How to Install AHCI Drivers in Windows 7 After Setup
Table of Contents
- Equipment Used
- Notes on SSD Performance and Windows 7
- Create Windows 7 Bootable USB Flash Drive
- Installing Windows 7 and Setting Partitions
- 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
- Bonus: Some Performance Tips for Your Windows 7 SSD Laptop
- Other 'AHCI Install' Guides On The Net
Time for completion: 2 hours, based on computer speed
- ASUS EEE 1005HA netbook
- Windows 7 Ultimate SP1
- 64GB Apacer Pro II (AS-202)
- 8GB Kingston Datatraveler G3 USB Key
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 as a starting point for solving this issue.
1. Create Windows 7 Bootable USB Drive
- Insert Windows 7 DVD in your DVD drive
- Download Win2Flash and install
- Connect USB key to your computer
- Start Win2Flash and follow the wizard; all you need are default settings
- 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.
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 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
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
- Once your clean install has loaded and installed any devices detected go to your manufacturer's website, download and install the chipset drivers only
- Restart Windows
- 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!
- 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
- 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.
- Go to Start Menu-> Control Panel-> Device Manager-> expand IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers-> right-click on your IDE Controller-> Update Driver Software..
- Browse my computer for driver software
- Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
- Have Disk...
- Specify the folder where you unzipped the driver files
- Select the .inf file with AHCI in its file name
- Click OK
- 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"
- Click OK, wait loading and close the dialog window
- DO NOT RESTART WINDOWS
- Double-check that the IDE Controller has updated to the expected brand and model name
- If it has not, repeat steps 7-17
- Restart Windows
- Enter BIOS-> IDE Controller Settings
- Set your IDE Controller mode from IDE to AHCI
- And, ta-da, your Windows 7 installation is now running in AHCI mode
- Install any other peripherals and programs you need
Bonus: Some Performance Tips for Your Windows 7 SSD Laptop
- Disable search indexing on all drives, your SSD is fast enough
- 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
- 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
- Download DPC Latency checker to check if there is any bad latency in your Windows system and troubleshoot it according to ComputerCabal's guide
- + or in a few words, download LatencyMon, 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.
- + example: I reduced latency levels back to normal (mostly stable) by turning off power management for my PCI-Express and Wireless chips.
- If you are EEE PC User: Download GMA Booster and make sure to use it whenever you are viewing FlashPlayer content (ex. Youtube videos), games, HD movies and 3D graphics software
- Go to Control Panel-> Power Management and edit your power plan to reduce energy savings while plugged in or on battery, thus improving performance
- 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
- Leave Swap File Size to System Managed on all drives
- Disable Visual Themes and effects (or Aero at least) from System-> Advanced system settings-> Advanced tab-> Settings...-> Visual Effects tab
- Disable System Restore on all drives to save disk space from System-> Advanced system settings-> System Protection tab
- Stop downloading porn ;)