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Win 7 + UEFI + X.79 + Intel RSTe RAID = fail

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November 30, 2012 4:48:37 PM

I should start by saying that I followed jacquith's excellent guide (which should be stickied somewhere) and Sean's guide to the letter and still failed.

The relevant system components :

ASUS P9X79WS motherboard
Intel 520 series 120 Gb SSD
Windows 7 - not service pack 1 - on bootable USB key
Intel RSTe - latest driver from ASUS - november 2012 - used F6 installation
EUFI disk structure - GPT partitions

Through many tries I figured out that the following combinations work ok :

Win 7 + MBR disk structure + RSTe RAID
Win 7 + UEFI disk structure + Windows AHCI

When I attempt to install Win 7, bios set to RAID, using GPT partitions and F6 - RSTe RAID driver, the first stage of the install goes ok, but then on first reboot, the process restarts from the beginning, boots from the USB key and does the first stage over again. At this point the disk is setup up with UEFI's 3 GPT partitions. I've tried taking the USB key out during the first reboot but then the installation can't continue. The interesting thing is I got things to work if I let Windows setup a regular MBR disk structure instead of UEFI.

Since I wasn't intending to use a RAID setup for the moment, I just wanted Intel's supposedly better drivers, I've resigned myself to going with UEFI and AHCI, but I'm wondering why things didn't work ?

Is it possible that my non-service pack 1 windows 7 is the problem ?

November 30, 2012 5:07:44 PM

Let's clarify a few of your vocabulary words first. There is no UEFI disk structure. UEFI replaces the BIOS. So you can either boot via BIOS or UEFI modes. Disk partition tables can either be MBR or GPT. The disk partition table is independent from the BIOS or UEFI booting mode.

I would advise disconnecting any drives that are not your boot drive or optical drives. See if you can get Windows up on just the boot array first using UEFI and GPT if you want. You can add any additional drives after Windows is working. I always disconnect any non boot drives while installing Windows it makes it much simpler for the installer then I add them back once Windows is working, additionally it makes it impossible for Windows to screw up the data on those drives if they are disconnected.

I would also like to hear your reasons for wanting GPT on your boot array. Is your array greater the 2TB if not then there is no real advantage to choosing GPT.
a b å Intel
a c 84 G Storage
November 30, 2012 5:19:12 PM

Paul P said:
I should start by saying that I followed jacquith's excellent guide (which should be stickied somewhere) and Sean's guide to the letter and still failed.

The relevant system components :

ASUS P9X79WS motherboard
Intel 520 series 120 Gb SSD
Windows 7 - not service pack 1 - on bootable USB key
Intel RSTe - latest driver from ASUS - november 2012 - used F6 installation
EUFI disk structure - GPT partitions

Through many tries I figured out that the following combinations work ok :

Win 7 + MBR disk structure + RSTe RAID
Win 7 + UEFI disk structure + Windows AHCI

When I attempt to install Win 7, bios set to RAID, using GPT partitions and F6 - RSTe RAID driver, the first stage of the install goes ok, but then on first reboot, the process restarts from the beginning, boots from the USB key and does the first stage over again. At this point the disk is setup up with UEFI's 3 GPT partitions. I've tried taking the USB key out during the first reboot but then the installation can't continue. The interesting thing is I got things to work if I let Windows setup a regular MBR disk structure instead of UEFI.

Since I wasn't intending to use a RAID setup for the moment, I just wanted Intel's supposedly better drivers, I've resigned myself to going with UEFI and AHCI, but I'm wondering why things didn't work ?

Is it possible that my non-service pack 1 windows 7 is the problem ?


Possibly, but unlikely. You can obtain the SP1 install CDs from Microsoft directly at the link below

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/software-os...

More than likely you have your SSD plugged into the add-in SATA III controller which is from ASMedia or Marvell, these ports are located at the bottom and are usually marked SATA_0A and SATA_1A. You must have it attached to the Intel RSTe controller which are located above and are marked SATA_0 and SATA_1.

fancarolina said:
Let's clarify a few of your vocabulary words first. There is no UEFI disk structure. UEFI replaces the BIOS. So you can either boot via BIOS or UEFI modes. Disk partition tables can either be MBR or GPT. The disk partition table is independent from the BIOS or UEFI booting mode.

I would advise disconnecting any drives that are not your boot drive or optical drives. See if you can get Windows up on just the boot array first using UEFI and GPT if you want. You can add any additional drives after Windows is working. I always disconnect any non boot drives while installing Windows it makes it much simpler for the installer then I add them back once Windows is working, additionally it makes it impossible for Windows to screw up the data on those drives if they are disconnected.

