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This seems like a question asked a dozen times, so I've already read and tried many solutions. None of them have worked until now.

I installed a fresh Windows 7 x64 on my new computer, on a Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 with the Intel X79 SATA controller on AHCI mode. I had 3 HDDs there: one for the system (1.5TB) and two old HDDs (500GB) that I want to put in RAID1 for backup (moving all my personal folders on it).

When I change the Intel SATA controller to RAID mode in the BIOS, two things happen:

  • First, I can't enter the BIOS menu after reboot (the keyboard becomes unresponsive, I've read an article (http://www.technomicon.com/ProductReviews/ProductReview-3-1-12Pt1.html) saying that it could be related to the fact that my keyboard is connected through USB and not PS2. So the only way to revert is to clear the CMOS.

  • Second, Windows won't start. No BSOD or anything, just plain black screen and nothing. I haven't waited for hours but I assume it should show me BSOD or at least frozen Windows startup screen. I read that I should enable RAID driver in Windows (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976) since the system was installed using AHCI mode, but that didn't changed a thing. The only thing left is that I have an optical drive connected to the controller, and I read that sometime it can misbehave on RAID mode (due to AHCI incompatibilities when in RAID mode, but it worked fine during the Windows installation being in that mode).

Does anyone have any idea about what I could have overlooked? Thank you!

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3 Answers

You've got yourself a classic Microsoft Catch-22: Can't install the drivers unless the RAID BIOS is turned on but can't boot into Windows if the RAID BIOS is enabled.

Typically, the RAID drivers MUST be installed during the installation of the operating system. Otherwise, the operating system will not have the driver needed to access the RAID Array and the boot process will fail. (Assuming your OS is on the same controller as the RAID array)

The proper way to do RAID, is to install Windows with RAID enabled in the BIOS, and then install the RAID drivers, if and when prompted by the Windows' installation process.

Windows does support some RAID controllers out of the box. But if the controller is newer than the version of Windows your installing, you'll most likely need drivers.

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How to enable RAID AFTER having installed Win OS (This works in Win 7 and 8)

  1. Use run command (Winkey+r) and type "msconfig", hit enter.
  2. Under the second tab "Boot", check "Safe boot" under boot options, use "Minimal" sub-option.
  3. Click OK and reboot.
  4. At reboot enter bios and change controller to RAID, safe bios and reboot.
  5. Windows will now boot up in "Safe mode" and automatically install RAID drivers.
  6. While you are still in "Safe mode" reverse the option to boot into "Safe mode".
  7. Use run command (Winkey+r) and type "msconfig", hit enter.
  8. Under the second tab "Boot", uncheck "Safe boot" under boot options.
  9. Click OK and reboot.

Windows will now load as normal with RAID enabled

I hope this is helpful :-)

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If you are changing boot controller then you need to install a driver for new controller beforehand. I.e set your disk type back, install all intel SATA/RAID/AHCI drivers from c:\intel as manual hardware and remove manual devices keeping drivers, then jump back to BIOS again.

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I already installed Intel Rapid Storage Technology Enterprise driver. Everything in the Device Manager is recognized (I've nothing left to install). Do I miss something? –  HiroshimaCC Apr 24 '12 at 10:01
    
rapid storage includes heap of drivers, you need to install other drivers by device wizard since intel utility installed only one for your system configuration. –  ZaB Apr 24 '12 at 11:12
    
So installing Intel RSTe doesn't install the RAID drivers? How can I force it? –  HiroshimaCC Apr 24 '12 at 12:35
    
Add hardware/ device not listed/ all devices / intel / ICH?? RAID mode –  ZaB Apr 24 '12 at 13:11
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