Help with Opensuse removal on a Raid 0

Tried an experiment with my backup machine got opensuse working dual boot on raid 0, other half of machine is XP. Never got Eve Online working on opensuse so i want to trash the partitions and get the space back, but im rather confused what software can do this safely as it looks to me like a lot of it is confused by the raid.
Help would be much appreciated.

Is this a linux OS software array, created with YaST (or using mdadm from the command line)? Or a mobo device based array, built with a bios or Windows utility? Or? And is there anything on the array you need to keep?

Oh sorry. Its a MSI KT6V athlon 3000 with a via raid, 2 300 drives raided togethor. Why doesnt the via raid utility have a partition/fdisk sort of thing? Im just very wary of accidentally killing the XP partition.

Nothing i want to keep, just format them NTFS.

Some of this type of raid supports building arrays at the partition level, some only at the disk level. Furthermore, some only supports arrays built from within Windows and for Windows use, others are built from a bios utility and are OS agnostic. If the arrays are at the disk level, the OS driver provided should be able to partition the array as if it were a single disk. Your mobo would have come with a Windows driver to do this; I don’t know if there is a counterpart linux kernel module but there quite possibly is. If you were having problems accessing the array from linux before, it may have been because this kernel module was not being loaded.

You don’t say where the XP partition is. Is it on the array? You do need to be very careful now because you set up a raid 0 array - that’s striping across the 2 disks. If you “break” that array, you will lose everything on every partition in the array because all the files have have all been spread in chunks back and forth across the disks; there is no way to re-assemble them.

By the way, this kind of raid is unflatteringly called “fakeraid” because it is really just using firmware. Performance wise, you will do just as well with linux OS software raid. IMO, it is very robust and often more reliable than these devices.

Hope that helps a bit.

It is a raid 0, windows was installed first, it shows as the first partition within linux.
(linux does show the partitions, but i just dont think its showing them correctly)
Opensuse was installed, added the grub loader.
I have a VIA raid tool which shows all info, but no way to partition. I’ve loaded what drivers for linux i can but i really dont know what im doing… im a gamer so ive always been on windows. So yeah the efficiency of the Unix raid isnt really a consideration now anyway :slight_smile: Ive thought of reloading the raid driver by loading off the windows xp disk, but again i have no idea what that will do with the grub there…

First, let me just offer that whenever a RAID 0 array is being used, it is critical to have a backup. Striped arrays, unless secondarily mirrored (0+1), are high risk because of the inability to recover in the event of a serious problem with the array, the underlying disks, or even the file system.

One of the fundamental decisions with putting Windows on such an array, and IMO this applies nearly as much with linux, is how to partition/where to install the boot files (in W$ known as the “system volume” holding the boot sector and ntldr; in linux the equivalent is /boot), and how to/where to the operating system (in W$ known as the “boot volume”, in linux the root, i.e., “/”). The typical practice by far with W$ is to use a single partition for both volumes.

There is absolutely no value in striping the boot volume; there is substantial value in putting it in a RAID 1 array. With the system volume, again there is little value in striping the OS, and considerably higher risk because W$ has a monolithic architecture. While in linux if an OS component gets somehow broken it is usually fairly easy to repair it, not so with W$; the solution is too often a clean or repair install. And if you have the typical commercial machine, the XP media is not an OS install at all, it is an image of the originally installed OS; recovery requires taking the machine back to the factory state, and all sw plus where most users leave Docs & Settings, is lost.

XP Pro has built in RAID 0 capability. It sounds however like you are using the via controller to build an array at the disk level, which means that the interface is through a via driver. The key question is whether you can use different RAID levels per partition. If you can, IMO what would be best would be RAID 1 for W$ boot/system volumes, then create your striped array partition for programs and possibly another for data. (You can point Documents & Settings to whatever partition you wish; that is a very good idea because otherwise an OS recovery of “C:” wipes your data). If the via approach requires you to use the same RAID level for all partitions, i.e., the entire drive is striped, I would drop using the via, install XP on its own “basic” volume and then create a RAID 0 array with XP (a “dynamic” volume) for programs and another for data.

As far as getting back Windows to control the boot, if you can boot into Windows now, simply open a command window and use the command “fixmbr”. This can also be done from openSUSE by recovering the backup MBR it creates when it installs grub, but doing it from within Windows is better.

Hope some of this helps. I strongly encourage you to research this more. Striping is serious business.

Well I keep what i care about backed up and other than that im never too upset about a computer crash cuz its just some time to reinstall… I was going Raid 0 because i thought it (if even slightly) increased the speed. I game, thats what matters… :slight_smile:
And I just trusted VIA raid over anything windows gives u anyway… I use windows ONLY because of gaming :)(and cheaper than macs:)

So if i do the fixmbr command it will put it back to a normal windows boot with no grub?

