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PCI SATA II Controller Card + 'Green' WD HDD + New Installation = fail RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have an older AMD-based Gigabyte mobo with no SATA connectors. WHS is running on it, and it's working fine, except...
    I have 4 old IDE drives that total 450GB. The average transfer rate on the best drive is 48Mb, the worst 17Mb. So of course I must improve upon this situation. :)

    I bought a PCI SATA card - Syba SD-SATA2-4IR PCI SATA II Controller Card - and a new 1TB WD HDD with the intention of doing a new WHS installation. Having done all relevant backups, I removed all the old IDE HDD's and inserted the PCI SATA card and attached the SATA HDD to it. After setting the RAID config to Concatenation and having failed to install WHS after 3 attempts, I flashed the SATA card's BIOS to SATALink and once again attempted WHS installation.

        *I've also attempted installations of Ubuntu and Windows 7 RTM. These both failed as well.

    WHS installation gets to the Preparing installation/Copying Installation Files phase, but then starts generating File Copy Errors . Though I am prompted earlier in the installation process for the SATA card's driver which I then supply and WHS installer apparently accepts, I have a feeling that the 20GB partition is not being properly formatted. Why do I say this? Because when I re-attempt the installation after a failure, I see that there is a 20GB RAW partition (just before the prompt to acknowledge loss of all data due to pending HDD format). I assume RAW partition means that while the disk was able to be properly partitioned, the formatting process which seemed to have succeeded actually did not. Otherwise I'd be looking at a 20GB NTFS partition, right?

    Anyways, I'm at a loss right now. If anyone has experience with this, I'd really appreciate some help.

    ***Update @ 9:25 PM EST - I swapped the WD drive for a 1TB Seagate 7200.12 SATA HDD and was able to install WHS on my Q9550 computer. I will put this Seagate drive, along with the SATA card, back into the system I intended it for (the AMD Athlon XP-based system) and give it another shot. I think I'll try a Re-Installation first, if it's available. I'll let you know how that goes.
    • Edited by dvn1 Friday, September 18, 2009 2:03 AM
    Thursday, September 17, 2009 11:40 PM

Answers

  • In order to install Windows Home Server yourself, need to be able to sort out driver issues (which is what you're experiencing).

    In this particular case, and assuming that the card is capable of working as a boot target (something I'm not going to try to determine) your boot drive is a SATA drive, in SATA mode. Windows Home Server doesn't include drivers for this configuration, so you need to supply them yourself. And since Windows Server 2003 setup also doesn't have drivers (that's why it's failing) you will need to supply drivers again at the start of text-mode setup, at the "Press F6" prompt. For this, you will likely have to supply drivers on a floppy drive; Windows Server 2003 text-mode setup will usually not accept drivers on a USB flash drive. So you should get out the manual for your card and read up on preparing an "F6 floppy".

    An alternative if the card supports it is to put it into "legacy IDE" mode (the actual name varies, but the intent is that drives will be accessed as though they were standard IDE drives). Wincows Home Server will have no problems with this configuration. Failing that, a new motherboard which does support Legacy IDE mode (you can determine this from the board's manual) would be an option.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Proposed as answer by Ken WarrenModerator Friday, September 18, 2009 9:41 PM
    • Marked as answer by dvn1 Friday, September 18, 2009 10:27 PM
    Friday, September 18, 2009 4:17 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • I have zero experience with this card, but, after reading the reviews on Newegg, you have less than 50% chance of getting it to work.   This is probably something you don't want to hear, but, dump your IDE drives and get a new motherboard that supports SATA drives.  I've got ten spare IDE drives that I'll never use again.  For me it was cheaper to invest in a $55 Gigabyte motherboard and move on.

    Friday, September 18, 2009 1:35 AM
  • It may come to that, but I hope not because I'd also need to spring for RAM and a new power supply. I'll know in awhile because I'm doing a Re-installation right now. Fingers crossed, but I think the 'green' WD drive was incompatible with the card. As I mentioned, I was able to finally achieve WHS installation, though on another computer, after I dumped the WD and went with the Seagate.
    Friday, September 18, 2009 2:02 AM
  • *Update 5:00 AM:

    The process got further along - to the Small Business Server (blue background) portion of the installation - before it again failed with File Copy Errors. I will take another look at flashing the card with another, perhaps newer, BIOS. I'll also check the mobo's BIOS, but I'm betting that I've already flashed it to the last and latest BIOS a few years ago. arghhhhhhh!

    ~Adding to the point about the HDD being/not being formatted correctly: I've noticed in subsequent attempts with the 'green' WD HDD that the partition was in fact formatted as NTFS, so that might have been a one-time occurrence.
    Friday, September 18, 2009 9:07 AM
  • In order to install Windows Home Server yourself, need to be able to sort out driver issues (which is what you're experiencing).

