Configuring RAID arrays

Q I have been experimenting with Linux for the past two years and would consider myself to be an enthusiast - if only at quite a basic level. I recently purchased a new computer from MESH and decided to opt for an AMD 3200 Athlon 64-bit processor on an ASUS K8VSE Deluxe motherboard with the intention of installing my favourite distribution, SUSE Professional 9.2, in dual boot mode with the pre-installed Windows XP. This is where the problems started. The motherboard has an on-board Promise FastTrak 378 controller, which the 200GB SATA hard drive was configured to use in a RAID 1+0 array.

When I tried to install SUSE Professional 9.2, having made space on the hard drive using Partition Magic from the Windows XP OS, the installation procedure advised me to disable the hardware RAID 1+0 array and to create a software RAID 1+0 array within SUSE using YaST. I was concerned that if I did this I would not be able to use the Windows XP OS installed and therefore have not been able to install the SUSE distribution. The ironic thing is that I do not need to have the computer configured to use the RAID 1+0 array as I only have one hard drive installed. I would like to know whether it is possible to install SUSE Professional 9.2 in dual boot mode with the pre-installed Windows XP o/s or whether I have to re-build the computer from scratch not using the Promise drivers during the installation and not configuring a RAID 1+0 array? I have also installed a separate 40GB ATA hard drive connected to one of the motherboard's IDE connector's to see whether I could install SuSE on to this drive but was not successful. I would be grateful for any advice you could give me.

A We're rather confused as to why the Promise FastTrack controller would let you create a RAID device with a single disk, much less a RAID 1+0 array, which requires at least four disks. You can try to disable any RAID capabilities in the FastTrack BIOS, and as you've only got a single disk, the BIOS should boot from it quite happily. SUSE will detect the RAID array as a device, and allow you to partition and write information to it. As a test, you can boot using a Knoppix 3.7 CD, or attempt to install Mandrake 10.1 or Fedora which may have better support for the SATA controller on your board. Many boards that provide SATA only recognise certain ATA controller ports. If you can't install SUSE onto an ATA disk, there is probably a misconfiguration within the BIOS. You can try to turn off 'Legacy Mode', to allow both SATA and ATA to work on their own: Legacy Mode is designed for older Operating Systems that get confused when SATA is available.

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