1. I would use the OEM Factory Recovery partition (using F3 during boot). This will reset you back to your original settings as if you just bought the notebook.
2. It will essentially make the laptop as if you just brought it home from purchasing it. Your recovery partition will remain intact.
3. It will recognize the RAID 0 most likely (Windows should have the required Intel raid drivers built in to recognize it). But you will have to find all the drivers and install them on your own. You won't need to worry about the RAID drivers that much honestly.
4. BIOS_RVY is for recovering via the F3 option mentioned above. I'm not sure what the winRE_tools are for.
5. Reformatting the hard drive will not effect the EC firmware. It is seperate.
Thanks for the answers darkhawk. Two last questions:
1. What exactly is the difference between using the OEM Factory Recovery partition through F3, and using the built-in windows 8.1 reset function? Don't they both restore to factory settings? I was thinking the difference was that OEM = restore to how you got your laptop originally, and Win 8.1 reset = clean install w/o any drivers or programs aside from basic windows OS.
2. After I upgraded to Windows 8.1 my screen "blinks" after I input my password and press enter to login. It's not a black screen of death or anything, it literally just blinks once and proceeds as normal. Is that something I should be worried about? I have not been able to find anything online about it (most search results talk about black screen problems or flickering problems, while mine is literally just an ADD annoyance.) This only started happening after I upgraded from 8 to 8.1