puntoMX

Enable Intel AHCI under XP; Case Closed, read second last post

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PLEASE NOTE

This topic is outdated, read the last post please, thank you.

How to enable

AHCI on Intel ICH9 under XP

After some research by MSFN staff, we have a working solution to enable ACHI on the ICH9 with appropriate SATA/NCQ drive(s).

For more information about AHCI, we refer to Wikipedia.org:

The Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) is a hardware mechanism that allows software to communicate with Serial ATA (SATA) devices such as host bus adapters which are designed to offer features not offered by Parallel ATA (PATA) controllers besides higher speeds, such as hot-plugging and native command queuing. The specification details a system memory structure for computer hardware vendors in order to transfer data between system memory and the device.

List of needed files and driver packs:

32-bit Floppy Configuration Utility for Intel® Matrix Storage Manager

64-bit Floppy Configuration Utility for Intel® Matrix Storage Manager

Index:

1. Unpacking drivers

2. Preparing the drivers

3. Creating Windows registry file

4. BIOS Settings

5. Installing the drivers in Windows

6. Final installation check

7. Editors thoughts

1. Unpacking drivers

Unpack the Floppy Configuration Utility for Intel® Matrix Storage Manager and extract the file (.ZIP) with WinRAR or similar program.

2. Preparing the drivers

Copy the file IASTOR.SYS to the Windows SYSTEM32/DRIVERS directory. Open the IAAHCI.INF with Notepad from the directory where you unpacked the drivers. Use CRTL-R and you should get a “replace” window. In the first input window you type “2821” and the second “2923”, so you will replace all “2821” text to “2923”, and click “Replace All”. Save IAAHCI.INF over the original file.

Replace the line:

PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2923&CC_0106.DeviceDesc	= "Intel(R) 82801HR/HH/HO SATA AHCI Controller"

To:

PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2923&CC_0106.DeviceDesc	= "Intel(R) ICH9 SATA AHCI Controller"

Save the file under the same name, e.g. IAAHCI.INF and exit Notepad.

3. Creating Windows registry file

Now we create a registry file with Notepad and the following contence:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\CriticalDeviceDatabase\pci#ven_8086&dev_2923&cc_0106]
"Service"="iaStor"
"ClassGUID"="{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\iaStor]
"Type"=dword:00000001
"Start"=dword:00000000
"Group"="SCSI miniport"
"ErrorControl"=dword:00000001
"ImagePath"="system32\\drivers\\iaStor.sys"
"tag"=dword:00000019
"DisplayName"="Intel AHCI Controller"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\iaStor\Parameters]
"queuePriorityEnable"=dword:00000000

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\iaStor\Enum]
"0"="PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_2923&SUBSYS_B0051458&REV_02\\3&13c0b0c5&0&FA"
"Count"=dword:00000001
"NextInstance"=dword:00000001

Save it as AHCI_ICH9.REG and run it after closing Notepad.

4. BIOS Settings

Restart the computer and enter the BIOS (Mostly entered by pressing DEL). Make the settings:

	SATA RAID/AHCI Mode   	   [AHCI]
SATA Port0-3 Native Mode [Enabled]

Restart again to boot into Windows XP.

For ASUS P5K motherboards (IF present in BIOS, please report if not present.):

Restart the computer and enter the BIOS (Mostly entered by pressing DEL). Make the settings:

	SATA Configuration   	   [Enhanced]
Configure SATA as [AHCI]

Restart again to boot into Windows XP.

5. Installing the drivers in Windows

If you did steps one to four right, you will not get that “known” BSOD again before you hit the desktop! Windows will show new devices found like all your optical drives and hard disks until you hit to “PCI-Device”. Select “Install manual” and point to the folder where you saved the IAAHCI.INF file and select the IAAHCI.INF file as this is the driver that needs to be installed. Follow the instruction on the screen and restart your computer again.

6. Final installation check

When Windows has started, go to the control panel to check your system properties. In the hardware configuration list there should be now:

IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers -> Intel® ICH9 SATA AHCI Controller.

Beware: You can’t install the Intel Matrix Storage Manager, as the ICH9 doesn’t have RAID. On the net people talk about a modified version that should install, but it’s useless when you don’t have RAID.

We hope you enjoy your new ACHI enabled ICR9 Bridge in XP!

7. Editors thoughts

It must be a marketing question from Intel and Microsoft. There is nothing else I can think of why neither Intel nor Microsoft made new drivers for XP. The only thing I can think of is that Intel wants to sell more ICR9R bridges and Microsoft wants to push its Windows Vista. Like always both companies won’t make any comments!...

Regards,

puntoMX

Ps. if there is any good info I should add, please post it ;)...

Changes:

  • 23 DEC 2007, Edited point 4; ASUS BIOS settings.
  • 04 JAN 2008, Edited point 6; Fact, unable to install the Intel Matrix Storage Manager.
  • 07 FEB 2008, Edited point 1 and 2; Clearer explication about the IAAHCI.INF file, and option when a floppy drive is used.
  • 19 MAY 2008, Edited point 3; ControlSet001 changed on second line of registry file to CurrentControlSet, thanks to skipg for correcting me.
  • 10 AUG 2008, Post contents added to sticky FAQ, this post is now un-stickied and retired
  • 10 DEC 2008, Changed the Intel driver links, now for 32 and 64 bit and the latest version, thanks to an3k for the links.
  • 18 DEC 2008, Intel drivers are now packed as a .ZIP file, removed the outdated un-packing procedure, thanks to tre_ge.

