Manach
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Safe to change T5500 Bios SATA Controller setting to AHCI?

My Precision T5500 Windows 7 64 bit PC has a native eSATA port to which I connect an external LaCie 2TB hard drive.


Wishing to connect up my other external drive (LaCie 1TB) by eSATA, I recently installed a StarTech EXESATA2 Controller Card. It's classed as 'Non-Raid'.


After booting up the T5500, I installed the driver (downloaded from StarTech website). My PC has all Intel processors so I chose (in folder 'Manual Drivers') the SI3132 in the folder 'Intel_AMD', rather than (in folder 'Installation Drivers') SI3132 in folder 'AMD64'.


The new LaCie 1TB drive is seen in 'Computer' and reads/writes perfectly. However, it doesn't appear in 'Devices and Printers' or in 'Safely Remove Hardware'. The original LaCie 2TB appears everywhere.


I called StarTech, who suggested I go into the Bios and change the SATA Controller setting to 'AHCI'. I understand that my internal drives are all set to NON-RAID, because, at bootup, they are shown with 'NON-RAID' clearly written in green.


In the Bios the SATA Controller possibilities are AHCI, Auto and RAID ON. My PC is set to RAID ON.


The PC also has Intel Rapid Storage Technology on board. But I don't use that at all for making RAID settings, although the application tells me occasionally when I connect an external drive to the PC native eSATA port.


In the Bios, I was about to change the SATA Controller setting to AHCI. The warning that my PC might not boot at all has stopped me from continuing further!
So, here I am looking for advice on how to proceed.


The PC only makes a connection to the new 1TB drive if the drive is turned on before I boot the PC. If I connect the drive after the PC has booted up, the drive is not seen at all. I have to reinstall the driver (I chose the Microsoft on-board one in this instance to see if that would make a difference). Then I see the drive in Computer, but not in Devices and Printers, or Safely Remove.


Suggestions much appreciated!

Manach

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4 Replies

Re: Safe to change T5500 Bios SATA Controller setting to AHC

True, your computer may not boot from the original drive if you switch to AHCI in BIOS.  It has to be in the same mode it was loaded in.  The options for F12 Boot Menu and F2 BIOS will still show.

Also, I would suggest formatting the new drive, but you said it otherwise works fine, other than making sure it's on before booting the T5500.  I take it you restarted after installing any driver(s).

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Manach
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Re: Safe to change T5500 Bios SATA Controller setting to AHC

The new drive is formatted to NTFS and was used before with this PC. This is the first time I’ve connected it via this newly installed SATA Controller Card.

Yes, I have to restart the computer after installing the card. This morning, the card showed first on the boot up screen and held the installed driver. So I was able to just turn on the 1TB drive and have it recognised by the PC.

But it still doesn’t show in Device Manager or Safely Remove.

As an additional question, can I just disconnect the drive by turning it off? In the LaCie manual, it says the drive is hot-swappable.

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Re: Safe to change T5500 Bios SATA Controller setting to AHC

I don't know why your new drive doesn't show in Safely Remove; it's not because it's hot-swappable.

What I do know, to clarify, is hot-swappable means the device can connected or disconnected while the computer is on, no need to restart or shutdown first.  It doesn't mean a device can be disconnected during data transfer.

I tried it once with an mp3 player - disconnected during music transfer.  I had to reset the device by removing and reinstalling battery, then reload music.  Good news is device wasn't permanently damaged, but data was lost from the mp3 player.

To answer your last question - Yes, a device can be disconnected or turned off without using Safely Remove Hardware (noted it doesn't show with your new 1TB drive) as long as data isn't being transferred in between devices during.  That I'm experienced with.  Safely Remove Hardware is one extra step to make sure data isn't being transferred.

Hopefully this helps.

- Please consider giving posts you like a thumbs up.
- Please "Accept as Solution" posts that are a solution.

I'm a big fan of Dell, a Dell user, and not an employee. This forum is mainly user to user with occasional moderation or additional knowledge by a Rockstar or Dell employee.
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Manach
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Re: Safe to change T5500 Bios SATA Controller setting to AHC

Thanks for that.

I've a couple of options to try...

1. Simply change the SATA Controller setting in the Bios to AHCI.

2. Perform 1. but also install driver Msahci. There's a Microsoft thread about it.

3. Try the AMD driver instead of the INTEL driver for the PEXESATA2 card.

If any one else out there has a suggestion, please chime in. I don’t want to end up with a blue screen or have to reinstall the os.

Thanks for all suggestions,

Manach

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