Well, if you want to another raid setup like last time, it's possible but it "WILL" not be simple!
My first advice before even attempting something like this, go get a spare hdd or a few DVD-RW DL disc and prepare to back-up the files you really need.
Once done, have a look at this thread:ICH9R; RAID 5; cannot re-add drive to volume - NAS-RAID-Technologies - Storage
If you have a intel based raid setup machine you should be able to catch on fairly quickly, I use AMD, which is a little bit different, but somewhat similiar to intel.
Follow what this guy is saying in this thread I gave you, it might be the answer you need, but keep looking if not.
I am really glad I found this post, I had a very similar experience with my 4 drive RAID10 system.
The solution as proposed to boot with one drive and mark it as a spare worked, but getting an OS to boot was a big problem.
ptr727 12-31-2008 at 05:53:06 AM
Here is what I did:
1. Vista Ultimate x64 SP1, 8GB RAM, 4x500GB HDD, 120GB RAID10 for OS, 800GB RAID10 for data, Gigabyte EP45-DS3R, ICH10R RAID chipset, Q9650 3GHz.
2. Update BIOS from F9 to F10, load optimized defaults, reboot.
3. The loading of the optimized defaults changed the drive config from RAID back to AHCI, I think this somehow confused the RAID chipset.
4. Changed BIOS config back to RAID, rebooted.
5. Now the Intel RAID BIOS reported that drive-0 is non-RAID, that drive-1 to drive-3 is RAID, and that the two RAID10 volumes are degraded.
6. I entered the RAID config by pressing Ctrl-I, but there were no options to let me move the drive back to RAID.
7. I found an Intel KB that says I am supposed to see a dialog that lets me re-assign the drive, but I had no options to do anything with the non-raid drive, see: http://support.intel.com/support/c
8. So I figured I can still boot since the RAID1 portion of the RAID10 will still work. Two things went wrong.
9. Booting Vista gave me a boot volume can't be mounted bluescreen error. I think this was because the non-raid disk was listed before the raid boot volume in the BIOS.
10. I changed the BIOS to put the single non-raid drive after the two raid volumes.
11. I booted again and this time Vista told me it can't find winload.exe.
12. I also tried booting with the non-raid drive unplugged, same problem.
13. I booted from the Vista DVD and selected repair, but the repair could not find any Vista installs.
14. I ordered a replacement drive and paid for next day delivery, turns out I don't need it, but I will set it up as a spare.
15. I wanted to get the Intel Storage Manager software running, but I need a working OS to do this.
16. I plugged in an external eSATA drive, unplugged all internal drives, and installed Vista and the Intel version 8.6 storage manager on the eSATA drive.
17. I plugged all the internal drives back in, and booted from the eSATA drive.
18. On logging in the Intel storage manager tray icon told me that the drive is degraded, and that I must right click on the new drive and to select rebuild.
19. I right clicked on the non-raid drive and selected it for the rebuild, but got the stupid error that lists the various possible causes of the problem, but not the actual problem.
20. Intel, this is the dumbest error message ever, I want to know exactly what failed, not some list of possible causes.
21. One of the possible causes mentioned was that there is data on the drive. I opened disk manager and saw that the non-raid disk had an assigned drive letter, and had a 120GB partition on the 500GB disk.
22. I deleted the partition, rebooted, tried again, and the same winload.exe error.
23. Now that I had the (stupid) error dialog, google pointed me to this thread.
24. This is what really helped me; I removed all but the non-raid drive, and selected that disk for use as a spare.
25. I shutdown, reconnected all drives, rebooted, still booting on the esata drive, this time the rebuild automatically started.
26. After a few hours the rebuild completed, I ran chkdsk on the raid volumes, the first volume had some errors, repaired them, the second volume was fine.
27. Now I had to get Vista booting from the original boot volume again.
28. I changed the BIOS settings to place the raid volumes first, and I rebooted, but I still got the winload.exe error.
29. I booted from the Vista DVD, and selected repair, this time the repair tool found two install, the one on the boot volume and the one on the eSATA drive, and performed some repair actions.
30. On booting again I had two “Vista Ultimate (repaired)” OS boot options, the first entry booted from the eSATA drive, the second entry booted from the RAID boot volume.
31. I powered down the eSATA drive and rebooted. I ran bcdedit.exe and deleted the first entry.
32. After rebooting the correct OS automatically loaded.
33. I think if I had ran the boot repair with the eSATA drive disconnected I could probably have skipped the bcdedit step.
This still leaves me some questions:
1. Why did the drive turn into a non-RAID drive, this is of greatest concern to me for I am bound to update the BIOS again, and switching from RAID to AHCI is bound to happen?
2. Why did the Intel RAID BIOS not allow me to fix the problem from the BIOS, but forced me to do it from Windows?
3. Why did the right-click on the drive fail, and required that the drive be individually marked as a spare?