HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performanc​e reasons ... (5794 Views)
Reply
Occasional Contributor
A_A_S_Schaefer
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-01-2012
Message 1 of 28 (5,794 Views)

HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performanc​e reasons ...

Dear all,

 

I noticed that the factory installed version of Windows 7 64 Bit operates the hard disks in IDE mode (you can see this in the device manager - only standard ID controller is present). The curious is that the bios shows that AHCI+RAID mode is activated for SATA disks.

 

Why is it possible that Windows 7 uses IDE drivers despite the bios settings? Or is the BIOS emulation of the UEFI the reason why Windows 7 uses IDE drivers?

 

So what can I do to change the drivers of Windows 7 to AHCI drivers? Do I have to install the Intel drivers or is it sufficient to patch the Windows registry to use the AHCI drivers of Windows?

 

Are there any additional bios settings which enable AHCI support in OS despite the above one (AHCI+RAID already enabled)?

 

Thanks in advance, Andreas Schäfer.

Please use plain text.
Valued Contributor
Skylarking
Posts: 208
Registered: ‎04-03-2012
Message 2 of 28 (5,782 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performanc​e reasons ...

Caution is needed so you don't endup with an inaccessible boot device. See KB922976 for details.

 

From the above link, we can see that AHCI provides several features for SATA devices including hot plug functionality and power management functionality. Other places on the web indicate people want the AHCI drivers due to TRIM/SSD features and advanced format (4K block size) HDD support (Google is your friend).

The link also states, during the Windows 7 installation process, any unused storage drivers are disabled. This behavior speeds up the operating system's startup process. When you change the boot drive to a driver that has been disabled, you must enable the new driver before you change the hardware configuration.

For example, assume that you install Windows 7 on a computer that contains a controller that uses the Pciide.sys driver. Later, you change the SATA mode to AHCI. Therefore, the drive must now load the Msahci.sys driver. However, you must enable the Msahci.sys driver before you make this change. Otherwise on restarting the computer, you may receive the following error message:
STOP 0x0000007B INACCESSABLE_BOOT_DEVICE
This issue affects only the boot drive. If the drive that you change is not the boot drive, you do not experience this issue.
What isn't evident is why your system, like mine, has RAID+AHCI set in bios but pciide.sys driver specified within 'device manager' under the 'IDE controller'. Note that within Devmgr, i also have 'Storage Controller' uses the iaStor.sys driver (intel raid driver) which may be the explanation but i'm no expert.
I have also read that some do not see any improvements updating to Msahci.sys, in fact some see a detriment.
Anyone with more insight care to elaborate further?
Please use plain text.
HP Pro
JohnL
Posts: 411
Registered: ‎04-25-2011
Message 3 of 28 (5,778 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performanc​e reasons ...

I don't think that the factory installed version of Windows 7 64 Bit operates the hard disks in IDE mode. When the BIOS was set to  AHCI+RAID mode for the storage, the system cannot boot to the OS if the OS does not have the Intel Storage driver installed. Ourr factory preinstalles the OS with AHCI+RAID mode by default unless you ordered the configure-to-order.

 

How did you find out the OS is installed in IDE mode? Please look at the device manager > SCSI and RAID controllers. If you can find out Intel ICH .... RAID controller, your OS is installed with AHCI+RAID mode.

I work for HP but my posts and replies are my own. Please click the "Accept As Solution" button if the answers solve your problem.
Please use plain text.
Valued Contributor
Skylarking
Posts: 208
Registered: ‎04-03-2012
Message 4 of 28 (5,772 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performanc​e reasons ...

Yes your right JohhL.

 

My hard disk drives are controlled by the device listed under "Storage Controllers" within Device Manager, that is, "Intel Desktop/Workstation/Server Express Chipset SATA RAID Controller". This uses the iaStor.sys drivers (intel raid drivers).

 

Probably the confusion was that the Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller is also a listed device and shows pciide.sys as its driver and as this is normally the device that HDDs connect to, an assumption may have been made that the wrong driver was being used.

 

Tracing from the "Disk Drive" object within "Device Manager" down to the controller is not so simple in default view mode. If one goes to "View", then selects "Device by connection", then goes to the "PCI bus" -> "Intel desktop/Work...controller" and expands the list, they will see the drives are actually connected to this controller.

 

Took me a while :) 

 

Still, MS' warning that changing controller settings in BIOS can lead to blue screen is still worth noting.

Please use plain text.
Esteemed Contributor
Scott D. Harrison
Posts: 494
Registered: ‎10-16-2006
Message 5 of 28 (5,752 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performanc​e reasons ...

From dinking around too much:  let's say you have BIOS set to Separate or Combined in the SATA emulation part of BIOS during the W7 install...... the related drivers automatically installed from the W7 installer DVD will not include that/those that allow the "RAID + AHCI" BIOS setting to be selected later without crash.  This is because the installer only installs the needed drivers.

