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Last reply by 08-08-2009 Unsolved
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how do i enable esata to work on xps420 on new vista 64bit install without actually using raid

as is already known, if you have an xps420 from dell and you bought it without a raid configuration, your esata port on the back of the tower doesnt work.  i can go into the f2 bios setup and change the sata operation from raid autodetect to raid on, and then the external esata will work and recognize the drive in the bios.  unfortunately you cannot boot into windows when you turn raid on if youre not using a raid configuration.  i have read that if you do a clean install of vista there is a way to set it up where you start the install with raid on so the esata port works, but then finish with not actually using raid so that you end up with a computer that is not raid but still has a working esata port.  im trying to find out how to do this.  any help would be appreciated, thanks.

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2 Bronze
2 Bronze
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hi again dave and thanks for the followup.  its definitely not a driver issue with the xps420.  its well documented in the forums and even with dell technical support that the earlier xps420's from early 08 that didnt have raid installed from the factory do not have esata capability.  it was a flaw on dells part because they were supposed to install the vista image using raid (thus enabling ahci) and then not use raid once setting everything up.  but when they installed the vista image with raid off, it didnt allow the esata port to work at all.  the only way to get it to work is if i turn raid on, and then i can actually see the drive connected to my esata port in the bios, but you cannot then boot into windows as you get a bsod.  just to double check your driver theory, i searched my service tag for sata drivers and there is only one driver available and i already have it installed.  there is a long thread about this here in case you want to see it.  http://en.community.dell.com/forums/t/18786740.aspx?PageIndex=1  in this thread a few people were able to find a work around, but the work around was only good if you still were using the dell factory image.   i wasnt as i had already done a clean install of vista 64.  another work around was to reinstall vista again, but choose raid first.  i didnt want to do this as i had too many programs already installed and didnt want to spend all those hours reinstalling them .  plus the esata plate way was so much easier and just as effective.  by the way, i did receive my esata plate and ive already connected everything and my esata external hard drive is working flawlessly at super fast esata speed and  my computer views my external drive as another internal drive.  thanks again dave, take care. 

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