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Need help booting RAID drive

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by M.L., Jun 30, 2010.

  1. M.L.

    M.L. Flightless Bird

    I can't get my XP Pro system to boot the RAID drive.

    Specs: Powerspec B647, Intel Core 2 Quad, 4 GB RAM, two 500 GB
    mirrored RAID hard drives (RAID controller drivers integrated into XP
    via nLite).

    The RAID BIOS setup utility shows the following:
    Boot: N/A
    Status: Healthy
    Vendor: Nvidia
    Array: Mirror
    Size: 465.76G

    When I boot to Safe Mode: computer reboots repeatedly after the *.sys
    enumeration list completes.
    When I boot to normal mode: got BSOD 0x000000BE with "An attempt was
    made to write to read-only memory."

    I performed a chkdsk /r in Recovery Mode and no errors were found.
    I performed a fixmbr in Recovery Mode and got some scary warnings as
    follows so I decided not to go through with it:

    1.) "This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master
    boot record."

    2.) "Fixmbr may damage your partition tables if you proceed. This
    would cause all partitions on the current hard disk to become
    inaccessible."

    3.) "If you are not having problems accessing your drive, do not
    continue."

    Can someone make sense of the next steps I should take to get XP to
    boot properly? Thanks.
     
  2. M.L.

    M.L. Flightless Bird


    >I can't get my XP Pro system to boot the RAID drive.
    >
    >Specs: Powerspec B647, Intel Core 2 Quad, 4 GB RAM, two 500 GB
    >mirrored RAID hard drives (RAID controller drivers integrated into XP
    >via nLite).
    >
    >The RAID BIOS setup utility shows the following:
    >Boot: N/A
    >Status: Healthy
    >Vendor: Nvidia
    >Array: Mirror
    >Size: 465.76G
    >
    >When I boot to Safe Mode: computer reboots repeatedly after the *.sys
    >enumeration list completes.
    >When I boot to normal mode: got BSOD 0x000000BE with "An attempt was
    >made to write to read-only memory."
    >
    >I performed a chkdsk /r in Recovery Mode and no errors were found.
    >I performed a fixmbr in Recovery Mode and got some scary warnings as
    >follows so I decided not to go through with it:
    >
    >1.) "This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master
    >boot record."
    >
    >2.) "Fixmbr may damage your partition tables if you proceed. This
    >would cause all partitions on the current hard disk to become
    >inaccessible."
    >
    >3.) "If you are not having problems accessing your drive, do not
    >continue."
    >
    >Can someone make sense of the next steps I should take to get XP to
    >boot properly? Thanks.


    BTW, I plan to use Puppy Linux to save the following folders to an
    external drive before doing anything irreversible:
    My Documents, Desktop, Favorites, Wallpaper
     
  3. VanguardLH

    VanguardLH Flightless Bird

    M.L. wrote:

    > I can't get my XP Pro system to boot the RAID drive.
    >
    > Specs: Powerspec B647, Intel Core 2 Quad, 4 GB RAM, two 500 GB
    > mirrored RAID hard drives (RAID controller drivers integrated into XP
    > via nLite).


    The only "nLite" that I have know of is used to assist in creating
    bootable installation CDs for Windows. Any drivers included in the
    customized (or slipstreamed) install CD that you create were added by
    you; i.e., you can have nLite add drivers to the install CD so you don't
    have to, for example, have to hit F6 during the install startup to
    specify a driver for a mass storage device (needed for Windows XP
    original to add SATA drivers). nLite doesn't include drivers. *YOU*
    give the drivers to nLite which can tell nLite to incorporate into the
    slipstreamed install CD.

    Integrating drivers using nLite into a customized installation CD for
    Windows XP doesn't mean those drivers will actually get installed.
    They'll get installed if the install program does a hardware scan and
    can detect the RAID controller to then attempt to load the driver types
    for it. Do you actually have RAID hardware? If not, a software-only
    RAID "driver" means you have to initiate some installation program.

    If using software-only RAID, you didn't need to install a driver.
    Windows already includes software RAID support. However, you cannot
    include the OS partition for Windows in the RAID setup with the
    software-only RAID support included in Windows. If you want the Windows
    partition included in a RAID setup, you need to have RAID hardware, the
    drivers for that RAID hardware designed for your version (and 32/64-bit
    version) of Windows, and the software manager to control the RAID setup
    (although the separate RAID BIOS for the RAID hardware may be sufficient
    if you don't want a GUI interface inside of Windows).

