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Why wont my computer boot to the sata drive?

Last response: in Storage
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April 17, 2010 10:25:31 PM

Hello,
my computers bios see's my sata drive, but won't allow me to boot to it, also when in looking at my storage devices, windows xp apparrently does not see it, how do I fix this?
April 17, 2010 10:35:58 PM

ok quick amendment I want my #1 bootable drive to be my sata, problem is in my biostar bios, it won't allow me the option to set my my sata as primary, secondary, or any other for that matter..........this is a nightmare, any help on this frustrating topic will prevent me from sticking an m-80 inside my tower and lighting the fuse, that's where I am at right now.......thank you for any and all advice, Vince.
a b G Storage
April 18, 2010 1:06:29 AM

Please upload your computer specs and BIOS, etc. Is there an IDE configuration setting in your BIOS? If so, what do you have it set for?
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a b G Storage
April 18, 2010 1:16:21 AM

If you are installing Windows XP Press F6 when the XP installation disc first starts and asks for third party drivers and insert the driver floppy for the motherboards SATA hardware. If windows is already installed then you need to install the SATA drivers on the motherboards driver CD.

a c 329 G Storage
April 19, 2010 4:59:10 PM

Several points of misunderstanding here to clear up.

First, with SATA drives there is NO Master or Slave, etc. Those are ONLY used for IDE drive systems. But you may be confusing those terms with how you boot the machine. Your machine will have ONE drive usually (more is possible in some configurations) that is your BOOT DRIVE, and any others are just data storage drives. No matter how the drives' hardware is connected (IDE or SATA units) there is a place in your BIOS Setup screens where you tell it which device to boot from. Unlike the old days, the boot device is NOT automatically the Master device on the Primary IDE Channel.

Secondly, since you are using Win XP, in BIOS Setup you need to set the correct port mode for your SATA drive. Win XP in all versions (Vista and Win 7 do not have this issue) knows how to use floppy drives, IDE hard drives, ATAPI optical units, and very few other devices already. Anything else requires that you install a device driver to use it, and that includes SATA drives. If you want to use your SATA drive as your boot device, Windows Install has a process for adding the required driver into itself very early in the Install process, BUT to do this you need a floppy drive and a floppy disk containing the driver software. Many people don't have those in their machines. So your BIOS has a handy trick built in to help you get around this problem.

To get into BIOS Setup usually you must hold down the "Del" key as you turn on the machine. You keep holding it down while a few things flow by on the screen, and then the opening menu of Setup comes up. There are prompts on the right and the bottom on how to move around the screen and menus, and there are usually messages explaining the possibilities of the particular menu item you have highlighted. Most have a set of main tabs across the top of the opening screens, and each leads you into main menus and then sub-menus. Find the screen where you manage your SATA devices. First item is to ensure that your SATA ports you are trying to use are Enabled - and this applies BOTH to your hard drive(s) and to your optical drive if it happens to be a SATA device. Quite likely they are enabled already so you don't need to change. Now look close by for a place to set the SATA port Mode. It may set ALL SATA port modes the same, or it may have you specify the mode for each port separately. You will have choices like IDE (or PATA) Emulation, Native SATA, AHCI, or RAID. Ideally for SATA units you choose AHCI but that REQUIRES that your OS have drivers installed. The handy trick is to choose IDE (or PATA) Emulation instead. In this mode you loose a few enhancements that real SATA has, but many users don't care about that. What this mode does for you is make the actual SATA drive unit appear to Windows to be a plain old IDE unit it already understands, and you do NOT need to add in any drivers! It just works! So in your case I suggest you choose that option.

Now you back out of that menu and find the one where you specify your Boot Priority Sequence. THIS is how your boot device is set. I suggest you set it to try the optical drive first, then the SATA hard drive next, and NO other devices after that. When finished, hit the right keys to Save and Exit so that your changes will be saved and used from now on.

With this setup Win XP will be quite able to use the SATA drive with no special additions required. It will try to boot from your optical drive and succeed if you have a bootable disk in it already. If not, it will skip past that directly to the SATA hard drive and try to boot from there. If Win XP is installed there, all will go smoothly.

Now, is Win XP already installed on your hard drive? Or, are you just starting to install it from the CD onto your HDD? If you're doing the Installation, put the Install disk in your optical drive before turning on the machine (or right away as soon as it has power) so that it will find that disk and boot from it. Then the Install process can be followed.
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