How to Migrate a Vista x64 C: Partition from RAID1 HDDs to an Intel X25-M SATA SSD (Solid State Drive)?

Posted on 2011-03-11
Last Modified: 2016-10-27
I have a Dell Precision T3400 running Vista x64 Ultimate SP2 and the latest Dell Flash BIOS A11.
It has two Western Digital 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s hard disks configured in as RAID1 managed by an Intel ICH8R/ICH9R Raid controller.
The dual HDDs are logically partitioned into C: and B: drives.
I have Acronis True Image Workstation and take regular snapshots of my C: drive and have created a bootable CD-ROM.
But, my C: partition is only 60 GB and has only 2 GB of free space remaining.
I need to increase its size.

So, I purchased an Intel X25-M SATA Solid State Disk and installed it into the empty 3.5 inch HDD bay.  
I connected the SSD to the power cable and plugged the data cable into my empty SATA4 slot on the motherboard.
Currently, my six SATA ports are allocated as follows:

SATA0 = 500GB Western Digital HDD
SATA1 = 500GB Western Digital HDD
SATA3 = TSSTcorp DVD+/-RW TS-H653B
SATA4 = Intel X25-M SSD (unrecogized)
SATA5 = not used

SATA Operation is set to RAID Autodetect / AHCI = RAID if signed drives, otherwise AHCI

The boot sequence is set to:

1.  Onboard or USB Floppy Disk (not present)
2.  Onboard SATA Hard Drive (not present)
3.  Intel ARRAY
4.  Onboard or USB CD-ROM Drive
5.  Onboard Network Controller (not present)
6.  USB Device

My Windows Vista registry entry for [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Msahci]
Start = 0x00000004 (4)

After rebooting, my system failed to recognize the new SSD.  I could see no way of making it do so in the BIOS setup.

I need step-by-step instructions on how to get my PC to recognize the Intel SSD so that I can use Acronis to restore my C Drive image to it.

The instructions that you provide should answer the following questions:

+  How do I made sure my HDDs are still a RAID1 pair after the migration?
+  Do I need to unplug my HDDs from SATA0 and SATA1 before connecting my SSD?
+  Do I need to connect the SSD to my SATA0 port?
+  Do I need to enable ACHI in the BIOS?  If so, when do I do so?
+  When do I use Intel's SSD Firmware Update Tool to upgrade the SSD firmware?
Question by:carlkelley
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Jackie Man
ID: 35108054
Your question is a tough one.

If I were you, I will forget about the vista installation.

Although your acorns may have the universal restore feature, running a SSD does not give you much advantage. Do a clean install with sad drive using sata0 interface will be a better choice.

I understand that the above is not what you want but you can have your system up and running faster.
LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 35109881
Hang on... I'd be looking to see if you got a bum SSD.   Do you have another PC somewhere, where  you can connect the new SSD to see if it get recognized?

I've done exactly what you're talking about several times... I've recently converted all my PCs to SSD.   During the conversion, I did exactly what you've described... I added the SSD and used Acronis to copy from one logical drive to another.   I've never had a situation where the SSD was not immediately recognized

Author Comment

ID: 35110285

Thank you for the encouragement.  I have a laptop that I could use to test the SSD.  Meanwhile, were any of your systems booting from a RAID1 pair before you added your SSD?  
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LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 35110785
Nope, no RAID, but that shouldn't affect if the SSD is seen or not!

Author Comment

ID: 35131231
Here's what I have tried so far:

1.  Created a CD-ROM of the Intel® SATA Solid-State Drive Firmware Update Tool
 that I downloaded from  

2.  Changed my boot sequence so that my PC would reboot rom the CD-ROM.  

3.  Shut down the system, waited 10 seconds, then rebooted.

4.  The PC rebooted from the CD-ROM and the utility started to run.  But, then it reported nothing but errors.
LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 35133761
The firmware update utility requires that your configure the SATA ports to the AHCI mode.  So, that means you might have to temporarily make a change in the BIOS, run the utility, and then put things back in the BIOS

Author Comment

ID: 35133778
My BIOS SATA Operation is set to RAID Autodetect / AHCI = RAID if signed drives, otherwise AHCI.  So, I guess if I disconnect my RAID drives from their SATA ports before rebooting it should work.

Author Comment

ID: 35144656
Here's what I just tried:

1.  Shut down the system.
2.  Disconnected both RAID1 HDDs from the SATA-0 and SATA-1 ports.
3.  Connected my Intel SSD to the SATA-0 port.
4.  Booted off the Intel Firmware Update Tool CD-ROM.

I got the following error messages:

illegal partition table - drive 00 sector 0
illegal partition table - drive 00 sector 0
CONFIG.SYS error in line 0

I would give it a try in my laptop, but I can't figure out an easy way to replace its hard disk.

Author Comment

ID: 35144841
According to the SATA_SSD_Firmware_Update_Tool_Guidelines.PDF, the system should automatically load FreeDOS and start the Firmware Tool Automatically.  It should display the following prompt before I have to do anything:

Intel Corporation (R) Firmware Update Tool Version X.X
Copyright (c) 2009 Intel Corporation
Have you read the license agreement on the web page or README.txt file included on this CD (y/n)?:
LVL 44

Accepted Solution

Jackie Man earned 500 total points
ID: 35144858

So, the SSD drive might be bad if you have not installed any OS on it.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35152639
I'm going to return my SSD and try again later when I receive the replacement.

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