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XP: changing SATA from IDE to AHCI: what to expect?

Discussion in 'Windows & Other Software' started by ohansen, 9 Apr 2010.

  1. ohansen


    Joined: 9 Aug 2009

    Posts: 5

    HI all,

    so I have the sweetest-running PC ever, my Shuttle. Since I posted my initial install questions six months or so ago about my new Shuttle SP35P2, I've never had a crash, bluescreen, or hang. Honestly, never ever. I'm running Windows XP, 8GB (yes I know, 4GB wasted) RAM, 1TB SATA, and using Photoshop CS4, Premiere Elements, Lightroom 2/3 Beta, various Canon DSLR/video software stuff, full Nero stuff for CD/DVD work and video re-coding, and so on. So not just web-browsing here.

    Unfortunately when I installed XP I wasn't aware of the future consequences of choosing IDE vs. AHCI, and installed XP with the SATA set to ATAPI/IDE. I'm aware that the performance benefit for my case should be close to zero and so normally changing it wouldn't make sense.

    However, I now have to run another OS where the SATA AHCI setting is mandatory, and since it's a global BIOS setting, I'm pondering over what to do:

    1) Change the SATA BIOS setting, and break the current XP install. It seems a re-install of XP is recommended at least, would a full re-install be required, or can a repair do?
    2) Yank the 1TB SATA and plug it into an external USB/Firewire enclosure, install a new SATA (SSD? ;-) internally for my new OS, change the SATA BIOS setting (to live with my current perfect XP system booting off the external USB), and install the new OS on the internal drive?

    I did leave plenty of partition space on the existing drive to play around, so I can clone the existing system partition etc. before doing anything irreversible. But at the end of the day, what I really would like to have, is my existing XP installation bootable, as well as the new OS installed as a second boot option.

    Any thoughts would be welcome, particularly about the "Existing XP install on SATA/IDE, moving to SATA/AHCI" headache, and exactly what that would mean.

    Thanks in advance!!!
  2. brummie


    Joined: 3 Feb 2003

    Posts: 2,853

    Location: Shropshire

    Xp cant handle AHCI can it? couldnt when i last tried about 8 months ago
  3. AbsenceJam


    Joined: 2 Nov 2007

    Posts: 4,304

    There's no OS where AHCI is mandatory; the only time when it's something you might really want is if you use an SSD and it needs to be in AHCI for TRIM to work.

    If you want to do it then have a look at this guide - http://forum.msi.com.tw/index.php?topic=106575.0 .
  4. ohansen


    Joined: 9 Aug 2009

    Posts: 5

    Since it might be of interest to others thought I'd tell you all that I managed to do this successfully! I followed the following to the extreme detail, except that the file I downloaded from Intel was iata96enu.exe:


    There are minor but fortunately clear differences in what needs to be done now, as Intel's change the name of the software a little bit, so no hiccups. Took all of ten minutes once I got brave enough to do so...
    Last edited: 18 Jun 2010
  5. Over Clocker

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 9,695

    Location: Retired Don

    Have done this hundreds of times at client sites. We find the best option is change the BIOS setting then do an over the top Repair install of XP and re-apply service packs and updates.