I want to get my existing Windows XP 32-bit installation to switch from accessing the primary active SATA drive via AHCI instead of IDE. XP was originally installed via IDE.

I downloaded the appropriate drivers from the Asus web site for my Nvidia chipset P5N73-CM motherboard.

I installed them by going to add hardware, and then I chose my own drivers. Now they appear in the Device Manager under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers as "NVIDIA nForce serial ATA Controller". They have the yellow circle with the black exclamation mark, which is probably there because I have to boot in IDE mode, so there is no device for the driver (my guess). They are enabled, and in Properties they show "This device cannot start. (Code 10)"

Then I went to the BIOS and changed the access mode to AHCI. However, on reboot this results in the blue screen. When I change it back to IDE, it boots again.

Next I tried to disable all the IDE drivers to force it to use AHCI. This did not work.

Next I read elsewhere that I should delete the IDE drivers. This did not work either.

So the AHCI driver(s) are installed, but I cannot get XP to recognize them at boot.

I would prefer not to do a complete install of XP and all my software. In addition, I do not have a CD/DVD writer, so creating a custom install disk would not work anyway.

  • In Vista+ a registry edit will do the trick, but as this answer notes, with XP a reinstall is generally the easiest way. – Karan Apr 1 '13 at 22:32

This process is difficult. I have tried it. The problem is that you are not actually changing the driver. When you change to AHCI the hardware identifier changes and windows no longer trying to load your old drivers. It is looking for the drivers for the new hardware ID which it can't find.

Bootable USB stick to reload windows.

use nLite to make a bootable windows XP iso. Using nLite integrate your AHCI driver into the ISO. Then use UNETBOOTIN to make a bootable USB stick from the ISO.

Otherwise the process is painful.

This may or may not work. From windows change the driver to Standard IDE. reboot and change to AHCI mode.

windows may or may not load if it does load the correct driver quickly.

Otherwise you will have to dig into the registry.

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