Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Convert AHCI mode to RAID mode without re-installing

  1. #1

    Posts : 16
    windows 8 pro

    Convert AHCI mode to RAID mode without re-installing

    I have successfully installed Windows 8 Pro x64 on an ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe board on a SSD under UEFI/secure boot mode. Used the following settings:
    SATA Mode = AHCI
    Fastboot = enabled
    CSM = enabled
    Secureboot = Windows UEFI

    Everything works fine. Qcode = AO, performance is excellent etc. System information shows:
    BIOS Mode = UEFI
    Secure boot state = ON
    SSD partitioned to GPT

    I now want to create a RAID1 volume on which to store my data. I understand that ideally one has to set SATA mode to RAID before installing windows in order to make the creation of RAID volumes possible.

    However, is it possible to convert my present AHCI system to a RAID system without re-installing windows? I heard that some registry settings will do the trick.

    A possible alternative kind of RAID1?
    I have been checking the user manual of this board and on page 3.39 there is a description of Drive Expert Mode. It can be set to Normal Mode, Super Speed or EZ Backup, where EZ Backup means: "Allows you to use the EZ Backup function that copies and maintains an identical image of data from the SATA6G_E1 drive to the SATA6G_E2 drive".

    How different is this from the RAID function set up with Ctr-I? Is it better or worse in terms of fault tolerance and performance?

    Many thanks for any advice.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64

    On that board, to get full Windows 8 Secure Boot, you have to Disable the CSM. I know it shows "On", but it will show that until you select Other OS in the Secure Boot section. If you have a Video card installed, such as a GTX XXX, it may not yet be Secure Boot capable and will cause the system to abort the boot and put you back in the bios, when the full Secure Boot is in place.

    Have you looked into using Storage Spaces as opposed to RAID? There have been some comments about it is not as stable as RAID, but I have no personal info. Maybe some others will have some information.

    If you want to change your system to RAID, it can be dangerous, so backup everything you can, and remember, if it doesn't work, set it back to AHCI.

    This is not recommend for Windows 7, just in case anyone wanted to try.

    When in Windows 8, open msconfig.exe and set the Safe Boot check box on the Boot tab.

    Restart your system and use the Del key (for ASUS P8Z77) to get into the bios. Go to advanced settings and change the AHCI to RAID. When you select save, your system will reboot and this time, let it boot into Safe Mode.

    While in Safe Mode the drivers will be changed. You can check Device Manager if you like and you will see an entry in Storage Controllers for the Intel Deskto/Workstation... . But you need to open msconfig.exe again and uncheck the Safe Boot box. Then close it and reboot back into normal Windows.

    If at any time the system tries to do a repair operation, restart and get back into the bios.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 16
    windows 8 pro

    Thanks Saltgrass. Your solution seems to be similar to what Microsoft Win8 Engineering has proposed. So, I will try it out, using safe boot, after having backed up my SSD. I understand safe boot installs RAID drivers by default. There is also a registry fix for this problem which I'm looking into.

    By the way, what's the difference between full Windows secure boot and partial secure boot? If there is a difference. I don't have a video card installed since I do not run games. The on-board Intel graphics facility serves me adequately.

    I will put off using Storage Spaces for a while until it has been properly debugged and optimised. RAID1 seems to be the better solution if one wants to have security against mechanical hard drive failure. I will of course back up my RAID1 volume regularly to a separate hard drive.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Posts : 16
    windows 8 pro

    Saltgrass, I have just tried out your safe boot method and it worked just fine. When I check in device manager under Storage Controllers, I can now see the Intel Desktop/Workstation/Server Express Chipset SATA RAID Controller. It was still at an old version but I have now upgraded it to the latest one from the Intel Download site. (v

    Many thanks for your sound advice.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64

    The registry option you refer to is for Windows 7 because you need to enable the drivers first. Windows 8 does not seem to need this step.

    One obvious way to tell if you are using the Windows 8 Secure boot is to boot a Windows 7 install DVD. It will go to just after the Windows Splash screen and then put you back in the bios. It will also change the CSM to Enabled so you will be able to boot to the DVD. So, if you want the most security, operate with the CSM disabled, if you can.

    Glad the controller change worked for you as it has for me...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Posts : 16
    windows 8 pro


    After the safe boot I went into the BIOS to set SATA mode to RAID. While there I also set CMS to disabled. However, this caused windows to object and it refused to boot. So, I had to set it back to enabled. So, you are saying that with this setting I don't have full security? This rather negates the purpose of UEFI secure boot doesn't it? Any fix for this problem?