    > The RAID BIOS setup utility shows the following:
    > Boot: N/A
    > Status: Healthy
    > Vendor: Nvidia
    > Array: Mirror
    > Size: 465.76G


    Does this mean that you have an actual RAID controller or daughtercard
    to do the RAID functions in hardware? Since "nVidia" is mentioned, my
    guess is that you have some mobo with a RAID controller on it.

    > When I boot to Safe Mode: computer reboots repeatedly after the *.sys
    > enumeration list completes.
    > When I boot to normal mode: got BSOD 0x000000BE with "An attempt was
    > made to write to read-only memory."


    You sure that you installed the correct drivers for your RAID hardware
    (which you have yet to identify either by naming the brand and model of
    RAID card or the motherboard that might include [minimal] RAID support
    via a controller chip)? You sure the driver you slipstreamed into your
    Windows XP install CD using nLite is actually for Windows XP? Does
    "Windows XP Pro[fessional]" mean you are using the 32-bit or 64-bit
    version of it? If the 64-bit version, you MUST use a 64-bit version of
    drivers.

    If the RAID controller is onboard the mobo, did you get the RAID drivers
    from nVidia's web site? Or did you get them from the mobo maker's web
    site? Just because a mobo maker uses a RAID controller that may be
    common to other mobo brands doesn't mean the generic driver from the
    RAID controller maker will work on that mobo. The mobo maker can still
    make customized configs of the chip (they may use ancilliary support for
    extended functions or often don't employ all functionality available in
    the chip). First try the RAID controller driver from your unidentified
    mobo maker even if the RAID chip maker has a later version of their
    generic driver.

    > I performed a chkdsk /r in Recovery Mode and no errors were found.
    > I performed a fixmbr in Recovery Mode and got some scary warnings as
    > follows so I decided not to go through with it:
    >
    > 1.) "This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master
    > boot record."


    Did you install backup software that usurps the bootstrap code in the
    MBR on the first hard disk detected by the BIOS? Some will replace the
    bootstrap code with their own "rescue/recovery manager" to let you
    perform a restore from you backups when the OS won't boot or is
    unusable, like the Recovery Manager available with Acronis TrueImage.
    If you are using a multi-boot manager then it, too, usurps the bootstrap
    area (first 446 bytes) of the MBR. If you are using an old mobo with a
    BIOS incapable of exceeding the old 137GB partition size limit, you
    might have installed a disk manager that replaces BIOS functions to
    permit partitions larger than 137GB. There are LOTS of tools that will
    usurp (and vie for) the MBR bootstrap area (they conflict since only one
    can do this) and which replace the standard bootstrap code added by
    MS-DOS/Windows.

    > 2.) "Fixmbr may damage your partition tables if you proceed. This
    > would cause all partitions on the current hard disk to become
    > inaccessible."


    While possible that this is performed by some good utilities, there is
    malware that will replace the bootstrap code in the MBR along with
    moving around the position of the partition table entries so they are at
    non-standard offsets in the MBR. This means you MUST have that
    particular bootstrap code which knows where to find the non-standard
    offset partition table entries. Replacing the bootstrap code with the
    standard code means it expects the partition table entries (each one
    describes the start and extent of each partition) at standard offsets
    but it will screw up because those entries are not at their standard
    offsets. It may also be possible that some whole-disk encryption
    utilities might use non-standard partition table offsets; i.e., not only
    do they encrypt the partitions (so you must enter a boot-time password
    to access the partitions) but they could move the partition table
    entries around to thwart anyone that attempts to replace the bootstrap
    code (with the encryption program) with standard code. Without knowing
    the history of your hard disk(s), tis difficult to know what might've
    replaced the bootstrap code and possibly moved around the partition
    table and its entries in the MBR.

    > Can someone make sense of the next steps I should take to get XP to
    > boot properly? Thanks.


