Monday, 24 December 2007

Meltdown!

Well, ive managed to be offline for a while, as i managed to completely screw up my operating system and have had to endure a complete reinstall!

I some how managed to do this as such!

I needed to check something as regards the RAM installed in my machine. So duely shut the thing down, turned off the PSU and opened up the side panel... removed a RAM stick... checked what i needed to know, and duely returned it to the slot.

Starting the machine up again and the Nvidia RAID control on the way in tells me my RAID5 C:\ system drive is degraded :-S so i hop into the RAID settings and discover that one of the 4 drives is missing... so im thinking one of the drives had failed? Although firstly i decided to check the insides of the machine before going to that length, and sure enough i had caught one of the power leads and managed to disconnect the drive.

You would think i could plug it back in and away i go again.... not so!

The RAID screen continued to tell me the RAID5 was degraded, so i duely jumped in and had a look.

The random thing here is the drive i managed to disconnect has now 'split' away from the other 3 in the original array, but the controller thinks it has 2 750gig RAID5 arrays?

With a bit of thinking i managed to get the rogue disk back where it should be, and set the system to 'rebuild' in which case it seemed happy to do so.... so good so far...

Again... not so! Vista was having none of it and complained that the classpnp.sys file was corrupt or missing, and if your not sure what classpnp.sys is... its something to do with SCSI hardware control... namely... hardrives!

I tried doing a boot from CD and attempting the repair command to be found on the installation disc, but no luck, Windows couldnt sort itself out at all.

So i tried booting from CD and then doing a manual repair of replacing classpnp.sys from the X: boot drive and putting back into the system32 folder.

From this i managed a partial result, the classpnp fault had gone, but now there was a complaint about winlogon.exe, so i again, using the Vista disc and the X:boot i replaced that file.

Retstart... and everything is looking good, POST is exexuted and the green 'knightrider' startup screen shows and i start to feel quite proud(!) only for the screen to go black.... and then blue.... damn.

Error codes im giving represent something to do with a complete failure of critical system files (no shit!) and no matter what i try from here on.. i couldnt get the damn thing going again!

I was hoping to be posting a solution for a duffed OS but in most cases, square one is where you must begin!

But my problem now is... i have about 400gig of data on the array, but if reinstall Vista, everything goes... not an option, as the RAID5 array was there in the first place to keep things safe! Now the array is still good but the OS is shot, so my only real way out is to get a new hardrive and do a new install.

On this note i decided id use up the 2 available SATA ports on my board and run them as RAID0 as a system drive using 2 Samsung Spinpoint 320gig 16meg cache drives.

So with that setup and the OS installed (and various drivers) i can now begin to rebuild the whole system!

I must admit, the inclusion of the RAID0 array has boosted performance of the OS and the RAID5 survived nicely and i havnt lost a single thing! All i did do was move everything from the 5 to the 0 and then did a format of the RAID5 as obviously the old duff OS was still on there and everything is sweet! Perfomance is excellent in all respects!

While im here i used to use Diskeeper on my old setup but had never bothered with it until recently on the Vista system. Now the strange thing is, MS have obviously decided to much about with the defrag program which just lets you set a 'schedule' and that should keep things peachy... well my old disc was shot to bits and fragmentation was starting to cause alot of problems!

I did install Diskeeper, but it was having a hard time of sorting things out, but this time its gone straight on with the fresh system and everything is perfectly defragged right now, and should stay like that, a damn good piece of software i must say, and much better than the old versions that i noticed gave obvious performance lags sometimes. The new 2008 version is 99% invisible in its doings!

And finally to finish off with... this has kind of taught me a lesson, as i was constantly putting off creating a backup of my system... ill do it next week, ill do it tomorrow, ill do it later, kind of attitude... and it bit me in the arse to say the least.

Near future plan is to get an IDE controller card for the PC and use an old 80gig unit ive got to store an OS backup just incase the same happens again!

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