 

Alternatively, if you set BIOS to "RAID + AHCI" before you do a clean install you will get the drivers installed that let you shift back and forth between Separate, Combined or "RAID + AHCI" without any problems.

 

Now, say you did the install with BIOS set to Separate or Combined, with good intentions, initially.  Are you stuck with never easily getting to RAID or AHCI capabilities in that W7 install?  No.  MS provided a fixit to fix that:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976

 

Run that, the added driver will be installed, and now you can go back and forth to all three settings after the fact.  If only such a fixit existed for XP Pro.....

 

Scott

Please use plain text.
Frequent Advisor
aeneas1
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎01-13-2013
Message 6 of 28 (5,089 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performanc​e reasons ...

i just did a clean w8 install with bios set to ahci/raid and my device manager shows an ide controller under "ide ata/atapi controllers" rather than an ahci controller. under "storage controllers" device manager shows chipset sata raid controller just as yours does. what i don't understand is why you think your hard drives are controlled by this controller rather than the controller that appears under "ide ata/atapi controllers"?

 

all i want to do is get my two raid 0 drives to operate in ahci mode - from what i understand an ahci controller will appear in device manager under "ide ata/atapi contollers" when a drive is in ahci mode and will show an ide controller under "ide ata/atapi controllers" when a drive is in ide mode. in my case, as i mentioned, device manager is showing and ide controller and no ahci controllers.

 

further, when i run samsung's disk utility program it reports that my drive is in ide mode and recommends that i change it to ahci mode. i've now installed windows 8 twice, the first time without using storage drivers (usb flash) during installation, i.e. let windows8 load its own drivers, and the second time using the storage drivers. in both instances the device manager shows the same thing: ide controller under "ide ata/atapi controllers".

 

does anyone here running windows 8 show ahci controllers in their device manager under "ide ata/atapi controllers"? sure would like to get this thing worked out....

 

 

Please use plain text.
Valued Contributor
Skylarking
Posts: 208
Registered: ‎04-03-2012
Message 7 of 28 (5,079 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

[ Edited ]

If you press the "Windows" key and the "R" key (at the same time) you see the RUN dialogue window open. Within the RUN dialogue window type CMD and hit enter and you should see the Command Prompt window open. Now within the Command Prompt window, type devmgmt.msc and you should see the device manager window open.

 

From within the device management console window, when I look at the "Device by type" view (the default view) I see the following:

 

Device by type

 

From the above picture which is from my Z210 CMT workstation, I can see that I have a disk drive called OS-RAID0. Note that I have set up two disk drives from within the RAID configuration utility so that these drives are now in raid 0 and that the operating system sees this as one disk called OS-RAID0. I can also see that I have both an "IDE ATA/ATAPI Controller" and an "Intel(R) Desktop/... Express Chipset SATA RAID Controller". But i don't know what is connected where!

 

Now if I change the view to "Device by connection" by going to the View tab of device manager, then you should see the following:

 

DeviceByConnection

 

If you follow the connection flow, I can see that the system is connected as follows:

 ACPI x64- based PC -> Microsoft ACPI Compliant System -> PCI bus -> Intel(R)...SATA RAID Controller -> OS-RAID0

 

Please take note that no HDD is connected to the Standard Dual Channel IDE Controller.

 

If you also look at the first picture you will see the drivers (which I have listed in red) associated with the various components. You can view these yourself by right clicking the object you are interested in within the device manager and selecting properties, then selecting the Driver tab and clicking the Driver Details button.

 

It is important to consider the following:

 

- within BIOS I have SATA Emulation set to RAID+AHCI.

- the Z210 system was factory delivered with a raid setup.

- two hdd's were cabled to the two blue sata 6Gbps connectors which are defined as SATA port 0 and port 1.

- the Intel RAID BIOS configuration utility can be called at boot if more than 1 HDD is connected to a system by using CTRL-I.

 

Also note that I used the HP recovery disks that came with my system to rebuild it (to verify that the disks worked). These recovery disks use the "FeatureByte" which is a number printed on the label found on the base of my machine and stored in a secure area of the motherboard BIOS. The FeatureByte indicates the configuration of the machine as it was constructed/delivered. Because the featurebyte is used by the System Recovery disks, the process knows what drivers to install and in fact installs the Intel RAID+AHCI drivers along with the Intel Rapid Storage Technology Application. If your system was factory configured with IDE drivers, any system recovery will load the factory setup!

 

It's  important to note that a system install is not the same as a HP System recovery!

 

It is  also important to note that if I was to build my machine using a Windows7 disk (I bought at a retail outlet) or using the generic OEM Windows 7 disk (I bought at a PC store along with some hardware to build my new/updated system), I would need to do some things first. I would need to:

 

- boot into the BIOS and set SATA Emulation to RAID+AHCI.

(- install atleast two HDD).

(- during bootup press CTRL-I to enter into the RAID configuration application and configure the disks as desired).**

- save the Intel RAID+AHCI F6 drivers (appropriate for the OS version) to a USB stick.

