The hard drive is a 320 gb WD sata drive, formatted with a 30 gb FAT32 partition with 4kb cluster size and win98-DOS. The rest of the drive is unformatted / unpartitioned. XP-sp3 CD copied to its own directory on the drive. The drive is connected to either SATA-0 or SATA-1 port (can't tell which one) on the board (one of the 6 "blue" connectors). In the BIOS I have 3 choices: "NATIVE IDE" or "AHCI" or "RAID". There is 4gb of ram on the board.
If I set the BIOS for "NATIVE IDE", then I can boot DOS with himem.sys (with the numhandles setting) and smartdrv is happy. But I want to install XP with the SATA interface already set to "SATA" (which I guess is AHCI), but with that setting DOS craps out when himem.sys is loaded:
Loading Operating System
The following file is missing or corrupted: c:\dos\emm386.exe
there is an error in your config.sys file on line 4
The following file is missing or corrupted: Command.com
Type the name of the Command Interpreter (e.g. C:\windows\command.com)
If instead I boot DOS with himem.sys from a floppy, it works, but I get strange and different results when I try to access the C drive. Substituting himemx.exe for himem.sys gives same behavior.
A plain dos boot without himem.sys, either from the hard drive or floppy, works fine and hard drive seems fully accessible in AHCI mode - it's only when I try to have DOS load himem.sys that drive access is screwed up in AHCI mode. Bringing system ram down to 2gb doesn't help. In NATIVE IDE mode there is no problem with himem.sys.
Ok, so instead of trying to install XP from CD-copy on the drive after booting DOS, I boot from actual CD instead. BIOS is set to AHCI. Destination for install is the FAT32 partition. I get the "press f6" thing to supply SATA driver from floppy, and I give it the floppy, select the x86 driver and continue, get the EULA and press f8, I think there is 1 reboot, it continues, then there is one more reboot which ends the "DOS" portion of the install. It's at this point that it just simply keeps rebooting.
Ok, fine. Go back to bios, set the drive for NATIVE IDE. Boot the drive into DOS with himem and smartdrv, delete all the garbage that the XP install left behind, perform a "sys c:" command from the floppy just to be sure, restart XP install from hard drive image, do all this twice (once where I press F6 and give XP the SATA drive, another time where I bypass this step), and I do this a third time (install from CD).
And still I get same result - system gets into reboot cycle upon transition out of DOS portion of installation.
This is my first ever experience with AMD based motherboard. Motherboard was bought on ebay about 6 months ago and at the time I got it all I did to test it was throw a CPU and RAM into it and test it with memtest86 booted/loaded from floppy (it passed).
What is going on here?
Why does himem.sys interact negatively with the bios AHCI setting? I've never had such experience with DOS/FAT32 formatted SATA drives and SIL-based controllers set to non-IDE-mode access.
Should XP install be able to work with ANY sata controller if set to IDE mode without needing F6 driver on floppy? Or is this only true with older hardware (or intel-based chipsets)?
Why can't I get past the DOS-based portion of XP install?
Edit: I even tried a CD-install where I told it to perform a quick NTFS format of the unformatted drive space and install XP on the NTFS partition, and still get constant rebooting after dos-phase of the install.
Edited by Nomen, 26 December 2015 - 11:27 AM.