OK, I need to vent a little.
So I buy 4 new WD3200AAKS drives -- very nice drives btw. I bought em to stick in an old computer and have a nice raid 5 array. So I go the cheap route, and decide on software raid under win2k3 server (figured id rather do that than the reg hack). So, I get the array going, start formatting partitions. On my 5th partition, the whole thing goes to hell. Disk manager shows all partitions failing in the raid 5 array. So I'm kinda pissed at this point -- I spent quite some time waiting for those things to format and even transferred tons of files over to some of the partitions and got the files all organized nicely.
I attributed the problem to Winblows. This was my first time using windows software raid.
So I pickup a highpoint 1740 controller (seems very nice as well) and start from scratch. About a quarter through array setup the alarm goes off and I get an error. The drive on channel 3 is reportedly bad. So I try again just to make sure it wasn't something random, and same thing. So it looks like one of my new drives was a lemon after all. I build a raid 5 array with 3 drives and plan to online-capacity-migrate or whatever the correct term is when I get my replacement drive in.
The 3 disk array builds fine, and then when I go to create partitions and format I notice my 2 PATA storage drives in that box (I had "upgraded" them to dynamic disks under windows in XP before) are "offline." Now, they were working JUST FRICKEN FINE before I installed the RAID controller. So WTF happened now?!?!
I tried to dabble around and bring them back online with no luck. Brought them to another system and still no luck. Now I'm getting pissed off -- 250GB of MP3s are one one of those disks, and 120GB of DIVX movies on the other. I don't really give a crap about the movies, but the MP3s I would be VERY VERY VERY pissed off about. If I have trouble recovering any of that, I'll send it in to professionals.
So, using EasyRecovery Pro on another computer right now (it doesn't run under 2k3 server for some cool reason). Recovering over "fast" ethernet right now -- not so goddamned fast. Hopefully all files recover properly. I wish I would have had a good backup or at least an MD5 of the files to make sure nothing is screwed.
Do files ever recover, but not correctly? EasyRecovery seems to be doing a splendid job, even though it's going over a slow network. My MP3 collection is very precious to me.
Moral of the story: When dealing with multiple problems on a windows-based machine, you can rest assured that if not all of the problems are caused by the operating system, at least some of them are. Dynamic disks apparently aren't "safer" either, although I've seen claims that they store file system info on multiple physical disks. What a bunch of BS.
Question about online capacity change...will the array turn out the same as it would if all drives were setup from the beginning? It doesn't fudge it around to get it to work, does it? After I increase capacity, will it just show up as unpartitioned space on the disk? Anything to know or watch out for?
Thanks for the info and listening to my venting. I have so many problems with hard drives it's ridiculous. All other computer components combined don't give me as much grief.