- boot into the windows install disk.

- press F6 at the appropriate time and load the Intel RAID+AHCI drivers.

- continue with the OS install.

 

** if only one HDD is installed you can't use CTRL-I and set up a RAID configuration but can still use AHCI.

 

All the above may not be needed but it will ensure the install occurs as intended and that the disks are operating in RAID+AHCI mode using the Intel drivers.

 

Why your Samsung disk utility is saying you are in IDE mode, who knows, maybe you are and maybe your not. But the above information should give you a clear place to start looking into it.

 

As for the Z210, if you have set the SATA Emulation to RAID+AHCI, your HDD's will not be connected to the IDE controller so you will never see the iaStor.sys AHCI driver in use with this IDE controller. Instead you will see iaStor.sys being used under the Intel SATA RAID Controller where your HDD's should now reside.

 

Hope this clears it up a little. Let us know how you get on.

Please use plain text.
Esteemed Contributor
Scott D. Harrison
Posts: 494
Registered: ‎10-16-2006
Message 8 of 28 (5,069 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

[ Edited ]

Skylarking has it all there for you.

 

From another perspective, attached are two screen captures for the same xw6600 that had test loads of W7Pro64 and then W8ConsumerPreview64 done using clean install technique, with BIOS properly set up under SATA emulation to "RAID + AHCI".

 

I am using a single hard drive/SSD as my boot drive, and a second "documents" drive for keeping that smaller boot drive free from filling up.  The old IDE optical drives on these earlier workstations may still be present for a lot of us, and with W7 at least I have found them to be able to do clean installs of W7 even still.  I doubt that would work in W8 installs, but maybe.  I do hit a few problems with doing clean W7 installs off old HP SATA optical drives, but swapping in a newer HP SATA optical drive gets me over that hump.  I have a few "known good" ones I can use, but that problem is pretty rare.

 

I expanded the IDE and SATA controller sections within Device Manager so you can see the devices under each heading.  If the BIOS is not set correctly then the lower "Storage controller" listing will not be there after a clean install.

 

So, for Skylarking's RAID setup or my setup the same concepts hold true.

Please use plain text.
Frequent Advisor
aeneas1
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎01-13-2013
Message 9 of 28 (5,015 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

[ Edited ]

thanks for the replies guys, and i get what you're saying, in fact my set up is the same as yours scott. i.e. a ssd drive for the os and and a second drive (hybrid) for documents/storage (no raid). what i'm not getting is whether or not any of my drives are in ahci mode while they're being handled by the "sata raid controller". if i understand it correctly, sata raid is not the same as sata ahci.

 

if i select ide in bios, "standard dual channel pci ide controller" will appear in device manager under "ide ata/atapi controllers". from what i can tell, there is nothing i can do that will result in "sata ahci controller" appearing in device manager under "ide ata/atapi controllers". why? because if i select ahci in bios (sata+ahci) instead of ide, sata raid shows up in device manager as the controller under "storage controllers". in other words it seems that i can either choose ide or sata raid to control my drives, but not ahci.

 

could it be that my drives are automatically in ahci mode when being handled by the sata raid storage controller? that would be great. but, as i mentioned earlier, according to samsung's utility tool that's not the case, it reports that my samsung ssd is not in ahci mode.

 

here's a look at my set up in device manager (devices by type view):

 

01.jpg

 

here it is again (devices by connection view):

 

02.jpg

 

here's a screen grab that i got from the net, posted by a guy who has his drive(s) set up in ahci mode, showing a sata ahci controller under "ide ata/atapi controllers".

 

03.jpg

 

i would like to think that my drives are operating in ahci mode when being handled by the sata raid controller, but is that actually the case? is it possible that they are simply in raid mode and not raid+ahci? the ssd tests i've run don't seem to indicate that my ssd drive is ahci mode given the relatively low scores. and, again, samsung's utility reports that my ssd is not in ahci mode.

 

 

 

Please use plain text.
Frequent Advisor
aeneas1
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎01-13-2013
Message 10 of 28 (5,007 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

[ Edited ]

just to add, below is an excerpt from the readme.txt (rapid storage technology (rst) driver (sata/ahci)  installation). as i mentioned earlier, my two drives are not configured for raid, so i'm not sure why they wouldn't appear in device manager under "ide ata/atapi contollers" along with an intel sata ahci contoller, something like this:

 

mm.jpg

 

Verifying Have Disk, F6, or Unattended Installation: depending on your system configuration, refer to the appropriate sub-topic below:

    Systems Configured for RAID Mode:
1.  On the Start menu, select Control Panel.    
2.  Open the 'System' applet (you may first have to select 'Switch to Classic View').
3.  Select 'Hardware'. 
4.  Click 'Device Manager'.
5.  Expand the 'Storage Controllers' entry for Windows 7* or later.
6.  Right-click on Intel(R) SATA RAID Controller.    
7.  Select 'Properties'.
8.  Select the 'Driver' tab.
9.  Click 'Driver Details'.
10. If the 'iaStor.sys' file is displayed, the installation was successful.

