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How to Install AHCI Drivers in Windows 7 After Setup

Table of Contents

  1. Stats
  2. Equipment Used
  3. Notes on SSD Performance and Windows 7
  4. Create Windows 7 Bootable USB Flash Drive
  5. Installing Windows 7 and Setting Partitions
  6. Installing AHCI Driver After Windows 7 Installation
    + Comment on the other AHCI Driver Install guides available online
    + Steps for Enabling AHCI Mode After Windows 7 Install
  7. Bonus: Some Performance Tips for Your Windows 7 SSD Laptop
  8. Other 'AHCI Install' Guides On The Net
  9. Resources

Source

Stats:

Difficulty: Intermediate

Time for completion: 2 hours, based on computer speed

Equipment Used

  • ASUS EEE 1005HA netbook
  • Windows 7 Ultimate SP1
  • 64GB Apacer Pro II (AS-202)
  • 8GB Kingston Datatraveler G3 USB Key

Image by me, some stock used from deviantart.com
Image by me, some stock used from deviantart.com | Source

Notes on SSD Performance and Windows 7

Okay, I gotta point out first that while using a laptop + SSD setup does improve performance it is unpredictable how much of a pain in the ass it would be to setup and what issues you might encounter once everything has been done.

Performance degradation was my case as it occurred in the form of skipping while video/audio streaming.

I believe that one of the reasons for this (besides that Windows sucks) is my "entry-level" SSD, as labeled by Apacer themselves.

If you are planning to use an SSD as your primary drive then make sure its as high class as you can afford. Another thing to note on the SSD topic is that Apacer sucks, they offer no support as in drivers or tools for debugging.

While researching a solution to my audio-video-skipping issue Intel really became my favorite. They've got the support, tools and drivers for solving SSD-related issues and SSD body design with aluminum plating, capable of sustaining about 7G physical pressure while in write or read mode.

If you encounter audio-video skipping trouble, check the link provided[1] as a starting point for solving this issue.

Source

1. Create Windows 7 Bootable USB Drive

  1. Insert Windows 7 DVD in your DVD drive
  2. Download Win2Flash[2] and install
  3. Connect USB key to your computer
  4. Start Win2Flash and follow the wizard; all you need are default settings
  5. In about 40 minutes you will have a fully-bootable USB key

Note: In order to avoid any difficulties while booting Windows 7 from your USB key check your manual or BIOS POST screen for a hotkey to bring out the boot menu for choosing your USB key. In the case with ASUS EEE 1005HA it was the 'Esc' key.
Optionally, you can always configure the order of boot devices in your BIOS-> Boot section.

Photo: Switching IDE Controller from AHCI mode to IDE. Note: The layout of your BIOS may differ.
Photo: Switching IDE Controller from AHCI mode to IDE. Note: The layout of your BIOS may differ. | Source

2. Install Windows 7 and Create Partitions

1. Reboot and enter BIOS

2. In the section for IDE Settings, set your IDE Controller Mode from AHCI to IDE

3. Save and Exit

4. Press your special key for booting up your USB key; 'Esc' for EEE PC

5. Assuming 64GB SSD set partitions this way:
- minimum 20GB for Win7
- 3,2GB unpartitioned space for garbage collection (as per overclock.net[3] forum discussion)
- Set the rest of the space as per your personal wish
Example: I got 4 gigs partition for web development files and the rest set for downloads, music, etc.

6. Complete the Windows 7 setup wizard

Windows 7 install screen
Windows 7 install screen | Source
Typical SSD. Image used as illustration only.
Typical SSD. Image used as illustration only. | Source

3. Install AHCI Drivers in Windows 7

Note on the Other AHCI Driver Install Guides Available Online:

I'm not saying that the other guides won't help you or won't work. It's just that none of them worked for me. "Select AHCI device in device manager" nope, none present, "edit Win7 registry to force check for AHCI device" didn't force anything at all.

Steps for Enabling AHCI Mode after Windows 7 Install

  1. Once your clean install has loaded and installed any devices detected go to your manufacturer's website, download and install the chipset drivers only
  2. Restart Windows
  3. Go to Start Menu-> Control Panel-> Device Manager-> expand IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers

    If you don't know the name/number of your IDE/SATA controller, use the initially installed Microsoft driver for reference. Write it down on paper, just in case.

    So, you should have something like: ATA Channel 0, ATA Channel 1, Intel 12345GM IDE/ATAPI Controller.

    Or as it was in my case I had just the brand name and family name which was GBM, so that makes something like Intel GM-Family IDE Controller.

    IMPORTANT: Search only and specifically for the controller brand+model displayed in your Device Manager as it may differ from the one advertised with your laptop. Also the drivers in your computer manufacturer's site may differ from this, as they were in my case. The AHCI driver from asus.com was for Intel N-10 chipset.. Thanks for that ASUS!

