Bizarre BIOS / RAID problem


I'm on an EVGA NForce 790i. Let me start by saying I've been using this system for two years now and haven't had ANY problems until I undertook this endeavor.

I decided I wanted to move from Windows Vista to Windows 7. And figured the best way to do that would be to install a new system drive and install Win7 on that, making my current Vista drive a secondary hard drive so I could still access my data.

Before I continue, I need to mention that I have a RAID5 composed of three 1TB drives, so it has a total capacity of 2TB with one disk for redundancy.

So I go into my bios to change the boot order to the optical drive, and find that once the BIOS setup screen loads, it appears to be frozen. My first thought was that it couldn't read my USB keyboard, so I plugged in a PS2 keyboard, and still, frozen.

I decided to upgrade my BIOS to the latest version, which did the trick. I was able to get into BIOS setup, change the boot order and install Win7 on my new hard drive.

With the BIOS update, however, I lost my RAID config. I was able to see all three individual drives in Windows. Windows even asked me to initialize one (but not all) of them. I was very careful not to make any changes whatsoever to these drives from within Windows. (Could windows have written something to one of the raw RAID drives without my consent??)

After stressing out a bit, I was able to determine which 3 drives in my system (I have 8 hard drives in there now) were the RAID drives and what SATA channels they were assigned to. I went back into the BIOS and enabled the RAID option for those three channels.

Upon rebooting, I had a flashing red warning that my RAID was degraded, and it apparently is only seeing two of the drives in the RAID, even though it was able to see all three in the BIOS.

What's more, once I enable the RAID, that's when the BIOS Setup freezes upon startup. So I have to flash it again to clear the settings (the battery is very difficult to access in there), in order to regain access. Also, the system no longer sees my new Win7 boot drive once the RAID is enabled.

What the heck is going on? Anyone encountered anything like this? My first hunch is that one of the RAID drives is failing and causing havoc in the BIOS, but it's a pretty big coincidence that it would happen EXACTLY at the time I decide to install a new hard drive. I use the raid daily and had no problems with it even up to 10 minutes before installing this new drive.

Thanks in advance.... I'm ripping my hair out here.
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  1. UPDATE: Got the RAID up. Turns out I had the wrong three drives selected. However once I configure any drives to be set on RAID in the BIOS, I still lose the ability to configure the BIOS as BIOS Setup freezes as soon as the blue display screen pops on. What IS that!?
  2. Best answer
    Start by clearing the bios.
    You can remove the battery or short the jumpers.
    You will need to reconfigure it after clearing it.

    Test the memory with memtest86+.
  3. Best answer selected by pmjm.
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