    Systems Configured for AHCI Mode:
1.  On the Start menu, select Control Panel.
2.  Open the 'System' applet (you may first have to select 'Switch to Classic View').
3.  Select'Hardware'.
4.  Click 'Device Manager'.
5.  Expand the 'IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers' entry.
6.  Right-click on Intel(R) SATA AHCI Controller.
7.  Select 'Properties'.
8.  Select the 'Driver' tab.
9.  Click 'Driver Details'.
10. If the 'iaStor.sys' file is displayed, the installation was successful.

Please use plain text.
Esteemed Contributor
Scott D. Harrison
Posts: 494
Registered: ‎10-16-2006
Message 11 of 28 (5,000 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

[ Edited ]

It took some real searching a while back to figure this all out, and thereafter life got easier.  It turns out that what the Windows 7 DVD installs is not just in response to what hardware is present on the motherboard.  The installer also looks at what the BIOS settings are.  As a result it also responds to what the engineer of the BIOS interface choose to make available to you.

 

Thus, if the SATA emulation component of BIOS in my xw6400 is set to IDE mode ("IDE Separate" or "IDE Combined") before my clean W7 install off the DVD I will only get the upper (IDE) controller listing in my Device Manager list (see the earlier pics attached to my posting above).  If it is set to "RAID + AHCI" I get both the upper and lower controller listings.  As a result I can then freely switch between all three types of SATA emulation, using the same physical chipset on the motherboard, because I have drivers for all three options.  If I had installed W7 with BIOS set to one of the two IDE options then I'd only be able to switch BIOS between those two, and would get an OS crash if I were to change to "RAID + AHCI" because the drivers to allow that setting would not have been installed automatically.

 

When you get a clone XP, Vista, or W7 install from the HP workstation factory it always will have the full set of drivers allowing SATA emulation to be changed between any of the three options without crashing.

 

Early BIOS for these workstations used to have the two IDE options, and then RAID, and then AHCI, but later BIOS versions combined the last two into "RAID + AHCI"..... engineer's choice here, affecting what gets loaded by the W7 installer.  The info below applies to many other workstations than I mention here.

 

Here is answer to your question:  The Intel driver set that gets loaded automatically by the W7 installer in response BIOS setting of "RAID + AHCI" includes both RAID and AHCI drivers.  Even if you never are going to use RAID it loads drivers that allow that, and the AHCI drivers you want, automatically.  You certainly do want to be using all of the benefits of AHCI technology, rather than running your SATA hard drive(s) in IDE mode.  You'll get the IDE drivers, also, no matter what you choose.

 

If you look inside the ESB2 chipset driver updaters that I have posted in the past here (the ESB2 version is used in the xw6400, xw6600, xw8400, xw8600) you'll see two initialization (.inf) files included..... iaAHCI.inf, and iaStor.inf.  If you update the ESB2 driver via Device Manager on a clean proper W7 install (BIOS set to "RAID + AHCI" ahead of time) you'll notice you navigate to the folder containing the two .inf files, and the update process will not give you the option of choosing iaAHCI.inf.  It updates using iaStor.inf automatically, which includes both the RAID and AHCI drivers, because that is the driver set W7 previously loaded automatically.

 

By the way, aenesa1, if you could choose to force use of only iaAHCI.inf to get only the AHCI drivers (and you can do that in a XP clean install using the F6 floppy driver install method) that would work fine for your setup, but Intel specifically recommends to choose the iaStor.inf instead, which gives you both the RAID and AHCI drivers for highest flexibility in the future.

 

So, there you have it.

 

Scott

 

 

EDIT:  FYI:  Here's a potentially valuable tip...... some low level programs cannot run while a SATA drive is running with SATA emulation set to "RAID + AHCI", but can run fine if the BIOS is set to one of the two "legacy" or "compatibility setting" IDE SATA emulation options (I always choose IDE Separate in those situations).  This is quite rare, but the Intel bootable Firmware Update Tool necessary to update certain early Intel SSD's on certain platforms has this instruction in the PDF, as an example:  "To enable the Firmware Update Tool to recognize an Intel SSD in these systems, change the drive mode from AHCI to IDE or Compatibility mode, and then start the firmware update."

 

HDDErase is another example, with this from the FAQ for that very low level drive erasure program (I'm still using bootable CD DBAN instead):

 

"Q:  Can HDDerase.exe be used to erase my onboard or externally connected (USB, etc.) SATA drives?

A:  Yes, but some BIOS configuration may be required.  Since HDDerase.exe only detects drives on the primary and secondary IDE channels (ports 01F0-01F7 and 0170-0177) the BIOS must be configured so that the SATA drive is detected on one of these channels.  For onboard SATA drives this can be done by switching the SATA drive from "enhanced mode" to "compatibility mode" in BIOS (compatibility mode is sometimes called "native mode" or "IDE mode").  Note - not all BIOSs support this feature."

