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Integration of Intel's SATA AHCI and RAID drivers
Posted on Nov 16 2007 03:41 PM by Fernando 1 in Guides
Many users with such system have problems, when they try to install Windows XP (32/64 bit) or Windows Server 2003 (32/64 bit), because the Setup of these Operating Systems will not automaticly detect the hdd's, which are connected to the Intel S-ATA AHCI or Intel SATA RAID ports of the mainboard.
Furthermore the traditional F6/floppy method often fails due to bad floppy media or the lack of a floppy drive.
The easiest and safest solution is the integration of the Intel Controller drivers into a bootable 32/64bit XP or W2k3 CD by using a tool like nLite.
Here is the way how to do it:
Integration of the
Intel SATA AHCI or SATA RAID drivers
by using nLite
Guide for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 (32/64 bit)
Last updated: 11/03/2010
- new: Intel MSM drivers v18.104.22.1685 WHQL dated 04/05/2010
- new: modded Intel MSM drivers v22.214.171.1245 (usable with nearly all Intel ICH6-10 Southbridges)
Informations regarding the possibility and necessity of loading/integrating the Intel Controller drivers:
- None of the Windows Operating Systems which were released before Windows 2000 (Windows 3.11, Windows 95/98 and Windows ME) do support the actual Intel SATA and RAID Controllers (no working textmode drivers available).
- Even Windows 2000 does not really work with the actual Intel Controllers. There are some old Intel S-ATA drivers for Windows 2000, but they do not fully support the modern features AHCI (="Advanced Host Controller Interface") and RAID.
- The current versions of Windows XP (32/64bit) and Windows Server 2003 (32/64bit) are able to detect actual Intel S-ATA Controllers during the OS installation and will handle them as "normal" IDE Controllers, if the BIOS S-ATA settings are set to "IDE mode". In this case you don't need to load/integrate any Intel textmode drivers, but you have to abandon the features AHCI and RAID.
- Users who are going to install XP or W2k3 and want to get advantage of the Intel S-ATA Controller features AHCI or RAID, have to enable them within BIOS prior to the OS installation and additionally have to integrate the appropriate Intel textmode drivers into the OS CD or to load them via F6/floppy during the installation. Otherwise Windows Setup will not detect the Intel S-ATA Controller connected hard disk drives.
- According to Intel only the actual Intel S-ATA Controllers for Desktop PC's (ICH6R, ICH7R, ICH8R, ICH9R and ICH10R) and Mobile PC's (ICH6M, ICH7M, ICH8M and ICH9M) are fully supporting AHCI, but obviously it is possible to get the AHCI features even with some ICH7 Mobile and ICH8/ICH9 Desktop PC's (look here and here) and ICH9 chipsets. If you are not sure, look into your mainboard/laptop manual or ask the support of the mainboard/laptop manufacturer.
- The S-ATA hdd's have to be connected to the Intel S-ATA ports of the mainboard.
Important: Many Intel chipset mainboards have Intel and JMicron S-ATA connectors. Before you continue with your preparations, you should check, if the S-ATA cables of your hdd's are really connected to the Intel ports. If you are using the JMicron S-ATA ports, you have to integrate/load the JMicron textmode drivers (you can get them here). Otherwise Windows Setup will not detect your S-ATA connected hdd(s) at all.
- The mainboard BIOS should be up-to-date.
- Very important are the correct BIOS settings regarding the wanted Intel S-ATA mode.
These are the options:
IDE Mode = no Intel textmode drivers necessary, but no AHCI/RAID available
AHCI Mode = Intel SATA AHCI textmode driver necessary, no RAID available
RAID Mode = Intel SATA RAID textmode driver necessary, RAID array must be created
- The Power Management (ACPI) should be enabled within BIOS.
- The source for the processing with nLite should be a clean (not modified) and error free OS CD.
- Only for Intel RAID users: Before you are going to install the nLited OS onto an Intel RAID array, you should check, if the RAID has been correctly created and set as bootable by the "Intel Matrix Storage Manager Option ROM Utility". Furthermore the Intel RAID has to be set on the first place of the HARD DISK BOOT PRIORITY within the mainboard BIOS.
What you need is the actual version of
- nLite (you get it here) and
- the suitable (=extracted) Intel textmode drivers you want/need to integrate.