Then to reformat the linux partition i would need to load up the windows xp disk and load the raid driver to get to that correct?

I checked your system’s documentation. You have Via VT8237 chipset RAID. The arrays are created in the bios at the disk level. A driver is installed in Windows which permits Windows to see the pair as a single drive.

To do the same in linux, you need a driver provided by Via. The drivers are at Welcome To VIA Arena …. The latest for openSUSE is for 10.3. It is not source code, it is a binary compiled to work with a specific linux kernel. The manual doesn’t say whether the driver can be used with a different kernel. I suggest you look at the instructions and decide if this is something for you. Without the driver, linux will see the drives individually, not as RAID. Furthermore - and this is important - it is not clear that Windows or Linux can see what the other has done with the array; it may be that this is not possible. If that is the case, it’s probably not feasible to have both OS’s using the array.

In deciding what to do, I suggest you research a bit comparing XP’s software RAID with the VIA fakeraid. It is very possible that XP can do what you want just as well as the VIA, with less hassle - and, that would permit you to use the linux equivalent software RAID, but only with one catch: Each OS cannot see the array maintained by the other OS, so you cannot read/write from one OS to the other. But the arrays would be created at the partition level, not the disk level. If you can live without accessing the XP array from inside SuSE, this may be the best alternative. Otherwise, you are probably stuck with Windows only.

Having said all that, it is really a question as to how much of a perf gain, if any, you are getting from using this RAID. In your gaming, it will only matter if the game is accessing the disk a lot. Tests have shown that a faster disk with ample cache will outperform a pair of average disks using fakeraid. That gives you a sense of the relative performance. Just fwiw.

Good luck.

All I am concerned with is removing Linux at this point without having to remove/reinstall windows, and i want that partition back under windows for storage.
Heres what i think i can do.
I use the FIXMBR from within windows and restore the boot, then load from the windows xp disk, simultaneously loading the VIA driver, i should be able to keep my windows and reformat the linux partition.
This is what ive pieced togethor around.
I have zero interest in keeping the linux again, sorry guys.

It would have been appreciated if you would have just been up front.

You can do whatever you want with the array partitions from Windows. All that matters is what Windows can see. You should not have any problem reclaiming the space.

Apologies i thought the title of my thread was up front… removal is removal… :slight_smile:
But on the other hand, no, i cant see the linux partition from windows, at least not in a way I know how.

OK, you’re right; I stand corrected. I read back over the thread and re-checked your motherboard manual re the Via RAID. I need to re-emphasize how critical it is that you have a good XP backup.

The manual states that this RAID bios supports “bootable disk or disk array”. Unfortunately, that leaves it entirely unclear what the mechanics are of the boot set up are, and even suggests it can be done from either an individual drive or the array. This is not uncommon, but there is no indication how one set up is done vs the other.

I would approach it thus: To restore the MBR using the XP Recovery Console, when you boot from the CD you will see an option to press F6 to instruct setup that you want to load a separate driver from floppy. You will have done this when you first installed XP on the array. With the driver loaded, the Console can see the array. This is also how the XP installation program (setup) would have seen the disks, so it is a reasonable bet that fixmbr will work because what it does is exactly the same as what setup does when it formats.

The partitions are a lot trickier. While in the Recovery Console, run diskpart. If the linux partitions are shown, delete them there. If they are not . . .

You can post back here the partitioning of both disks, from Windows and SuSE. In Windows go to Disk Management; there is a listing above and a graphic below, post back an image of both. Then on the SuSE side boot from Live-CD or the DVD into the Rescue System, get to a command line prompt as root, and do: fdisk -l , paste back the output here. With this data we may be able to determine what the RAID driver is doing with the underlying partition table on each disk.

Or, if you are feeling brave, re-boot using a linux Live-CD or the SuSE installation DVD into Rescue. If the former, get into a command window and switch (the su command) to root; if the latter, it will drop you to a login prompt, login as root. Then run cfdisk to look at the partition table on both drives in the array (i.e., cfdisk /dev/sda, cfdisk /dev/sdb; if you don’t know the drive names then fdisk -l will show them all). You will see the linux partitions shown on only one of the disks. Highlight each partition starting with the last, tab to the Delete button, press Enter; when finished tab to Write and press Enter. Be very careful. (I can’t say what cfdisk will show re the Windows partitions on the array; again, that depends on how the physical partition table is managed vis-a-vis the RAID layer that sits atop it and the paired table on the other drive.) After the deletions, reboot into Windows; if all went as expected, the space should be unallocated and you can then proceed.

Good luck.