 

The HP BIOS does support this, and it is handy to be able to shift around as needed.  Don't forget to reset from "IDE Separate" in BIOS back to "RAID + AHCI" afterwards if you ever need to use this tip.  If you do in fact forget to set it back attached is a pic of what things look like in Device Manager.  Compare this pic to the other two attached in my post above.  The lower entry is missing.  It comes back when BIOS is set to "RAID + SATA" again.

 

  Scott

Please use plain text.
Frequent Advisor
aeneas1
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎01-13-2013
Message 12 of 28 (4,954 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

scott, thanks again for your input... am now very happy with my ssd's performance, very snapy after running samsung's "optimazation" utility, nice scores as well, i'm sure it's in ahci mode even if samsung's utility says it's not.

 

 

Please use plain text.
Advisor
DavidRossitter
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
Message 13 of 28 (2,568 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

Hi

 

Have been reading this thread with interest as I am having similar issues but have got stuck.  So any guidance appreciated.

 

I have a XW6400 with a fresh Win764bit install.  I did this in IDE mode as at that point i was using old Sata drives and wasnt aware of the driver install options.  I have recently gone to a Samsund pro SSD 128GB for my OS and it is saying AHCI not installed. I am looking to keep a SATA drive as a data drive in the second bay of the PC.   If I set my BIOS to RAID/AHCI it wont boot (says AHCI drivers not installed) which makes sense given what I have now been reading.  

 

I see that you can install them post a Win& install and have run the MSFixit 50470 which I gather should then show System Controllers in my Device Manager - but mine doesnt.  Have tried this twice and rebooted.  So this is where I am stuck.  I dont think I can see the answer to this in this thread but please bear with me as this is stretching my IT knowledge!  Thanks David

Please use plain text.
Esteemed Contributor
Scott D. Harrison
Posts: 494
Registered: ‎10-16-2006
Message 14 of 28 (2,535 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

[ Edited ]

Run the Fixit, shut down, restart, F10 into BIOS, go over and down to SATA emulation, change from IDE Separate (or IDE Combined) to "RAID + AHCI", F10 to save, back out of BIOS making sure to save changes and F10 as the last step, reboot.

 

Should work, has for me.

 

If not, do a DBAN low level reformat, NTFS long format, and reload from MS installer DVD.  Make sure to do the early stage of install properly by deleting the single partition present after the NTFS long format, and letting the installer create its desired system reserved and the large user partitions.

 

I have never not been able to fix a W7 install mistakenly loaded with BIOS set to IDE Separate or Combined rather than the necessary RAID + AHCI.  With the xw workstations if you load correctly you can choose later between all 3, but if you load in one of the legacy modes you're toast until you get the drivers that allow things to work with BIOS set to RAID + AHCI, which is what you generally want to be using.

 

A tip.... some of the Intel SSD firmware updates need you to use the bootable CD approach, and to hook the SSD to the SATA 0 port (blue) and switch BIOS SATA emulation to IDE separate before you can update from pretty old firmware.  You'll get there......

Please use plain text.
Advisor
DavidRossitter
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
Message 15 of 28 (2,517 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

Hi Scott

 

Thanks for the help.  Just tried the reboot and BIOS change and it wont boot so looks like I need to reinstall.

 

So tell me how do I do a DBAN re-format?

 

Also I was confused by your message as you said in the first part that it has worked for you but later down you said you have never got AHCI working when the orignal install didnt work.

 

I shall probably do this reinstall on a normal SATA disc when I am not using the PC as very reliant on it during the daytime to test this option out - and then migrate back across to the reformatted SSD so assume there is no issue in doing this

 

Thanks David

Please use plain text.
Esteemed Contributor
Scott D. Harrison
Posts: 494
Registered: ‎10-16-2006
Message 16 of 28 (2,501 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

[ Edited ]

David,

 

You probably know that HP advises against using SATA generation III drives, which I think your SSD is, in these HP xw SATA generation II workstations, unless the drive is from HP (special firmware from HP applied to those).  I wonder if that might be the cause of your issue?  I'm using the two specific SATA generation II Intel SSDs I've posted about here previously..... the slightly faster X25-M gen2 (silver, not black metal case.  May or may not have black plastic spacer rim).  And, the Intel 320 series.... no less than 160GB.  Leave 20% empty for best performance.

 

DBAN is worth knowing about and you can read a bit in Wiki on it, and download the .iso file for free to burn a bootable CD:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darik's_Boot_and_Nuke

 

http://www.dban.org/

 

You want to carefully identify the specific drive you are targeting when you run this.... the safest thing to do is to put the target drive or SSD on your SATA0 port cable (blue plastic, usually) and boot into the CD, and the program is very simple simple.   You just hit enter to be interactive, find the hard drive/SSD in the program, space bar to select, F10 to start, and it will go.  It takes a long time for huge drives.

