Upgrade to M.2 SSD required disabling RST, how best to recover RAID?

I recently had a surprise upgrade of my PC and after a nightmare of a time figuring out why I couldn’t get my M.2 SSD working, the solution ended up being toggling the Intel Rapid Storage Technology option to “off” in the bios.

Problem is, now my three 2TB HDDs that were set up in RAID are not usable to windows. The Ubuntu liveusb I was using when trying to troubleshoot the M.2 SSD issue would sometimes mount them, but would always see them in one way or another. Since they only had about 3TB of data on them and a bunch of that is easily replaced, I snagged a 4TB HDD and expected to be able to hop on that Ubuntu instance and simply copy/paste everything after turning RST back on in the BIOS.

The Ubuntu instance is playing hardball, recognizing the physical devices in fdisk and letting me manipulate them in gparted, but being a pain in properly mounting any of them to a usable state. I had previously expected this build to fail when I last upgraded, but the Intel RST RAID managed to persist when I upgraded motherboard and kept the same CPU. I foolishly expected my dumb luck to continue when I upgraded everything besides case and video card.

Are Intel RST RAID systems recoverable?
Is there a simple and straightforward path to this recovery in Ubuntu?
Should I attempt to rebuild the old PC and access the drives that way?

Thanks in advance for any pointers,

Welcome to the Win-Raid Forum!

Disabling the “Intel Rapid Storage Technology” BIOS option doesn’t delete the formerly created Intel RAID array, but makes the array and its data invisible and unaccessable for the in-use Operating System. As soon as you have (re-)enabled the related Intel RAID option within the BIOS, you will get access to the data of your RAID array (provided, that you can boot into any OS).
Reason: All HDDs/SSDs, which are still members of an Intel RAID array, have a related entry within their hidden track0. The BIOS detects this track0 entry while booting, but only while running in RAID mode the BIOS can detect the RAID array consisting of 2 or more HDD/SSD members as 1 disk drive.
If you want to use the current members of a formerly created Intel RAID array as “normal” (non-RAIDed) storage drives, you have 2 options:

  • a) Break the existing RAID array from within the BIOS by using the on-board Intel RAID Utility (RAID has to be enabled!).
  • b) Let a specific tool (e.g. from the HDD manufacturer) do a “Secure Erasure” of all HDDs/SSDs, which were members of the Intel RAID array.

In both cases all your current RAID0 array data will get lost, but from now on you can use the affected HDDs/SSDs for any storage purpose.

If you should really not be able at all to boot off your M.2 SSD with enabled “Intel Rapid Storage Technology” option, but want to get access to your important Intel RAID array data, I recommend to do the following:

  1. Make sure, that you have a HDD/SSD with a bootable modern Windows OS on it.
  2. Remove the M.2 SSD from your system.
  3. Enter the BIOS and enable the “Intel Rapid Storage Technology” option.
  4. Boot into the Windows OS and store the important data of the Intel RAID array outside of it.
  5. Enter the BIOS, open the Intel RAID Utility, delete the existing RAID array, disable the “Intel Rapid Storage Technology” option thereafter and store the altered BIOS settings.
  6. Re-insert the M.2 SSD and boot off it.

Good luck!
Dieter (alias Fernando)

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Thank you for the response. Interestingly enough, I had a SATA SSD in use (not part of the RAID) that was my previous boot device, that would also give me grief.

Does that hidden track0 entry work with other RAID systems? For example, could I pop these drives into a NAS and make life a little easier?
Because currently my expected solution is going to be “turn RST back on and fire up the Ubuntu liveusb, re-learn how to properly mount and map the HDDs, copy everything over” or “rebuild another computer, pop the drives into that one, and do all of that anyway”
It may end up with the option of rebuilding the other computer and throwing a windows image on the 4TB HDD so I have something familiar to work with, and then adding the RAID HDDs, and then moving everything over in a familiar environment.

I’m really just hoping to find my least painful solution here, so I can copy the data off safely and then break the RAID and reformat the HDDs because it’s more of a headache than I need at the moment. Your suggestion of removing the m.2 SSD and throwing a Windows image on the receiving drive looks like it may be the way to go.

I hope this makes sense, and thanks again for your help and explanation.