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Windows 7: Cannot start Win7 in AHCI mode when multiple drives are connected

11 Nov 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
 
 
Cannot start Win7 in AHCI mode when multiple drives are connected

Hi, I'm working with a new PC build that uses a 60 GB SSD for its boot drive, and which is also reusing some "old" SATA HDDs for storage.

At the time I installed Windows 7 Ult 64, I had only a new SSD plugged in, and the bios was set to AHCI mode. The installation went fine and I was able to boot into Windows afterwards without issue.

Then, I connected a WD Caviar Black SATA HDD to use as storage, with the SSD being the boot drive. With both of them connected, Windows will not get past the Starting Windows screen.

I made this video of the program before I understood that it was a drive controller issue: Startup problem - YouTube
In it, you can see that Windows boots fine in AHCI mode with just the SSD plugged in, but that when the backup SATA drive is also connected it doesn't get past the Starting Windows screen.

For the record, this Caviar Black HDD was my previous boot OS, and it also has a Windows 7 install on it (which I've renamed the base folder of), but it is not booting from that HDD. Also, I have tried the same thing with other "old" SATA HDDs that do not have any previous Windows install on them, and the result is the same thing which is shown in the video.

I do not understand why, and don't know what to do about it. All help is appreciated, thank you!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Nov 2011   #2

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Have you scoured the BIOS for any other setting relating to AHCI? I seem to recall at least 2 different settings for it on my ASUS motherboard. Also look for any settings that might relate to hard drives, bootup, anything like that. How much of the BIOS did you change from its original settings?

Also, have you gone to the motherboard's manufacturer and installed every last driver for your version of windows? I found this, but it seems like a short list (considering some of these were for different versions of windows)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
 
 

Hi, and thanks for the reply. I have the latest BIOS version installed, and I changed almost nothing in my BIOS from stock settings. I basically just set up the boot order, and switched AHCI to IDE when Windows refused to boot in AHCI with multiple drives connected. I installed the mobo drivers that came on the CD included with the mobo.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Nov 2011   #4

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
 
 

So the BIOS install was successful? It is usually best to have the most recent mobo drivers installed (manufacturer's website) but I don't think that is the problem here.

You have only 4* internal SATA ports right, and those are 2.0, not 3.0?


EDIT** I just looked it up, and yes, you have all 2.0, not 3.0.

let me research some more
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2011   #5

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
 
 

I would say try going back to IDE, I don't think you will suffer any noticeable performance hit. And you could always go back. I would use this as a last resort just because i favor AHCI. But be careful. Someone messed with his system and when he switched from ahci to ide, he got an error that wouldn't let him boot. You could create a disk image on another drive perhaps and do things to safe guard your data in the event this happens (although you said you cannot boot into windows at all if you connect another drive, right?



Alright, do this. Make sure you have all important windows updates (well, forget about that malicious download tool thing, not important right now). Run sfc /scannow through a cmd prompt

You sure you have all drivers downloaded from that cd?

you don't have a non-working sata cable you are using do you? have you switched cables?

What I am most curious about is the benefit of AHCI for an SSD with a 3Gbps SATA II connection. I know all SSDs benefit from AHCI, but I am not sure how much quicker it would be without a SATA III connection.

You know, I've played with the boot order before, and it messed things up. Be careful there. Don't change the boot order of HDDs and SSDs (if you have, change it back exactly as it was, you may need to have connected all HDDs and SSDs that you have connected up to this point, and then go into BIOS and change it all back to the original). You can reset the BIOS (look it up on google if you don't know how, and before windows boots again, set it back to AHCI if you want to try and keep it).

You should be able to change boot device priority which is hard drive first, usb second, cd third, or however you like. That is of no consequence

PS, I appologize for my rambling, but I was trying to think through how to solve your case and just typed according to my thinking, hopefully something makes sense
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DustSailor View Post
So the BIOS install was successful? It is usually best to have the most recent mobo drivers installed (manufacturer's website) but I don't think that is the problem here.

You have only 4* internal SATA ports right, and those are 2.0, not 3.0?


EDIT** I just looked it up, and yes, you have all 2.0, not 3.0.

let me research some more
Yes, the BIOS is updated and running well. I installed all my mobo drivers, though I can check for newer versions.

And you might have checked up a different mobo or an earlier version, but my mobo is an Asus P8P67 Pro Rev 3.1, and it has four SATA3 ports and four SATA2 ports. My SSD is plugged into an Intel SATA3 port, while my 3 SATA HDDs are plugged into SATA2 ports.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DustSailor View Post
you said you cannot boot into windows at all if you connect another drive, right?
In AHCI mode I cannot, but in IDE mode I can.


I just bought a new Caviar Green 2 TB drive for storage, and I'm going to remove 2 of the storage drives I currently have in the PC. I'll see if Windows boots with just the SSD and the Caviar Green drive installed. In the end, though, I'll have the SSD as boot drive, a Caviar Black as app/game drive, and the Caviar Green as storage/backup, so those 3 in combo will need to run on whatever setting, hopefully AHCI. As it is now, I know that the SSD will boot Windows in AHCI if only it's installed, but that when the Caviar Black is also installed, and the BIOS is set to AHCI, it will hang on the Starting Windows screen.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2011   #7

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Oh, your system specs say that you have evga. You should update it (my signature has everything you need in that area). I can possibly help yu further after you've done this. You have the correct drivers right? if you have 64bit windows 7, you have 64 bit drivers...

Follow this tutorial and make sure everything is set right in your setup: AHCI : Enable in Windows 7 / Vista

Can you boot with a "newer" drive hooked up to your computer with AHCI enabled? I don't know how old your "older" drives are
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2011   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
 
 

Oh, sorry about the profile specs, I've updated them now. Yes, I've checked the registry and the key value is set to 0 for AHCI mode. I just got a Caviar Green 2TB drive, so I'll see if it boots into Windows 7 with just the SSD and the CG installed. My "older" drives range from 3 - 5 years old, with the Caviar Black being around maybe 3 years. I can't recall if I bought it when I built my last PC (3 years ago), or if I bought it later. It's possibly newer than that, maybe 1.5 - 2 years old.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2011   #9

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
 
 

do let me know
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2011   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Windows XP SP3, Linux Mint 16 MATE (64 bit)
 
 

Are your connectors (power and data) and sockets OK?
Have you tried using different SATA sockets and cables?

I had a problem with a dodgy connection to my one of my DVD drives.
I couldn't boot my machine because of it.

I only discovered it, because the drive light didn't come on (when the PC rebooted).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Cannot start Win7 in AHCI mode when multiple drives are connected





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