    Have you tried installing Windows *without* the RAID support that you
    slipstreamed into the install CD? That is, slipstream another CD using
    nLite that does NOT have whatever RAID drivers/software that you
    slipstreamed in before. Just see if you can get Windows to boot from
    your non-RAID setup. If you are using SATA drives, and if the gold
    (original) version of Windows, then you still need to slipstream in the
    SATA drivers. I forget which but recall that SATA drivers might've been
    included in SP-2. Even if using hardware RAID on the mobo, if you are
    using SATA drives then you need to use the mobo maker's SATA RAID
    support. It's possible they have a separate driver for IDE versus SATA
    for RAID support. My old Abit NF7-S v2 is like that. It can be
    confusing as to which driver you are supposed to install, an you even
    have to watch out for the non-v2 versus v2 mobo differences for drivers.

    Software-only RAID means you don't include the Windows partition. That
    is, you first had to install WIndows and then you can RAID the *other*
    partitions. It's possible the RAID BIOS available with the onboard RAID
    chip may let you setup a RAID 1 config; however, that is probably
    something you should do after you first get Windows working. First do a
    Windows install *without* doing anything RAID. Make sure that works
    before you then later attempt to mirror using RAID 0 (which would have
    to be done in the RAID BIOS or with a RAID manager GUI utility
    separately ran in Windows since Windows itself doesn't support RAID 0
    for sofware-only RAID). I don't know if you really want to edit system
    files, as noted in:

    http://www.vttoth.com/mirror.htm

    Most onboard RAID controllers don't have full RAID functionality; i.e.,
    they're crippled controllers that assist in software-only supported RAID
    functionality. You may need to get a real or full RAID controller card
    so you can use its boot-time manager (RAID BIOS) to include the Windows
    partition in a RAID configuration. The software-only RAID support
    available in Windows only supports RAID 0 (striping) and won't include
    the Windows partition. That's because Windows must be installed before
    RAID 0 gets setup, but that means the Windows partition already exists
    and cannot be included in a striping setup. It is possible with decent
    hardware RAID to then take that Windows partition and included it in a
    RAID config; however, some less-than-capable RAID controllers will end
    up destroying the contents of the partitions when you add them into a
    RAID config (I don't remember if this is true for striping but have seen
    this when using RAID 3/5, so you needed a RAID controller that would
    preserve the content of the partitions/volumes when added to a RAID
    setup).

    It's been a long time since I experimented with RAID with non-server
    versions of Windows. The workstation versions just don't have decent
    software-only RAID support. As I recall, when considering a non-server
    version of Windows to include its OS partition in a RAID setup meant
    having to carefully consider what RAID controller I would add to the
    computer since the onboard RAID controller were incapable or resulted in
    destroying the contents of the volumes when added to a RAID setup. The
    onboard RAID controllers just couldn't do real hardware-level RAID
    support (and even some add-on cards simply reuse these same elemental
    RAID controllers).

    http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=830&page=5

    Even if you identified your mobo and its RAID hardware, it's likely that
    I don't know its specific capabilities or how that mobo maker happened
    to extend or disable (not use) some of the RAID chip's functionality.
    The best place to ask is in the mobo maker's forums to see what other
    users have done with that same model mobo and ask what drivers they used
    and with what type of hard disks. My first guess is that you simply
    slipstreamed in the wrong drivers for both SATA and probably for RAID,
    too.

    There can also be problems if you have mixed both IDE and SATA hard
    disks inside the same computer. The BIOS may not detect the SATA drive
    before the IDE drive even if you change the drive boot order in the
    system BIOS. In my setup and to get SATA working even with the SATA
    driver slipstreamed into the install CD, I had to set the BIOS boot
    drive order to find SATA devices before IDE devices but also had to
    disconnect power from the IDE drive so the SATA drive actually got used
    for the Windows install. There's too much unknown about your hardware
    setup. Also, I don't know if you are attempting to use software-only
    RAID support included in Windows XP (which will be slow, only supports
    RAID 1 striping) or are using hardware RAID support.

