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Enable SATA after XP Installation


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#1
martinatremblay

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I recently upgraded my hard drive in my HP NC6400 and reinstalled XP Pro.

My Hard drive was not recognized due to lack of support for SATA in XP Pro, so I had to turn off SATA support in the BIOS to install XP Pro.

Is it now possible to enable SATA support after the fact?

I have no floppy drive and the drivers on HPs site ask for a floppy for extraction.

I did make a backup of the drivers from my old hard drive, but there are 4 available, and i am uncertain which one to use, other sites have indicated that the wrong driver will cause a blue screen and require a reinstall of XP
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#2
Neil Jones

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XP Pro does support SATA and it supports SATA out of the box.
What you probably mean is XP couldn't see the drive and you've had to change the SATA type in the BIOS. This is not the same thing as SATA support.

In a nutshell there are generally three ways of handing a SATA drive:

AHCI, the newer one, that XP has no support for out of the box and you need to feed it a driver from a floppy before it can see the hard drive in a machine. Vista and 7 see most AHCI drives straight-off.

RAID, which also XP does not support without a driver from a floppy. This is typically found when, for example, a 320Gb hard drive is actually made up of 2 x 160Gb.

IDE or Compatibility mode, which effectively presents a SATA drive as being an older drive which XP can see. This is needed for older operating systems but it will eventually disappear as an option. Drying up driver support means that at some point the only operating systems on the Windows side that would be available are Vista or later.
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#3
martinatremblay

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You are correct " XP couldn't see the drive and I had to change the SATA type in the BIOS"

I have located alternate drivers that others have said will work (in HP forum/threads), and once updated I then enable SATA support in the BIOS, but everytime I enable SATA in the BIOS it has caused XP to go into an infinite reboot loop.

I also tried to create a slipstream CD to load the drivers when I Installed XP, but unfortunately I believe I am using incorrect drivers since the slipstream CD also did not detect my hard drive upon install.

My questions are:

1 - Is it possible to enable SATA after XP is installed?
2 - If yes, which driver(s) should I be using on an HP NC6400?
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#4
Neil Jones

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1) You don't need to. As stated, XP is already using your SATA drive. You don't need to enable anything.
2) Any drivers that you would need (but you don't need now so far as installing XP goes) would be available from the HP website.
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#5
martinatremblay

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Thanks Neil!

Yes, XP is already using my SATA drive in IDE/compatibility mode.
Does this mean I have lost any related features such as SMART (and a negligible bit of speed)?

My biggest concern is related to running drive management tools such as SMART. SMART indicated my last (SATA) drive was failing, and is the reason I upgraded to the new SATA drive.

You are correct, the AHCI drivers are available from HP, but only for installation onto a floppy, which wont work for me since I do not have on my current system... I thought floppies were extinct ;-)

So if I understand you correctly, you are suggesting to run in IDE/compatible mode and disregard attempting to run as SATA/AHCI?
Thanks!
Martin
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#6
martinatremblay

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One more quick update for you Neil,

I set up the new drive with 2 partitions,
Partition one for XP and partition two for a planned Linux Ubuntu install

After enabling SATA support in the BIOS, I installed Ubuntu into the 2nd partition.

Ubuntu installed with zero issues and even reads the XP partition and all files it contains.

This leads me to believe there must be a way to enable SATA in XP if I can locate the correct drivers.

Let me know your thoughts!
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#7
Neil Jones

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You haven't lost anything. SMART is a feature of the drive itself. SMART is only predictive failure and more often than not a drive dies long before SMART says it will, and likewise SMART says a drive has been dying for the last three years. Therefore I would not take what it reports as gospel.

The only way you get XP to install in AHCI mode is with the floppy driver. While an option is available for slipstreaming onto a CD it can be hit and miss sometimes. You are missing absolutely nothing with the way the laptop is now. Ubuntu has far newer drivers for hardware than XP ever will, on the basis XP dates from from before SATA drives were even invented. Trust me. You are missing absolutely nothing.
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#8
martinatremblay

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Excellent news - Thanks for your assistance Neil, its greatly appreciated!
I can always see drive details/status from within Ubuntu as well.

I attempted to create a slipstream disc multiple times, but had poor results, hence the reason for finally installing XP in IDE mode with the belief I could enable SATA after the fact.

For now I'll live with making the BIOS change every time I reboot into the alternate OS... sigh...

if you (or anyone out there) ever finds a way to update the drivers I would certainly be grateful!
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