    In this particular case, and assuming that the card is capable of working as a boot target (something I'm not going to try to determine) your boot drive is a SATA drive, in SATA mode. Windows Home Server doesn't include drivers for this configuration, so you need to supply them yourself. And since Windows Server 2003 setup also doesn't have drivers (that's why it's failing) you will need to supply drivers again at the start of text-mode setup, at the "Press F6" prompt. For this, you will likely have to supply drivers on a floppy drive; Windows Server 2003 text-mode setup will usually not accept drivers on a USB flash drive. So you should get out the manual for your card and read up on preparing an "F6 floppy".

    An alternative if the card supports it is to put it into "legacy IDE" mode (the actual name varies, but the intent is that drives will be accessed as though they were standard IDE drives). Wincows Home Server will have no problems with this configuration. Failing that, a new motherboard which does support Legacy IDE mode (you can determine this from the board's manual) would be an option.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Proposed as answer by Ken WarrenModerator Friday, September 18, 2009 9:41 PM
    • Marked as answer by dvn1 Friday, September 18, 2009 10:27 PM
    Friday, September 18, 2009 4:17 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks, Ken.

    Ok, I supplied F6 drivers during the Server 2003 portion, heard the floppy being accessed, but still saw file copy errors and ultimately failure. I think I'm done with this.

    Was the SATA card capable of supporting a boot target? Yes, I established that for myself when I successfully installed WHS using the SATA card and SATA HDD with my Q9550 computer. And I was surprised to see that average transfer rates were in the 80's. I had thought that the PCI interface would not allow such decent rates. As I mentioned previously, when WHS installation failed with the SATA card configured with a SATA RAID BIOS, I flashed it to a SATALink BIOS and was then able to achieve a successful installation on my Q9550 computer, though never on my Athlon-XP based computer.


    SATA mode and legacy IDE are unfamiliar terms. Do they mean the same thing? And are they the same as SATALink?


    Overall, a bit of a disappointment. I suppose it may be time to go shopping for new parts. Can a I get a note from someone for my girlfriend explaining why I must spend more money? :)
    Friday, September 18, 2009 10:56 PM
  • Thanks, Ken.

    Ok, I supplied F6 drivers during the Server 2003 portion, heard the floppy being accessed, but still saw file copy errors and ultimately failure. I think I'm done with this.

    Was the SATA card capable of supporting a boot target? Yes, I established that for myself when I successfully installed WHS using the SATA card and SATA HDD with my Q9550 computer. And I was surprised to see that average transfer rates were in the 80's. I had thought that the PCI interface would not allow such decent rates. As I mentioned previously, when WHS installation failed with the SATA card configured with a SATA RAID BIOS, I flashed it to a SATALink BIOS and was then able to achieve a successful installation on my Q9550 computer, though never on my Athlon-XP based computer.


    SATA mode and legacy IDE are unfamiliar terms. Do they mean the same thing? And are they the same as SATALink?

    SATA mode (or it might also be called AHCI in your BIOS) allows the SATA drives to be used as SATA drives.  However, some OSes (including WHS) can be difficult to install on SATA drives because they don't have the drivers for it.  So some mobo manufacturers have a setting in the BIOS for the SATA ports called IDE/Legacy mode (or something similar).  All it means is that when that is enabled, the drives will appear as IDE (also known as PATA) drives instead of SATA drives (to allow for compatibility).

    Overall, a bit of a disappointment. I suppose it may be time to go shopping for new parts. Can a I get a note from someone for my girlfriend explaining why I must spend more money? :)
    You're on your own there.  :)
    Saturday, September 19, 2009 2:40 AM
    Moderator
  • What i did on an old gigabyte 478 socket board was put in a promise fastTrax tx2300 with 2 1tb wd blacks on the pci bus. when it starts up, watch for the setup at which time i hit ctrl+f to bring up the config of the array. Configed as raid 1 say yes to both drives and ctrl+y to make the array and reboot. WHS install i load the driver from floppy f6 and away it goes. Did mess it up onces but when i tried to reinstall whs it would come back with errors. So i when back to the promise config, broke the array and started a new one and reinstalled whs without problems. I found that the only way i could get whs to install was to do that because it was not formating the first install where the errors or in this case partions were. Hope that gives you some help. I was going to get that card you have but went with the promise because they just work. :] P.S. you also need two drvs for an array to work or set the card up for jbod if it's supported.
    • Edited by foxtail Sunday, September 20, 2009 4:15 AM edit
    Sunday, September 20, 2009 4:13 AM
  • What i did on an old gigabyte 478 socket board was put in a promise fastTrax tx2300 with 2 1tb wd blacks on the pci bus. when it starts up, watch for the setup at which time i hit ctrl+f to bring up the config of the array. Configed as raid 1 say yes to both drives and ctrl+y to make the array and reboot. WHS install i load the driver from floppy f6 and away it goes. Did mess it up onces but when i tried to reinstall whs it would come back with errors. So i when back to the promise config, broke the array and started a new one and reinstalled whs without problems. I found that the only way i could get whs to install was to do that because it was not formating the first install where the errors or in this case partions were. Hope that gives you some help. I was going to get that card you have but went with the promise because they just work. :] P.S. you also need two drvs for an array to work or set the card up for jbod if it's supported.

