Tag Archives: S-ATA

Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver Revision History (AHCI and RAID)

Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver Revision History (AHCI and RAID) – 05/03/2013 – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=22271 – 12/06/2012 – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=22270 – 09/13/2012 – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=21852 – 07/24/2012 – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=21592 – 06/11/2012 – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=21407 – 02/10/2012 – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=20868 – 11/11/2011 – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=20624 – 11/29/2011 – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=20707 – 11/29/2010 – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=20104

Please feel free to comment on your results with the latest Intel Rapid Storage Driver

Windows will not boot with a Stop Error 0x0000007B

A very common BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) is a STOP error 0x0000007B and may indicate either a hardware, software or driver issue.

Please see the great troubleshooting guide put together by Tim Fisher on about.com


One thing that Tim does not mention is that sometimes it is necessary to slipstream the AHCI SATA Controller Drivers into your Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 installation media.  This can easily be done by downloading and using nLite to slipstream drivers and updates into your Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 CD Media, you can get the application from http://www.nliteos.com/

Common AHCI Sata Drivers include:

Intel – http://downloadcenter.intel.com (Look under Chipset, Chipset Software and then Intel Rapid Storage Technology.  You will need the F6 Drivers for either x86 or x64 depending on you using 32bit or 64bit windows)

Nvidia – http://www.nvidia.co.uk/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-uk or http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us

AMD/ATI – http://support.amd.com/us/Pages/AMDSupportHub.aspx

Remote Desktop Sessions Pause Or Exhibit Unresponsiveness – Lag Whilst Typing And Session Will Not Accept Mouse Inputs

Remote Desktop Services can be extremely useful, allowing users to access a terminal server or their company desktop computer from another location.  One very common complaint with RDP sessions is screen refresh delays and a delay when typing or trying to click on items using the mouse cursor.  It will appear to most that the session has become unresponsive for a period of 5-20 seconds, after this delay the session will return to normal for a period of several minutes before once again becoming unresponsive.  You may find that this issue becomes more apparent as more users connect to the specific terminal server in question and if all these users utilise several applications (i.e. Outlook, Word and Excel) together.

Causes for poor user experience when connected via RDP are varied but one of the most common is resource exhaustion or contention.  This in turn causes a delay in processing that appears as a pause or unresponsiveness.

Check that your computer or terminal server has sufficient Memory to cope with the current load.

The next thing to verify by using performance monitor is that the PhysicalDisk\% Idle Time is consistently high, that’s correct this should be 90-100% when the server is not very busy.

It is worth running performance monitor using the PhysicalDisk\% Idle Time counter whilst you are seeing the slowdowns, this will help identify if your hard disk or controller are causing contention and in turn the pausing or unresponsiveness.

If you do find that the “%Idle Time” keeps going very low then it’s time to consider some of the options below to help resolve the issue

  • Install a second drive or mirror set, move the Windows Page File to this second disk/array to reduce the load on the drive/array holding your operating system
  • Install additional memory into the computer or server, this will reduce paging to disk and will generally improve overall system performance
  • Migrate to or upgrade your existing RAID controller to a unit that had a Battery Backed Cache (Fast) or Flash Backed Cache (Newer – Faster) to significantly improve performance and alleviate the system
  • Migrate to faster hard disk drives, 7200, 10,000 or 15,000 RPM drives are amongst the fastest.  The SATA interface is slower than the SAS interface but is cheaper.  Try to invest in the fastest drives that you can to future proof the system and avoid future performance issues if you have to scale for more users.
  • Ensure that you have at least 20-25% free disk space on all partitions/drives
  • Defragment all drives on a regular basis to optimise read and write operations
  • A cheap solution for improving disk performance may be to turn on the Hard Disk Cache using “Device Manager” or in the event that you are using a RAID controller without a battery backed Cache module you will need to open the RAID Array Management Software and then enable Disk Cache within the management software as this feature will not be available within “Device Manager” in this instance.  Please note that this does have some risks and should be used with caution, you may loose data in the event of a sudden/unexpected loss of power to the system.  Consider using this option with a UPS and redundant power supplies to reduce the risk of power loss to the system.  As always ensure you have a reliable backup that is carried out at regular intervals.

Example – HP RAID Array Configuration Utility:

Example – Windows Device Manager:

Improve Windows Performance by Enabling SATA AHCI Mode

Probably the biggest bottleneck in most computers these days is the hard disk drive and its interface (SATA).  Depending on the current configuration of your system it may be possible to further improve performance by turning on SATA AHCI mode in your system BIOS and ensuring that your Operating System has support for AHCI enabled.

Here is a brief guide to verify if AHCI is already enabled and if not to ensure that AHCI can be enabled and will work correctly.

Restart your computer and wait for the BIOS Screen to appear, you will need to enter your BIOS Setup Screen.  The Key to enter the BIOS Screen can vary between systems,  “Delete”, “F1”, “F2” or “F10” are some of the most common shortcuts.

Once in the BIOS Screen locate the SATA Controller options and check if the SATA mode is “AHCI”, “Compatible” or “IDE”. The “Compatible” and “IDE” options are usually selected when you are using a Legacy Operating System that does not have native AHCI and/or SATA support.  The trade off with these modes is that the operating system is unlikely to be able to take full advantage of all the features of your SATA Hard Disk to improve system performance.

If you find that your system is set to “Compatible” or “IDE” mode then don’t change anything just yet.  First we need to make sure that your Windows Operating System has AHCI support installed and active so lets exit the BIOS without making any changes and boot back into Windows.

Once you are back in Windows click on the “Start Menu” and then in the “Run” or “Search” box you need to type “regedit.exe”

You will need to locate the following two registry keys


Under both of the listed registry keys above you will find multiple values, amongst these you will find a “REG_DWORD” value called “Start” and these both need to be changed from “0” to “1” to tell Windows that we want these additional AHCI controller drivers to be loaded at startup.

You may ask yourself why these are not enabled by default, Windows actually disables any unused drivers to speed up the Windows Startup process.  In this instance we just need to turn these two back on to accomplish our ultimate goal.

Now that we have AHCI support enabled within Windows lets reboot the computer once for these Registry changes to take full effect and to give Windows a chance to initialise the AHCI drivers.

The final set of this process is to restart the computer one last time and enter the BIOS screen again by using the process above.  Once in the BIOS locate the SATA Controller options and change the SATA mode to “AHCI”.  Remember to select “Save Changes and Exit” so that everything takes effect.

You should now find that the system boots back into Windows, the first boot may be a little slower than usual while the operating system re-detects your Hard Disk Drive.  Subsequent startups should be significantly faster.

If you have any issues booting back into Windows after making the switch to “AHCI” then simply go back to the BIOS and revert your SATA mode to its previous state and you will find Windows boots as before.