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How To: Change from ATA to AHCI mode

    General discussion

  • Ok, I saw another post (on a different forum) on how to change from ATA to AHCI and I thought I would share. I finally got it it to work yesterday, after many blue screens ( cause I didn't know exactly which driver to choose)

    My setup is a poweredge T110. I did the initial install in ATA mode. (For those who don't know, you can go the bios, and set the mode to be IDE, and enable all ports on the machine) This will ensure WHS installs fine.

    Once the server installation is complete you will begin the second step. This is changing the driver to the appropriate AHCI driver. You probably want to clone your current hardware profile, so you can go back to it if you blue screen. This is available in the System --> Hardware --> Hardware Profiles. Open device manager, right click on Standard Dual Controller or something similar It will be under the heading IDE/ATAPI controllers. Click install from specific location. Then click "don't search. I will chose the driver to install" The click have disk. Browse to the driver ( You'll need to get this from your manufacturer, in my case dell ) Choose the appropriate driver. In my case there were more than 10 choices, and I with alot of trial and error I found that the Poweredge T110 needs the "PCH SATA AHCI Controller" which is Intel's new Nehalem controller.

    Once it is installed, I disabled the second controller (in AHCI mode you need only one driver, in ATA mode, you seem to get two ) It prompted me to reboot. Upon reboot, you need to go into the bios, and change from IDE mode to AHCI. Once the system loads, it will says mode change detected, data loss will  occur. In fact, data loss will not occur, I don;t know why they post this warning ( try at your OWN risk though xD ) Type yes to continue (twice i my case as I have two disks ) and the server should boot fine. If you got the wrong driver and it blue screens, go to your saved config, or use F8 for last known good config.

    Note that if you have a manufacturer specific ATA controller, you might need to change it back to the standard Microsoft controller before changing it to the AHCI controller. The Microsoft ATA controller allows you to reboot before install which is key.

    Hope this helps :)
    -Kevin
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 2:27 PM

All replies

  • Ok, I saw another post (on a different forum) on how to change from ATA to AHCI and I thought I would share. I finally got it it to work yesterday, after many blue screens ( cause I didn't know exactly which driver to choose)
    To a reader that doesn't know the difference between ATA and AHCI, what benefit does that offer?
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 11:36 PM
  • AHCI offers support for advanced SATA features like NCQ, etc. which (in theory) offer increased performance. However, the performance gain is slight and will probably be masked by bottlenecks elsewhere in your home (network issues, usually), and switching from PATA/IDE to SATA/AHCI will complicate server recovery scenarios. So it's not really recommended...
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, November 27, 2009 3:24 AM
  • switching from PATA/IDE to SATA/AHCI will complicate server recovery scenarios. So it's not really recommended...

    Doh! Really? I wish I hadn't spent the extra getting SATA drives now! I assume they affect recovery as you can't simply reinstall WHS over the original without BIOS changes etc?

    Will external SATA drives be recoginsed as PATA also then?

    Thanks
    Friday, November 27, 2009 11:56 AM
  • There's nothing wrong with using internal SATA drives, even in PATA mode. They're cheaper than IDE drives, for one thing. :) It's just that using them as SATA drives may cause issues down the road.

    The recovery scenario becomes more complex because you need to supply additional drivers in order for Windows Home Server setup to see all your drives. If your system drive is SATA, and running in a SATA or AHCI mode, then you will need those drivers twice: once in the initial graphical setup for initial hardware detection, and a second time just after the reboot to text mode. For the second, you will have to use a floppy disk (or other media that requiring no driver support, so generally not a USB flash drive) at the "Press F6" prompt just after the reboot into text mode setup for Windows Server 2003.

    My advice to anyone who wants to build their own server is to go ahead and give it a try. However, you should get your server into it's more-or-less final configuration (switch to SATA mode, add any PCI HBAs, etc) and test recovery scenarios before you need server recovery. That way you'll know what you're in for in advance, probably before you've committed significant data to your server, and will have a plan that you can implement quickly if needed.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, November 27, 2009 3:49 PM
  • can anyone help me with changing my HDD mode to AHCI?  Please I have a Toshiba Satellite L45-S4687 and when I boot into the BIOS there isn't an option for my HDD at all except for the option to set a Supervisor Password.  I really need help changing the HDD to AHCI!  Please and thanks in advance.
    Tuesday, October 04, 2011 12:21 AM
  • This is a Windows Home Server Forum so your question is not really appropriate here unless you have WHS installed on a laptop?

    If you really don't have an option in the BIOS to change HDD mode (I would be surprised if you really don't so would check again) then you are out of luck. Why do you think you need to change?

    The normal procedure is to set to AHCI in the BIOS before you install the OS but there are registry modifications you can make post install (do a search) to implement a change, but once again you need the option to change in the BIOS.

     

     


    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Tuesday, October 04, 2011 1:42 AM
  • You should check with Toshiba on how to configure your laptop.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, October 04, 2011 3:30 AM