For what it's worth, I always use AHCI mode (or SATA depending on BIOS) and I've always used SATA hard drives. In my last few builds I've also started using SATA optical drives exclusively. I guess since I'm used to it, using the F6/floppy drive procedure for Windows XP has not been a particular problem for me. Yes, I installed a floppy in all my PCs. My latest PC is my first Windows 7 PC (Home Premium 64 bit). While Windows 7 may contain more/many SATA drivers, it appears they don't have them all. For example, I used a Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5 motherboard and the manual makes reference to installing AHCI drivers during W7 setup and and driver CD indeed contains a W7 AHCI driver for a floppy (or USB flash drive). So I went with it and installed it at the appropriate time. Installation of W7 proceeded without a hitch. After Windows installs I always subsequently install "full' versions of SATA controller drivers for whatever it's worth. If there is more than one brand of SATA controller on the motherboard (as in this case), I install all of their full SATA drivers, of course.