Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Enabling Intel RAID on Windows Server 2012 Laptops

So you installed Windows Server 2012 x64 onto your Intel chipset Laptop using either a dual boot option or a boot to VHD scenario and the damn thing won't boot up properly?
Keeps on rebooting without any useful error message?
Gives you a BSOD on boot up?
And let me guess, you did all the right things. Inserted the usb key with the Intel RAID drivers on them when you did the install. (because otherwise you could not see the drives in the first place to install to)! All installs well, and when you boot into the machine nothing wants to work?

Resetting the BIOS back to AHCI mode seems to solve the problem. Or does it? I think that only solves the symptom. not the problem. Especially if you have a dual boot scenario where your Windows 8 is expecting the RAID configuration and crashes in AHCI mode. Looks like you'll have to enter the bios and switch modes each time you wish to boot into a different image? Get out of here!!!

A possible solution:

For whatever crazy reason, Windows Server will think it is in AHCI mode, even if you give it the right RAID drivers on install. There is a simple fix for this if you aren't afraid of mucking around in the registry a bit.

Step 1) install the OS while in RAID or AHCI mode. Load the drivers. complete the install. wait until the reboot hangs (if in RAID mode)
Step 2) go into bios and chance to AHCI mode (temporarily)
Step 3) boot into the windows image to complete install
Step 4) download and install the latest Rapid Store Drivers from Intel and install (will expect a reboot)
Step 4) open regedit (if you don't know how to open regedit, stop reading and keep your bios on AHCI mode)
Step 4) look for following entries in your registry
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\msahci (sometimes not there depending on how you installed WS2012)
One or more of those keys will have the Start Value set to 2 or 3. change the value for the Start Entry to 0 for each one.
Step 5) shut down, boot up, enter BIOS, change to RAID mode, Save&Exit

Done. next time the system boots it will pick the correct driver depending on your BIOS setting and will not crash and burn.

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