Intel RST ( Rapid Storage Technology ) and Time
Intel has not been kind to people with older hardware running the latest version of Windows (Windows 11 at the time of this writing). Specifically, the RAID technology Intel produces (which isn't true hardware RAID, but not relevant here).
Yes, Intel makes drivers available through Microsoft and they are fairly recent. But there are issues. First and foremost is the absence of the Intel Rapid Storage Technology GUI / User Interface ( AKA IAStorUI ). That's what this article is about.
Intel Rapid Storage Technology GUI / User Interface ( AKA IAStorUI)
All of this is possible because of the nice person (Fernando) who created and maintains this website: https://winraid.level1techs.com/t/intel-rst-rste-drivers-latest-v17-11-2-1004-whql-v8-0-0-3300/13801
Please note, his native language is not English, so it might be a bit difficult to understand some of what is written. That's not a derogatory comment towards him at all. He can speak and write more languages than me, so that makes him a very smart person. Anyway, here's the gist of what to do.
- Identify the chipset and version of Intel RAID that you're using (ICH10R, etc.)
- Determine which driver version to use by referencing the Intel Rapid Storage Technology article on Wikipedia.
- On Fernando's Website, download two files;
- From this page, download the "official" (IE, unmodified) Intel Drivers for the appropriate chipset
- From this page, download the Modified Driver Package that contains the "Drivers+Software" (with Software = to the Intel Rapid Storage Technology GUI / User Interface ( AKA IAStorUI ) )
- Install the drivers: Don't just run the program from the "official" Intel Drivers package, unzip / unRAR it and manually install the drivers located in the Drivers Folder
- Install the Intel Rapid Storage Technology Software GUI / User Interface ( AKA IAStorUI ): Don't just run the "modified" setup.exe file. Instead open a command prompt (in Admin Mode) and run this command: setup -nodrv (installs the Intel Rapid Storage Technology GUI / User Interface ( AKA IAStorUI ), without installing the drivers)
Example: Dell Precision M4500
See WARNING section below before actually doing any of the below steps;
- Determine Chipset of Computer: QM57 Chipset with ICH8 (determining ICH8 was a bit difficult, so anticipate some research on your model)
- Driver Version to install: 22.214.171.1241 (the last one that supports ICH10 and earlier)
- Download and Install (see above instructions on Installing the Driver) the appropriate Intel "official" Driver from: https://winraid.level1techs.com/t/intel-rst-rste-drivers-latest-v17-11-2-1004-whql-v8-0-0-3300/13801 (Version 126.96.36.1991 in this example), Reboot Computer
- Download and Install (see above instructions on Installing the Intel Rapid Storage Technology Software GUI / User Interface ( AKA IAStorUI ) ) RAR / ZIP File from: https://winraid.level1techs.com/t/modded-intel-ahci-and-raid-drivers-digitally-signed/19691 (Version 188.8.131.521 in this example), Reboot Computer
- ...and it blue screened. Easy fix on this Laptop, which has Windows 11 installed on it, just reboot, switch to AHCI mode in the BIOS settings, remove the offending driver, back to the 18.x version Windows 11 wants.
- Hmmm, OK, Fernando's website says the v14.x drivers will work for older host controllers down to ICH7, so let's go. Rinse repeat using above steps for installing the drivers with the v14.x version.
- And it worked. This laptop has ICH7R capability. The same above method (not detailed here) was successfully completed on a desktop system with and IHC10R based RST RAID controller using the 184.108.40.2061 drivers (which out-performed the 18.x drivers installed with Windows 11). Oh, and both computers were running cloned versions of Windows 11. So the lesson here is that you may need to try a couple driver versions.
- WARNING: And one more thing to point out here. As noted, both test computers have / had the same cloned version of Windows 11. Before hand (for other reasons), this operating system has been booted with the SATA controller 'set' to RAID (Intel RST) and AHCI. Both work. The idea being that if something went 'pear shaped' (British term, look it up) with the RAID drivers, just switch the BIOS to AHCI, from RAID, reboot in safe mode. Booting into safe mode with Windows 11 when switching from RAID to AHCI or vice versa, seems to be a 'feature' of Windows 11 that eliminates the need to edit the Registry when doing this, so thanks Microsoft. Anyway, the warning is that you need to be prepared for the installation of RAID drivers that seem to go smoothly, but then cause a Blue Screen when rebooting. Preparing for that eventuality isn't covered here.
- The next issue revolved around discovering a 'really cool feature' from Intel, two actually. RSTDowngradeGuard and OptaneDowngradeGuard. This occurred when attempting to install the IAStoreUI GUI. A warning popped up about not being able to install the software. The software noted above is installed by Intel and does NOT show up in the Windows Programs / Features Add / Remove Control Panel Applet. It was discovered using Window 11 Managers Smart Uninstaller. Once removed, installing the IAStoreGUI can proceed, sort of. If uninstalling these 'features' is not possible, deleting their registry keys can be a solution. The only solution found was this, but it didn't include the specific key, just the parent key, so you'll have to search for it. Don't blame me, thank Intel.
- OK, now the RST_x64.msi package won't install. No error, just a progress meter that almost completes and then reverses itself. Solution? Run from a command prompt this way;
- runas /user:WhatEverAdminstratorLevelUser "msiexec.exe /i "WhatEverPathToFile\RST_x64.msi", enter the password, and good to go, except for one final error writing a registry key value related to 'battery...' (only guess here is that at some point since Intel made the MSI package, Microsoft changed permissions on that key), the solution was to simply 'ignore'.
- After that, everything was installed.
- Final Situation: Windows 11, with RST driver 14.x, and IAStorUI GUI working perfectly. Plus performance with the 14.x drivers is slightly better than the 18.x drivers. Keep in mind this laptop only has SATA 2 / 3.0 GB/s capability, so the difference with the drivers isn't that much.
...and now the Intel Rapid Storage Technology Software GUI / User Interface ( AKA IAStorUI ) is installed
On a small side note, extracted the MSI file as part of the testing and found all the IAStorUI.exe and associated files. Ran the IAStorUI.exe file just to see what would happen, and it worked (without installing it).
Why, Why, WHY!?
Why Intel? Why did you make it so hard. There is living proof that it works and works better and has more capability (in the form of a user interface within Windows) than the newer stuff you try and shovel on us. Why? The only speculation is that it is in the interests of Intel for you to buy new things. So making it more difficult to make older things work is what they do. That's just pure evil if it's true. Don't serve the customer, serve Intel and add 'to the customer's detriment' to that too.