Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How To Change From IDE To AHCI

I have a few drives on my home PC. A bunch of standard platter drives for media storage, some drives for backups and my system drive is a solid state, the OCZ Vertex 3, to be precise.

When I first installed it, the difference in performance was amazing. However, upon more reading I had noticed my M4A77TD motherboard was communicating with my hard drives using the older, slower IDE. I wanted to change this to the newer, faster Advanced Host Controller Interface or, AHCI technology.

However, changing this after you have installed Windows is a little trickier...but not too hard. Just two simple registry edits and a change in the BIOS.

The two registry entries you need to change are
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Msahci
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Pciide
You change their "Start" values to "0" and then restart your computer, boot to your BIOS and change your SATA configuration to AHCI instead of IDE.

To change from IDE to AHCI is a simple process. It's probably worded a little different for each individual BIOS but the process is easy. One boots to their motherboard and then toggles the "SATA Configuration" to AHCI. Then you reboot and voila you're running AHCI and speeding up your SSD.

Here's what it looks like in my BIOS:

Changing IDE to AHCI. ASUS motherboard, AMI Megatrends BIOS.
But wait, did Windows not boot? Did you get a BSOD?  I did...and it pissed me off.

Luckily I run a Macrium backup every hour on my OS drive so my plan was to put my Windows DVD in the DVD drive, reboot, turn on AHCI, and reinstall Windows, hoping that Windows would have the AMD AHCI drives natively.

Well, that didn't happen.

So I had to hunt and hunt and hunt and hunt to find these drivers. Nearly impossible to find them, but I did. So, for those of you having the problem of changing from IDE to AHCI after having installed Windows, I hope this post can help you get it done.

Oh, and by the way, here are those fizucking drivers so you don't have to drive yourself nuts trying to find them.

The backup restoration from Macrium took about 25 minutes and it was as if I had never done a thing. Macrium creates an image of your drive...so it's every single setting, program, file just like they were before you did anything.

After that, AHCI was working perfectly.

Here's a screenshot of how blazing fast my SSD is now:

HD Tune Pro 5.50
However, my motherboard is a bit dated, it doesn't support USB 3.0 and most importantly it doesn't have SATA 3.0 support. Having bought it in 2010 it was great, SATA III was just coming into the market in 2009 and boards are relatively cheap to upgrade at a later date to "catch up" to what was, at the time, bleeding edge, but is now standard.

That's the philosophy I've always used when building or speccing out my newest system. I won't pay top dollar for something that will be much cheaper in a few years. When the technology I am buying now is more than sufficient to meet my needs at the time and just wait it out until that bleeding edge tech starts to become more of a need than a bonus. Which brings us to now. Now I need that SATA 3.0 support. This drive just isn't fast enough...even though I was being a bit sarcastic with the "blazing fast" comment regarding my screenshot. Even though that is pretty darn fast.

So, my board being what it is, is now a choke point on my system.

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