 

This gets a drive back to a "raw" state and has allowed me to clear drives down to what I consider a pure level for subsequent standard NTFS long-type formatting.  Quick NTFS formats are not what you want for this type of drive preparation.  You can use those after you get the drive all tuned up this way first, if you wish, but I don't.

 

When I buy a used SSD, for example, this is the first thing I do, and then feel comfortable working with the drive.  I have mentioned that the Western Digital SATA generation III drives will work in my xw workstations (SATA generation II) but only if I run them thru the DBAN process first.  One of my big projects here, getting a 3TB drive to show up as a single volume on these workstations only was successful after I ran it through the DBAN low level reformat process.

 

Some very difficult drives have finally accepted beginning the DBAN process by having them on SATA0 port (nothing else attached except the optical drive at SATA1) plus me switching to IDE Separate in BIOS.  That is very rare....

 

My syntax was too complex..... read again..... I have never been unable to fix the problem you have.  I have always been able to use that MS FixIt to get the AHCI drivers loaded after the fact onto a W7 install, and thus save the install which otherwise would blue screen when I set BIOS to "RAID + AHCI" (or "RAID", or "AHCI").

 

I never have been able to fix a XP install that was missing the drivers, however, and in that circumstance I dig out my old floppy drive and driver floppy.

Please use plain text.
Advisor
DavidRossitter
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
Message 17 of 28 (2,440 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

Hi, thanks for the further information. Can only explore at weekends as need the pc to be working during weekdays. So today I took my spare sata drive and did a DBAN reformat. I set the Bios setting to achi/raid and started the Win7 install.

I am not that familiar with the process and couldn't find the option to do an NTFS format, but carried on all the same.

When I completed the install it wanted to do a fresh install again which I assume was because it was set as the boot drive but strange as I don't remember this when I did the original install. So I am wondering if the install really completed as the only thing it asked me for was my country and language. Anyhow I took the win7 DVD out and tried to boot but it only gave me a DOS-like screen with a comment like DHCP and a rotating cursor which I have seen on other machines where it can't find a boot file.

I did realise that I did the DBAN not off the sata0 connection so repeating that but as it took about 3 hours last time thought I would post where I got to incase someone can spot that I am doing something silly as the cycle time for retrying is quite long

Thanks. David
Please use plain text.
Esteemed Contributor
Scott D. Harrison
Posts: 494
Registered: ‎10-16-2006
Message 18 of 28 (2,437 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

[ Edited ]

David,

 

This W7 clean install method has been posted about here previously, in a shorter versions.  Here are more details.  The two key things to know about this approach is that DBAN clears the deep boot sectors (and all else) in a way that a normal format cannot, and this W7 install method ensures that the two necessary W7 install partitions always get created.  DBAN is a drive preparation tool I have used for years, is free, and does a very low level conversion of a drive back to a "raw" status.  It clears things from a drive nothing else I have found can.

 

Your workstation should have the latest BIOS on it, before you start doing anything else.  I generally update BIOS from within BIOS using the .bin file in the DOS folder that you can find if you unpack the HP SoftPaq containing the latest BIOS.

 

You now do the very low level format from the bootable DBAN CD directed at your intended W7 SSD/drive, which can even be set up in an external USB interface for this.  However, you can't do damage (unintended erasure) to any other drive if the target is the only drive attached to your internal SATA ports.... plug it into SATA port 0 if you use this cautious approach.  That port will be the first one.... usually blue plastic.  Once DBAN is finished the drive is "raw".  Yes it takes time, but is worth it.  If you know your drive identifiers well you can simply add the target internally to your other active drives and just select it from the list in DBAN, being careful to not nuke an unintended drive accidentally.  I think the whole process goes fastest if the target drive is inside the case rather than outside in a USB interface.  I have a dedicated utility xw6400 running XP off a fast 80GB WD Raptor for these types of projects.... I don't tie up my main workstation that way.

 

You next want to do a NTFS long-type format of the DBAN-treated drive before you start the W7 install process.  I have always done this, but it likely is not absolutely necessary.  This works for me 100% of the time, so I'm sticking with it.  Plug in a temporary bootable drive as your primary drive, and have the now-raw DBAN-treated drive hooked as a secondary drive.  The bootable drive at this step can be a prior install of XP or W7 hooked up to the first SATA port.  The second SATA port will be attached to the DBAN-treated drive, and your third SATA port will be attached to the optical drive.  Boot into your OS, navigate to Disk Management, find the DBAN-treated drive and select it for a simple NTFS long-type format, and proceed using the default NTFS format settings (making sure the Quick Format box is not checked).  When that is done the DBAN-treated drive should finally be visible along with your C drive, etc. under My Computer.