    Back in windows, something strange happens.

    I tried to install the Rapid Storage Technology Interface tool by running iata_enu.exe which I got from the Intel Download site. I want to use this interface to create my Raid1 volume and not the Ctr-I method. The reason is that the Ctr-I method deletes all data from the disks. One of the disks I plan to use in the volume contains data which I want to keep. I understand that the interface tool will preserve the date.

    When I try to install the Interface, a window pops up saying "This computer currently contains driver versions newer than the versions you are about to install. Are you sure you want to overwrite the following driver with an older version?" It then specify the driver.

    Why would it not accept the latest driver? I would have thought it would prefer to always install the latest drivers. Once this tool is installed, can one update the Raid drivers to the latest within the tool? Don't tell me this tool will prevent all future updates to SATA drivers!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64

    I would only download drivers from the ASUS site for the board. Make sure my link is the correct one for your board. You might want to check if there is a site in your area, since the link is U.S. I remember changing something once and I had to reinstall the Intel Rapid Storage Technology drivers. I do run one Windows 8 system with the Smart Response Technology, which requires a RAID configuration.

    ASUSTeK Computer Inc. -Support- Drivers and Download P8Z77-V DELUXE

    I am not a RAID expert, but I thought, if you had one drive already set as part of an array, you could just rebuild the array using another one... But a mirror should be recoverable, as I understand it.

    Now, the secure boot. Are you using the latest bios? You might try setting the current one back to the defaults, maybe the Keys have been disturbed. Do you have any devices that might be looked at during the boot, such as anything showing in the bios? But the board will do Windows 8 Secure Boot using the onboard video... If it can't, when you try to boot, you should see some message as to why it will not. You may want to read up of Safe Boot. From what I understand, there are two phases, one during boot and the second during the loading of the OS, so you will get some security with CSM enabled.

    I am not familiar with any possible International rules concerning Safe Boot, in case it is related to that.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Posts : 16
    windows 8 pro

    Readers of the ASUS forum for this board, experienced users I imagine, suggest that its always better to use the latest Intel drivers because Asus don't keep their download site as up to date as it could be. I have just heard that new drivers for IRST and a new version of the IRST UI have been released:

    Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST), dated Mar 22, 2013 (released Apr 18, 2013)

    I have tried out the new UI and it seems to work. It starts up without telling me it needs to revert to older drivers. But when I tried to update the Raid driver with Device Manager, from to the new one, DM tells me the latest driver is already installed. Why is that? I assume the UI will, however, install the latest driver. Yes? I have not installed the UI yet. Just checked if it starts up properly.

    As to secure boot. Yes I'm using the latest BIOS version but one: 1805. A newer one has just been released but I'm holding off on that one to see if bugs are reported. I have no devices that needs to be looked at during the boot. My system is as simple as it can get. As you suggested, I will shortly test out secure boot by trying to install older versions of windows. I still have a Windows XP DVD lying around somewhere.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9

    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64

    Windows XP won't work to test because it is not UEFI capable. You could ask the folks over in the ASUS forums.

    I just installed the driver you mention on one of my systems. The previous driver was the one from ASUS and the new one installed fine.

    Driver updates may not have updates for specific parts of the package. I do not know if that is the case for you, but perhaps the one you are trying to update is one of those. But I do not believe an older driver would cause you any problems.
    Last edited by Saltgrass; 24 Apr 2013 at 07:17.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10

    Hey, I created an account to reply to this post. ;-)

    I was having all kinds of problems getting the Intel Smart Response Technology (IRST) on my Asus Z77 motherboard to work accelerating my standard C: drive with a 60gb SSD.

    #1: Changing BIOS drive setting to RAID (as Saltgrass said above) and booting into Safe Mode worked flawlessly, after days of trying to restore a MS Windows Image Backup. (Cough. Cough.)

    #2: You MUST use the latest Intel RST driver and NOT the Asus driver. The updated Intel driver let's you initialize and accelerate the SSD without any special steps or formatting. NOTE: You can't install the IRST until the BIOS is set to RAID or you'll get an "incompatible" error message.

    #3: The caching improvement is not only noticeable, but impressive. My Adobe (bloatware) apps are loading in seconds now, instead of minutes.

    Thanks to all in this forum. It was the only one with reasonable answers.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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