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Esata external HDD not auto-detected in Win7 even after enabling AHCI

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November 18, 2009 11:38:34 PM

Hello. The problem I have, as you can see from the topic is that my esata external HDD is not auto-detected. I will describe what I've done to attempt to rectify this problem, and hopefully someone can suggest something else to do that I might have missed. I am running Windows 7 Home Premium. I know that this drive can be auto-detected because it has done so on 2 other/older systems that were running XP.

I have managed to successfully enable AHCI on my motherboard (M4A77TD Pro), I first went into the registry editor, went here HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\msahci and changed the "Start" Value to 0.

I then restarted, went into BIOS, went into the SATA configuration option on the main page, made sure OnChip SATA Channel was enabled, then changed the OnChip SATA Type to AHCI on both options (SATA 1/2/3 and SATA 5/6 - recalled this info from memory, I don't remember seeing an entry for E-SATA). There is a note in the manual that I should "ensure to install the AHCI driver", I did not ensure that I did this as I am not 100% sure how to do it. I did both of these things with the external hdd turned off btw.
I saved these changes and booted fine. Windows, seemingly, installed all the necessary drivers, then I restarted once more. And then I tested to see if my external hdd would be auto-detected, it still only gets detected when I go to device manager and search for hardware changes. I've changed the policies on the drive from better performance (with "Enable write caching on the device" enabled) to quick removal and back again.
I have since checked that the AHCI option is still enabled in my BIOS and that the registry value is still as it should be, and they are. I get no problems reported in device manager and I have what I assume is the AHCI driver installed visible in DM, which is "Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller".

Thanks in advance for any help.
a b G Storage
November 19, 2009 4:05:20 AM

The only thing I can think of right now is that you try a different eSATA cable.
a c 342 G Storage
November 19, 2009 2:00:48 PM

Your problem may come back to not having installed the driver. Most mobo's come with a DVD of software, utilities, drivers, etc. One of the utilities is used right AFTER you install an OS to install under that OS the drivers it requires to use all the devices built into the mobo - including hard drive (and other port) controllers. There's usually also the alternative (often a good idea) to not install those drivers, and instead to go to the mobo maker's website to download all the most recent drivers for the mobo and install them instead. Especially in your case with Win 7 newly installed, the latest drivers are a good idea.

In your mobo's manual on page 2-9, under BIOS Main Menu ... SATA Configuration it says the board has 5 SATA ports (1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 - no 4?) plus an eSATA port. It also says you can choose the mode to be SATA, RAID, or AHCI. But then it says that if you choose AHCI, somehow SATA ports 5 and 6 can't be detected. (Seems you have made this choice already.) THEN it says you must be sure to install the AHCI drivers so you can use all 5 SATA ports plus the eSATA port. (Seems to imply that installing the AHCI driver gives you back access to SATA 5 and 6 somehow.)

Anyway, clearly you need to download from ASUS and install the latest ACHI driver for your mobo, and it appears from this manual that the one AHCI driver covers all the SATA and eSATA ports, even though they are done with two different chips. Near as I can tell, go to this spot:

http://support.asus.com/download/download.aspx

In the drop-down windows select "Motherboard", then "SocketAM2/AM2+/AM3", and your model "M4A77TD Pro". Click the Search button then choose your OS, Win 7, from the next window and Search again. In the resulting list click the "+" next to the "Chipset (1)" entry to find the Win 7 drivers for your board. When you download them there likely will be some instructions on how to install them under Win 7.

By the way, both in BIOS Setup and when installing Windows drivers, unless you are told to keep devices turned off, it may be a good idea to turn on the devices (in the case, your external HDD on the eSATA port) so that the mobo (and Windows) recognizes that it / they exist, the port(s) should be configured, and the drivers are required.
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November 21, 2009 1:33:52 AM

Cheers for the responses.
This is what I got off the ASUS site: "AMD Chipset Driver V1.3.0.49 for Windows 7 32bit/64bit--(WHQL)". Which gave me a setup to Catalyst Install Manager, which installed ATI CIM, North Bridge Filter Driver and MS Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable. Which has done nothing to my external hdd.
Unless the driver can be found, I am thinking that the easiest way to sort this out, might be to change the SATA configuration back to IDE, then back to AHCI with the external hdd turned on, during the return to AHCI, so that the port can be configured properly.

p.s. What I downloaded is very similiar to what was on the mobo DVD.
p.p.s. One of the utilities on my mobo DVD is AMD RAID/AHCI RaidXpert, don't know if this could potentially be helpful as I don't know exactly what it is.
p.p.p.s. SATA port 4 is listed as ESATA on the main page, under SATA configuration there are 2 entries, the first one is SATA 1-4, the second, SATA 5-6.
November 24, 2009 1:50:21 PM

Are you 100% sure that that is the correct driver and will solve my problem?
!