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Windows XP AHCI Failure

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December 25, 2009 11:07:19 AM

I am having a huge problem trying to install 32-bit Windows
XP SP2 on a GigaByte P55-UD3R motherboard with the SATA2 drive
using AHCI mode. Basically, it all goes fine, loading the AHCI
driver via F6, except that Windows does not see ANY hard drive
afterwards. (This is my very first experience with AHCI.)
I have tried ALL available AHCI drivers, from both GigaByte
and Intel, and I have tried both an Intel SSD and a WD5002ABYS
hard drive. No joy. When I change the SATA controller from
AHCI to IDE in the BIOS, Windows sees both drives just fine.
The BIOS itself sees both drives just fine, in either SATA mode.
This looks for all the world like simply having the wrong
AHCI driver at F6 time, but I would expect to see a bunch of
similar complaints about this on the 'net by now if that were
the case.
I called Intel SSD Tech Support and a guy walked me through
the whole thing, and he said my setup (and SSD) was fine, and
that I would have to call GigaByte. I tried calling GigaByte,
but that was an endless on-hold wait so I gave up so here I am.
Can anyone please help me before I simply give up and install
my lovely new SSD in IDE mode and lose many of its advantages?
(Please don't suggest Windows 7; I hate Windows 7.)

More about : windows ahci failure

a b G Storage
December 25, 2009 6:05:32 PM

The problem is 'cause for windows XP you can't use the AHCI mode, you must use the SATA mode.

The AHCI mode is used for Win vista and Win 7, and for Win server 2008.
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December 25, 2009 6:37:50 PM

Some bios you can set it to IDE as well even if its SATA. All of our new Hp's at my work had to be set to IDE instead of AHCi in order for them to boot with their sata drives.
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a b G Storage
December 25, 2009 7:12:04 PM

You do not need to change anything in the BIOS. Set it to AHCI mode.
Now, the problem is, Gigabyte makes it very confusing to create the correct driver disk. There are 2 (two) ways to create a disk, one creates a disk for RAID, the other creates a disk with AHCI drivers. Read the manual very, very closely. I cannot remember the exact way I did it, but you will know when you have the right disk created, as when prompted it only gives you a choice of 2 drivers (F6 during the install of XP). 1 for 32 bit XP AHCI mode, and 1 for 64 bit AHCI mode. That is it, no more, no less. If you created a RAID driver disk, you will have a choice of all kinds of drivers, and NONE of them on that disk are what you need. Trust me, been there, done it.
I know because I went through the same thing about 10 times before I got the driver disk right myself for my Gigabyte board. When you create the disk, if you did not do it right, be sure you erase it before you try again, as it will not over-write anything you have on the disk, and if the disk is wrong, it will still be wrong even if you do make try to make it the correct way. Make sure the disk is blank each time you try.
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a c 415 G Storage
December 25, 2009 8:07:00 PM

saint19 said:
The problem is 'cause for windows XP you can't use the AHCI mode, you must use the SATA mode.
AHCI is the native protocol a driver uses for communicating with SATA disks. It's not one versus the other, they both refer to the same thing.

The choices for drivers for most current motherboards with Intel chipsets are:

ATAPI for IDE disks, (or when you configure the BIOS so IDE emulation mode is used to access SATA disks, useful for older systems like XP which don't include AHCI drivers as part of the install kit).

AHCI Used to access SATA disks using their native protocol. Works without any fuss for Vista / Windows 7, but requires F6 installation of a driver during an XP install since the driver isn't part of the install kit.

