Thank you in advance for taking the time to read and consider my question.
I bought a new motherboard, the ASUS M5A97. I want to use my old hard drive, which is IDE and is my only hard drive. I bought an IDE to SATA converter thing and it seems to work--- the hard drive shows up in my BIOS and I can even select between booting to WinXP normally or choosing the Recovery Console, and whether to boot in safe mode or not. However, I can't get Windows to actually load up for me. The machine restarts after I choose to start windows normally (or if I choose safe mode or last known config).
The mobo came with a slip of paper saying that the SATA connectors are set to AHCI mode by default. It recommends (for XP) users loading and AMD AHCI WinXP driver with a USB floppy drive. I don't have a floppy drive and I'm not installing my OS for the first time. Will I have to reinstall my OS?
It would be a very good idea to reinstall your OS, preferably on a new SATA drive.
If you have a DVD drive, or can borrow one, try booting to an XP distribution disc that is at least at version SP2 and do a Repair Update. However, I would really recommend an install and a drive that are both compatible with your new motherboard. Or, on the other hand, return the motherboard and get one with PATA support. Things just tend to work better that way, when the parts and the installation match.
I THINK you are saying that you want to use an older IDE-type HDD as your only drive, in a system with a new mobo that has no IDE port. Hence, you are using an IDE-to-SATA adapter to connect the drive to a SATA port.
The recommendation to XP users to install an AHCI driver via floppy disk is intended for XP users who want to boot and run from a SATA drive. But my guess is that your adapter does NOT convert an IDE drive to a SATA drive with all the SATA and AHCI features. It would be better to assume that the drive continues to behave as an IDE device. In that case you will NOT need to install a driver from floppy.
The issue is that XP does not have a "built-in" driver for AHCI devices, but it DOES know how to use IDE devices just fine. Now we can use a "work-around" originally designed for XP users that have only SATA drives. Go into BIOS Setup where you configure and Enable your SATA ports. One line there should be for setting the SATA Port Mode, with choices like "IDE (or PATA) Emulation)", "Native SATA", "AHCI", or "RAID". Set this to IDE (or PATA) Emulation. In this mode, the BIOS intervenes and limits the drive on the SATA port to only those things that an IDE drive can do. That way Win XP will never know the truth, and will he happy to deal with what it believes is an IDE drive. (In fact, yours is, and the adapter does not change that.) I think that, if you set your SATA port that way, Win XP will be able to work with the drive you have.