Having problems with your Dell Dimension 9100 PC Desktop ?

RAID-1 failure on Dell Dimension 9100 Desktop

\015 I have a Dell Dimension 9100 Desktop using RAID-1 with 2 160GB HDDs, Intel Matrix Storage Manager ROM v5.0.01032 1CH7R. Bios indicates RAID has failed (error occurred 0). The RAID failed in sequence, as one drive failed, then the second one went bad awhile later before I could replace the 1st one, but the data I need to preserve would exist on both drives. The only hardware/software changes between failure of the first & second drives was the installation of a new HP all-in-one printer on my wireless network...but I used the printer for 3 days before the second drive failed so I doubt the printer install had anything to do with the RAID failure. Basic Bios test indicates both drives PASS. Error code on front of machine is 1,2,3 (green lights). Machine cannot boot WindowsXP Pro because operating system is on HDD but I am hesitant to boot from original WindowsXP CD-ROM. I have read that booting from CD can make it impossible to ever recover data from the HDDs and I cannot afford to risk losing data if I have any other options. I was under the assumption that a RAID-1 served the purpose of a backup=was I ever wrong about that!!! Are there any diagnostics that I can try without harming the existing data? I am not experienced at computer repair, but I follow instructions really well, am fairly intelligent and logical, and have a good inate problem solving skills. Should I just purchase 2 new HDD and save the old ones for professional recovery at a later date? Must I purchase two 160GB drives as replacements to keep the RAID operational, or can I upgrade to 650GB drives? Cant afford expensive professional RAID data recovery now as am one of the many unemployed due to the 2009 layoffs. I am using a borrowed laptop for a few weeks while I decide what to do. ANY SUGGESTIONS OR INSIGHTS WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.\015

Answers :

Since you are using RAID 1 (Mirroring) you will only need to send one drive for data recovery.\015\012
\015\012Since the Dimension 9100 uses SATA HDDs yes you can increase the storage capacity up to a matched pair of 650GB drives. I'd suggest you use the most current BIOS revision, but SATA controllers seem to be much more agreeable to large HDDs vs the EIDE ones before them.\015\012
\015\012RAID is redundancy, but it is not a data backup, as you have learned. Important data should be backed up to DVDs monthly/quarterly etc. and you can even do critical backups weekly.
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