RAID Used to activate the RAID features of the Intel ICHxxR chipsets.
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December 26, 2009 1:56:19 PM

Hiya jitpublisher, and thanks for your input. I can easily see that you know what you are talking about, but so do I. :-) I had correctly done all the things that you mentioned before posting my original message here. Since that original post, I have been running a few shotgun style experiments and I now have new data to report. Basically, I have found the "smoking gun". Which is: Windows 7 will not install on my setup. There is no way on this planet that GigaByte could get away with selling a brand-new mobo that won't support Windows7! (Actually, I don't have a "real" version of Win7, so I just cranked the date back to 25Jun09 in the BIOS and tried to install Win7 RC1 and experienced the failure.) The interesting thing is that Win7RC1 put up a very informative dialog box that showed that it COULD see the hard drive but basically just didn't like its looks. Here is the exact text from the dialog box:

-------------------------------------------
Disc 0 Unallocated space 465.8 GB

Windows cannot be installed to this disk. This computer's hardware may not
support booting to this disk. Ensure that the disk's controller is enabled in the
computer's BIOS menu
-------------------------------------------

So what we have here is a true enigma. I can clearly see that I need to get
GigaByte tech support on the phone and beat them up a bit. When I get to the
bottom of this, I will of post the result here. Stay tuned.
BTW, you didn't say WHICH GigaByte mobo you finally managed to load XP on
via F6, and I was really hoping that someone would chime in with a testimonial
that he had successfully done this on a P55-UD3R. That would sure make me
feel more comfortable about this, given that this thing is only Rev 1.0 which
always makes me nervous!
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a b G Storage
December 29, 2009 2:28:11 PM

Ah, there is always more to the story than meets the eye....should have known.
Anyway, it's the board under my specs, MA790X-UD4P.
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December 30, 2009 2:26:27 PM

By the way, I use Ahci with W2k. Even on an ich10r, thanks to BlackWingCat's modified driver. Intel gives Ahci W2k drivers up to their ich7r.

This allows me to take advantage of Sata300's added features, like Ncq and (hopefully) hot plug.

-----

Please don't feel offended... But your P55-UD3R has an added JMicron Sata chip and a "Gigabyte" (=JMicron) one, both worth deactivating.
http://www.gigabyte-usa.com/Products/Motherboard/Produc...
Did you pick the right driver for the corresponding connector?
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January 6, 2010 3:15:05 PM

Apologies for having taken so long to reply. My
excuse is suffering several disasters at once here
in the shop. Thanks for your input, and here's the deal:

I could not install Windows XP on my new SSD after setting
the SATA controller to "AHCI" as recommended by Intel.
Windows XP did not see the drive at all, and Windows 7 RC1 saw
it, but didn't think it looked bootable. The problem was an
additional BIOS setting called "Extreme Hard Drives" that
defaults to disabled and is COMPLETELY undocumented in the
Gigabyte motherboard User Manual. Totally failing to get any
help from Gigabyte Tech Support, I began experimenting. Turns
out that if ya turn "Extreme Hard Drives" ON, then the SATA
controller is FORCED to "AHCI" (grayed-out so ya can't
change from that), and EVERYTHING WORKS. Seems obvious to
me in retrospect that "Extreme Hard Drives" just means RAID,
and is required by this demented BIOS for SATA AHCI support
even though I do not have a RAID setup at all. Sheesh.

BOTTOM LINE: Windows XP supports AHCI disks just peachy keen
as advertised, once you live thru loading the correct AHCI
driver from floppy disk via F6 during XP Setup, AFTER DECLARING
THAT YOU HAVE A RAID SETUP EVEN WHEN THAT IS NOT TRUE. BTW, any
Windows 7 users out there who are smirking about us XP users
not having "trim" are barking up the wrong tree. The Intel SSD
has a "Matrix Storage Manager" program that performs the "trim"
function just fine under Windows XP, and can even be scheduled
to run automatically (Intel recommends once per week).

So, I AM DONE WITH THIS THREAD. Problem solved, and I probably
won't see any additional replies on this. Thanks to all who
offered their help.
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a c 415 G Storage
January 6, 2010 3:51:10 PM

Poxaponia said:
BTW, any Windows 7 users out there who are smirking about us XP users not having "trim" are barking up the wrong tree. The Intel SSD has a "Matrix Storage Manager" program that performs the "trim" function just fine under Windows XP, and can even be scheduled to run automatically (Intel recommends once per week).
The difference between that and what happens under Windows 7 is that Windows 7 automatically issues TRIM commands every time a file is deleted or space is released. Therefore there's no need to run anything, weekly or otherwise, to keep your SSD optimized.
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