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HOW TO: Windows Installation: Questions, Troubleshooting Thread (includes SATA III, SSD Upgrade, RAID0 Discussion)

Discussion in 'Alienware' started by Mr. Fox, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. charl79

    charl79 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I have the OS installed on the msata

    with regards to the Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) this causes my laptop to crash and I have to install windows again even after I have installed windows 8 and windows 7.

    With the alienrespawn is it better to install that after a clean install of windows 8 and not upgrade from windows 7 to windows 8.

    In my bios is it better to be in raid or have it in AHCI, Because when I am in raid and start the laptop the laptop cannot pick up a boot drive and when I put the windows 7 dvd and do a install I cannot install windows as it will not pick up a msata or hdd, the screen is blank when trying to install windows.But when im in AHCI I can see the msata and the hdd and im able to install windows but the Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) causes it to crash and I have to re-install.

    Sorry im not very techy with some things with laptop. I just love my gaming hence I bought a alienware so I wouldn't have to worry about that sort of thing.

    thanks
     
  2. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Overclocked | Overvolted Moderator

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    RST should not be causing your system to crash. Something is wrong with your Windows installation. Time to start over from scratch. If you want Windows 8, just do a clean install of Windows 8 to the HDD. You don't need to upgrade from Windows 7. Use the mSATA drive for caching. Use RST to set that up after clean installing Windows. Set the BIOS to RAID before you start.

    If you have UEFI and Secure Boot enabled in the BIOS, disable them. They don't really add any value and you don't need them. They are pain in the butt, and if what I read is accurate, UEFI is not compatible with RAID. If these are enabled, they may be what is causing most of your functionality problems, including RST crashing your system.

    During the Windows setup, delete all existing partitions on the HDD and the mSATA drive so that both of them are identified as unallocated disk space. (See the opening post of this thread for example screen shots.) Let Windows create the partitions on the HDD and leave the mSATA alone as unallocated disk space. After setting up your HDD and caching using RST, with all drivers and basic apps installed, then download and install AlienRespawn. It will create a restore partition and a "factory image" of your fresh installation.

    If Windows still cannot see the mSATA or HDD with the BIOS set to RAID when UEFI and Safe Boot are disabled, turn the system off, remove the mSATA drive, reboot and see if Windows will detect your HDD. If it does, finish the Windows 8 installation, then shut down and install the mSATA. Set the boot priority in the BIOS to boot from the HDD first, not the mSATA.
     
  3. charl79

    charl79 Notebook Enthusiast

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    ok that's brilliant thanks for your help.I will give that ago

    thanks again
     
  4. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Overclocked | Overvolted Moderator

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  5. charl79

    charl79 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi mr fox.

    I did what you posted and im still not able to cache my msata, here a few pics show my computer and intel rapid
    Untitled 1.png Untitled.png
     
  6. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Overclocked | Overvolted Moderator

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    Well, if I am interpreting your screen shot correctly, you introduced a completely new problem, bro. You made your tiny SSD part of the RAID membership with the HDD, so most of your HDD is unusable. You now have only 119GB of drive space and your mSATA SSD will run as slow as your mechanical HDD. You do not have the option to create a cache because the mSATA SSD is being used in the RAID membership.

    You want the BIOS set to RAID instead of AHCI, but you do not want to create a RAID membership between the dissimilar drives. Please note that there is no support for Intel Smart Response Technology in AHCI mode. In case you missed my previous post prior to starting the project, here is a link on the subject: Enabling Intel® Smart Response Technology (info is not exclusive to Crucial SSD).

    Did you remove the mSATA drive before installing Windows 8 on the HDD? If you did, I don't see how this could have happened, unless you selected the wrong option in the RST Control Panel.

    But, here is what I think might fix it:

    • Shut down, then power up and press Ctrl+I to enter the Rapid Storage Technology RAID control panel.
    • Break the RAID membership so that each drive is separate.
    • Shut down, power off, disconnect the AC adapter, remove the bottom panel and take out the mSATA drive.
    • Install Windows to the HDD while the mSATA SSD is removed.
    • Install your drivers and RST in Windows.
    • Shut down, disconnect the AC adapter, reinstall the mSATA SSD and reassemble everything.
    • Boot into Windows, launch RST and you should see the mSATA listed as a separate disk.
    • Use RST to create the "Smart Response" cache on the mSATA.
     
  7. charl79

    charl79 Notebook Enthusiast

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    How do you Break the RAID membership so that each drive is separate
     
  8. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Overclocked | Overvolted Moderator

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    Press Ctrl+I at boot to access the Rapid Storage Technology RAID utility. You will see an menu option to "Reset Disks to Non-RAID" or something with similar wording. That will break the RAID membership. There is also a menu item for something like "Acceleration Options" and that may allow you to set up the caching before Windows is installed. (I am not sure how to use that feature because it is not compatible with SSD RAID0 in my system. To be on the safe side, I would use RST to set up the caching in Windows. But, if you're feeling adventurous about learning how it's done, it would be cool to know how that works for you.)
     
