Win7 ignore drive letter for Seagate ST31000528AS

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Installation' started by Gnart, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Gnart

    Gnart New Member

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    Sorry, if this should be in the hardware forum... I am doing a fresh (bare metal) install.

    I am experiencing a weird problem with Win7 not remembering drive letter.
    I am hoping that someone has run across this problem and has the answer.
    I tried "Diskpart automount enable". It did not work...

    My config: ASRock Z77 Extreme6 - BIOS v2.40 latest, Intel i5-3570k (not overclocking),
    32GB G.SKill Ares Series. Windows 7 Ultimate SP1.

    I am doing a Win7 Ultimate SP1 bare metal install.
    I use two Seagate ST3500320AS (500GB) drives in RAID-1 (Mirror) mode.
    I partition the mirror into two simple primary partitions and assigned drive letters.
    Win7 has no problem remembering the drive letters.

    I need more space so I replaced the 500BG with two Seagate ST31000528AS (1TB) drives in RAID-1 (Mirror) mode. Win7 sees the mirror. I partitioned and assigned drive letters.
    After a reboot, Win7 would not reassign drive letter to the partitions.
    I reinstalled Win7 - same problem.
    I deleted RAID-1 and connect one drive at a time - same problem.
    I defined one partition to the entire drive - same problem.
    I tried without Win7 updates and with Win7 updates - same problem.

    I put the Seagate ST3500320AS (500GB) drives back in - no problem.
    Win7 reassigned the drive letters to the 50GB drives. I
    removed the drive letters and assigned them to the 1TB drive.
    Rebooted same problem.
    The only difference in the configuration is the hard drives.
     
    #1 Gnart, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  2. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    How do they show in control panel. Have you tried assigning a drive letter from within there?
     
  3. Gnart

    Gnart New Member

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    I assigned the drive letter through "Computer | Manage | Disk Managment" MMC.

    To get to this MMC, I usually right-click Computer | Manage, instead of going through "Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Computer Management | Disk Management"

    Are you referring to another path/method through Control Panel?

    After assigning the drive letter, I checked the registry:
    (a) Win7 did not update the HKEY_LM\System\MountedDevices drive letter.
    (b) HKEY_LM\System\CurrentControlSet\Enum\IDE is populated for the mirror set
    (c) HKEY_LM\System\CurrentControlSet\Enum\Storage\Volume is populated for the mirror set
    (d) HKEY_LM\System\MountedDevices did not populate

    I need to know how to tie together the hexadecimal values (partition size?) for the above entries together and add the MountedDevices keys for the ST31000528AS drive/partitions. I found some good information on the above keys... I will manually add the keys and test the config...

    Any more idea or input is appreciated.
     
  4. Gnart

    Gnart New Member

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    Updating my own post...
    I restart the bare metal install and take snapshots of the registry after each phase.
    After creating the RAID-1 in BIOS
    | Initialize the "mirrored" drive in Disk Management
    | Partition and Quick Format a small data drive.
    I examined the registry:
    (a) Win7 created the new DeviceClasses GUID for the device.
    (b) Win7 did not create the STORAGE#Volume GUID for the volume.
    (c) Win7 did not "enum" the device (because Win7 did not create (b).

    Without (b) and (c), I would not be able to create registry entries for
    (1) Storage volume for the partition drive
    (2) Persistent mounted device drive letter entries

    I suspect that the BIOS is not providing correct information to Win7 on the mirror device class.
    My plan is to go back to an older BIOS and do a fresh install to see if if the issue is with the BIOS.

    Appreciate any additional thoughts on this...
     
  5. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    I suppose I would like to clarify your situation. You are doing clean installs to the 500 GB array? Then you remove that set of drives and install the larger drives to the same connections and do another clean install?

    Are you using the UEFI configuration for the install?

    What drive letters are you assigning?
     
  6. Gnart

    Gnart New Member

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    Thanks for contributing, Saltgrass.

    No, I am not using UEFI configuration for the install.

