this right, everything should go through Pci-E to the SaS controller and then "divided" into two or four "streams" of data to reach in "striped mode" the actual devices) allows for an increase of performance, and how much this is.

 

The "cool magic" in your point #2) is what, more or less, and related to XP and not to 7 has been done in the past, and actually it is a form of your point #3 (kind of remount).

But possibly there can be other ways (just speculating).

 

Once understood your setup, there will be anyway three steps:

1) "port" the "XP Kansas City Shuffle" (or "Fake Signature Method") generically from XP to 7 (or find an alternate "generic" method) :dubbio:

2) "adapt" the above (if working) to your specific setup/scenario/situation :ph34r:

3) "convert" the found solution to a way needing not the "external" drive (possibly using a non-striped volume on the SSD set) :unsure: 

 

Lots of questions/doubts and no real answers, I know :(.

 

:duff:

Wonko



#11 Laeffe

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 08:16 AM

Hi. (Sorry for my slow answer)
 

To be absolutely clear, it is one of these?:
http://www.thessdrev...configurations/


Yes that is correct, I also think that review talks about how it does not have hardware-RAID and that is is not bootable.
 

#1 if you open disk manager on a "normal" Windows 7 (installed on a "normal" harddisk, with the 4 SSD card connected) what do you see? (like 1 disk, 4 disks, what?)


What I see from Windows is 4 disks (which I at the moment have in a striped "windows" software RAID).

 

#2 How exactly you would like the thingy to be setup the "striped mode"? (and possibly how have you it setup right now and whether you already tested and compared performance)


Well, ultimately I would want my C: to be on a striped RAID on these 4 drives.


I'm sort of leaning to giving up the idea, since I get the feeling that any solution to this would be a fragile setup, and I don't really want it to break at every windows update or so.

BR
Laeffe



#12 Per Hansson

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 03:56 PM

Hej Laeffe,

Did you see this toturial? Posted some days after your last post here...
http://blog.asiantun...d-bootable.html

 

I've translated it to Swedish as well with some added notes:

http://www.sweclocke...m/post/15159068






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