I ordered a 32 TB Elite Pro U.2 SSD Thunderbolt 4 array from Other World Computing a couple of weeks ago, with the idea of using it to transfer files in bulk between computers located at different sites. I sent it back when I found out that it wouldn’t connect to any computer that didn’t support 4th generation Thunderbolt.
I bought an OWC Thunderbolt 3 spinning rust array for the file transfers. That still left me with no big fast disk on my Thunderbolt 4 capable Lenovo laptop, so I bought another 32 TB Elite Pro U.2. It came yesterday. I hooked it up, downloaded and installed SoftRAID, which required a reboot. The system hung in the BIOS on the reboot. I unplugged the SSD, and managed to get the computer booted into Win 11. Then I plugged in the Thunderbolt 4 cable.
When I started SoftRAID, it saw the array, but refused to do anything with the it, saying the Windows version did not support APFS. I didn’t know what APFS was, so I looked it up. It’s Apple File System, which explains why it’s not supported under Windows. I have no idea why OWC shipped this array out in a configuration that won’t work with Wintel computers.
I called OWC support. The tech didn’t know why the array was shipped the way it was. After some wrangling, we used the Windows disk administration program — whose GUI hasn’t changed in more than 25 years — to reformat all the drives in the array using NTFS. Then I needed to download — and pay for — the brand-agnostic version of SoftRAID. With that done, I constructed a 32 TB RAID 0 array, and started to populate it. I should mention that during the messing around with SoftRAID, I managed to reformat a 36TB spinning rust RAID 0 array, and lost 17TB worth of data, but that’s on me.
The next morning, the computer couldn’t see the SSD array. The OWC loge was white, which means it’s not happy. I unplugged and re-plugged the Thunderbolt 4 cable. Then it cane up blue, but Windows could only see a singe 4 TB SSD. I fired up SoftRAID. It showed no RAID volumes, and there was an hourglass that stayed up for half an hour.
But the Windows file system could now see the array. I forced SoftRAID to close.
I started SoftRAID again. Now it could see the SSD array, but I still couldn’t use it because of the hourglass. I waited 3 or 4 minutes and the hourglass went away. I’m thinking the issues may have something to do with the computer going to sleep and waking up. I set the computer to never go to sleep when it’s plugged in. We’ll see what that does.
The “don’t sleep” setting helped. But the computer still hangs in the BIOS when the drive is connected during bootup. After you plug the drive in to the booted computer, it takes 3 or 4 minutes to recognize the drive.
The system still wouldn’t boot with the RAID box attached. I called OWC support. The tech suggested I look at the BIOS boot order. I kicked myself. I should have thought of that. I moved the drive down in the boot priority list and it booted fine.
But I still have the issue that the computer can’t see the drive after it wakes up from sleep.