    In a reply to your own original post (rather than burying it under this
    subthread) so others know the actual details of your setup, identify the
    following:

    - Make and model of motherboard.
    - RAID controller chip on the mobo, or RAID controller card (make &
    model).
    - Are all hard disks IDE or are all SATA? Is there a mix of IDE and
    SATA hard disks?
    - Where you got the SATA drivers (if using SATA drives).
    - Where you got the RAID drivers (mobo maker or RAID chip maker).
    - If Windows was already installed and then you tried using RAID. Get a
    non-RAID version of Windows working first before adding RAID. Do
    mirroring afterward (as long as the mobo or chip maker state that
    doing so is non-destructive, or you want to experiment on a fresh
    install of non-RAIDed Windows with no user data to lose to do the
    destructive checking yourself).
    - Which service pack level for Windows on the install CD.
    - Are you relying on just the software-only RAID support included in
    Windows, or a RAID manager app provided by the mobo maker, or relying
    just on the RAID BIOS settings?
    - If using hardware-level RAID (i.e., in a RAID BIOS or a Windows GUI
    utility that interfaces with the RAID BIOS).
    - Does Windows install successfully if not using any RAID config?
    - After installing Windows (in a non-RAID config), did you ever install
    the chipset drivers provided by the mobo maker?


    You do realize, right, that mirroring is only for hardware recovery, not
    for data recovery? Anything you do to your data on the primary drive
    will get reflected on the mirrored drive. So if you lose your data on
    the primary drive (delete it, malware corruption, accidental format,
    etc) then it is also lost on the mirrored drive. Mirroring is NOT used
    for data recovery. It is merely to provide hardware recovery where you
    can remove the defective primary drive and slide in the mirrored drive
    in its place to get your host immediately working again. You will still
    have to do backups if you want data recovery.

    If you use imaging backup programs then do you really need to use RAID
    mirroring? Acronis TrueImage, for example along with others, will let
    your do logical file backups but it also lets you do image backups of
    your partition(s). Rather than do sector-by-sector (physical) images,
    it can do logical images so you can do full or incremental image
    backups. Incrementals take a lot less space. You could then use your
    2nd hard disk as a backup location for your full/incremental images.
    Then when your primary hard disk fails, you can boot using the Acronis
    install CD or a rescue CD to recover the image from your backup drive
    onto your new hard disk used to replace your defective old hard disk.
    So not only do you have the availability of backups for file or image
    restores but you can also use those image backups to re-image a
    replacement hard disk. Yes, the restore of an image would take longer
    than simply swapping the mirrored drive to be the primary drive but
    mirroring doesn't give you any data backups.

    Mirrored drive: For hardware recovery only. You get a replacement drive
    that has exactly whatever the old (but now defective) primary drive had
    on it at the time of its failure. You have no means of recovering old
    versions of files or deleted/corrupted files. Whatever is on the
    primary drive is what is also on the mirrored drive. Mirroring is only
    for hardware recovery. It is not usable for data recovery.

    Image backups: For both hardware and data recovery. You have both data
    backups and a means to restore an image onto a replacement drive;
    however, you will lose changes to files made since your last full or
    incremental image backup. If you, say, do a monthly full image backup
    and daily incremental backups then you would, at most, lose a [partial]
    day's worth of changes. In case the latest image is not what you want,
    you can select an earlier image. For example, you might've installed
    something that so corrupted Windows as to make it unusable. Mirroring
    will make the copy of Windows on the mirrored drive just as unusable.
    With imaging, you can elect to restore the latest image backup or an
    earlier image backup to get back a working copy of Windows.

    Mirroring doesn't make sense on a workstation. Image backups make more
    sense. Servers have many users accessing them so hardware recovery is
    important to maintain up-time for the server. A workstation is in use
    by just one user at a time so there is no concurrent multi-user demand
    for that host and up-time is not nearly as critical as for a server.
    Imaging gives you both data and hardware recovery albeit slightly slower
    hardware recovery than when using mirroring. Mirroring gives you no
    data or file recovery. Whatever gets screwed up on the primary drive
    gets mirrored to the other drive. If Windows won't boot or you lose
    data on the primary drive, the same symptoms will exist on the mirrored
    drive.

    Rather than run daily incremental image backups and having to worry
    about losing and data that was created or changed before the next daily
    image backup, simply schedule the incremental image backup to run every
    hour or even every 10 minutes. At such short intervals, the incremental
    image will be very short-lived because little has changed in that time.
    Of course, you'll need more space on the backup drive. Also, make sure
    to use a *different* physical disk on which to save your backups, like
    another hard disk (for speedy backup time). After all, if the primary
    hard disk fails then any backups save in the same or different
    partitions on that same hard disk are lost. Since you are considering
    mirroring, you already have another hard disk. Although image backups
    are compressed, the backup disk should have a capacity that exceeds the
    size of the partition(s) that you are imaging so you can store a history
    of images from which to restore (for hardware recovery) or from which to
    extract files (for data recovery).
     
