HOW-TO: Enable AHCI on Intel Chipsets

After executing the procedure previously posted and having installed Windows XP to your brand new laptop, how would you like to turn on the AHCI that was disabled?

What benefits does enabling AHCI bring? And what is AHCI in the first place? According to Wikipedia: The Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) is a hardware mechanism that allows software to communicate with Serial ATA (SATA) devices (such as host bus adapters) that are designed to offer features not offered by Parallel ATA (PATA) controllers, such as hot-plugging and native command queuing.

I used to ask if it is possible to enable AHCI after Windows XP has already been installed. There is an existing post on the internet about it which I tried out for myself. Indeed it is possible to re-enable AHCI after disabling it on the BIOS before the installation. The original article is posted here.

Words of CAUTION: Before going any further, make sure you have a backup of the sensitive data in your notebook. This procedure might render your notebook unbootable or in a worse case with a corrupt disk. I'm not responsible for the actions you take as part of this procedure.

Let us go about the steps taken to perform the enabling of AHCI:

[1] Download 79im05ww.exe. And extract the file to C:\DRIVERS\WIN\SATA.

[2] Download chiputil.exe, to know the chipset used by your notebook.

[3] If you have the ICH7M southbridge or I/O controller, skip this step. Open C:\DRIVERS\WIN\SATA\PREPARE\IMSM_PRE.inf and replace instances of DEV_27C5 with the following as applicable:
ICH6R ==> DEV_2652
ICH6M ==> DEV_2653
ICH7R ==> DEV_27C1
ICH7DH ==> DEV_27C1
ICH7M ==> DEV_27C5
ICH8M ==> DEV_2828 or DEV_2829 (Check the value in device manager)

For DELL Latitude D630 where this tweak was done, the value for DEV_27C5 was replaced with DEV_2828. Save the changes and exit the editor software.

[4] Execute INSTALL.CMD:

[5] After executing INSTALL.CMD, restart your computer. On the Power-On Self-Test or POST, enable AHCI on in your BIOS Setup (before Windows boots).

[6] When Windows XP boots up, it will find a new hardware (the AHCI controller) open the new hardware wizard.
* Click No, not this time then click Next.
* Select Install from a list or specific location (Advanced), then click Next.
* Select Search for the best driver in these locations.
* Select Include this location in the search: and specify the path, C:\DRIVERS\WIN\SATA, and click Next. The drivers will then install.

[7] Finally, download and install the Intel Matrix Storage Manager. Running the Storage Console will show the screenshot below:

[8] When the System Settings Change window pops up, restart the computer.

I hope this article helps out to enable AHCI on your computer. Enjoy the benefits that AHCI brings.

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