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Switching between AHCI and RAID on the Dell XPS 15 (9560)

Switching between AHCI and RAID on the Dell XPS 15 (9560)

This guide likely applies to other models and, potentially, even laptops from other OEMs that have NVME drives. However, I've only tested this on my Dell XPS 15 (9560) with the OEM Windows installation from the Signature Edition model.

Switching from RAID to AHCI

Switching from RAID to AHCI is significantly simpler than switching from AHCI to RAID. All that's needed is a successful boot to Safe Mode.

  1. To set the default boot mode to Safe Mode, use msconfig.exe or open an admin cmd/PowerShell window and run:

    bcdedit /set '{current}' safeboot minimal
  2. Reboot and hit F2 to enter the BIOS.

  3. Change the SATA mode to AHCI.

  4. Save and reboot.

  5. After Windows successfully boots into Safe Mode, disable Safe Mode with msconfig.exe or open an admin cmd/PowerShell window and run:

    bcdedit /deletevalue '{current}' safeboot
  6. Reboot one last time. If you open the Device Manager, there should now be a Standard NVM Express Controller device under Storage Controllers.

Switching from AHCI to RAID

Switching from AHCI to RAID is complicated and involves fiddling with the registry so that the RAID controller exists in the PnP database. Make sure you have a backup of your installation before proceeding.

NOTE: I've tested this under the OEM Windows 10 installation only.

  1. Before starting, ensure that the Intel RST drivers from the Dell support page are installed.

  2. Download DevManView and extract the ZIP file. This will be used to find the registry keys for the RAID controller because Device Manager is not available in the Recovery/WinPE environment.

  3. Hold down shift and click the Reboot button in the start menu. This will bring up the Advanced Startup menu on the next boot.

  4. Hit F2 to enter the BIOS when the system reboots.

  5. Change the SATA mode to RAID.

  6. Save and reboot.

  7. When the Advanced Startup menu appears, select the Command Prompt. It may ask for a login.

  8. The Recovery/WinPE environment contains its own copy of the Intel RST drivers so it is possible to access the Windows installation in RAID mode. Run DevManView from the Command Prompt to get a list of all the devices. For example:

    C:\Users\chenxiaolong\Downloads\devmanview-x64\DevManView.exe
  9. Hit Ctrl + F and search for RAID. There should be a device named Intel Chipset SATA RAID Controller.

  10. Right click the device and click Open in RegEdit. It should open regedit.exe and nagivate to a path similar to the following:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Enum\PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_282A&SUBSYS_07BE1028&REV_31\3&11583659&0&B8
    
  11. Open notepad.exe in the Command Prompt and copy/paste the value of ClassGUID from the registry. It will be needed later. In my case, the GUID was:

    {4d36e97b-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}
    
  12. Right click the key in the treeview and export it to a file named intel_raid_pnp.reg.

  13. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Class\@ClassGUID@\0000 where @ClassGUID@ is the ClassGUID value obtained in step 11.

  14. Right click the key in the treeview and export it to a file named intel_raid_class.reg.

  15. At this point, we have all the registry keys, taken from the Recovery environment, almost ready to be applied to the Windows installation. There are just a few changes that need to be made because the .inf file referenced may not match what's in the Windows installation.

  16. Load the SYSTEM registry hive from the Windows installation. In the treeview, click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and select File -> Load Hive....

  17. Select C:\Windows\system32\config\system and name the key INTEL_RAID_FIX.

  18. Nagivate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\DriverDatabase\DriverPackages, find the key that begins with iastorac.inf_, and make a note of the (Default) value. This is the .inf file for the Intel RST driver in the Recovery environment. In my case, this was oem21.inf.

  19. Nagivate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\INTEL_RAID_FIX\DriverDatabase\DriverPackages, find the key that begins with iastorac.inf_, and make a note of the (Default) value. This is the .inf file for the Intel RST driver on the Windows installation. In my case, this was oem44.inf.

  20. Open both of the exported .reg files (intel_raid_pnp.reg and intel_raid_class.reg) and find and replace every instance of the following strings in both files:

  • \SYSTEM\ -> \INTEL_RAID_FIX\
  • Value from step 18 -> Value from step 19 (eg. oem21.inf -> oem44.inf in my case)
  1. Save and close the .reg files.

  2. The registry changes are now ready to be merged. In the File -> Open dialog of Notepad, right click each of the .reg files and click Merge.

  3. Navigate to the paths in steps 10 and 13, but change the location in the address bar from \SYSTEM\ to \INTEL_RAID_FIX\. Verify that the correct .inf file is being referenced in the values. If the values are incorrect, please follow the instructions carefully, starting from step 10 again.

  4. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\INTEL_RAID_FIX and select File -> Unload Hive....

