Me vs. Vista: Reinstall Aftermath

Surprisingly, everything went rather smooth more or less. The biggest snag I hit was setting up my RAID array as the documentation was lacking to say the least. The RAID utility function on my motherboard wasn’t exactly rather logical, but I did figure it out.

The first step that I had to do was enable my on-board SATA RAID controller. This will most likely be found in the “Integrated Peripherals” menu on the BIOS. After that, I saved and exited, rebooted the system and then saw a new screen during boot up. This was for the RAID utility to actually set up my RAID-1.

Once I got into the program, I was given 4 options: Examine Disks, Configure LD, Delete LD, and Configure Controller. There was also no help menu to be found. Joy!

It took me a little tinkering to figure out what was going on, but after a while I figured out how everything worked. The Configure Controller, was the actual utility to set up which RAID I want to configure. However, I was unable to do anything at first. This was because of my previous configuration. Going into ethe Examine Disks options, I saw that each one was assigned to a different LD and it automatically assumed it was in a normal setup. Going into Delete LD, I was able to remove both disks from those assignments. Checking Examine Disks again, I saw that both disks were marked as “Free” and would allow RAID assignment.

After that, I went into Configure Controller and saw new options. From here I selected RAID-1 and that I would have 2 disks in the array. I set the LD (I’ll be honest, I’m not 100% on what LD stands for, but considering what it does, I assume it means Logical Disk) for this RAID assignment to the first LD slot.

Finally, I went into Configure LD and assigned both disks to the RAID-1 array. After that, I had my RAID-1 ready to go…or so I thought. Vista does have a lot of RAID drivers at the ready, but unforutnately, it didn’t have mine on the CD so it couldn’t find my RAID-1. So I logged onto my work laptop, found the driver for my RAID controller, and placed it on a USB stick. In the past, you would have to use a floppy disk, but since those are phased out, Vista allows you to now use CD-ROMs and USB drives as well.

With drivers in hand, I went to try and install Vista again. When I reached the screen in which to pick a place to install Vista (that showed no hard drives), I selected “Install Drivers” on the screen and selected the appropiate folder on my USB Drive. Once the install completed, I saw my 500 GB RAID-1 on the selection screen. One important note here: despite there being 2 physical disks, Vista (or any OS) will see this as a single volume (or logical disk). The controller is taking controlling all needed RAID functions, so it only needs to tell Vista that there is one 500 GB volume on board to work with.

From here, I completely formatted all my old data off the hard drives, and partitioned the drives as I stated I would before (50 GB for OS, 100 GB for Programs, rest for Data Storage). With my partitions in place, I proceeded with the install.

After it completed, I went to moving files around. Since I want all my data on my Data Storage partition, I went into my user folder and moved all folders under my directory to that drive. To do this, I right clicked on a folder, clicked the “Location” tab, and changed the drive letter in the directory line to where I wanted to move it (in this case, I changed C:\ to E:\).

I was curious to see if this would work with the “Program Files” folder as well, but unfortunately (and I figured it wouldn’t) I was unable to do so. It isn’t that big of a deal though. I will leave all the current system programs in their current locations, but for anything else that I install, they will be going on my Program Parition (D:\ drive) as that is an easy process to do manually.

Something else that I saw will trying this was that there are two seperate Program Files folders, with one being named “Program Files x86”. The reason for this is that Vista is trying to seperate 64-bit applications from 32-bit (which x86 stands for). From what I have read, Vista tends to do a good job in figuring out which program belongs where. I will write more on this as I start to install various files.

As of now, I am currently going through Windows Updates as well as installing the latest versions for my drivers that Vista doesn’t recognize. The major part though is completely done and now I can start to restore my old files and install my old programs once again.