Enable ACHI on Intel ICH9 under Windows XP

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After some research by Lunarsoft's staff, we have a working solution to enable ACHI on the ICH9 with appropriate SATA/NCQ drive(s).

This is for advanced users. If you need assistance or have any questions then please post on the Lunarsoft forums.

You can skip the "Unpacking drivers" and "Extracting the .IMA file with MagicISO" if you want to use a floppy disk. You can edit and copy the files directly from the floppy disk.

About AHCI

For more Wikipedia:Advanced_Host_Controller_Interface information about AHCI, we refer to Wikipedia:

The Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) is a hardware mechanism that allows software to communicate with Serial ATA (SATA) devices such as host bus adapters which are designed to offer features not offered by Parallel ATA (PATA) controllers besides higher speeds, such as hot-plugging and native command queuing. The specification details a system memory structure for computer hardware vendors in order to transfer data between system memory and the device.

List of needed files and driver packs

Unpacking drivers

Unpack the 32-bit Floppy Configuration Utility for Intel(R) Matrix Storage Manager and extract the file (.EXE) with a decompression program such as 7-zip or similar a program. You will now have an .EXE file that need to be extracted again to the F32.IMA file.

If you need a decompression program, please refer to the Freeware section of this wiki.

Extracting the .IMA file with MagicISO

  1. Install MagicISO or other program that can recognize the .IMA file extension.
  2. Open the F32.IMA file with the appropriate program and extract the files to the same folder as the F32.IMA file. If you use MagicISO the select the whole list on the right upper window, then right click on it and extract them to the folder where you stored the F32.IMA file.

Preparing the drivers

  1. Copy the file IASTOR.SYS to the Windows %windir%/SYSTEM32/DRIVERS directory.
  2. Open the IAAHCI.INF with Notepad from the directory where you unpacked the drivers.
  3. Use CTRL + R and you should get a "replace" window.
  4. In the first input window type "2821" and the second "2923", then click "Replace All". This is so you will replace all "2821" entries with "2923".
  5. Save IAAHCI.INF over the original file.
    Replace the line:
PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2923&CC_0106.DeviceDesc	= "Intel(R) 82801HR/HH/HO SATA AHCI Controller"
PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2923&CC_0106.DeviceDesc	= "Intel(R) ICH9 SATA AHCI Controller"
  1. Save the file under the same name, e.g. IAAHCI.INF and exit Notepad.

Creating Windows registry file

  1. Now we create a registry file with Notepad with the following contents:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"Group"="SCSI miniport"
"DisplayName"="Intel AHCI Controller"


2. Save it as AHCI_ICH9.REG and run it after closing Notepad.

BIOS Settings

  1. Restart the computer and enter the BIOS (Usually entered by pressing F1, F4 or DEL).
Make the settings:
SATA RAID/AHCI Mode         [AHCI]
SATA Port0-3 Native Mode    [Enabled]
2. Restart again to boot into Windows XP.

For ASUS P5K motherboards

This may not be present in some ASUS motherboards.

  1. Restart the computer and enter the BIOS (Usually entered by pressing F1, F4 or DEL).
Make the settings:
SATA Configuration   	   [Enhanced]
Configure SATA as	   [AHCI]
2. Restart again to boot into Windows XP.

Installing the drivers in Windows

If you did steps three through six correctly you will go to your desktop without seeing any blue screen messages!

Windows will show new devices found like all your optical drives and hard disks until you get to "PCI-Device".

  1. Select "Install manually" and point to the folder where you saved the IAAHCI.INF file.
  2. Select the IAAHCI.INF file as this is the driver that needs to be installed. Follow the instructions on the screen and restart your computer again.

Final installation check

When Windows has started, go to the Control Panel to check your System Properties.

In the Hardware Configuration list you should see:

IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers -> Intel ICH9 SATA AHCI Controller.

You cannot install the Intel Matrix Storage Manager, as the ICH9 doesn’t have RAID. On the Internet people talk about a modified version that should install, but it’s useless when you don’t have RAID.

Author's Notes

It must be a marketing question from Intel and Microsoft. There is nothing else I can think of why neither Intel nor Microsoft made new drivers for XP. The only thing I can think of is that Intel wants to sell more ICR9R bridges and Microsoft wants to push its Windows Vista. Like always both companies won't make any comments!

If you have any information to add to this or more questions on, please post on the forums.

We hope you enjoy your new ACHI enabled ICR9 Bridge in XP!

Thanks to puntoMX for this information!