  4. M.L.

    M.L. Flightless Bird


    >> I can't get my XP Pro system to boot the RAID drive.
    >>
    >> Specs: Powerspec B647, Intel Core 2 Quad, 4 GB RAM, two 500 GB
    >> mirrored RAID hard drives (RAID controller drivers integrated into XP
    >> via nLite).

    >
    >The only "nLite" that I have know of is used to assist in creating
    >bootable installation CDs for Windows.


    I downloaded the Nvidia RAID 16.12 drivers from the Powerspec website
    and used nLite to integrate them into an XP install disc since the PC
    would not recognize my external USB floppy.

    > Does
    >"Windows XP Pro[fessional]" mean you are using the 32-bit or 64-bit
    >version of it? If the 64-bit version, you MUST use a 64-bit version of
    >drivers.


    Only 32 bit XP Pro supported. I'm confident I'm using the correct
    drivers especially since the XP recovery was not allowed to proceed
    until I integrated those drivers.

    >If you are using a multi-boot manager then it, too, usurps the bootstrap
    >area (first 446 bytes) of the MBR.


    No multiboot manager present that I'm aware of.

    >> Can someone make sense of the next steps I should take to get XP to
    >> boot properly? Thanks.

    >
    >Have you tried installing Windows *without* the RAID support that you
    >slipstreamed into the install CD? That is, slipstream another CD using
    >nLite that does NOT have whatever RAID drivers/software that you
    >slipstreamed in before. Just see if you can get Windows to boot from
    >your non-RAID setup.


    I tried unsuccessfully to install without the RAID drivers.
    I integrated both SATARAID and IDE drivers into the XP CD.

    >In a reply to your own original post (rather than burying it under this
    >subthread) so others know the actual details of your setup, identify the
    >following:
    >
    >- Make and model of motherboard.


    P6NGM-FD (MS-7366)

    >- RAID controller chip on the mobo, or RAID controller card (make &
    > model).


    Not specified on Powerspec website.
    http://www.powerspec.com/support/support_archive.phtml?selection=B647

    >- Are all hard disks IDE or are all SATA? Is there a mix of IDE and
    > SATA hard disks?


    All SATA. The Powerspec B647 PC comes standard with 1TB RAID 0 (2 x
    500GB SATA RAID HDDs) which the P6NGM-FD (MS-7366) motherboard
    natively supports.

    >- Where you got the SATA drivers (if using SATA drives).
    >- Where you got the RAID drivers (mobo maker or RAID chip maker).


    At the Powerspec website shown above.

    >- If Windows was already installed and then you tried using RAID. Get a
    > non-RAID version of Windows working first before adding RAID.
    > Do mirroring afterward (as long as the mobo or chip maker state that
    > doing so is non-destructive, or you want to experiment on a fresh
    > install of non-RAIDed Windows with no user data to lose to do the
    > destructive checking yourself).


    I don't think that will work.

    >- Which service pack level for Windows on the install CD.


    SP3

    >- Are you relying on just the software-only RAID support included in
    > Windows, or a RAID manager app provided by the mobo maker, or relying
    > just on the RAID BIOS settings?


    Relying on BIOS settings. Powerspec comes standard with the ability to
    downgrade from Vista Business to XP Pro so I don't think there's a
    need to make changes to the basic RAID configuration in order to get
    XP to boot.

    >- If using hardware-level RAID (i.e., in a RAID BIOS or a Windows GUI
    > utility that interfaces with the RAID BIOS).
    >- Does Windows install successfully if not using any RAID config?


    No it does not.

    >- After installing Windows (in a non-RAID config), did you ever install
    > the chipset drivers provided by the mobo maker?


    N/A

    >You do realize, right, that mirroring is only for hardware recovery, not
    >for data recovery? Anything you do to your data on the primary drive
    >will get reflected on the mirrored drive.


    I planned to save My Documents, Desktop, Favorites, Start menu and
    Wallpaper folders before implementing fixmbr, if needed.

    >If you use imaging backup programs then do you really need to use RAID
    >mirroring?


    RAID mirroring is standard per the PC specs. It's not my computer so
    I'm reluctant to make basic hardware configuration changes.

    I want to thank you for your exhaustive analysis of my boot issue with
    respect to RAID hardware and software. My greatest issue now is to
    determine whether I should go forward with a fixmbr command to see if
    it'll fix things or just make things worse.
     