The choice of the correct textmode driver depends mainly on the OS you are going to install, whereas the exact name of the Intel Controller of your mainboard is less important for the driver choice, because the actual "Intel® Rapid Storage Technology" (RST) resp. "Intel® Matrix Storage Manager" (MSM) packages are supporting all common INTEL ICH7-10 SATA AHCI and SATA RAID Controllers of all Intel chipset desktop and laptop mainboards (users with an Intel ICH5 or ICH6 SATA Controller have to use an older or a customized driver package).
What you need for the later integration are the extracted necessary Intel S-ATA AHCI/RAID Controller drivers. Since the complete Intel RST/MSM packages have a big size (due to the included Console software) and are not easy to extract, I recommend to download one of the small driver packages, which are already prepared for integration purposes.
a ) For Intel ICH7R/M, ICH8R/M, ICH9R/M or ICH10R/D S-ATA AHCI and RAID Controllers:
- If you are going to install the 32bit version of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, you will just need one of the following actual 32bit Intel textmode drivers:
- Users, who know the Intel SATA Controller specification of their system, and owners of an SSD should download Intel's latest official 32bit RST driver v126.96.36.1994 dated 03/03/2010 from here:
>32bit Intel RST textmode driver v188.8.131.524 WHQL<
- For users, who don't know the specific Intel SATA Controller of their system, are going to install XP onto a virtual machine using VMWare etc. or want to create a Windows XP CD, which may be usable with different hardware configurations, I recommend to download Intel's actual 32bit MSM driver v184.108.40.2065 dated 04/05/2010 from here:
>32bit Intel MSM textmode driver v220.127.116.115 WHQL<
- Users, who want to install the 64bit version of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, should download and unzip one of these actual 64bit Intel textmode drivers (for details read the text about the 32bit drivers):
- You can get Intel's latest official 64bit RST driver from here:
>64bit Intel RST textmode driver v18.104.22.1684 WHQL<
- Here is the link to the actual 64bit Intel MSM driver:
>64bit Intel MSM textmode driver v22.214.171.1245<
- You can get Intel's latest official 64bit RST driver from here:
b ) Especially for desktop/notebook users with an Intel ICH6R, ICH6M or ICH8/ICH9/ICH10 (without R or M) chipset mainboard, who want to use AHCI:
- Some Intel Southbridges are not supported by any official Intel textmode drivers. Users with such chipset, who want to use the AHCI features nevertheless, may use a special driver package I have prepared with the help of Lancelot_Real (big thanks to him!). You have the choice between the following modded 32bit Intel textmode drivers (for details see above):
- >modded 32bit Intel RST textmode driver v126.96.36.1994< (with additional support of Intel ICH6R, ICH6M. ICH8, ICH9 and ICH10 Southbridges)
- >modded 32bit Intel MSM textmode driver v188.8.131.525< (with additional support of Intel ICH6R, ICH6M. ICH8, ICH9 and ICH10 Southbridges)
- >modded 64bit Intel RST textmode driver v184.108.40.2064< (with additional support of Intel ICH6R, ICH6M. ICH8, ICH9 and ICH10 Southbridges)
- >modded 64bit Intel MSM textmode driver v220.127.116.115< (with additional support of Intel ICH6R, ICH6M. ICH8, ICH9 and ICH10 Southbridges)
- Important remarks:
- All "modded" 32/64bit packages contain the actual untouched (=original) Intel textmode drivers. Only the associated INF and OEM files have been modified to make them compatible with the older ICH6R/6M chipsets and with originally not supported ICH8-ICH10 chipsets.
- Due to the modification these drivers have lost their WHQL certification. You may use them at own risk.
- Please give me your feedback, if your Intel ICH6/8/9/10 Controller should not be supported by these modified drivers.
- If you are going to integrate these modified drivers, you will get a slightly different popup window than shown below, because I have added the AHCI Controllers for originally not supported ICH6/8/9/10 chipsets. Nevertheless you will find the suitable Controller easily, if you search for the suffix "added by Fernando".
- Users will find the suitable textmode drivers here.
Attention: Look into your mainboard manual, if your S-ATA hdd(s) are connected to any of the above mentioned Intel ICH5/6/7/8/9 ports. If your mainboard has an other (legacy type) Intel SATA AHCI/RAID Controller, you should integrate the Intel AHCI/RAID driver you will find within your mainboard driver CD.
2. Processing with nLite:
- Copy the content of the clean source CD (XP, XP x64, W2k3 or W2k3 x64) onto your hdd.
- Run nLite and point to the directory where you have copied the OS source.
- You can use all nLite options, but you have to use the tasks "Integrate Drivers" and "Create Bootable CD".