Edited by puntoMX
see: 18 DEC 2008
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And how sure are we that this actually enables AHCI support rather than just making Device Manager say it has the AHCI driver? Remember, according to Intel, the non-RAID ICH9 does not support AHCI.

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Well, after reading lots of information, mostly from forums, and testing it on a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L with ICH9, I got it flawless to work.

Before only the AHCI option in combination with an ICH9 could be used for Vista, this is clearly written in the users Manuel of more motherboard makers. I have tested in under Vista and the installation works well with AHCI enabled. Normally XP would give the BSOD before showing the welcome screen.

The description above just let’s XP work with the driver AFTER windows XP has been installed. Note that this is not only a way for the ICR9 Bridge, it also can be done for the ICR 7 and 8.

And it works, believe me. Before the hardware would show other controllers:

AHCI%20disabled.jpgAHCI%20enabled.jpg

On the left side we see AHCI disabled and on the right side AHCI enabled.

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I guess my point is that I can edit the .inf and make Device Manager say anything I want it to. Just because Device Manager says "AHCI" has anyone actually verified that features like NCQ and hot plugging work?

Edited by nmX.Memnoch
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HDTune_Benchmark_WDC_WD5000AAKS-00TMA.png

AHCI Disabled

HDTune_Benchmark_WDC_WD5000AAKS-00TMA_AHCI.png

AHCI Enabled

HDTune_Benchmark_WDC_WD5000AAKS-00TMA_AHCI_no_native.png

AHCI Enabled but Native disabled

When AHCI is enabled you have the Advanced Power Management feature enabled on the drive. NCQ is enabled on the drive in all modes, so if you have a tool that can give me NCQ test results I would be pleased to have it.

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Note to the Editor and Microsoft and Intel :

I am stuck (still) in this very specific problem, and you know what drives me really crazy ? It's that the Ultimate-Bootable-XP CD recognizes the AHCI drives very naturally !!!

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Must have something to do with BTS driverpacks... but I never used it...

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-BJR- Hello ,

when I open IASTOR.SYS / IAAHCI.INF files, it speaks of ich9R and not of ICH9, needs it to create the line?

My Motherboard is ASUS P5K.

Thanks

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2. Preparing the drivers

Copy the file IASTOR.SYS to the Windows SYSTEM32/DRIVERS directory. Open the IAAHCI.INF with Notepad. Use CRTL-R and you should get a “replace” window. In the first input window you type “2821” and the second “2923”, so you will replace all “2821” text to “2923”, and click “Replace All”.

Replace the line:

PCIVEN_8086&DEV_2923&CC_0106.DeviceDesc	= "Intel(R) 82801HR/HH/HO SATA AHCI Controller"

To:

PCIVEN_8086&DEV_2923&CC_0106.DeviceDesc	= "Intel(R) ICH9 SATA AHCI Controller"

Save the file under the same name, e.g. IAAHCI.INF and exit Notepad.

As you can see, there are 2 steps; what part is not working/clear for you?

4. BIOS Settings

... ...

For ASUS P5K motherboards (IF present in BIOS, please report if not present.):

Restart the computer and enter the BIOS (Mostly entered by pressing DEL). Make the settings:

	SATA Configuration   	   [Enhanced]
Configure SATA as [AHCI]

Restart again to boot into Windows XP.

Before you continue it would be wise to check IF these settings are possible in your BIOS revision. Some BIOS revisions do not have these options...

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Punto, nice work!!! Does it work for Vista too? :unsure:

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Thank you.

Vista will work directly with AHCI out of the box ;).

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That's interesting, Punto... I had Vista installed on my previous rig (HDD set up as IDE) and when I upgraded the pc I didn't want to format and reinstall Vista so I set up the new BIOS to see the SATA HDD as an IDE device. Then I thought I might take advantage of the AHCI features and changed it in BIOS. Boot the machine ---> BSOD. Reverting to IDE gets rid of the BSOD. Any idea how I can enable AHCI without reinstalling? All the specs are in my signature and I am using Vista Ultimate x86. Thanks for any / all input.

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I didn’t test it on Vista, but it should work (almost) the same way.

Step 3 could be a problem, but you could check if the keys are in the same place with Vista...

EDIT: on the other hand, it’s not giving you much performance as you can see in the benchmarks I posted above ;).

Scratch that, read on...

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EDIT: on the other hand, it’s not giving you much performance as you can see in the benchmarks I posted above ;).

Those artificial benchmarks don't really give the whole story of performance. I don't think that the advantages of features like NCQ are properly represented in HD Tune. As memnoch pointed out earlier, I think that all you've succeeded in doing is loading the ACHI driver under XP, but not actually enabling the ACHI features.

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Then you tell me how to test NCQ?

BIOS has been installed and drivers are loaded indeed, benchmarks show a smoother image and Advanced Power Management feature IS enabled.

It would be nice if some one who has an ICH9R with the same drive and run the same benchmark (HD Tune default) under XP to see what shows up...

EDIT: My PC:

- Without AHCI enabled takes 24.6 sec. to get to the desktop of Windows XP 1) 2)

- With AHCI enabled takes 19.2 sec. to get to the desktop of Windows XP 1) 2)

1) From start of use harddisk. 2) Average has been taken from 2x 10 startups.

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