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Change SATA BIOS Setting from RAID On to AHCI

Posted on 2010-08-16
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
We have a Dell Optiplex 960 running XP SP3.  In the A07 BIOS the SATA drive setting is set to RAID On.  When I change it to the other three available settings (ATA, AHCI or Legacy) a warning is given advising the system may not boot.  Sure enough changing to any of the three settings results in an unbootable system.

How can I configure XP to allow me to change the setting without a re-install.  I have done something similar on a Dell Latitude E6400 laptop to change from IRRT mode but cannot figure out how to do this on the desktop.
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Question by:canuckconsulting
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Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 33447186
The technique will NOT work with all systems, and there is risk of data corruption.   I am not saying it won't work ... but if you don't want to take a risk, then I suggest backing up first.
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emilgas earned 750 total points
ID: 33447921
From my experience you can't since the hard drive controller is the one that boots the OS and when you are changing the mode from say ATA to AHCI then OS doesn't know how to talk to controller and that's why you get a blue screen.
Save yourself some time and either leave it as is or reinstall the os with the desired controller mode
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by:emilgas
ID: 33450670
Just wanted to say that this would have been possible if you used Vista or Windows 7
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Expert Comment

by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 33452563
"... the SATA drive setting is set to RAID On.  When I change it to ... ATA, AHCI or Legacy ... results in an unbootable system."

Are there in fact multiple SATA drives being used in RAID mode, and is the system set to boot from the RAID set?  If this is the case, then breaking the RAID set with the operating system results in an unbootable system because at least half the operating system is missing from the single remaining drive.

This may even be the case if only one drive is in use, because the on-board RAID controller may write a non-standard structure on the single drive.

If this is the case, then a possible solution is to buy a single drive of capacity greater than the system partition on the RAID set.  Use Drive Image or other backup utility to copy the system partition from the RAID set to the new drive.  Configure the system to boot from the new drive.  This should result in a bootable single-drive system, and you can then reconfigure the SATA as you wish.
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Assisted Solution

by:David
David earned 750 total points
ID: 33456742
it is not quite that simple.  raid mode does not define a partiyion... it moves block zero forward based on metadata size. it also changes reporyable capacity and some 32 BIT fields in Fs headers.

you just can't copy the 'partition'.  you need to use a binary editor and software thst copies with offset ... and need you define it.

if you don't have ability tobtake it apart and ident the fields to change, then use backup software to scratch frive.
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Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 33456746
it is not quite that simple.  raid mode does not define a partiyion... it moves block zero forward based on metadata size. it also changes reporyable capacity and some 32 BIT fields in Fs headers.

you just can't copy the 'partition'.  you need to use a binary editor and software thst copies with offset ... and need you define it.

if you don't have ability tobtake it apart and ident the fields to change, then use backup software to scratch frive.
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Author Closing Comment

by:canuckconsulting
ID: 33502084
The fix didn't work.  It was a single-drive system with no raid.  In the end we had to rebuild the system with the AHCI setting selected.  Thanks for help!
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Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 33502362
even though it was single disk, the metadata was still there. it could have been migrated by identifying offset of metadata and copied with offset ... (hmmm tempted to just write one as this is common problem)
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