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I just purchased a 2 TB Fantom USB 2.0/eSATA external hard drive. Unfortunately it revealed my oversight when my first custom system was built last summer. I installed Vista Home Premium 64-bit in IDE mode (default in BIOS) instead of the ACHI mode, which would not only provide Native Command Queuing, but also hot plug of external hard drives I need now.
As expected, when I changed the Intel controller to ACHI in the BIOS, the system wouldn't boot any more as expected.
My motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P. Both my internal 750 GB WD Black caviar 7200 rpm hard disk drive and my eSATA bridge (providing two eSATA external connections) are connected on three of the six Intel SATA connectors controlled by the ICH10R (southbridge) controller.
The internal hard drive is on SATA0 and eSATA connectors on SATA4 and SATA5. The two SATA connectors controlled by a Gigabyte controller (i.e. GSATA0 and GSATA1) are not used.
The external hard drive driver just installed out of the sudden on my last try as I was writing this post and after I tried to install SATA/RAID drivers while under Windows from Gigabyte website for both Gigabyte and Intel controllers.
Note that Intel setup from MSM/iata_cd.exe gave me an error that my system did not meet the minimum requirement and closed. The new external SATA hard drive is now reported along with the internal hard drive in Device Manager under the IDE/ATA/ATAPI Controllers, with Intel(R) ICH10 Family controller Serial SATA controller.
I am about to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit, for which I'd like all SATA drives to operate in AHCI mode. It would allow my external hard drive with an eSATA connection to support hot-plugging and seems beneficial for the internal hard drive too, while multi-tasking.
Enabling the AHCI mode after a Windows Vista install with IDE mode enabled does not seem trivial in the few solutions I read - and a little confusing.
Should I enable AHCI mode before (i.e. under Windows Vista) or during the upgrade to Windows 7?
If you recommend it is done before, can I enable the ACHI mode without re-installing VISTA? How?
Also, I have multiple partitions for the current Windows Vista install, with Users and Program Data on a different partition that the operating system. The current partition scheme will re-organized and simplified.
If you suggest to do it during the Windows 7 Custom clean install, will I still be able to modify this drive partitions scheme (using the Disk Option Advanced mode) in the same custom install session?
Since the external drive is operating in IDE Mode with the ICH10R controller, what is the implication that it has no hotplugging capability? Where can it be stopped in the status bar? Is it safe to power it off when the system is running?