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I have got Gigabyte GZ-X79-UD5 motherboard. It is an Intel X79 motherboard with integrated RAID controller and additinal external RAID controller. This is the first time I want to setup RAID in my life, so I read the manual. It says that this is not in standard BIOS and that I should press Ctrl+I or Ctrl+M to enter RAID BIOS at startup. (Ctrl+I to configure chipset-integrated controller, Ctrl+M to setup external controller.) But I am unable to enter any of these so-called RAID BIOS'es. How to get there?

Now I feel like a stupid beginner, who donesn't know how to enter computer BIOS. But I really don't. :-( I enter standard computer BIOS by pressing Del, but don't know how or where to rpess those Ctrl+I or Ctrl+M to enter the other two RAID bios'es.

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4 Answers

The RAID BIOS typically is entered after POST. You do not need to enter the computer BIOS.

However, in order for the RAID controller to activate, you do have to enable RAID mode in the computer BIOS. Since you're getting in there already, make sure that you have RAID mode enabled for your SATA devices, instead of AHCI or IDE mode (AHCI is typically the default).

After you set it to RAID, exit the BIOS, and once you reboot and the computer completes POST, before the OS loading step, you'll see a screen where it initializes the RAID controller. It will typically then display a message stating "Press Ctrl+I to enter RAID setup..." or a similar message.

Keep in mind that if you have anything on your hard disk before switching to RAID mode, you will have to back it up. Changing to RAID will require the disk to be reformatted, and for you to reinstall the operating system. This is because the OS installs with drivers that tell it how to communicate with the disk. There are separate drivers for IDE mode and RAID mode. If you change modes, it can't use the IDE drivers and will fail to load.

Unless you want to try using a backup/restore system like Acronis TrueImage's Universal Restore feature, a complete operating system reinstall is required. During the installation step you will have to point to the RAID drivers on a USB drive or CD or something, so make sure you have them handy.

NOTE Since you do have an Intel setup, it is likely that you will not have to reinstall the operating system, and that the Intel Rapid Storage Utility will let you set the RAID arrays up, even within the OS for you without losing data. Of course, there's always a risk to lost data, regardless, so make sure you have your data backed up. But this should make the process a bit more easy.

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Also, I believe there may be a setting in the BIOS on X79 Gigabyte boards that has to be enabled to make the "Press Ctrl+I" OPROM even appear. Unfortunately I forget what or where it is and I don't have one handy right now. –  Shinrai Apr 16 '12 at 18:14
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Also, reading this more closely, the last step is NOT necessarily true. You can turn on RAID and then the Intel Rapid Storage Utility can often let you set up arrays on the fly even from in the OS. (I know, it feels risky, and I've certainly never done it myself, but I actually hear success stories from other people) –  Shinrai Apr 16 '12 at 18:14
    
@Shinrai I don't have experience with Intel RAID systems, so if that's the case, then that does make it easier. I'll edit that in. –  Ben Richards Apr 16 '12 at 18:15
    
The motherboard has 10 SATA ports. I want to keep system boot disk and DVD drive in AHCI mode, and turn on RAID mode on other SATA ports where I will put my HDD's for data. –  Al Kepp Apr 16 '12 at 18:16
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@AlKepp - RAID is on a controller level. So, unless those ports are on a different controller, you can't do that. You CAN just turn on RAID and then not add any of the disks you want to keep as-is to an array, in which case they'll perform more-or-less like they would in plain AHCI. –  Shinrai Apr 16 '12 at 18:23
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On some motherboards, this feature simply doesn't work properly. For example, the SuperMicro C7Q67 will not allow you to enter the RAID BIOS during the boot sequence, no matter how hard you try. I've sat there and typed CTRL-I repeatedly, as fast as I could, from the moment I powered the system up until I was past the RAID BIOS message. It simply doesn't work. This affects both 1.0B and 2.0 of BIOS firmware.

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The screen will normally display during the boot process just as the normal BIOS does (Press "whatever" to enter setup) The screens can flash by VERY quickly. You may need several tries to enter the controller setups.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I'd like to thank to other people who tried to help me with this question. I realized that the problem was surprisingly caused by unplugged power cables from my SATA HDD drives.

The computer behaved weirdly, it didn't show anything but black screen during startup (and then Windows started from another drive, i.e. no BIOS picture and no BIOS messages were shown before Windows started) when SATA cables were connected but power cables were disconnected, and it wasn't possible to start the RAID BIOS. So I plugged the power cables to those hard drives and the computer now behaves normally, it shows POST screen and RAID initialization screen for a while where I can press Ctrl+M and enter the RAID BIOS.

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