  5. M.L.

    M.L. Flightless Bird


    >> I can't get my XP Pro system to boot the RAID drive.
    >>
    >> Specs: Powerspec B647, Intel Core 2 Quad, 4 GB RAM, two 500 GB
    >> mirrored RAID hard drives (RAID controller drivers integrated into XP
    >> via nLite).


    >> I performed a chkdsk /r in Recovery Mode and no errors were found.
    >> I performed a fixmbr in Recovery Mode and got some scary warnings as
    >> follows so I decided not to go through with it:


    After saving some precious folders I reluctantly decided to proceed
    with fixmbr in the Recovery Mode.

    Result: It booted into Windows just fine. It even restarted OK. I hope
    that result is permanent.

    In Windows, the WGA window came up, apparently wanting me to enter an
    activation key. In addition, a System Preparation Tool 2.0 window
    opened asking me to select the option of Factory, Audit or Reseal.
    I'll look up what those selections mean and hope one of them takes
    care of the XP activation.

    Powerspec B647 was factory delivered with Vista Business but allows a
    downgrade to Win XP Pro. However, I don't know if that downgrade
    offers an XP activation key. I've been trying to get in contact with
    the owner but no luck so far. I suspect she had someone else help her
    with the XP install before turning it over to me.
     
  6. VanguardLH

    VanguardLH Flightless Bird

    M.L. wrote:

    > After saving some precious folders I reluctantly decided to proceed
    > with fixmbr in the Recovery Mode.
    >
    > Result: It booted into Windows just fine. It even restarted OK. I hope
    > that result is permanent.


    Since this sounds like a fresh install of Windows XP, you didn't have
    much to lose by letting fixmbr do its job.

    > In Windows, the WGA window came up, apparently wanting me to enter an
    > activation key. In addition, a System Preparation Tool 2.0 window
    > opened asking me to select the option of Factory, Audit or Reseal.
    > I'll look up what those selections mean and hope one of them takes
    > care of the XP activation.


    You somehow obtained a sysprep "image" to do an install of Windows XP?
    You don't install an image. You lay it down on the hard disk (or volume
    if using RAID). Sysprep images are used in a corporate environment or
    by jobbers to quickly setup similar licensed images; however, that
    sysprep image is part of a volume license so you might not be permitted
    to distribute that instance to a user outside the organization to which
    the volume license was issued. If a jobber using sysprep to build hosts
    for resale, they're expected to follow with a product key update that is
    unique and provides a separate license to the customer.

    You sure that you restored a legitimate image for Windows XP? If using
    sysprep, you didn't actually do an install of Windows XP. If you used
    sysprep to replace/lay an image into a partition or volume in the
    computer, do you have an OEM license where you can slice out instances
    for distribution to outsiders (i.e., customers)? The customer doesn't
    get your volume license, so what do they get to prove ownership of a
    license?

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb457069.aspx
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc758953(WS.10).aspx
    http://www.petri.co.il/using_sysprep_in_an_image_based_installation.htm

    > Powerspec B647 was factory delivered with Vista Business but allows a
    > downgrade to Win XP Pro. However, I don't know if that downgrade
    > offers an XP activation key. I've been trying to get in contact with
    > the owner but no luck so far. I suspect she had someone else help her
    > with the XP install before turning it over to me.


    The "downgrade" requires that you have a Windows XP install CD. You
    don't actually downgrade an existing install of Vista down to XP. You
    do a fresh install of XP, call Microsoft and give them your Vista
    product key, and they will give you back an XP product key to use.

    Microsoft doesn't care how you get the install media for Windows XP.
    They won't supply it. You have to obtain it somehow. They even mention
    that it could be for a friend's computer (i.e., you are using their
    install media for your computer so you are using it for 2 computers).
    They only care that you have a legit copy of Vista (only the Business
    and Ultimate versions have the downgrade option) for which they will
    issue a product key for Windows XP however you manage to get it
    installed. OEMs are supposed to supply their own means for the
    downgrade, like providing a separate Windows XP installation. Retail
    users of Vista have to somehow obtain a copy of install media for
    Windows XP to do a *fresh* install as the "downgrade".

    http://download.microsoft.com/downl...cbd-699b0c164182/royaltyoemreferencesheet.pdf

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9040318/FAQ_Giving_up_on_Vista_Here_s_how_to_downgrade_to_XP

    You get a downgrade *right*. You don't actually get the downgrade
    installation media. That you have to obtain yourself. Once you figure
    out how to do a fresh install of Windows XP (to "replace" Vista) then
    you call Microsoft to get a product key for Windows XP by giving them
    your Vista license key.

