Changing Enhanced/IDE to AHCI mode in BIOS on a preinstalled WinXP system


  • Hi!


    My system (WinXP Pro, SP3) was unfortunately installed with SATA disk in Enhanced/IDE mode, to improve performance and have the system installed correctly I’m trying to change it to address the SATA disks in AHCI mode.


    After loading ASUS latest available driver “” for my motherboard (ASUS “P6T SE” based on intel’s “X58 / ICH10R” chipset equipped with a i7 920 CPU).

    Device manager states,

    IDE ATA/ATAPI-styrenheter

             Intel(R) ICH10 Family 2 port Serial  ATA Storage Controller 2 – 3A26

             Intel(R) ICH10 Family 4 port Serial  ATA Storage Controller 1 – 3A20”)

    I reboot and change my BIOS (American Megatrends Version 0603) settings from below, 


    Storage Configuration                

    SATA Configuration                                  [Enhanced]

    Configure SATA as                                   [IDE]

    Hard Disk Write Protect                            [Disabled]

    IDE Detect Time Out (Sec)  [35]




    Storage Configuration

    Configure                                                   [AHCI]

    Hard Disk Write Protect                             [Disabled]

    IDE Detect Time Out (Sec)   [35]

    AHCI Configuration

    AHCI CD/DVD Boot Time out  [35]

    SATA Port1                                                     [Hard Disk]

    SATA Port2                                                     [ATAPI CD-ROM]

    SATA Port3                                                     [Not Detected]

    SATA Port34                             [Not Detected]

    However the result is not satisfactory, after saving and rebooting my system proceed until the black screen with the Windows logo and the white growing/rolling bar in a square.

    And then suddenly the systems show the “Blue Screen of Death” for a fraction of a second and reboot, and here we go again in a circle!


    So PLS. help, I’m stuck!

    How do I get my system to boot in AHCI mode without reinstalling it from scratch?

    Sunday, December 13, 2009 12:02 AM

All replies

  • have you tried booting into safe mode? will it boot at all in any mode? I would try last known good configuration if it wont and see if that helps
    Dennis ,, Owner: DB Security,, Please dont forget to mark any post(s) that helped as helpful or answered
    Monday, December 14, 2009 7:33 AM
  • To boot using AHCI / native SATA / RAID starting from a different drive controller or ATA compatability mode BIOS setting, you need to install the "txtmode" or "textmode" driver which alas Microsoft has made ridiculously difficult to install into a working, running Windows XP system. There is no explanation for why Microsoft made this so impossible. There IS NO FUNCTIONALITY for adding textmode boot-device drivers via Add/Remove Hardware.

    And besides it is a catch-22. Windows does not like to install drivers for devices it can't detect as being installed. You have ACHI mode disabled and are using compatability mode to be able to boot off the drive. So since Windows can't detect an ACHI / SATA/ RAID driver is needed, it won't let you install it. And of course if you do enable AHCI you can't boot Windows. Isn't this fun?


    Textmode drivers only install from that simple text-only installer used to install XP on a computer, and you basically have to shoot your existing XP install in the head to get the ability to install the driver. If ANY of the following looks daunting and difficult, I suggest referring to an expert and don't try it yourself:

    - Enable ACHI / native SATA / RAID mode in BIOS that gives you the blue screen of death

    - Insert Windows boot CD --- you do have a boot CD right? With SP3 slipstreamed into it?

    Warning, if you have a really old XP boot CD several service packs ago (1A or earlier) this effort may blow up in your face and hose your system until you can get a newer service pack installed. Re-updating back to SP3 via the Internet can be a wee bit difficult if the really old service pack breaks your network connectively. Though it can be rescued with a re-repair with an updated SP3 boot CD, if you can find one.

    For a pre-SP2 install CD, I recommend downloading the complete 316 megabyte Service Pack 3 "offline installer" used by IT administrators before you try this process. Having it on hand allows you to repatch XP back up to the latest version without a working Internet connection:

    Windows XP Service Pack 3 Network Installation Package for IT Professionals and Developers

    - boot from CD using BIOS boot menu

    - Press F6 during textmode installer startup to be able to load the driver --- oh this doesn't work if you have a USB only computer. You usually need a PS/2 keyboard for textmode setup, because USB is not enabled in textmode setup, and keyboards and mice are usually not enabled by the motherboard BIOS in place of a PS/2 keyboard. Most laptops at least don't exhibit this problem.

    - When prompted to provide driver for unknown device, press S.

    - Insert floppy with textmode driver --- you need a floppy drive to achive this. Textmode setup was too simplisticly programmed, to give you the ability to select a folder on some other device where the driver is located. USB floppy drives sometimes don't work if they are not preinstalled as BIOS devices by your motherboard. USB memory sticks are outright not an option. If you have a modern laptop with no built-in floppy drive, good luck!

