Forewarned is forearmed...
Changing from IDE to AHCI Mode in the BIOS made Windows XP/Vista and Windows 7 produce a blue screen of death (BSOD)
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I changed my desktop computer's SATA hard disk drive's ports' mode from IDE to AHCI in my desktop PC's motherboard's BIOS, but Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 blue-screened me when I rebooted, so I had to revert to IDE mode. What is AHCI mode and why doesn't it work on my computer?
AHCI mode is enabled in the system BIOS, in which three settings are commonly available: IDE, AHCI, and RAID. The last two (AHCI and RAID) require a driver floppy and the F6 method when installing Windows XP otherwise the hard disk drive(s) won't be detected. Windows Vista and Windows 7 & 8 have the drivers on their installation discs, so doing that is not necesary with those versions of Windows.
The following article explains what AHCI is:
Advanced Host Controller Interface -
The Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) standard was designed to be used by SATA hard disk drives. It enables them to use their advanced features, which include "hot-swapping" that involves replacing a drive with another drive while the computer is switched on and native command queuing, where files that are to be written or read from the hard disk drive are ordered systematically according to their physical location on the disk. The problem with activating AHCI while Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 is already installed and using IDE mode is that the operating system doesn't have the correct storage driver loaded. That is what causes Windows to produce a Blue Screen of Death.
The easiest way to fix this problem is to perform a repair installation of Windows XP and install the necessary AHCI driver when prompted for it. (Note that repair installations of Windows Vista and Windows 7 can only be performed from within Windows not the installation disc, so a repair installation cannot be used to fix this problem with those versions of Windows, because you have to be able to boot the system from the Windows installation disc.) However, the best method requires you to reinstall Windows from scratch, which it not worth the trouble just for AHCI, but if you're going to reinstall Windows anyway, you may as well go ahead.
Visit the following page on this website for information on how to perform a repair installation of Windows XP, which requires having a genuine installation disc, not a recovery disc of the kind that most computer manufacturers provide with their computers instead of a genuine Windows installation disc.
Windows XP: http://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/RecoveringXP.htm
The following computer-forum thread provides a method of enabling AHCI mode without having to reinstall Windows XP or perform a repair installation on computer motherboards that have certain Intel chipsets. I don't know if it can be used with Windows Vista or Windows 7, but I wouldn't try it unless other people have reported successes on the web.
HOWTO: enable AHCI mode after installing Windows -
I have recently installed a new motherboard, memory and processor in my desktop PC, which dual boots Windows XP and Windows 7. In the old setup, I used to have Windows 7 on one hard drive and Windows XP on another. Unfortunately, XP is refusing to work on this setup. The installation files load, then it starts to open XP, but then a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Windows 7 is working normally.
Are you doing a clean or repair installation of Windows XP? If so, and the BIOS is set to AHCI (or RAID) instead of IDE, then you need to load the AHCI/RAID drivers from a floppy disk by pressing F6 during the installation or repair installation process. Windows Vista and Windows 7 have the AHCI drivers built-in, so they can be installed directly from their installation disc with the BIOS set to AHCI.
The following webpage claims to have found a workaround that gets around the problem of having to perform a repair installation of Windows 7 in order to convert to AHCI mode:
Improve SATA hard disk performance (Convert from IDE to AHCI) [Windows 7] -
"The main problem preventing users from changing the storage interface protocol from IDE to AHCI in the past has been blue screens that could only be cured by undoing the BIOS change or reinstalling Windows. The cause of the problem is the mass storage driver installed when Windows was first setup. Since IDE was enabled at install only the IDE storage driver was configured in Windows. With the AHCI driver missing, Windows cannot read from the hard drive and throws a BSOD with error code 0x0000005B. Now there is an easy solution that will allow you to switch between IDE and AHCI in the bios and Windows will boot without any problems. The key is to enable the AHCI driver in Windows before you make the setting change in the BIOS." -
This claim has now been confirmed by Microsoft for Windows Vista and Windows 7 in the following Knowledge Base article, which provides an automatic Microsoft "Fix it" fix, which says: "To resolve this issue automatically, click the Fix this problem link. Then, click Run in the File Download dialog box and follow the steps in this wizard."
Error message when you start a Windows 7 or Windows Vista-based computer after you change the SATA mode of the boot drive: "STOP 0x0000007B INACCESSABLE_BOOT_DEVICE" -
"Consider the following scenario. In the BIOS setup of a Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows Vista-based computer, you change the Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) mode of the boot drive to use the either Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) specification or RAID features. You then restart the computer. In this scenario, you receive the following error message: STOP 0x0000007B INACCESSABLE_BOOT_DEVICE." -
Here is what to you would have to do manually:
For the time being, leave the BIOS setting as IDE mode. Install the Microsoft standard AHCI driver from within the Windows Device Manager. In the Device Manager open IDE/SATA controller, right-click on the main entry and select Update Driver (for the SATA hard disk drive, not the motherboard's chipset, which has it's own AHCI device driver). Then choose the option to browse computer for driver software. Choose the "Let me pick from list" option. In the screen, with the mouse pointer, uncheck the box: "Show compatible hardware". Scroll down under the manufacturer column and select the Standard AHCI driver and select Next. This should install the Microsoft AHCI driver. Reboot, enter BIOS setup and change the setting from IDE mode to AHCI mode. Reboot to Windows and install the motherboard's AHCI drivers, which will be made available from the motherboard-manufacturer's website. If you don't know it and don't want to open the case to find out, the free CPU-Z utility from cpuid.com can identify the make/model of a computer's motherboard.
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