hi - i downloaded the RST exe and unpacked it - it created a directory structure of different languages and such the root has a dll - but no inf files to be found - i am led to believe in need these inf files to get my OS installed on my laptop as the win installer cant find the disk.
You do not need RST to install the OS. If the installer cannot find the disk, there is another reason.
What is the model number of your laptop?
From where did you get the OS install media?
If you look in the laptop bios, do you see any disk? Is the SATA mode set to AHCI?
Emphasizing one of Al's points, if you are not using RAID and you are not using an Optane SSD/Module, then (a) set SATA Mode to AHCI in BIOS Setup and (b) do not install Intel RST.
My other recommendation is to never install an Intel driver package from within Device Manager unless this is the only method supported. If there is an EXE, use it. Remember too that packages installed from EXE should always be uninstalled from Apps & Features, not Device Manager.
Hope this helps,