Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Windows XP, SATA, and eSATA Drives (What you need to know)

Most modern motherboards and hard drives now support the SATA (Serial ATA) standard. SATA is the next generation of the ATA standard that was created back in 1994 for consumer based hard drives.

In 2003 the SATA standard was finalized, and in many ways it is superior to its predecessor. It is faster and has more features, such as hot-swapping and native command queuing.

Recently the SATA standard was expanded to support external SATA (known as eSATA) hard drives. You might be wondering what the benefits of the eSATA vs. other external drive connection standards like USB or Firewire.

Here is a brief list of some of the benefits of eSATA are:
  • Up to three times faster then USB or Firewire connections.
  • Supports cable lengths up to 2 meters away from the connector
Window XP and SATA
I should note that Windows XP doesn't have native support for SATA hard drives. If you're setting up a new computer with XP and a SATA hard drive, and that drive is your primary boot device. You are going to need to have a floppy with an XP version of the SATA drivers for your motherboard or hard drive controller.

If you don't have these drivers, visit your motherboard or drive controller manufacturer web site and download the latest drivers. Make sure that you download the version that can be used by the Windows setup process.

During the initial text-based part of the Windows XP setup process you will need to press the F6 key when instructed to install additional drivers for the SATA controller (watch the bottom line of the screen for this message). If you can't provide these drivers, the Windows XP install will stop, and give an error that it can not locate a hard drive.


Greg said...

Can you use a thumb drive instead of a floppy? -my laptop didn't come with a floppy drive and i don't have one from another computer...


UberGeek316 said...

I have never tried it with Windows XP so I am not sure if it would work. Check out the following articles they may help.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Windows XP doesn't allow you to use any other removable device other then a floppy disk for installation of a AHCI driver.

A way to get around this is to use nLite and using your Windows XP disc when prompted, integrate the driver and burn this new version onto a blank disc. I find nLite quite easy to use.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

You mean, "other than a floppy disk". "Then" and "than" used to be both spelt "then" 300 years ago, but more recently they have been spelt differently. CompArisons use "thAn" (greater than, other than, faster than). SEquences use "thEn" (if thEn else; went shopping thEn went home). If you keep using the archaic spelling, that makes it difficult for any visitors who have English as a second language - and there are many of them!