Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hallelujah! My Drive is Driving!

Hallelujah! My Drive is Driving!

I was fighting the good fight against my new Western Digital SATA drive and my P4S8X motherboard. I had FastTrack - the BIOS "controller" - recognizing and mounting the RAID array correctly. But I couldn't get Windows XP nor Windows Vista later to recognize the bloody drive. The P4S8X CD did not have a RAID driver for me. Yes, I had to format a 1.44 floppy and put the Western Digital DOS utility in it to try to diagnose the problem and see if anything would recognize the mysterious drive. I was beginning to suspect my motherboard SATA controller was no good. Or that because the drive was SATA II that it wasn't really backwards compatible with the SATA 150 motherboard controller. In any case, the Western Digital DOS utility found the drive and "formatted" it. But the Western Digital utility for Windows did not recognize the drive in Windows XP. I then installed Windows Vista, and it wouldn't recognize the drive either. I noticed that the RAID controller had a yellow question mark in device management (in either XP and Vista). I went on to find a driver. After months, I found the FastTrack thing, that is, the Promise FastTrack RAID driver for Windows 2000/XP (good enough for Vista). I downloaded the RAID driver, put it on an USB stick, and had Windows to rescan the hardware. Lo and behold: a miracle happened! Windows recognized my drive, installed the software (RAID controller), and offered to format it! After rebooting 3 times, it worked! (Compared to months and innumerable reboots before it).

My rating:

Western Digital HW/SW: 3 stars out of 5. Good hard drive, but bad documentation, and bad software. Wake up! Where are your Vista drivers?

Promise HW/SW: 5 stars out of 5.

Windows Vista: 3 stars of 5. It couldn't tell me where to find the software.

User: 1 star out of 5. It took me forever to get this s* working.

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