Restoring a Drive Image XML to a server running host based RAID 6

Some RAID controllers are not what I call *true RAID* drive controllers. They may have a hardware controller, but they run kind of a fake RAID on the host OS. It’s not really software raid, but the RAID is dependant on the OS.

This, as you might guess, causes some problems when we want to do some fun stuff on the system drive while we are not actually booted into the OS. Like when we want to restore an image of the C: drive! That’s ok though, we’ve got a work-around.


This is based on a RAID1 mirror.
My RAID controller allowed me to build the array based on one of my drives, yours may not.
Do this at your own risk.
Make sure you have a backup. (DUH!)
If you lose your data, it’s your fault.
Your mileage may vary.

Assuming you have made your image successfully already, here’s what we do. The trick is that you must turn off the RAID functions and break the array first. So that your drives look like they are single drives in the system. Delete the partitions you will be reimaging over. On my server, it was just an onboard BIOS setting.

Boot the system into a PE boot disc. You can get a free one called: Ultimate Boot CD for Windows. It’s a doctored up PE Disc, but you’ll need to “build” it. They have great instructions for that on their site. (just Google it) Anyway, you boot into this, and right when the CD starts to boot, you see the “Press F6” option, like you see when you do a new Windows install. Insert your floppy disc and load the drivers when it asks. Then it will boot to a custom version of XP.

The PE disc should load and see your C: drive. Make sure you open Drive Manager and create your C: drive again. Only DON’T FORMAT it or make a drive letter. Now open Drive Image XML and load the image you made, and recover it to that C: drive.

Reboot when complete and before Windows loads, open the BIOS or RAID controller and turn on the RAID again. On my controller, I was able to recreate the Mirror by building off the first drive. Let that process complete and reboot. Your system should boot right to that image.

The keys to making this work was:
Make the drive appear as a single drive again, turn off RAID in the BIOS or Controller.
Drive Image XML always crashed on me, even if I loaded the drivers at the F6 prompt. It couldn’t deal with that Host based RAID. (but it appeared fine!)
After image is restored, turn on RAID1 again and build your array based on the newly imaged disk BEFORE you boot back to that drive in Windows.