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Windows 7: Changed Sata settings in BIOS now disk is invalid

16 Aug 2013   #1

windows 7 professional 64 bit
Changed Sata settings in BIOS now disk is invalid

My laptop wasn't running games as it should so instead of troubleshooting the problems we decided to do a clean install of windows 7. None of the drives would show up so we looked it up and used the driver cd that came with the laptop and they weren't on the disk. then we tried to boot from the OS to find the drives. We were able to find the drives but couldn't format them or delete any. We read through the options and it said files would be moved to windows old and we wouldnt be able to boot from it and we would be able to delete the partitions later. Windows wouldn't reboot after the installation and i had to choose which windows 7 to boot from so i restored the original to factory and tried again and it still didn't work. now there's a windows setup option and two windows 7 options during the boot screen. We did more research and we found out we had to change the sata settings in the bios to find the drives. I changed from the default intel settings to AHCI and booted from the cd. We were able to find the drives but couldnt delete any of the partitions. instead of formatting the disk and reinstalling they reinstalled again on the current copy of windows now theres three windows 7 options and one windows setup option and all of them go to blue screen. i tried to do it again but theres just an unallocated space disk that's about 100 gb. the 500 gb disk drive can't be found. while booting from the cd i ran diskpart and it says disk 0 is invalid. the computer had a RAID setup and i think changing the options in the BIOS is why. we've tried changing it back and no luck. would clearing the drive with diskpart and doing a clean install fix it? if not can someone please explain how to fix what's happened to this computer

My System SpecsSystem Spec

16 Aug 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP


Unplug all other HD's and peripherals,

Boot into BIOS setup, reset to defaults, save changes. (If an EFI BIOS you'll need to decide if you want UEFI BIOS vs. Legacy BIOS. If UEFI follow these special steps for Install, otherwise enable Legacy BIOS or Compatibility Support Module to proceed with normal install.) Set DVD drive first to boot, HD second, set SATA controller to AHCI, Save changes and Exit.

Then boot into Windows 7 installer DVD or flash stick burned or written using tool and latest ISO for your licensed OS version here. The prompt for drivers normally means a bad installer, so try another if it repeats.

At first installer screen Press Shift + F10, or enter System Recovery Options to open a Command Box, type:

SELECT DISK 0 (after confirming Windows 7 target HD #)

Next click Install Now, then Custom install to Clean Install Windows 7 to the partition you created. If it fails then report back at which step and the verbatim error message.

In addition read over these steps to understand the tools and methods which work best to get and maintain a perfect Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7. The steps are the same for retail.

After install you can adjust partition size or Create new partitions for data, etc. in Disk Mgmt. You are creating the partition here for the purpose of wiping the HD and marking Active which overcomes certain install failures.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2013   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


the computer had a RAID setup
Do you have the Dell IRST acceleration cache, mSata 32gb drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

17 Aug 2013   #4
Microsoft MVP


To know for sure look in BIOS for Intel Rapid Storage Technology as a SATA option.

Once you set the BIOS to defaults and then SATA controller to AHCI, the 32gb MSATA would show up in Diskpart and also on the drive selection screen shown in Step 7 of Clean Install Windows 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2013   #5

windows 7 professional 64 bit

it has 32 bg msata drive
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2013   #6
Microsoft MVP


Then if IRST is not giving you problems (which it can) I would keep IRST enabled in BIOS and reinstall to the HD to see if problems persist.

If so then I'd change the SATA controller setting to AHCI and disable IRST in BIOS to abandon the 32gb SSD used for cache acceleration since it doesn't provide enough benefit in that case for the trouble it causes.

Once you disable IRST and enable AHCI in BIOS the SSD chip should show up on the drive selection screen during install. Once it shows up there it can be formatted to use as storage or even for the OS though most would think it is much too small to install the OS and many programs - which benefit most from SSD speeds. However we have helped users install the OS to the 32gb SSD chip before successfully so maybe you'll want to try it to sample the speed difference.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2013   #7

windows 7 professional 64 bit

The clean reinstall worked great. It's still set to ahci, should i turn ISRT back on? if so do I go to bios and change it or would that break it again?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2013   #8
Microsoft MVP


Good job, Goodjob1!

You can try turning IRST back on in BIOS setup to see if it re-establishes the 32gb paging cache. This is what's worked in the past.

If not we'll consult an expert on IRST as we have several around.

It will be interesting to hear how having the SSD caches affects performance. Many believe it is not worth it, or more trouble than it's worth.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2013   #9

windows 7 professional 64 bit

I tried changing to IRST in the BIOS. It goes to blue screen after the loading windows screen and restarts
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2013   #10
Microsoft MVP


You'll need to install the Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver from the Dell Support Downloads webpage for your tag number.

What other drivers are missing in Device Manager now? Have you run all rounds of Important and Optional Windows Updates, after enabling Automatically deliver drivers via Windows Update (Step 3) ?

How is overall performance otherwise?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Changed Sata settings in BIOS now disk is invalid

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