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I have an Asus Formula I, the BIOS version is the latest 1402. I have 2 CD-Drive and 2 Regular Drives attached to the SATA ports.

Now I've bought the Crucial CT256M4SD1 and want to use it as boot drive but there is a bunch of issues with that:

When I switch the board from SATA to AHCI the system gets stuck when it tries to detect the drives. Same as here (not my photo but same board and issue) enter image description here

I have to unplug all drives except the CD and SSD then, reboot, change to IDE, plug the old drives in and it will boot again. I figured out that my 1tb WD hard drive seems to cause that issue. But when I try to boot without it im getting stuck at the point where the system should boot from the CD drive or the hard drive. But instead it just gets stuck and shows a cursor.

I have already disabled the Jmicron RAID controller on board. I am not using the RAID controller and never did before.

So, how can I get the system booting with all drives I have but using AHCI and booting into the systems bootloader? I've already wasted hours on that.

Edit:

So far I figured out that this happens very likely because the BIOS or Controller is for some reason not able to read my partition table properly and the BIOS hangs because of this when detecting the drive. But I have no Idea how to fix that without deleting the partition table and reformat the whole drive. I do not want to do that, I would have to buy another drive before to backup what is on this drive.

Edit2:

Look at this thread, this is an excerpt from it:

the problem is in disk geometry detection in AHCI mode. for example:

  1. get empty disk. check didk geometry with system info. you will see Tracks/Cylinder = 255, Sectors/Track = 63. Create 100MB NTFS partition with Windows Disk Manager. Reboot. Check disk geometry - it changes!
  2. Why disk geometry changed? because BIOS thinked that partition end is aligned to end of cylinder. So it uses END CHS value for first partition and LBA END for counting new geometry. In my case I saw the following

record in master boot record. END CHS = DF 13 0C (END HEAD = 0xDF) Disk Geometry Tracks/Cylinder chaged after reboot from 255 to 224. 224 = 0xE0 = 0xDF + 1

As you can see DISK GEOMETRY IS DETERMINED BY END CHS VALUE FOR 1ST PARTITON

  1. Now imaging the following you again get empty disk with geometry 255/63. Create partition with size 101MB or 352MB or 705MB or there are pretty much other sizes. These sizes are specific - after creating partition with this size you will get ZERO in end chs for 1st partition. Reboot now - and you will see that bios hangs - cause disk must have positive Tracks/Cylinder.

How to fix this? -DO NOT USE AHCI or -use large 1st partitions more than 8GB (end chs for such partition always FE FF FF).

I've already resized the partition to take more than 8gb but it does not work. The follow up post in the thread on technet verifies that too. So to what it comes down is that I have to fix my disk geometry to a flavor that the BIOS will like or get a 2nd disk of the same size and temporary copy my data to another drive, reformat and copy it back. I really would like to avoid that time consuming process.

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If I understand correctly, the SSD is plugged as port 0 and the SATA| as port 1? –  harrymc Apr 30 '12 at 7:30
    
Yes, but it is not the SSD causing the issue, changing the ports does not make a difference at all. It will always fail on the port the classic 7200rpm hard drive is plugged in. –  burzum May 1 '12 at 0:05
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3 Answers

If you still have the CD and SSD plugged in when you reach the frozen bios screen, and you say that this is very likely because the BIOS cannot find the partition table on the SSD. That would imply that if you had a CD in the disk drive, it would proceed to boot off of that.. Correct? You would need to have your boot priority set to CD first of course.

If this is indeed true, I would offer the suggestion of getting a USB-header to USB-port adapter (such as this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812200294) and then plug a flash drive into that inside your case. Then install a boot-loader such as GRUB to that flash drive which would naturally detect the OS you are trying to boot from on the SSD, this would then chainload into that OS's bootloader and you will have a happily running system.

This is of course a last-case scenario, but as being I don't have all of your comp parts sitting on my desk, it is tough to troubleshoot more. I am using this sort of setup personally, (except exnay the flash drive and using an OLD 4 GB IDE drive). This is because I could not for the life of me get my computer to boot from a RAID-5 setup, unless the bootloader was else-where.

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Maybe I was not clear about this. It is clearly the good old western digital hard drive (no SSD) on which the system will freeze. –  burzum May 1 '12 at 0:07
    
Why not enable the jmicron RAID controller as to handle the drives... and then simply not create a RAID set through it, just leave the jmicron config alone and leave them all as independent disks. Worth a shot. –  CenterOrbit May 21 '12 at 16:36
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It seems like this is a quite common problem, especially on Asus computers.
Perhaps this is something to do with their BIOS.

The only claims to success in solving this problem came from people who have erased the problematic hard disk. So unfortunately, the only advice I can give is to erase all partitions on the non-SSD disk and try to reboot and then re-partition the disk, but I cannot guarantee success.

Some people have claimed that changing the problematic hard disk to another make solved the problem. If this is your case, then the non-SSD disk is simply incompatible with the Asus BIOS in AHCI mode, maybe because is uses a heads/sectors schema that happens upon a bug in that BIOS.

Finally, there are a lot of people who stayed in SATA because they were unable to make AHCI mode work.

These are the only results I have been able to find.

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Thanks so far, but this matches what I also already figured out. And in fact it is not just a problem of the Asus boards but a generic problem with this intel chipsets (ICHx) BIOS and bad "disk geometry". It looks like if the disk partitions needs to be aligned, I found a tool for this and I will try it as soon as I have the time to let the machine run again ~1 day to process the whole disk. –  burzum May 1 '12 at 8:07
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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I finally found a very detailed explanation and fix in the gigabyte forums:

http://forum.giga-byte.co.uk/index.php?topic=8585.0

Error

  • BIOS is set to AHCI native SATA Mode BIOS > Integrated Peripherals > SATA AHCI Mode = AHCI SATA Port0-1 Native Mode = Enabled
  • HDD is connected
  • at the AHCI device scan we see the following text on the screen: Serial ATA AHCI BIOS, Version iSrc 1.20E Copyright (c) 2003-2008 Intel Corporation ** This version supports only Hard Disk and CDROM drives ** Please wait. This will take few seconds. Controller Bus#00, Device#1F, Function#02: 04 Ports, 02 Devices
  • the cursor is blinking infinite and no device can be enumerated

Solution

  • turn off computer
  • disconnect HDD
  • turn on computer and go to BIOS
  • set BIOS to Legacy IDE Mode BIOS > Integrated Peripherals > SATA AHCI Mode = Disabled SATA Port0-1 Native Mode = Disabled
  • save BIOS changes and turn off computer
  • connect the HDD which caused the problem and a 2nd HDD for launching XP
  • in XP use a hex editor, I like to use "010 Editor" and open the PhysicalDrive of the HDD causing the hang
  • in the MBR, which is the very first sector, set the 3 bytes starting at offset 0x1C3 to FE FF FF and save the changes to the PhysicalDrive
  • now the controller can be set back to AHCI native mode in BIOS and the hang disappears
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