    Although many instructions say to do a fresh install of Windows XP and
    use whatever product key came with it, I don't think you actually have
    to use a product key to activate that install of Windows XP. Just do
    the fresh Windows XP install and then call Microsoft.

    Since you already got the Windows XP install to successfully complete,
    just leave it there. Then get the product key from the customer for the
    Vista version and call Microsoft to get them to give you the product key
    for the existing Windows XP installation (be sure to record that product
    key to give to the customer). They need to retain the license doc and
    COA for the Vista license to prove they have a legit *right* to the
    downgrade (which was actually a fresh install) to the Windows XP
    license.
     
  7. Andrew E.

    Andrew E. Flightless Bird

    Youre not even close to having RAID.....
    Integrating drivers is the last step,including them in a xp cd probably
    hurts more than it helps...At this point,boot into the BIOS,set it for
    RAID (advanced chipset),set it for 2nd boot priority (xp cd 1st),once thru,
    exit,enter RAID configuration utility.Delete if such an item as a RAID set
    appears (probably not),create one,use 128,once thru,exit,boot to xp cd
    (press F6 key),install RAID drivers from floppy when asked,do this 2X,once
    asked to use floppy drivers procceed,then press enter key when thru,procceed
    to xp installation,delete partition (s),create one,reinstall xp..Also,read
    owners
    manual.Also,once in xp,install chipse installation utility,then RAID
    drivers/software.

    "M.L." wrote:

    >
    > I can't get my XP Pro system to boot the RAID drive.
    >
    > Specs: Powerspec B647, Intel Core 2 Quad, 4 GB RAM, two 500 GB
    > mirrored RAID hard drives (RAID controller drivers integrated into XP
    > via nLite).
    >
    > The RAID BIOS setup utility shows the following:
    > Boot: N/A
    > Status: Healthy
    > Vendor: Nvidia
    > Array: Mirror
    > Size: 465.76G
    >
    > When I boot to Safe Mode: computer reboots repeatedly after the *.sys
    > enumeration list completes.
    > When I boot to normal mode: got BSOD 0x000000BE with "An attempt was
    > made to write to read-only memory."
    >
    > I performed a chkdsk /r in Recovery Mode and no errors were found.
    > I performed a fixmbr in Recovery Mode and got some scary warnings as
    > follows so I decided not to go through with it:
    >
    > 1.) "This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master
    > boot record."
    >
    > 2.) "Fixmbr may damage your partition tables if you proceed. This
    > would cause all partitions on the current hard disk to become
    > inaccessible."
    >
    > 3.) "If you are not having problems accessing your drive, do not
    > continue."
    >
    > Can someone make sense of the next steps I should take to get XP to
    > boot properly? Thanks.
    >
    >
    >
    > .
    >
     
  8. M.L.

    M.L. Flightless Bird


    >> After saving some precious folders I reluctantly decided to proceed
    >> with fixmbr in the Recovery Mode.
    >>
    >> Result: It booted into Windows just fine. It even restarted OK. I hope
    >> that result is permanent.

    >
    >Since this sounds like a fresh install of Windows XP, you didn't have
    >much to lose by letting fixmbr do its job.


    Not a fresh install, but an XP Recovery. All data and programs are
    intact. The owner told me she had Microcenter do the Vista to XP
    downgrade in Sept 2009.

    >> In Windows, the WGA window came up, apparently wanting me to enter an
    >> activation key.


    I got rid of the WGA wizard with a utility. Microsoft Security
    Essentials validated successfully during its install so the system is
    already properly activated.

    > In addition, a System Preparation Tool 2.0 window
    >> opened asking me to select the option of Factory, Audit or Reseal.
    >> I'll look up what those selections mean and hope one of them takes
    >> care of the XP activation.

    >
    >You somehow obtained a sysprep "image" to do an install of Windows XP?
    >You don't install an image. You lay it down on the hard disk (or volume
    >if using RAID).