  5. Set the default boot mode to Safe Mode by running the following command:

    bcdedit /set '{default}' safeboot minimal
  6. Close all of the windows and reboot. With any luck, Windows will successfully boot into Safe Mode.

  7. After Windows successfully boots into Safe Mode, disable Safe Mode with msconfig.exe or open an admin cmd/PowerShell window and run:

    bcdedit /deletevalue '{current}' safeboot
  8. Reboot one last time. If you open the Device Manager, there should now be an Intel Chipset SATA RAID Controller device under Storage Controllers.

  9. It may be worth reinstalling/updating Intel RST from the Dell support page to ensure that everything is in a consistent state.

@TestSmirk

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commented Jan 3, 2018

hi have you test this script on your Xps?

@Firefishy

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commented May 17, 2018

Thank you. 👍

@edmondklai

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commented May 24, 2018

Tested on Dell Precision 7720, to switch from RAID to AHCI and it works. Thanks!

@tranlethaison

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commented Jul 8, 2018

Thank you very much!
Tested on Dell Inspiron 15 7577 with NVMe TOSHIBA SSD, to switch from RAID to AHCI and it works.

@itsminht

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commented Aug 1, 2018

Is there an easier way to switch from AHCI back to RAID?

@davibusanello

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commented Aug 18, 2018

For Switching from RAID to AHCI works on Dell Inspiron 15 5570 (Model 2018) with NVMe Kingston A1000 👍

@gregd

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commented Aug 23, 2018

Thanks! Minor correction, on cmd I had to enter bcdedit /set {current} safeboot minimal without apostrophes. I guess apostrophes are needed for PowerShell.

@php4umagento

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commented Aug 31, 2018

Tested on 9560 XPS and it works charm

@biocyberman

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commented Sep 20, 2018

Switching form RAID to ACHI worked for me. I fixed that so I can boot both Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.04.

@workdowg

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commented Oct 4, 2018

Thank you!!! Confirmed: Inspiron 15 Gaming 7567

@DorkmasterFlek

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commented Dec 13, 2018

Thank you for this!!! Successfully switch from RAID to AHCI on my brand new XPS 15 9570 with the 256 GB SSD upgrade in order to dual boot with Linux, and it worked like a charm!

@ghost

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commented Jan 18, 2019

I have been trying to switch from RAID to AHCI on a Dell XPS 15 9550 so that I can dual boot Linux. (I can't access the partition with RAID). When I follow your instructions - I make the to AHCI and save and reboot (steps 1-4) but I do not enter safe mode. Instead, I get stuck on the automated repair blue screen.

In order to boot again, I have to enter BIOS and switch back to RAID. (Then, it enters safe mode without AHCI.)

Any insight?

@sheam

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commented Feb 17, 2019

I don't have iastorac.inf_ in my registry, or in the imported hive. The closest I have in iastorav.inf_....

@aryklein

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commented Apr 23, 2019

Switching from RAID to AHCI on a Dell Inspiron 7386 worked perfect. In my case I had to change '{current}' by {current}
Thanks :)

@patrickj0607

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commented May 1, 2019

Switching from RAID to AHCI worked flawless. Andrew, thank you very much for this detailed guide!

@ShigekazuIshihara

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commented Jun 4, 2019

Thank you very much! Your method enables my Alienware 13 R3 (2018) with 2 SSD as dual boot of Win/Ubuntu!

@yechs

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commented Jun 14, 2019

Tested on my Dell Inspiron 7590 switching from RAID to AHCI, thank you very much for the help!

@RandyPark

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commented Jun 18, 2019

Thanks, this worked on my Dell XPS8930, though after I booted into safe mode, the keyboard did not seem to work; I moused around, was able to open command prompt, then keyboard worked so I could run the second command. A few nervous moments, though!

@bohicaIL

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commented Jun 21, 2019

Thanks! Worked to switch to AHCI on Dell Inspiron 15 5000 series (5570) after installing Samsung NVMe drive in slot. I then installed the Samsung NVMe driver, and Samsung Magician supported the drive (even updating its firmware).

I do have a question now- my system fails to update to Windows 10 Major Update 1903, and fails in Data Migration, Error: Found system boot failure. Last Phase: SafeOS,Start. Wonder if this could be because the update is expecting RAID on my system?

Since my system already had RAID, drivers should all be there. Would I still need to edit the registry to activate it if I changed the bios to RAID and booted into safe mode? I'm thinking I might need to try back to RAID to see if Windows will update successfully.

@bohicaIL

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commented Jun 25, 2019

Windows 10 Update 1903 worked with my configuration, but I did uninstall both Samsung Magician and the Samsung NVMe controller driver before it did (among other things- for complete list see this: https://www.dell.com/community/XPS/Windows-10-Pro-Build-1903-from-1809/m-p/7322103#M30146). I was able to reinstall these afterwards. So no need to revert to RAID.

Thanks again for this procedure!

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