How to install on hardware RAID...many problems...Help

Hi all,

I have a Dell Dimension 8300 with Promise FastTrak S150 TX2plus RAID SATA controller.

Vista Ultimate SP1 32-bit
2 * 120Gb HDD in RAID 0 mode
ATI Radeon HD 3650 512Mb DDR2 AGP
3 Primary partitions (NTFS formatted)
1st - 55Gb - Vista
2nd - 115Gb - Free for data
3rd - 50Gb - For Linux install

I tried to install openSUSE Linux 11.1 last night but got an Error 21 after the install finished. Well, it stuck at the reboot screen and wasn’t shutting down so I did a hard boot using the power button. I have no clue why is that happening.

Eventually I had to reformat the 1st partition and went back to re-install Vista as the pc wouldn’t boot at all.

I would appreciate if anyone can spoonfeed/or walk me step by step through the installation procedure to install SUSE so that I can dual boot it with Vista.


Sorry to dissapoint you, but your RAID controller is not hardware based. Check at Linux SATA RAID FAQ
It seems to be supported from kernel 2.6.19 and upwards.
I can’t walk you through installation, but I can offer you a piece of advice instead.

Never ever install your system on non-redundant array. Period. RAID 0 is pure block level striping - very fast and also very unreliable. One disk goes and whole array goes - including your OS(es) and data.



I disagree here. Installing an OS and programs on a RAID0 volume is a common technique for improving the speed of a system. Yes, if one disk goes bad you lose all of the data on the array, but most people who install their OS on a RAID0 will have a secondary drive or drives in their system for long term data storage. I have 2*74GB 10k Raptors in RAID0 for OS and applications and a 1TB Hitachi Deskstar for long term storage. It’s also possible to take an image of a disk then restore it at a later date. So, you install your OS and applications how you like them on the RAID0. You then take an image (a copy of exactly what’s on the RAID0) and store it either on your long term storage or on offline media. Then if your RAID0 goes bad you install a new disk, create a new RAID0 volume and restore the image from backup.

@ amp88

Thanks for pointing the advantages of RAID0 and disk/partition imaging to me lol!

Now seriously, from description of your setup YOU seem to know what you are doing. Original poster has only two HDD-s in RAID0. And looking at original post, he wants to dual boot Vista and Linux. No adittional disk(s), no external storage. All eggs in one basket, so to speak.

You do not give details of your partition setup, so can you please take some time and describe it (what goes where). For instance, do you keep your /home partition on RAID0 too? If so, are you making daily backups of your data? Do you make images of your setup every time you install something new or after system update? Also, can you point to me what are advantages of having / partition on fast array?

We are not discussing server setup here, but IMHO your way of doing things is too unsafe to my liking. And upside down, so to speak. Your data should be located on safe and, if needed, fast storage medium. Sometimes /var and /tmp can benefit too from beeing located on fast volume. RAID0 volume made of n members is n times more likely to crash than single disk. So if you go that way, you should make your data safe by some other means. Regular backup of some sort. And some other RAID level maybe? That is, if you value your data.

The point of my advice (and opinion) to original poster and his present hardware & software configuration Re RAID0 is:

Do not put yourself (i.e. your data) at risk.

More knowgedgeable user IMO would almost never go this route (single RAID0 volume) for a general purpose desktop computer. Also I would not even made my comment on RAID0 had he mentioned more than one disk volume in his configuration. To me, it would indicate that he knows pros and cons and what needs to be done. I might have given him longer explanation. I did not. My bad.

On the same note, if you can afford (from your specs I think they are) two enterprise class 10 kRPM SCSI disks, why not add one more 1TB SATA and backup your data on RAID1? If those disks are not what I think they are, my bad again.

I agree with you that we disagree :slight_smile:

With best regards


Well, I only picked up on it because you said “never” to do it. I assumed (wrongly, as it turns out) that you didn’t acknowledge there were any special cases where it was actually a viable/good idea. If you had said “you shouldn’t install on RAID0 unless you have a good backup solution” then it would have been more clear :slight_smile:

Well, at the moment I don’t have openSUSE installed because I’m having problems booting the LiveCD. I have a 30GB RAID0 volume for Windows, a 20GB RAID0 volume reserved for Linux (trying to decide which distro to go with, which is why I was trying to play about with the LiveCD) and the remaining ~88GB in another RAID0 volume for games, videos to be encoded and my eclipse workspace.

This needs a little more explanation. I have a home file server (running Windows XP Pro x64) with an external RAID enclosure. I’ve got 8*750GB drives with 2 RAID5 volumes to store backups from the other PCs in the house and as a media share. I also have roughly 1.5TB of offline backup capacity (eSATA / USB2.0 enclosures). I’m looking to bag a couple of 1.5TB drives in the near future to provide backup capacity of the full enclosure. I haven’t been able to at this point because I’m a bit short on funds.

Anyway, I’ve written a custom Java RMI application to backup my data. I don’t have a set backup regime as such. Generally I’ll do a full backup of my eclipse workspace every week and incremental backups of my documents and other small data on this main PC every week. These will go to the RAID5. I also do a full offline backup of the eclipse workspace and documents/data every month or so.

I’ve got to admit I’m a bit lax on this. I should do it more often :slight_smile:

Reduced load times, reduced transfer times (local and across network), higher disk throughput. These seem too obvious though…I’m not sure if I understand what you’re looking for here…

Yeah, see above.

Yeah, if you had qualified your “never” statement in the first place I wouldn’t have posted.

Clarified above.

Agreed :slight_smile:


Thanks to both of you for a thoroughly interesting technical discussion. However, the discussion hasn’t helped me in terms of being able to dual boot Vista and openSUSE.

I am fully aware of installing dual OSes in a single volume but that is a conscious decision. I never store my data on the RAID volume on the desktop. I have multiple storage facilities with continuous data replication going on 24*7 and the backups are backed-up and tested regularly for integrity purposes, all done via Enterprise-grade backup product(s). I am also not worried about HDD crashing as I have enough measures in place to have essential data at hand when required. But that point aside, I just want to be able to dual boot my desktop.

My questions again:

  1. Do I need to completely reformat and install openSUSE first and then install Vista to be able to achieve dual boot functionality?

  2. Do I need to re0create the partitions and formate them to FAT32 rather than NTFS and go ahead with Vista install followed by openSUSE install to be able to dual boot?

  3. Any other way to achieve the dual boot setup?

Any help is appreciated.