  4. Now that you know that brand and model number, or family name, of your IDE Controller (ex. Intel 13245GM), simply Google "Intel 12345GM AHCI driver download" and one of the Top 3 results should be the page where you can download the driver.
    advice: make sure you download from manufacturer sites (ex: intel.com), not potential fraud like.. ezdownloads2go.com
  5. Now that you, hopefully, have found the required driver just unzip it in a folder of your liking. It should contain about 10 files with several .inf's along.
  6. Go to Start Menu-> Control Panel-> Device Manager-> expand IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers-> right-click on your IDE Controller-> Update Driver Software..
  7. Browse my computer for driver software
  8. Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
  9. Have Disk...
  10. Specify the folder where you unzipped the driver files
  11. Select the .inf file with AHCI in its file name
  12. Click OK
  13. Select your brand+model driver now that it is loaded in the manufacturer's list
    Note: in case there is nothing shown uncheck "Show compatible hardware"
  14. Click OK, wait loading and close the dialog window
  15. DO NOT RESTART WINDOWS
  16. Double-check that the IDE Controller has updated to the expected brand and model name
  17. If it has not, repeat steps 7-17
  18. Restart Windows
  19. Enter BIOS-> IDE Controller Settings
  20. Set your IDE Controller mode from IDE to AHCI
  21. And, ta-da, your Windows 7 installation is now running in AHCI mode
  22. Install any other peripherals and programs you need

Note how many times faster than usual your Windows is now loading ;)
Note how many times faster than usual your Windows is now loading ;) | Source

Bonus: Some Performance Tips for Your Windows 7 SSD Laptop

  1. Disable search indexing on all drives, your SSD is fast enough
  2. Enable compression on all folders of your system's partition (usually C:\) except for the Windows folder
    + now go to C:\Windows and select all folders except for WinSXS, SYSTEM32 and SYSTEM
    + right-click menu-> Properties-> Advanced-> Compress contents to save disk space
  3. If it is available for you, install a Wireless Connection Utility, because it will increase your wireless signal significantly. EEE Users, I couldn't find a working one for Windows 7 for the Atheros WI-FI card
  4. Download DPC Latency checker[4] to check if there is any bad latency in your Windows system and troubleshoot it according to ComputerCabal's guide[1]
  5. + or in a few words, download LatencyMon[5], let it analyze your system for 30 seconds and see which is the .sys or whatever file lagging your system. If it is located in the Windows folder then you probably don't want to delete it. Google it's file name to see what it does and find your way in the Control Panel in order to disable any functionalities related to it.
  6. + example: I reduced latency levels back to normal (mostly stable) by turning off power management for my PCI-Express and Wireless chips.
  7. If you are EEE PC User: Download GMA Booster[6] and make sure to use it whenever you are viewing FlashPlayer content (ex. Youtube videos), games, HD movies and 3D graphics software
  8. Go to Control Panel-> Power Management and edit your power plan to reduce energy savings while plugged in or on battery, thus improving performance
  9. Make sure to have at least 6gigs of free space on your system's partition (C:\) at all cases and at least 5% to 10% free space on your other partitions
  10. Leave Swap File Size to System Managed on all drives
  11. Disable Visual Themes and effects (or Aero at least) from System-> Advanced system settings-> Advanced tab-> Settings...-> Visual Effects tab
  12. Disable System Restore on all drives to save disk space from System-> Advanced system settings-> System Protection tab
  13. Stop downloading porn ;)

Comments 6 comments

Scarlet Ferrero 2 years ago

Thank you so much, it worked!


itknol profile image

itknol 2 years ago Author

You are most welcome, Scarlet!

I am sorry if the article looks as if it doesn't work :P

Cheers,

ItKnol


Tina 22 months ago

Well I guess I don't have to spend the weekend figiurng this one out!


itknol profile image

itknol 22 months ago Author

Glad it helped, Tina :):)


TTGReviews profile image

TTGReviews 22 months ago

I wish you didn't have to reinstall Windows if you want to install AHCI. Btw, what are the major benefits to switching over? Is it required in order to use a SSD with Windows 7?


itknol profile image

itknol 22 months ago Author

Hey, TTG.

Sorry for the late response. 2015 seems to be hellishly busy so far.

About the difference between SATA and AHCI mode. Well, as far as I recall it has more features than SATA mode. With AHCI you get native command queuing (your hdd handles commands from Windows faster), hot-plugging support (unplug your HDD without shutting down). Also it will enable any advanced features your HDD/SDD might have.

And another thing.

TRIM support, which is crucial for your SSD's lifespan is not properly supported on versions of Windows that do not have AHCI support. That would be Windows XP and older. My point is that if you have your SATA controller in SATA or IDE mode, your SSD might not function properly or will be slow, which is pretty much the same.

p.s. And if your read the article, you be able to install your AHCI drivers without reinstalling Windows.

;-)

Cheers,

ItKnol

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