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Windows 7 Software RAID - No notification of failed redundancy?

    Question

  • Having Software RAID as a built-in option seems like a great idea.  Hard disks are notoriously unreliable, and they carry the most important part of our technological world: our data.  Being able to easily build a software RAID from two cheap 1TB drives gives me so much piece of mind ... or does it?

     

    I've noticed my software RAID seems to be periodically losing sync.  This is worrisome (maybe a drive is failing?) but not nearly as worrisome as HOW I noticed it.  For some reason, after cruising along smoothly for several months with my RAID 1, I decided to check on its status in Computer Management -> Disk Management.  And, oh nos! there was my software RAID with a Failed Redundancy Error.  I had to "Reactivate Disk" and it started resynching.  I decided to check again every so often and everything was fine again for a while until I lost synch again.

     

    Again, my losing synch is not the point of this post.  My point is why was there NO NOTIFICATION of my synchronization loss?  I have NO IDEA how long my drives had lost synchronization before I stumbled upon that fact the first time.  What is the point of software RAID if Windows does not inform you that it has failed?  I could lose one drive, go cruising along for months thinking I'm fine, then lose the other drive and POW! I'm left with nothing due to a false sense of security (please no lectures on RAID being for reducing downtime and not for use as a backup solution - I KNOW).

     

    I just had another loss of synchronization, and I checked around to see if I had been notified anywhere else (the Action Center seems like it could be a good candidate for this).  Finding nothing, I've come here to post my concerns.

    edit: I reposted this thread here http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprogeneral/thread/a77c6445-e504-4394-a945-7a6c096e0871 so please continue the discussion there.
    • Edited by ZippyDan Monday, October 17, 2011 7:26 AM
    Saturday, July 2, 2011 6:07 PM

All replies

  • On Sat, 2 Jul 2011 18:07:53 +0000, ZippyDan wrote:

    Having Software RAID as a built-in option seems like a great idea.  Hard disks are notoriously unreliable, and they carry the most important part of our technological world: our data.  Being able to easily build a software RAID from two cheap 1TB drives gives me so much piece of mind ... or does it?

    You're talking about RAID1? In my view it should give you no peace
    of mind, and it's mistake for almost everyone. Here's my standard post
    on the subject:

    RAID 1 (mirroring) is not a backup solution. RAID 1 uses two or more drives, each a duplicate of the others, to provide redundancy, not backup. It's used in situations (almost always within corporations, not in homes) where any downtown can't be tolerated, because the way it works is that if one drive fails the other takes over seamlessly. Although some people thing of RAID 1 as a backup technique, that is not what it is, since it's subject to simultaneous loss of the original and the mirror to many of the most common dangers threatening your data--severe power glitches, nearby lightning strikes, virus attacks, theft of the computer, etc. Most companies that use RAID 1 also have a strong external backup plan in place.
    "Why RAID is (usually) a Terrible Idea"
    http://www.pugetsystems.com/articles?&id=29


    Ken Blake, Microsoft MVP
    Saturday, July 2, 2011 6:58 PM
  • argh.  Did you miss the part where I said

     

    "(please no lectures on RAID being for reducing downtime and not for use as a backup solution - I KNOW)"

     

    My post has NOTHING to do with whether RAID should be used as a backup.  You say RAID is used to reduce downtime: fine.  But in order to maintain that level of uptime, I need to KNOW when a drive has failed redundancy so I can correct the situation (by replacing the drive or other).  Where is the notification that I am running on only one drive?

    Saturday, July 2, 2011 7:04 PM
  • On Sat, 2 Jul 2011 19:04:29 +0000, ZippyDan wrote:

    argh.  Did you miss the part where I said

     

    "(please no lectures on RAID being for reducing downtime and not for use as a backup solution - I KNOW)"

    Yes, I read too fast, and did miss it. My apologies.


    Ken Blake, Microsoft MVP
    Saturday, July 2, 2011 8:20 PM
  • Apology accepted :P

     

    But still no thoughts or resolution to the lack of notification??

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011 4:48 PM
  • I have to express my surprise at the lack of notification...

    There IS, after all, a process in place where the system can notify the operator of things.  It tells us, for example, when the disks are nearly full.

    I should have thought some kind of notification would show up in the Action Center.   Are you getting other notifications from the Action Center (e.g., notices that Windows Updates are available)?  There are some settings in there (e.g., in the "Turn messages on or off" section) you should check.

    -Noel

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011 10:59 PM
  • Yes.  At the very least I can confirm that I have a flag in in my taskbar right now (with a yellow triangle) with five other notices (none about my failed RAID).
    Wednesday, July 6, 2011 12:22 PM
  • So is there any answer to the OP? I too would like to understand how to get notification if Software RAID 1 fails in W7. Is there an event log thrown that I can somehow monitor? If so, what would be the command line that I can run to achieve setting up a monitoring process? Thanks. 
    Wednesday, July 6, 2011 1:19 PM
  • So are there actually people from Microsoft that frequent these forums that can comment on this?
    Friday, July 8, 2011 11:58 AM
  • Anyone who is familiar with these forums: I'd appreciate it if I knew whether to expect some kind of "official" response or if this is simply a community forum where the users can complain to each other ...?
    Monday, July 11, 2011 7:48 PM
  • On Mon, 11 Jul 2011 19:48:39 +0000, ZippyDan wrote:

    Anyone who is familiar with these forums: I'd appreciate it if I knew whether to expect some kind of "official" response or if this is simply a community forum where the users can complain to each other ...?

    This is a peer support forum. We are all just users of this version of
    Windows here, helping each other if and when we can. We are not
    Microsoft employees (not even those of us with "Microsoft MVP" behind
    our names; that's an honorary title for having provided consistently
    helpful advice) except for an occasional employee.


    Ken Blake, Microsoft MVP
    Monday, July 11, 2011 9:44 PM
  • Does this do what you want?

     

    http://www.passmark.com/products/diskcheckup.htm

     

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011 2:34 PM
  • I replied in your other thread as well.

    I think the answer you seek is in the process of tying an action to the event, and making that action the display of a message something like "A redundancy failure has occurred - check your Event Log".

    The process of specifying an action for an event is pretty simple using the functions over on the right side of the Event Viewer.

    -Noel

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011 7:41 PM