Hardware question - PCI USB 3.0 cards supported natively by WinPE environment


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pamgt
pamgt
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We run quite happily on some old Dell 860 servers.  I have a spare 860 server which works great and has identical hardware to make restores easier.

I would love to add a PCI USB 3.0 card to the server to enable USB 3.0 speeds on the restore from the external hard drive.

I had a Buffalo USB card on hand but even with the load driver option I could not get it to work in WinPE. Any ideas are welcome, happy to buy a different card - and if it doesn't require driver loading at restore time it would streamline things and be a plus.

Thanks!
Richard V.
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What PE base version are you using for your rescue media build.  PE10's "built-in" support should be able to handle most USB3 hardware without requiring the addition of any special purpose drivers.  In fact, it's best not to include any drivers made for earlier Windows versions.

Regards, Richard V. ("Arvy")
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Edited 6 September 2016 9:44 PM by Arvy
pamgt
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Sorry for the delay, it didn't notify me of your response.

I booted up the WinPE CD created on the server. It shows v5.3 build 7220.
I also booted up a workstation version CD, it listed v6.1 53 so there is a newer version-does that matter for this issue?

If there is a list of compatible USB card hardware for the v5.3 it would help a lot but if not I will just ride with USB 2.0. I hate upgrading software on the server.



Richard V.
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Whoa.  We have more than one issue involved here and I'll try my best to explain without adding to the confusion.

First, leaving aside the USB issue for the moment, you are running two different versions of the Reflect application.  In that context, you need to be aware that Reflect v6.x can handle backups created by Reflect v5.x, but not vice versa.  In other words, the Reflect version that runs on the server would not be able to mount or restore a backup created by the Reflect version that runs on the Workstation.  Nor would rescue media that was built using Reflect v5.x be able to do so.  I'd highly recommend upgrading your server's Reflect installation to the current v6.2 version -- and your rescue media builds as well.  Reflect v5 is no longer supported.

None of the foregoing has any bearing whatever on the issue of rescue media support for USB3-connected drives.  That depends entirely on the inclusion of required drivers in the WinPE build regardless of which Reflect version is used.  Rescue media builds based on PE 3.1, which is the recommended version for use with Windows 7 and earlier, do not provide "native" support for USB3 and therefore require the inclusion of the same added drivers needed for supporting USB3 in Windows itself.  Later PE versions, on the other hand, do provide the same "native" USB3 support as the Windows versions from which they are derived and therefore do not require other drivers to be added for that purpose.

Hope that's clear.  If it isn't, please don't hesitate to say so.

Regards, Richard V. ("Arvy")
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Edited 9 September 2016 7:03 PM by Arvy
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Understand also that many "add-in" USB3/SATA III bus-based modules (based on PCI or PCIe buses) are not natively supported by any Windows OS... they most likely will require added drivers (they usually come with the cards unless the documentation states the card is natively supported).


pamgt
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Arvy,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I'm not too concerned about the different version since they are completely different systems and parts of the company.  I will consider your advice on getting to the newest version on the server though the test restores work fine as is.

We sort of went in the circle on the USB support.  I am simply asking if there is a list of supported PCI USB 3.0 add-in cards so I could purchase one that would work without fooling around with loading drivers during a crisis - especially since that  process failed when I tried using my current card.  I've search for such a magical list using the Google machine and  querying for Windows PE 3.1  supported hardware to no avail.

If this is not a simple task thenI will  give up, no problem. It does load via USB 2.0 port but it takes 90 min for a full restore and I would love to cut that time.

Best wishes!




Richard V.
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There isn't any "magical list" -- at least none that I've ever seen -- of USB3 add-in cards that are "compatible" with PE 3.1 as such.  Some OEMs may declare their USB3 add-in cards to be compatible with Windows 7 using the drivers that they provide, in which case those same drivers should also work with PE 3.1 when added to your Refect rescue media build.  A rescue media build that is based on PE 3.1 has no "built-in" drivers for supporting any USB3 device.  It's either add the required drivers or use a more recent PE base version that does have "built-in" USB3 support and, in the latter case, some USB3 add-ins may still require their own OEM drivers to be added.

If you will only accept PE 3.1 without any USB3 device drivers added to the WinPE build, then I guess you're stuck with those 90-minute USB2 operations.  Sorry, but I can offer no "magical" solution for that either.

Regards, Richard V. ("Arvy")
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Edited 13 September 2016 9:55 PM by Arvy
pamgt
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Thank you very much for the thorough replies.  I might try another mainstream card and attempt loading drivers one more time as they are so cheap but otherwise I will be happy with 90 min. Best wishes!
Richard V.
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You're welcome and best wishes to you too.  If you're willing to add drivers to a Reflect rescue media build based on PE 3.1, the Windows Device Manager can show you the details for drivers that are used to support your existing USB3 plug-in.  If they work in Windows 7, they should also work if added to the WinPE build.  For information on two methods of adding device drivers, either for your current USB3 plug-in or a new one, see this KB article and this KB article.

Regards, Richard V. ("Arvy")
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Edited 15 September 2016 4:34 PM by Arvy
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