 

I do a special BIOS preparation for these W7 clean installs..... I set the DBAN-treated NTFS long-formatted drive as the top first boot device (not the optical drive).  This boot order results in a situation where when the W764 install finishes its pre-SP1 install phase it will then not cycle back into booting off the DVD and get you all confused.  I think that is what happened in your case.  Rather, the workstation will now boot into the newly functional C drive and automatically proceed with SP1 install.

 

An aside:  I also apply F5 to the bootable USB option in Boot Order in BIOS to gray it out (I only take the USB option out of inactive gray status if I plan to truly boot from a USB device).  Having non-bootable USB devices

 

At this point you need to make sure the updated BIOS is kept at (or changed to) the setting of "RAID + ACHI" (if the workstation is a xw6400, 8400, 6600, 8600).  If it is a xw4600 set it to "RAID" (which will get you both the RAID and the AHCI drivers also).  That is what Intel recommends even if you'll never use RAID, and that is how HP sets things at the factory.  For your Z220 I think the BIOS is like the xw4600's... choose "RAID".  I only run legacy BIOS in the Z workstations, personally.

 

Next,  shut down, remove that temporary boot drive, replace it with the DBAN-treated drive on the blue port ("SATA0").  Move up the optical drive cable to the second port ("SATA1").  Power up, put in the W7 installer DVD, use F9 to allow choice of boot device for this event and choose the optical drive, and the W7 DVD should fire up.  There are rare cases of the W7DVD not having a driver on it that can run the optical drive.... that has been discussed here before, and this is not your situation from what you say.

 

Now, how do you get the two necessary W7 partitions I spoke of on the DBAN-treated drive?  When the DVD boots and you are at the very early phase of the OS install you'll come to the page where you can just proceed with the install on that single partition that was created when you did the NTFS long format.  Do not do that, for sure.  Rather, you want to choose "Advanced" or some such option on that page to let you delete that partition.  The installer will then proceed with automatically creating 2 partitions..... a small "system reserved" one, and the much larger W7 target partition.  Make sure to not ignore that step.  When the installer has created the two I highlight the smaller one, choose Format (it will automatically be the quick type), and then I highlight the large partition and choose Format, for an automatic quick format of that one also.  It will stay highlighted, and you now proceed with the W7 install from there.

 

I don't create a password at this phase of building up a system.... waste of time results, and I do that later.  Very important.... i choose to not accept any automatic updates from MS at this point, and it will tell you this is not recommended.  I want to "hide" certain things MS offers, such as graphics card drivers I want to install myself from nVidia.  I also make sure to "hide" the offer of Explorer 11 (I'm sticking to Explorer 10 for now, for good reason).  They will try to sneak these in on you several times.

 

Later on when I do updates I very carefully review the list and "hide" what I want each time (Silverlight, BingBar, and on).  Later after I have done this hand tuning process I'll turn on automatic updates, and get a password in there.

 

I may or may not add in a large documents drive in addition to my boot SSD... in that case the docs drive is attached to the second SATA port, and the optical drive cable drops down to the third SATA port.  Some of the older workstations will have the optical drive on the IDE ribbon cable, and you don't need to move that around.  These old HP IDE drives actually almost always work perfectly with the W7 installer DVD, in my experience.

 

Keep us posted on how things go, David.  I have not had time to capture pictures of every step with a camera and put up an illustrated how-to-do-it.  Maybe some day.

 

 

Please use plain text.
Advisor
DavidRossitter
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
Message 19 of 28 (2,403 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

Thanks for the assistance again.  Infact things have moved on somewhat in the meantime.  So i managed to install Win7 with AHCI/Raid set in Bios (am using the latest Bios version) and this all on a Sata disc.

 

I was just about to migrate this across to my SSD and bizarely have now been able to boot the original Win7 install up on the SSD.  I havent changed this SSD as its been disconnected but now it will take it through a boot.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that Samsung Magician software still shows AHCI as deactivated.

 

I may well continue with the migration but dont want to run out of time before the week starts so may pause and see what your thoughts on this are.  Maybe the drivers are still not there but maybe there is a way to install them. I may go do the fixit again now and see what happens.  Cheers, David

Please use plain text.
Advisor
DavidRossitter
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
Message 20 of 28 (2,401 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

No, the Fixit made no difference.  Going to take a pause now as my wife will be wondering what i have been up to all weekend!  Ill keep the newly installed Win7 on the spare Sata drive till i hear what people's views are.

Please use plain text.
Esteemed Contributor
Scott D. Harrison
Posts: 494
Registered: ‎10-16-2006
Message 21 of 28 (2,396 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

[ Edited ]

David,

 

W7 (and on up) have installers that recognize the presence of a SSD as the W7 install target. and install things differently than if the target is a spindle hard drive.  So, cloning over an install from a spindle drive to a SSD does not seem to be the best way to go.