- When you come up to the task "Drivers", hit the "Insert" button, use the "Single driver" option and point to the content of the driver package you have downloaded and extracted at first step. Click onto one of the shown INF files (it doesn't matter which one).
- If you have integrated the appropriate drivers (supporting ICH7-10 Controllers) you will get the following or rather similar "Storage Device Textmode Driver" popup window with a big variety of different Intel Controllers:
At this point you have to decide, which Intel Controller(s) you want to get installed by clicking onto the suitable Controller(s).
a ) Make sure, that the "Textmode driver" Mode is enabled.
b ) You can and maybe have to highlight more than 1 Controller.
Have a look into your mainboard manual to find the exact name of your S-ATA Controller and search for it within the list.
Click onto the Intel SATA Controller(s), which is/are suitable for your mainboard BIOS settings regarding the Intel S-ATA ports (SATA RAID or SATA AHCI), your mainboard chipset (ICH7, ICH8, ICH9 or ICH10) and your system ("Desktop"=PC, "Mobile"=Laptop, Server or Workstation).
If you are not sure, which of the listed Controllers are the suitable one(s) for your chipset, you can enable all of them (Windows Setup will find and install the correct driver). This tip is only valid for users, who had prepared an Intel textmode driver, which belongs to the "Intel® Matrix Storage Manager" series!
- Use the other options of nLite, if you want. It is a good idea to additionally integrate the Intel INF files drivers named Intel® Chipset Device Software as normal device (=PnP) driver. You can download the actual INF driver package from >here<.
- Since Intel's EXE package usually is voluminous and not easy to be extracted, I have prepared and uploaded a small driverpack for you, which contains just the actual official driver files you will need for the integration of the Intel chipset device "drivers" (Notice: they are not real drivers, but just information files).
- You can download a small package containing just the latest Intel INF "drivers" v18.104.22.1687 prepared for the integration from >here<. Unzip it and integrate the "drivers" by pointing onto any of the various INF files you will find within the folder. It doesn't matter which one you choose - nLite will copy them all anyway.
- Let nLite create the ISO file.
- As last step the ISO file should be burned as bootable CD. You can either let nLite do this job or take a burning tool like Nero.
- If you are using Nero, you should just choose "Recorder" (menu bar) > "Burn Image" and then point to the just created ISO file.
- Burn at not more than 8x(DVD) or 24x(CD) and choose the "Verify" option to avoid any burning errors!
- Have fun!
3. Additional advice for the later OS installation:
- Make sure, that the CD/DVD device where you want to boot off your nLited CD, is not connected to any of the Intel S-ATA ports. Optical drives generally have problems with the enabled AHCI or RAID mode.
Solution: Connect the optical drive to another available S-ATA port (for example with JMicron Controller), which is running in IDE mode. Alternatively you may replace your S-ATA CD/DVD device by an IDE connected one.
- Don't hit F6 and don't insert any driver floppy during the installation using the CD with integrated Intel Controller drivers. Otherwise Windows Setup won't find the drivers at all!
- You might get a problem with the installation of a 32bit OS, if you are running your computer with 4 (or more) GB of RAM. It is a good idea to remove some RAM sticks while the installing procedure. Once the OS is up, you can reinsert the removed RAM sticks.
4. How to get access to the Intel® RST resp. Intel® MSM Console:
- Once your OS is up, you will have full access to all partitions and files of your Intel RAID array or SATA hdd's/SSD's running in AHCI Mode, but you will not be able to run the Intel RST/MSM Control Center, because the program files are still missing.
- Users with an Intel RAID system should download and install the complete Intel RST resp. MSM package (depending on the driver they had integrated), which contains the RST/MSM drivers and the Console application. For users, who are running their SATA hdd's/SSD's in AHCI Mode, the Console is less important, but they can install it as well (only disadvantage: prolonged boot time).
You should take care, that the complete package belongs to the same series (RST resp. MSM) and has the same version as the driver, which has been integrated into the XP CD:
- If you had integrated the 32/64bit RST driver v22.214.171.1244, you should download Intel's official v126.96.36.1994 package from >here<. Alternatively you may download the same, but already extracted RST package v188.8.131.524 from >here<.
- Users, who had installed the 32/64bit MSM driver v184.108.40.2065, can download the appropriate version of the complete MSM package from Intels Download Center (>Link<, just enter "Intel® Matrix Storage Manager") or directly from >here<.
More here: http://www.msfn.org/...d-raid-drivers/