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I recently removed the drives from a system configured with Raid 1 array (non-boot, on a MSI P35D3 mobo). I stuck the drives, one by one, into another system so I could reformat them and reuse them independently. While doing this, I noticed that the drives had different data on them. One of the drives had current data and the other drive had data a couple months old.

There were no error messages present when booting the system before removing the drives. I also ran diagnostics on them (independently, from the 2nd system) and they both report no errors. Is it ever expected that the data on the drives is not identical without a hardware problem?

I'm half tempted to put the array back together and do some further investigation, but since I don't plan to use this setup anymore I'd rather not spend a bunch of time on this just to satisfy my curiosity.

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How did you determine one had older data? Timestamp or the files were actually different? –  Moab Sep 13 '11 at 20:25
    
The filesets were different. Files I had copied onto the RAID setup a month ago were on one drive, but not the other. –  Mark Edington Sep 13 '11 at 22:36

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Perhaps it was not actually a full-on RAID1, but instead it was using Intel's Rapid Recover Technology (RTT), and not set to continuously update?

Intel® Rapid Recover Technology is a feature of Intel® Rapid Storage Technology. It uses RAID 1 (mirroring) functionality to copy data from a designated master drive to a designated recovery drive. The master drive data can be copied to the recovery drive either continuously or on request:

The ICH9R chip-set (which is on the MSI motherboard you mention) DOES support this under the (older) Matrix Storage Technologies:

Features

Intel® ICH10R, ICH9R, ICH9DO

Benefits

Six port SATA controller with RAID, eSATA, and port multiplier support, providing storage benefits of Intel® Matrix Storage Technology, Intel® Rapid Recover Technology, and Intel® Turbo Memory

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Thanks for the suggestion. When I setup the array, I just followed the instructions to create a new volume. I definitely didn't do anything to specifically enable RTT. I do recall, that even though this was not my boot partition, I still had to re-install the OS (XP at the time) to get things working. –  Mark Edington Sep 13 '11 at 22:46
    
Perhaps one of them fell out of the array, and you just didn't see the error message during boot? It usually just shows it as the one drive listed in red, but it keeps booting. I'm also not sure if the RAID POST screen is visible when the motherboard's BIOS' 'full screen logo image' option is enabled. :) –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Sep 13 '11 at 22:54
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I did a bit of digging, and I think I know what happened. A little over a month ago I was having problems with my boot drive (not part of the array), so I pulled it out and ran diagnostics on it in another machine. At the same time I did that, I also reloaded the default BIOS settings (which turns off the RAID controller). When I re-installed the drive I think that the SATA connectors on one of the drives in the array may have gotten dislodged. So the combination of these two events effectively disabled my RAID setup "silently". At least that's what I'm guessing happened. –  Mark Edington Sep 14 '11 at 7:01
    
Additional notes: 1) If you just disable RAID in the BIOS and don't disconnect one of the drives then Windows will complain and ask you to reformat the drive. 2) If you just disconnect one of the drives and (with RAID still enabled), then the Intel Storage Matrix BIOS screen shows "degraded" in yellow and hangs around for about 10 seconds extra. This leads me to the conclusion that it must have been the combination of the 2 events which left the system in the state it was in without me noticing anything. I rarely reboot and stare at the POST display so it was easy for me to miss. –  Mark Edington Sep 14 '11 at 7:10

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