How to Enable SATA -AHCI- Mode on Vista PCs

How to Enable SATA -AHCI- Mode on Vista PCs

Postby Nightwatch on 06 Jun 2009 18:10

After I have recently re-enabled the AHCI mode (Advanced Host Controller Interface specification for Serial ATA) on my SATA HDDs after yet another re-installation of VISTA, I've remembered that there are quite a few enquiries on the internet on how to enable the AHCI mode on Vista based PCs, as this process does not always go quite as simple as getting into the BIOS and clicking on the "AHCI" mode option for SATA Drives.

You first need to enable the Vista AHCI drives that are by default deactivated during the installation of Vista.
In order to activate the Vista AHCI drives, you need to go to the Registry of your PC and change some settings as described by Microsoft.

But, please bear it in mind that dealing with registry is a hazardous practice and may cause full or partial damage if not handled properly.

Before this, check the Guide from Microsoft:
How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756/

Then you may wish to proceed as follows if you want to enable the Vista-disabled AHCI drive on your Vista PC prior to set the SATA settings to AHCI mode in your BIOS:

To resolve this issue, enable the AHCI driver in the registry before you change the SATA mode of the boot drive. To do this, follow these steps (taken from Microsoft as link given below) :

1. Exit all Windows-based programs.
2. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
3. If you receive the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.
4. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Msahci
5. In the right pane, right-click Start in the Name column, and then click Modify.
6. In the Value data box, type 0 , and then click OK.
7. On the File menu, click Exit to close Registry Editor.



This is the full Microsoft guide on this matter:
Error message when you start a Windows Vista-based computer after you change the SATA mode of the boot drive: "STOP 0x0000007B INACCESSABLE_BOOT_DEVICE"
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976

And, Advanced Host Controller Interface specification for Serial ATA from Intel:
http://www.intel.com/technology/serialata/ahci.htm

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Re: How to Enable SATA -AHCI- Mode on Vista PCs

Postby VINTAR on 08 Jun 2009 11:22

Thanks for that Nightwatch, now if we could just do it for XP..... :D
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Re: How to Enable SATA -AHCI- Mode on Vista PCs

Postby Nightwatch on 09 Jun 2009 00:55

I've been using Vista since it was released and I forgot the corridors of XP, but in general terms, I believe, (like it'd happen in Vista) If you have installed OS on a HDD running on IDE mode during the installation, after resetting the HDDs to AHCI mode from IDE on BIOS may cause you a BSOD at the boot and consequently a booting failure. Therefore, you should at first install the AHCI drivers which are available on your Mobo Disk (or downloadable from the motherboard manufacturer) ; and I believe it'd still be a good idea to check the registry as above on Vista case to see if MS AHCI driver is disconnected in the registry when installing OS on IDE mode. This XP mode AHCI enabling (changing from IDE to AHCI on a system with ready installed OS) may need further elaboration.
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Re: How to Enable SATA -AHCI- Mode on Vista PCs

Postby VINTAR on 09 Jun 2009 10:13

Yeah I`ve read up a bit on the XP AHCI subject and its rather confusing. Definitely needs more investigation.
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Re: How to Enable SATA -AHCI- Mode on Vista PCs

Postby nandersen on 11 Jun 2009 16:55

I found it rather simple: Install the Intel Matrix Storage Manager, change SATA mode to AHCI/native in the BIOS and the PC should boot OK.
Worked for me without any registry hacks.
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Help with a laptop

Postby VINTAR on 12 Jun 2009 06:14

Are you running xp or is that a stupid question :-)
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Re: How to Enable SATA -AHCI- Mode on Vista PCs

Postby nandersen on 12 Jun 2009 07:39

No. I'm running Win7RC but what I just described I did on Vista x64.
It might work on XP, however. Doesn't hurt to try.
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