This is a documentation installation of a Windows 7 x64 on a Asus P5K motherboard using a RAID0. First of all I must say, that I’ve managed this RAID0 installation and the speed increase was very impressive, and I’d like to share my experiences on how to set up a hardware based RAID0 with Windows 7 x64, since it was all, but straight forward.
In advance: I do not use a RAID anymore, because I’ve noticed some ugly side effects, which urged me to drop this RAID idea again. FarCry2 and Crysis Warhead simply didn’t work on my RAID system. Maybe more titles are affected. Feedback welcome.
This is roughly the overview of the steps one has to perform in order to install a Windows 7 on a hardware RAID (e.g. Intel ICH9R/ICH10R):
I though I’m a more or less experienced Linux user and administrator, and a MS-Windows could not shock me, but I was thought else.
Cable and BIOS Setup
The first curiosity started, and here is Windows not involved at all, with the connection of the cables for my RAID on a Asus
P5K motherboard. The manual states:
This connector (2) is for a Serial ATA single cable that supports a Serial ATA hard disk. To configure RIAD 0, RAID 1, or JBOD, install
an internal Serial ATA hard disk drive to this connector and an external Serial ATA drive to the external (1) SATA port.
Well, here you need a eSATA to SATA cable in the first place, and I bet you don’t call such a one your own. Even then you have to imagine, that
your precious RAID is connected via an external eSATA connector, which somehow, have to find its way into your computer case again!
If the cable is connected, you have to setup your RAID with the built in JMicron BIOS. This is done by pressing whilst in boot POST
Ctrl+Jbuttons. Use there the create menu, and choose the default values for a RAID0 (striped) configuration. Safe and leave it.
Setup to use RAID in your BIOS, too.
- Pull all disks
I’m mentioning this at this point of the installation, because if I do it later, it will be too late.
If you have connected a card reader or a bunch of other disks, at least something which shows itself to the system as a mass storage device, unplug it for the installation process. Windows 7 x64 won’t install on anything different than on drive
C:To make this possible you have to unplug all you can. Else you risk your primary partition won’t be drive
- Use only one display
Use only one CRT or TFT for the installation procedure.
It’s funny (not really), but I once had an already working installation, and didn’t even noticed it, because the active video signal decided to switch
onto the other display. The previously active one went black, but the new signal didn’t kicked in for the second display. I only noticed this, by accidentally
pulling the cable from my primary display. This usually happens when the native monitor resolution is being chosen, so actually almost at the end of the installation process.
I’ve used to sit and look at my HDD-LED blinking in an one second interval for almost half an hour, while the display was dark.
At the second attempt, and only because I was slipping down the chair while getting asleep, I accidentally pulled the display cable with my foot, which revealed this misery. That’s why: Use only one display for installation.
- RAID driver
Start now the installation. In my case it took almost 20 minutes, until something of interest starts to happen on the screen. This is when Windows
finally can’t find any drive to install to, and you have to provide your device drivers for your RAID on a floppy disk or CD/DVD.
Although it seemed to me pretty obvious an clear, that I had to choose the Intel driver for my ICH9R RAID chipset, it was absolutely wrong.
(it took me a while to realize that). All you need is current driver from JMicron:
and in our case the driver with the eSATA extension is to choose. I’ve took the driver from 9th of November, 2009 (was the most current one).
After that Windows recognized my previously created RAID.
If you’ve done all as described above, and nevertheless you get this error message:
Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing partition
then you have to do some manual investigations and create and set your own system partition as active. Choose therefor a partition size of 100MB (Mega-! not Gigabyte)
- start a command shell with
- cd into
- or search your logs with
>dir /s *.log
- perform a
>type setupact.log | find "0x06069e"
and look for this output in your logfile:
[0x06069e] IBS GetMachineInfo:Couldn't find boot disk on the BIOS-based computer
- This means, Windows is unable to create a small system partition on its own, so you must assist. Do this by starting
- list all available volumes:
- select your disk volume in question:
- list all partitions on this volume, and select the one you’ve created before (100MB), and set it active.
to verify the result, perform a
- start a command shell with
Proceed with the Windows 7 installation as usual.
Additional Notes regarding Windows 7 installation
- Total freezes accessing Samba shares
In my case, I had to update the Atheros L1 Gigabit driver, because I had freezes accessing Samba shares with large files. It turned out the driver is buggy, and needs an update. Use the Windows mechanism to do it.
- Can’t access files on Samba shares
The Samba integration with Windows 7 needs correction. The cooperation within a Workgroup doesn’t work right. I’ve made these additional entries/changes:
- Turn off password protected shares
- Add these values into your registry with
DWORD DomainCompatibilityMode = 1
DWORD DNSNameResolutionRequired = 0
- Printer Problem
- Some games crashes, don't start or stutter
FarCry2 started to work, after I gave up my RAID0 solution, and Crysis Warhead didn't stutter anymore (fluent game play now).
Some games e.g. Need for Speed - Shift are known not to work with Windows 7 occasionally. For the latter I don't have any solution yet. All drivers are up to date, so I can exclude an old driver issue.
Windows 7 won't be able to add your Cups/Samba printer the default way.
Add it as network printer, but you eventually need drivers first. That's why connect your printer directly to the box, wait until drivers are installed automatically, then plug your printer into your Linux server again.
Add your printer now e.g. like this: