Windows XP + AHCI + ASUS P5K-e

Time for a reformat, and instead of Vista, I decided to put XP on this machine this time. To be honest, I had forgotten about some of the installation issues that tend to arise with an aging operating system…

First up, a BSOD right at the beginning of the boot disk install. As it turns out, the particular blue screen is caused when the installer can no longer read from the install disk (or something to that effect). Very quickly, I realized it was due to the dvd-rom drive being SATA. I quickly swapped it with an IDE cd-rom drive, and the installer made it to the point of letting me know there were no drives detected to install XP on (I expected this, the drive swap was more-so to make certain it wasn’t a totally separate issue).

In any case, there are 3 options should you happen to be in the same situation as I…

  1. Get the SATA/AHCI drivers on a floppy, then press F6 when the installer starts. This incidentally will probably allow you to keep using your SATA cdrom/dvdrom drive. This is probably the smartest option. I, hating floppies, did not decide to go this way.
  2. Slipstream the SATA/AHCI drivers into a new install CD. I personally haven’t done this (although I’ve slipstreamed service packs in the past), but from what I came up with, in this situation, you use a program called nLite to do so (you also need the drivers). To be honest, it seems like a lot of work when you just want to get your machine running, but on the plus side, doing this means you shouldn’t have issues on future installs on your machine.
  3. Change a BIOS setting. In one of the menus on the first page (don’t recall which one), there’s an option called “Configure SATA as [AHCI]”. Chance the AHCI to IDE. The installer should now work with your SATA cd/dvd drive, and should also install to your SATA drive(s).

The problem if you choose option #3 is that you can’t set the BIOS back to AHCI after the install, or Windows won’t boot. This is probably fine for most people. However, if you want to use AHCI for whatever reason, you have to do a few things after Windows finishes installing…

  • Download the Intel Matrix Storage Manager from Intel’s site. In their Download Center section, go to Chipsets/Chipset software, and it should be the first one listed.
  • Once downloaded, go to the command prompt, navigate to the place the downloaded file is in, and type out the name with a -a -a at the end (ie iata82_enu -a -a”.
  • Now make sure there’s an Intel/IntelMatrixStorageManager folder in your Program Files folder.
  • Go to Control Panel / System / Hardware / Device Manager. Under “IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers”, right-click on one of the controllers and choose “Update Driver”
  • Choose “no, not this time”, advanced, “don’t search. i will choose the driver to install”. At the next screen, DE-select “show compatible hardware”, then click the “Have Disk” button, and then browse to the Intel/IntelMatrixStorageManager folder under Program Files (or Program Files (x86). Go to winall and then either Driver or Driver64 depending on whether or not you’re running the 64 bit version of XP.
  • Choose the “Intel(R) ICH9R/DO/DH SATA AHCI Controller”.
  • It may as you to restart. Choose NO. Do this for the 2nd controller now (if it exists)
  • Now you can restart.
  • As soon as the POST screen comes up, hit delete to get back into the BIOS, and change it back to AHCI.
  • Windows *should* now restart and work properly.

Note that part of this is done from memory. Also note that if for whatever reason it doesn’t work, Windows probably won’t start. MAKE SURE YOU BACK EVERYTHING UP BEFORE DOING THIS.

This was written at 640×480 resolution and I can’t see half of what I typed (wordpress put a box over half my screen) so I apologize in advance for typos or anything else that doesn’t make sense.