    Yes, that's interesting. I did not initially think of RAID because as I understand since coming to this forum, I should avoid RAID in WHS. It is good that you have found a way to make it work, but my thought is that I wouldn't choose RAID 1 because between folder dup, WHS BDBB, and external usb backups, I'd have it covered. Plus, the overhead of RAID 1 would be too much for an Athlon 2700+ single core system, no? <- I'm guessing about that since I don't have any experience with RAID, just the little I've read.

    Yes, I'm tempted to try another SATA card, perhaps the Promise card you mentioned, because it would be an inexpensive upgrade. Thus far, I've only spent money for a gigabit LAN card. Everything else is spare parts. :)

    Having said those things, the SATA card came flashed with a RAID BIOS. So, I went into the RAID Configuration utility and configured the drive for 'Concatenation ', as that was the only option available for a single HDD. I am guessing that this is my mobo RAID Configuration utility's way of saying JBOD, which if I understand JBOD, presents all HDD's connected via SATA card as one single huge HDD. After thinking about this, and having failed several attempts to install WHS with this configuration, I decided that this might not be a good hardware config to present to WHS since DE has its own way of managing drive space. So I did some research and found that I could flash the card with a SATALink BIOS.

    If I understood correctly, SATALink does not support RAID, but rather provides SATA connection(s) much like any motherboard-attached SATA connector. In other words, SATALink presents SATA HDD's to an OS in a way that is indistinguishable from SATA HDD's connected directly to the mobo. <- Can someone confirm this, please?

    As I have since learned, one tricky part of WHS installation is the F6 drivers which must also be provided during the Server 2003 portion. Well, even though I did that, and I took several shots at it, installation inevitably failed with 'Drive Copy Error(s).' It appears that there is something about this SATA card - incompatibility, defect, poor implementation, lousy karma - that makes it useless for my purposes. So, RMA to Newegg.

    I may try another SATA card, but whatever the solution, it can't be a kludge because I don't want to risk introducing any system instability.

    *For what it's worth - I wanted to see if transfer rates for a HDD attached to this SATA card would be comparable to an HDD attached directly to the mobo. I connected the SATA card w/ 1TB Seagate 7200.12 HDD to my Q9550 system, then ran HD Tune's Transfer Rate test. The average transfer rates (81 MB/sec) were pretty much the same whether the HDD was attached to the SATA card or directly to the mobo.

    Sunday, September 20, 2009 3:24 PM
  • Yes, that's interesting. I did not initially think of RAID because as I understand since coming to this forum, I should avoid RAID in WHS.

    RAID is unsupported on WHS.  Having said that, it's possible to get hardware RAID to work.  However, should the need for a reinstallation ever come up, it will probably make it more difficult.

    It is good that you have found a way to make it work, but my thought is that I wouldn't choose RAID 1 because between folder dup, WHS BDBB, and external usb backups, I'd have it covered. Plus, the overhead of RAID 1 would be too much for an Athlon 2700+ single core system, no? <- I'm guessing about that since I don't have any experience with RAID, just the little I've read.

    Yes, I'm tempted to try another SATA card, perhaps the Promise card you mentioned, because it would be an inexpensive upgrade. Thus far, I've only spent money for a gigabit LAN card. Everything else is spare parts. :)

    Having said those things, the SATA card came flashed with a RAID BIOS. So, I went into the RAID Configuration utility and configured the drive for 'Concatenation ', as that was the only option available for a single HDD. I am guessing that this is my mobo RAID Configuration utility's way of saying JBOD, which if I understand JBOD, presents all HDD's connected via SATA card as one single huge HDD.

    Correct.  (FYI, that's also known as "spanning".)

    After thinking about this, and having failed several attempts to install WHS with this configuration, I decided that this might not be a good hardware config to present to WHS since DE has its own way of managing drive space. So I did some research and found that I could flash the card with a SATALink BIOS.

    If I understood correctly, SATALink does not support RAID, but rather provides SATA connection(s) much like any motherboard-attached SATA connector. In other words, SATALink presents SATA HDD's to an OS in a way that is indistinguishable from SATA HDD's connected directly to the mobo. <- Can someone confirm this, please?

    As I have since learned, one tricky part of WHS installation is the F6 drivers which must also be provided during the Server 2003 portion. Well, even though I did that, and I took several shots at it, installation inevitably failed with 'Drive Copy Error(s).' It appears that there is something about this SATA card - incompatibility, defect, poor implementation, lousy karma - that makes it useless for my purposes. So, RMA to Newegg.

    I may try another SATA card, but whatever the solution, it can't be a kludge because I don't want to risk introducing any system instability.

    *For what it's worth - I wanted to see if transfer rates for a HDD attached to this SATA card would be comparable to an HDD attached directly to the mobo. I connected the SATA card w/ 1TB Seagate 7200.12 HDD to my Q9550 system, then ran HD Tune's Transfer Rate test. The average transfer rates (81 MB/sec) were pretty much the same whether the HDD was attached to the SATA card or directly to the mobo.

    Sunday, September 20, 2009 4:17 PM
    Moderator