I would also like to hear your reasons for wanting GPT on your boot array. Is your array greater the 2TB if not then there is no real advantage to choosing GPT.


GPT is the complimentary boot structure to EFI/UEFI firmwares. EFI/UEFI firmwares have compatibility for MBR formats but GPT must be used for all UEFI/EFI features to work properly. Legacy BIOS firmwares and BIOS OPROMs running in EFI compatibility mode cannot load disks with GPT partition layouts, but will be able to identify them as being populated.
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November 30, 2012 5:55:41 PM

Pinhedd said:

More than likely you have your SSD plugged into the add-in SATA III controller which is from ASMedia or Marvell, these ports are located at the bottom and are usually marked SATA_0A and SATA_1A. You must have it attached to the Intel RSTe controller which are located above and are marked SATA_0 and SATA_1.


My SSD is plugged into SATA6G_1, one of two Intel SATA III ports.

There are 3 x 1 TB HDDs hooked up, one into the other Intel SATA III port SATA6G_2 and the others to Intel SATA II ports SATA3G_3 and SATA3G_4. These are new and unformatted, and they haven't been touched by the installation program in any way. I'm not using the Marvell controller for anything.

The reason for UEFI / EFI / GPT is really just to have the most up-to-date system possible. Everything is close to latest tech, why not the storage system as well.

What I'd like to know, and spent most of a night trying to figure out, is why the installation reboots from the USB key from the very beginning of the installation process on the second time around, but only if Windows setup the EFI/MSR/Win7 partition structure on my SSD on the first time around.

Whatever Windows does to let itself know that it's going round for the second time is not happening.

a b å Intel
a c 84 G Storage
December 1, 2012 2:56:11 PM

Paul P said:
My SSD is plugged into SATA6G_1, one of two Intel SATA III ports.

There are 3 x 1 TB HDDs hooked up, one into the other Intel SATA III port SATA6G_2 and the others to Intel SATA II ports SATA3G_3 and SATA3G_4. These are new and unformatted, and they haven't been touched by the installation program in any way. I'm not using the Marvell controller for anything.

The reason for UEFI / EFI / GPT is really just to have the most up-to-date system possible. Everything is close to latest tech, why not the storage system as well.

What I'd like to know, and spent most of a night trying to figure out, is why the installation reboots from the USB key from the very beginning of the installation process on the second time around, but only if Windows setup the EFI/MSR/Win7 partition structure on my SSD on the first time around.

Whatever Windows does to let itself know that it's going round for the second time is not happening.


Oh you're trying to boot from a USB key, I missed that part. That can cause issues when trying to install Windows 7 on EFI firmware, problems exactly as you describe. Burn the ISO from the link that I provided you with (it's legal, but you still need a key) and make sure that you provide the latest Intel RSTe drivers at install time. Your DVD drive must be attached to the Intel RSTe controller as well.
December 2, 2012 1:43:08 PM

Pinhedd said:
Oh you're trying to boot from a USB key, I missed that part. That can cause issues when trying to install Windows 7 on EFI firmware, problems exactly as you describe. Burn the ISO from the link that I provided you with (it's legal, but you still need a key) and make sure that you provide the latest Intel RSTe drivers at install time. Your DVD drive must be attached to the Intel RSTe controller as well.


Thanks for this pinhedd, it's good to know I'm not the only one. If I don't boot from the USB key, won't I still have to use one for the RSTe drivers ? There are apparently problems when installing from both dvd and USB key, which is why i went the USB only route, though Intel's RSTe installation procedure doesn't mention any such problems.

Since there are still other problems with RSTe on X.79, like no trim in raid, I'll probably wait for things to get ironed out a bit more. Being a guinea pig is time-consuming :-)

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a b å Intel
a c 84 G Storage
December 2, 2012 2:08:25 PM
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Paul P said:
Thanks for this pinhedd, it's good to know I'm not the only one. If I don't boot from the USB key, won't I still have to use one for the RSTe drivers ? There are apparently problems when installing from both dvd and USB key, which is why i went the USB only route, though Intel's RSTe installation procedure doesn't mention any such problems.

Since there are still other problems with RSTe on X.79, like no trim in raid, I'll probably wait for things to get ironed out a bit more. Being a guinea pig is time-consuming :-)


Yes you will need to provide the RSTe drivers at install time via USB, but it will work without issue; I've done it many times. You can try and slipstream them into the install CD but that's more trouble than it's worth.

Putting SSDs in RAID-0 is kinda unnecessary.
December 2, 2012 11:44:01 PM

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