    No install involved. All I did was type "Y" when prompted by fixmbr
    during recovery. I really don't know how or why sysprep showed up.

    >You sure that you restored a legitimate image for Windows XP? If using
    >sysprep, you didn't actually do an install of Windows XP.


    No install, just an XP Recovery.

    >The "downgrade" requires that you have a Windows XP install CD. You
    >don't actually downgrade an existing install of Vista down to XP. You
    >do a fresh install of XP, call Microsoft and give them your Vista
    >product key, and they will give you back an XP product key to use.


    Thanks for that information. It's important to know. Microcenter did
    the downgrade for the owner.

    >They need to retain the license doc and
    >COA for the Vista license to prove they have a legit *right* to the
    >downgrade (which was actually a fresh install) to the Windows XP
    >license.


    The Vista COA sticker is glued to the top of the PC. I'm going to call
    Microcenter tomorrow to ask them how to get rid of the sysprep window
    in XP.

    Thanks for all the additional info you provided. I learned a lot.
     
  9. M.L.

    M.L. Flightless Bird


    >> I can't get my XP Pro system to boot the RAID drive.
    >>
    >> Specs: Powerspec B647, Intel Core 2 Quad, 4 GB RAM, two 500 GB
    >> mirrored RAID hard drives (RAID controller drivers integrated into XP
    >> via nLite).
    >>
    >> The RAID BIOS setup utility shows the following:
    >> Boot: N/A
    >> Status: Healthy
    >> Vendor: Nvidia
    >> Array: Mirror
    >> Size: 465.76G
    >>
    >> When I boot to Safe Mode: computer reboots repeatedly after the *.sys
    >> enumeration list completes.
    >> When I boot to normal mode: got BSOD 0x000000BE with "An attempt was
    >> made to write to read-only memory."
    >>
    >> I performed a chkdsk /r in Recovery Mode and no errors were found.
    >> I performed a fixmbr in Recovery Mode and got some scary warnings as
    >> follows so I decided not to go through with it:


    >> 1.) "This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master
    >> boot record."
    >>
    >> 2.) "Fixmbr may damage your partition tables if you proceed. This
    >> would cause all partitions on the current hard disk to become
    >> inaccessible."
    >>
    >> 3.) "If you are not having problems accessing your drive, do not
    >> continue."


    I've since learned that those warnings are standard for fixmbr.

    >> Can someone make sense of the next steps I should take to get XP to
    >> boot properly? Thanks.


    > Youre not even close to having RAID.....
    > Integrating drivers is the last step,including them in a xp cd probably
    > hurts more than it helps...At this point,boot into the BIOS,set it for
    > RAID (advanced chipset),set it for 2nd boot priority (xp cd 1st),


    Those BIOS settings were already present.

    >once thru,
    > exit,enter RAID configuration utility.Delete if such an item as a RAID set
    > appears (probably not),create one,use 128,once thru,exit,boot to xp cd
    > (press F6 key),install RAID drivers from floppy when asked,


    I tried the floppy route first but the PC wouldn't recognize my
    external USB floppy. That's why I resorted to the nLite RAID driver
    integration. Overall I found the nLite solution easier since no F6
    interruption was necessary.

    >do this 2X,once
    > asked to use floppy drivers procceed,then press enter key when thru,procceed
    > to xp installation,delete partition (s),create one,reinstall xp..Also,read
    >owners
    > manual.Also,once in xp,install chipse installation utility,then RAID
    >drivers/software.


    No installation was necessary, just an XP Recovery. I'm going to leave
    my RAID configuration as is since implementing fixmbr during the
    recovery process appears to be working, with the exception of a
    lingering System Preparation Tool 2.0 window. I'll call Microcenter
    tomorrow to ask them how to get rid of it.
     
  10. M.L.

    M.L. Flightless Bird


    >I'm going to call
    >Microcenter tomorrow to ask them how to get rid of the sysprep window
    >in XP.


    I was told to simply select:
    1.) Check "Don't regenerate SIDs" option
    2.) Select Reseal option
    3.) Select Shutdown option

    After reboot XP made me enter a user account name, made me set the
    time zone, and made me select my Internet connection type. The only
    changes it made to the previous setup was a lowered desktop resolution
    (to 1024x768), and the owner has to reenter passwords of apps like
    Skype and MSN. Otherwise everything looks back to normal.
     

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