    - Select the correct driver name --- For some textmode drivers like the Intel Matrix Storage Manager, it actually has some 20 SATA/RAID drivers to choose from. There is no driver auto-detect in textmode setup, and if you pick the wrong one you can hang or BSOD the installer, requiring a reboot.

    - If all goes well, you will get to the textmode license agreement where you press F8. If you screwed up the previous driver selection you will instead get a STOP 0000007E or 0000007F BSOD in Textmode Setup because it cannot see the hard drive where Windows is installed.

    - Textmode setup asks about using the recovery console instead? No, that won't help. Press Escape. 

    - Select your Windows system partition and choose Repair install. DO NOT delete the partition or you will wipe out your installed programs and documents as well.

    - Watch as Textmode setup deletes your Windows installation but leaves your installed programs and documents alone.

    - Textmode repair-install recopies all the original Windows XP install files to your computer. and reboots and runs the initial install process, and prompts you for your CD key, and requests reactivation, and then you have to go to Windows Update, and redownload some 500 megabytes worth of SP3 / .NET / IE8 / etc updates that have occurred since SP3 was released. Hope you're not on dialup Internet!

    Warning, a repair install of IE6 over IE7/IE8 screws up the newer IE to the point that clicking on the desktop icon does nothing. This makes trying to run Windows Updates quite entertaining. I strongly recommend downloading the manual installer for your installed version of Internet Explorer BEFORE you try to do the repair install so you have it available to save the day. This is a 5+ megabyte self-contained setup file:

    Internet Explorer offline installer:

    Warning, if this computer was using the Novell Netware client, the repair install may fail horribly during the first-run of Windows Setup because the Novell Client replaces Microsoft's GINA which is used to login on the computer, and the repair install sorta halfway replaces Novell's GINA but the Novell client is kind of still installed but not really and everything is whacked. I highly recommend uninstalling NMAS / NICI and the Novell client before trying to do a Repair install. Also removing the Novell ZENworks client is also a good idea before a Repair install since it appears to monkey with the GINA as well.


    And that is merely all you have to do to install the textmode setup driver for your AHCI / SATA / RAID boot device, and get the driver added into the CriticalDeviceDatabase in the registry so that Windows knows to load the controller's driver after booting from NTLDR.


    Isn't it odd there's no way to just add the driver to the CriticalDeviceDatabase from within Windows XP with a driver installation tool from Microsoft, and which dumps the files into the appropriate driver folders, without having to go through this hellish experience?

    Yep, merely have to completely delete your existing Windows XP installation, redownload about half a gigabyte of Windows Updates, and surmount a huge variety of weird unexpected hurdles, just to install a hard disk controller driver that is about 100 kilobytes to 800 kilobytes in size and should not require such a ridiculous amount of effort to load.

    Well at least the programs that were installed before you endured this ordeal have been preserved. More or less.

    Really, what could be easier? ;)

    * Suppresses desire to pummel Steve Ballmer with a rough-cut 2x4... *

    - Dale Mahalko
    Friday, December 18, 2009 1:18 AM
    • Hi Friend,

      I got the same problem when i woking with different model of Desktops and laptops. At last i found one SATA driver which will resolve your problem ,you log in Normal mode not in SATA mode and then you need to run one file which have all ICH family Inf files . And then you restart the machine and change the seeting to SATA in BIOS and hopefully it should work.

      Download the Zip file from this link

      In PREPARE folder you have Install.Cmd file click on that.
    • Restart the computer and Enable the SATA mode in the BIOS and then should work Fine.

    This is my First Bolg ever iam replying to other hope this should work you my firend.

    • Proposed as answer by Pachi814 Tuesday, December 22, 2009 5:37 PM
    Tuesday, December 22, 2009 5:32 PM
  • I got the same problem when i woking with different model of Desktops and laptops. At last i found one SATA driver which will resolve your problem ,you log in Normal mode not in SATA mode and then you need to run one file which have all ICH family Inf files . And then you restart the machine and change the seeting to SATA in BIOS and hopefully it should work.

    Download the Zip file from this link

    Can you provide a alternate link or description of whatever this is without using RapidShare? I do not want to pay them $7 to download this 213 kilobyte zip file.

    • Proposed as answer by Pachi814 Monday, December 28, 2009 10:51 AM
    Tuesday, December 22, 2009 8:57 PM
  • I can send you this in Email reply me back to my email

    • Proposed as answer by Pachi814 Wednesday, December 23, 2009 1:12 PM
    Wednesday, December 23, 2009 10:50 AM