  9. charl79

    charl79 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi Mr fox the intel rapid is working great,im trying to install alienrespawn for windows 8 but it doesn't look the same as your version.
    Untitled.jpg respawn03.jpg

    I have used Acceleration for the smart response cashe for the msata but now im trying to instal alienrespawn
     
  10. steviejones133

    steviejones133 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Hmmmmm.....more Respawn Install problems. A few of us, including myself, have the exact same problem with installing it....I get the exact same screens as charl79.
     
  11. charl79

    charl79 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Far out this is crazy.Ive decided to skip the windows 8 thing,even though I do like it and I think windows 7 will do me good for now.
    Ill wait a few more months and give windows 8 another shot.Thanks Mr Fox you are a legend.re-installing windows 7 and hopefully I can get my factory settings back.

    System is back up and installed.I have alien respawn working and my intel rapid technology is accelerating with my msata and hdd.
    Ive made my back usb and my laptop is running like a dream again.cant wait to get some games back on.Sticking with windows 7 and give windows 8 a go later on.

    thanks again for your help guys and To Mr fox
     
  12. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Overclocked | Overvolted Moderator

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    Awesome news, charl79. Enjoy that beast. And, good job! You did all the work.
     
  13. steviejones133

    steviejones133 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Just a shame he had to roll back to win 7 to get awr to work correctly......
     
  14. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Overclocked | Overvolted Moderator

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    Agree, it's a shame to have to do that if it that is not the owner's preference. In the grand scheme of things, Windows 8 isn't really superior... basically the same thing with a fancier GUI and slightly lower performance than Windows 7, but it also has a few nice features that Windows 7 lacks. It's a hard decision which OS I like better, but I am starting to lean back toward Windows 7 due to slightly better performance than Windows 8. This is primarily due to my fondness of benching, and Windows 7 is clearly the winner of that battle.

    Here is an interesting comparison of read/write performance booting Windows 7 versus Windows 8. The drive in the middle is my 1TB Momentus XT RAID0 (500GB x 2). The OS drives are a 50/50 split of my 480GB OCZ Agility 3 SSD RAID0 (240GB x 2) used to dual-boot Windows 7/8. This show a very minor performance edge for Windows 7. It also provides a nice contrast in HDD RAID0 versus SSD RAID0 drive performance.


    [TABLE="class: grid, width: 75%"]
    <tbody>[TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Windows 7 Ultimate x64[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"][​IMG][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Windows 8 Professional x64[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"][​IMG][/TD]
    [/TR]
    </tbody>[/TABLE]
     
  15. charl79

    charl79 Notebook Enthusiast

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    have you guys ever experianced this with alienrespawn using windows 7.Think im goin to loose the plot with this thing LOL

    Respawn not working.png
     
  16. steviejones133

    steviejones133 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Fox - look at the drop on 4k random write performance on your C:\ SSD - that's quite drastic and something I noticed that too on my drives. Not sure why it's vice-versa for your E:\ drive (have you got those the right way around for Win 7/8 ???) but Windows 8 sucks at small random writes vs. Windows 7 it seems to me.....
     
  17. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Overclocked | Overvolted Moderator

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    I have never seen that before. What action are you taking in Respawn when you see that message?

    Yes, that is a significant drop in 4K random writes.

    Partition C:\ for Windows 7 becomes partition E:\ when Windows 8 is booted and vice-versa. Each OS identifies its primary partition as C:\ which is normal. Both environments identify the HDD RAID0 as partition D:\. It does seem Windows 8 does a poor job of 4k random writes on all partitions, but 4k Q32 write speeds are a tad higher. I had assumed it was just an inconsistency with the crappy Agility 3 drives living up to their reputation, but if you see the same thing with your Sammies, then perhaps not.
     
  18. steviejones133

    steviejones133 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Actually, my drive seems to be a bit slower across the board. Here's a comparison of when I first got the machine (right) and now under Windows 8 Pro (left) - my 4k's were always a bit slow, that's just the crap Dell firmware, the retail firmware drives perform much better - another reason I want Dell to update that.....oh, both benched on a bare OS install.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  19. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Overclocked | Overvolted Moderator

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    Wow, those are very similar changes in performance between Windows 7 and 8 using totally different drive setups. Good info, Brother Steve... very enlightening.
     
  20. steviejones133

    steviejones133 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Yeah....I wonder if anyone else has noticed. Sequential read/write's are okay, but the majority of read writes in everyday usage are random small files aren't they.....
     

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