    To clarify my situation: I like to keep it clean, take backup during install stages so that I can do a restore as needed. For that reason, I do a clean install when I change hardware. My situation is as follow:

    (a) I did a clean Win7 install and was on the 500GB the last two weeks. I ran out of disk space on the 500GB array because of the number of VMs I was creating. I needed a large number of VMs because I teach Windows certifications, computer/network security, digital forensics, programming and web development. I play with worm/virus and test drive-by malware.

    (b) I swapped the 500GB with 1TB drives and restart my rebuild. I discovered the problem with the 1TB drive array and had been trying to diagnose or figure out how to go around the problem.

    >> What drive letters are you assigning?

    I carved 60GB for Data and assigned "D" for Data.
    I assigned "E" for the remainder of the array...

    For those who follow this thread... I was using a mod-BIOS, so I dropped back to a clean BIOS to rule out the mod as the problem. I also backdropped the BIOS (2 versions-no mod, which worked with the 500GB array) and did a fresh install. The problem with the 1TB Seage drive array was consistent.

    Information on the 1TB array drives: They came from a RAID-1 attached to my router. They were on a hardware stand-alone RAID-5.

    For the time being, I am going to put the 500GB array back and move some VMs off to the hotswapable removable drive. I am going to test the 1TB config on my ASUS system after that. I couldn't remember if I had mirrored them on the ASUS, although I am confident that they worked before.
     
  7. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    Well, you are way over my head with this stuff. I won't be able to help much, but I have a couple of suggestions if you have not already tried them.

    I know of no reason why the 2 arrays would behave differently, unless there was some type of limitation on the size. But I would try cleaning the TB drives with Diskpart. Just maybe there is something you left on them that is causing problems.

    Drive letters seem to change if you have a device, possibly removable, and add or remove another device. Windows seems to realign after that is done. Also if the device becomes disconnected from the system, the letters may be removed. Have you tried using a drive letter farther away, like Y and Z. Nothing should bump those. And I am assuming your RAID is not your OS drive.

    The UEFI/Bios system scans the devices earlier in the boot than the MBR, or so I understand. Maybe it is not able to see them correctly. Maybe they spin up slower..

    When I read your explanation, I wondered if you had gotten any experience with Windows 8. The Storage Spaces option might be right down your alley. I do not know if it would be stable enough for your purpose, but it behaves like a RAID...
     
  8. Gnart

    Gnart New Member

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    I appreciate the input to the cause....
    Windows generates difference Devicetype for the different models so it makes the arrays different. There is no limitation because these are small capacity drives.
    I will look into cleaning with Diskpart, but I believe that they are clean because I zeroided them (overwritten with all binary zeroes) and Windows asks for initialization (writing new sig on them).
    I have not tried higher driver letters, but I will. The problem is not with the assignment. The problem is with Win7 not remembering them because Win7 did not create the persistent mount point in the registry.
    >> Nothing should bump those.
    Actually, once the machine is in production - I will only have H, K and may be one more letter available - Network mapped to my other systems and a 8TB RAID-5 unit.

    No, I don't RAID the OS - I may do that with SSD later.

    I have not played with Win8. Storage space (just like VM and RAM disk) concept is not new... These came from the mainframe area. I worked with VM (IBM VM/370 VM/SP) before the PC. I did RAM disk when I coded my own mainframe OS for a special apps to process data for AVIS (rent-a-car). In mainframe back in 1970, the concept was VSAM (Virtual Storage Access Method)... it connects physical disk to create a virtual storage space that can grow across devices. There was no fault tolerance back then with VSAM. You just define a space pool of specific size or dynamic (growing) size.

    Thanks for the suggestion... I will look into it Win8 Storage Space later.
     
  9. Gnart

    Gnart New Member

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    Solved. Creditand thanks to Saltgrass...
    I moved the drive to my ASUS - BIOS RAID-1 recognized the volume.
    Win7 (pristine) exhibited the same symptom.
    I used diskpart clean as suggested by Saltgrass and diskpart automount enable, then went through the process of assigning drive letters. Win7 reassigned the same drive letter after rebooting. I moved the drives to my ASRock and redtested. It worked. Diskpart clean Windows sig on the drive.
     

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