 

You mention Samsung.... are you sure that is a SATA generation II drive and not a generation III drive?  You may get away with installing W7 on a non-HP SATA generation III SSD, but HP says "likely not" if you were using a non-HP spindle drive.  I have not seen a clear statement from HP about using non-HP SATA gen III SSDs on these workstations, but assume the same concept would be true for them.  Bad experience(s) may not come until later, and that is why I settled on the two specific models of Intel SSDs I use.  This is detailed in prior posts.  Expect to pay about 75.00 for one of those used off eBay, 160GB, and plan to do DBAN treatment, and update the SSDs firmware if you end up going that route.  Use the free Intel ToolBox SSD software, also.  The ToolBox can update firmware directly for some of these, and Intel also has a bootable .iso that can update the firmware for ones that cannot be updated directly by ToolBox.

 

Samsung Magician SSD software..... there have been posts here talking about how it AHCI reports AHCI driver presence incorrectly.  I have zero experience with Magician.  The ZX20 workstations are the first to have some SATA generaton III ports, to my knowledge.  Your xw6400 does not have any.  No big deal.... I work with both and the ones between, and cannot tell the difference for the work we do.

 

Yes, our wife situations are similar and it is good to have someone to tell us to get our noses out of the computers.

 

I'll try to get that long W7 clean install post converted into a new thread with pics inserted.

 

Scott

Please use plain text.
Advisor
DavidRossitter
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
Message 22 of 28 (2,244 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

Hi Scott

So I have got around to DBAN ing my SSD, set the bios to raid/ahci and done clean w7 install. So it boots in this mode. Magician software says ahci not enabled - but as you say this may not report correctly so how can I tell if I am truly in this mode or not? I am rereading this and related threads to try and see if the answer is amongst all the posts. Interestingly when I boot I get a dos like screen which includes a comment "ahci bios not installed". I have checked and am using the latest bios so that's a bit confusing but not sure what I can do about that.

Thanks David
Please use plain text.
Valued Contributor
Skylarking
Posts: 208
Registered: ‎04-03-2012
Message 23 of 28 (2,240 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

David,

 

from what i have read, samsungs SSD Magician does get confused as to what drivers are running and the tool thinks AHCI is not active. I suspect it's likely the case when  Intel chipsets that support RAID+AHCI are used, though i don't have specific evidence of this.

 

Anyway the easiest way to confirm what drivers you are actually using is to open device manager and select view then device by connection and then drill down to the samsung ssd before right clicking proporties and viewing the driver tab then driver details. You should clearly see what device your ssd is actually connected to and what driver you are using. See the pictures and comments in my earlier post.

 

For my Z210 workstation which uses Intel C206 chipset (from memory), the Intel driver used is iaStorF.sys (name changed with Intel driver updates) but this provides the full AHCI experiance as far as i am aware (ssd garbage collection, etc)... And for what it's worth, even if you are not using AHCI, as long as you periodically use SSD Magician and force garbage collection (within Intel SSD Toolbox it's called SSD Optimizer), your SSD performance should still be much better than spinning rust...

 

As to why you get a dos like screen with "ahci not installed" message during boot, I have no idea. But you need to be certain what hardware is involved in connecting your SSD to your system.  Since i don't have a your system and know how you have cabled it up, i can't make any suggestions other than to simply say make sure your system firmware (BIOS) and any other firmware (RAID card, etc) are also updated to the latest available.

Please use plain text.
Advisor
DavidRossitter
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
Message 24 of 28 (2,233 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

Hi
Thanks for the help. I can't see the disk in the device manager connection list, but I do have iaStorV.sys showing as the driver in the raid item under storage controllers. Have latest firmware for the motherboard so not a lot I can do about that.

Cheers David
Please use plain text.
Esteemed Contributor
Scott D. Harrison
Posts: 494
Registered: ‎10-16-2006
Message 25 of 28 (2,224 Views)

Re: HP Z210 SFF: Activating Windows 7 AHCI SATA mode for performance​e reasons ...

[ Edited ]

David,

 

Good news on the successful DBAN low level format, and I'll assume you got the two partitions automatically generated during your W7 install.  So, how good/bad was that way of doing things?

 

Below are two images of what the performance was when a friend did not have SATA emulation set properly before his W7Pro install on a SSD (he had it set to IDE mode, with results on the left) versus when he reinstalled properly (SATA emulation set before start of install to "RAID + AHCI" for his xw6400..... and that would be "RAID" if it was a xw4600, etc.),  Those results are on the right.  Note the boost in performance from getting the AHCI drivers in there properly.

 

In those pictures is also likely the answer to your question....... note the little "pciide - BAD" notation in the left picture versus "- OK" in the right picture.  With a more recent version (.zip attached below) my SSD gave a green "iastor - OK" result rather than the truncated "- OK".

 

This little nonproprietary program has the ability to probe whether an AHCI-enabled driver is applied to the installed SSD.  Try running AS SSD Benchmark on your Samsung SSD and please let us know if this works on your SSD despite appearing to be incorrectly diagnosed by the Samsung Magician SSD software.

 

DocDrive.lnk

Please use plain text.
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation