Hi Jeff Klaus,
Creating the RAID from existing hard drive is possible is you are under windows environment.
You can use the Intel Rapid Storage software to manage, create and modify RAID 1.
When creating the RAID volume through CRTL-I; this for sure will erase data.
See here for Intel Rapid Storage guide:
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Please bear in mind this is an onboard RAID controller and features can be customized according to the computer model or computer manufacturer. Try checking with your computer manufacturer to see if there is an update for the Option ROM and then you can check if the option to keep the system drive data is available.
I'm running into the same problem: I want to create a RAID1 volume yet the RST software will only allow me to select the EMPTY drive as the drive to preserve data on.
I fail to see how ASUS would have any control over this option.
I really don't have any desire to install the OS from scratch. Surely this is a bug in the RST software.