Having googled this a plenty and not having found an answer except for a lot of bad info like ‘it can’t be done’ (go figure?), I decided to create this step by step guide. Let me know if it works for other RAID modes, it should as the principle is basically the same.
While it will probably work for most of you, for those it does not and ignored the following warnings regarding backups, tough!
Make sure the data on your windows partition is small enough to fit on the single drive you will be restoring to. This guide assumes you are going to use one of the RAID set drives to restore to. If your going from RAID 0, then you will be restoring to a drive half the size of your RAID array. You only need the DATA size to fit. There is an option in Paragon to re-size the partition to fit, as long as the data fits!
Check your BIOS Setup and make sure your SATA controller supports either SATA or IDE mode. If the only option you have is RAID or AHCI you will need to follow one of the many online guides to enabling AHCI in windows before you start. If you have AHCI then you probably want to use it, so even if you do have SATA mode you could enable AHCI in your windows first anyway (most likely you would want to use it), but is not required, as long as you have SATA mode AHCI can always be enabled later.
(Thanks NordicDreamer for pointing this out,, note some BIOS only have RAID, AHCI and IDE, so you would use IDE mode instead of SATA at step 10. If you have both IDE and SATA modes then try SATA, if you BSOD at step 11 then try IDE mode)
Here goes —
Step 1 ) Download and install the excellent (and free!) Paragon Backup.
Step 2 ) Do a FULL backup using Windows backup. You can store it on a 3rd hard disk, or USB drive or even another computer on your network. I used a networked computer. This is our emergency only, last resort, in case all else fails backup and will not be used if all goes well. Make the recovery disk when prompted. As a further precaution boot into the recovery disk and ensure you can access the backup. Do not skip this step!
Step 3 ) Now do a FULL backup using Paragon Backup. Same location if you like (this is the one we will restore later). Make sure you backup the MBR, System Reserved (~100MB) and windows partitions. Minimum 3 ‘partitions’. If that’s all you have then fine, just make sure you backup ALL your partitions. The MBR is not, strictly speaking, a partition but you will see it listed.
Step 4 ) Create the Paragon backup/restore CD or USB (I used a USB thumb)
Step 5 ) Boot the Paragon backup/restore disk you created in step 4, and make sure you can access the backup you created in step 3, If you used the network like me, then you will need to set it up using the ‘Configure network’ option. If you cannot access the backup then you will need to move the backup. Just make sure you can access the backup using the Paragon backup/restore disk before you continue.
Step 6 ) Reboot and enter your RAID BIOS, destroy your array, do not create a new array.
Step 7 ) boot the Paragon backup/restore, now restore your backup of windows 7 to disk 0. Make sure to restore the MBR and the ~100MB ‘System Reserved’ partitions as well as the windows partition.
Step 8 ) Once completed you should now be able to boot into windows.
Step 9 ) Open ‘Device Manager’ and look for your RAID driver. Uninstall it. You should be prompted to reboot.
Step 10 ) Enter your Mainboard BIOS setup, Change the sata controller mode from RAID to SATA (you could try AHCI but if it wont boot you will need to follow one of the many guides on enabling AHCI).
[EDIT] Many newer boards no longer have both IDE and SATA mode. They are both the same for the purposes of this guide so use whichever you have. If you have both, try SATA and if you BSOD try IDE [/EDIT] 27/1/2014
Step 11 ) If all went well your done, windows will install the correct drivers for your sata controller and want to reboot again most likely, but basically that’s it.
How does it work?
The main trick is to get windows to boot on a single drive while it is still using the raid drivers. We trick windows by destroying the array, then restoring to a single drive, while the controller is still in RAID mode. If you try changing to SATA mode without first uninstalling the RAID drivers you will just BSOD during boot, even in safe mode. Once you have got it working you can then move the drive to another controller (after installing the controllers drivers of course) at leisure, should that be your goal.
If you just can’t get it to work, you have 2 fully working backups to play with, so just enable your RAID mode and create the array again, then restore using the Microsoft recovery disk and backup you created earlier.
Email me using the Contact form and I will try to assist you. I am assuming, seeing as your using RAID, you know where to find things like device manager, windows backup etc.But if you are having problems then drop me a message and I will try to help as best I can, updating this post if required to help make things clearer for everyone.
Please do not bother me if you didn’t create both backups, didn’t make the recovery disks or didn’t check you could access both backups before destroying your array. If your data is not that important to you, just do a fresh install. It is probably what I will tell you anyway.