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eSATA question

By madboyv1 ยท 11 replies
Nov 24, 2010
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  1. I just bought a drive and enclosure from newegg (I SHOULD have waited, both are/were on sale this week, oh well), and the external is eSATA+USB2. From what I've read online is that if you want to use the plug and play feature you need to set your SATA interface from whatever it was to AHCI. My question is, can I do this safely at any time? For instance, my boot drive is a SATA drive that was originally installed in IDE mode.
  2. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    Not really, its likely to screwball the loading of your current OS. Sometimes its OK, but mostly it fails miserably.
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,491   +2,290

    I thought that US is a plug and play option as well, not just Esata. (no ..?)

    Besides, unless this computer is either Vista or Windows 7, you can't switch to ACHI without reloading the OS period.l There are no native drivers available in XP for ACHI operation.
  4. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,445   +349

    I have 64-Bit Windows 7 Enterprise Edition.

    While I have this thread going and in the same sub forum I need, I have another question.

    After I evacuate the drives, I am going take a pair of 1TB RAID1 units and combine them into a single 3TB RAID 5 unit. Because of it's size, I must format the drive with GPT (for use in the same system) rather than MBR, correct?
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,491   +2,290

    Not according to your system specs, not that I care mind you. I don't even publish mine.

    As to the eSATA issue, you still really have to reinstall Win 7 to get AHCI operation, the only difference is the fact that Win 7 has native ACHI drivers, so all you have to do is "throw the switch" in BIOS, (so to speak). I still don't know if it's that important, since you can hot swap USB devices.

    BTW, under certain circumstances, Win 7 on occasion, "loses" very large HDDs running in ACHI, upon resume from standby. More on that later, should you run into this problem. https://www.techspot.com/vb/topic150892.html

    You lost me big time with the RAID question, maybe Jobeard could help with that
  6. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,445   +349

    I have two computers in my computer specifications section; I should switch them. I suggest taking my word for face value as there is no point in lying about something like that, especially if the wrong action can lead to potential data loss. I also could have been talking about a computer not even listed here (AND that laptop can run Windows 7 reasonably well, I just opted to stick with its native OS), so yeah...

    Secondly, there is a reason why I am asking about eSATA. I am currently using it (eSATA), but would like to make sure I can turn my external on and off without having to powercycle the computer, taking advantage of plug in play/hot swapping. USB is a non-issue in this case (yes it is plug and play/hot swappable, as is firewire, et al), and considering I am trying to copy/move about 1.5 TB of data I would RATHER not do that transfer over USB if I have a faster external option. I made sure the enclosure had both USB and eSATA for the sake of having options.

    Third: As for the hotfix, thanks for the heads up, but I hibernate my computer if I do not shutdown, as Standby doesn't really do anything for my system. If Hibernation is affected however, that KB article will be the first place I go so again, thanks for the heads up. :)
  7. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,445   +349

    I apologize for the double post but update:

    I figured out answers to my own questions. Go figure. :rolleyes:

    Yes, you can switch IDE to AHCI relatively easy and pain free in Windows 7, at least in my case. I changed a single registry key, shutdown, get into the bios and change two things in two restarts, log into windows and let it install the AHCI driver, and then restart again.

    eSATA hotswap works just fine now, though I am slightly concerned that I have an option to eject my primary drive now (the drive probably cannot be stopped for safe eject, but I do not intend to test it).

    As for the whole RAID thing, I was just asking if I had to use the GUID Partition Table rather than the Master Boot Record, but since I want all 3TB in my RAID 5 to be one drive under Windows 7, My only option seems to be GPT. That being said... I got everything to work so it is nice to have breathing room again... lol.
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,491   +2,290

    If you have this figured out, how to change from IDE to AHCI without reinstalling Windows, then you should post the procedure, as this definitely comes up from time to time.

    As to Windows 7 losing large drives running in AHCI, this occurs in resume from S-3, but it may happen in hibernate IDK. If the drive(s) do not spin up fully within 10 seconds, Windows ignores them. Running such large drives, you are a prime candidate for this error. It really isn't a big deal as they are picked up with the reboot. Since I don't use large drives for an OS, this never caused my system to crash, the Volume drives would simply disappear.

    Apparently this error doesn't occur when the drives are running in IDE mode, only SATA.
  9. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,445   +349


    I could make a thread with that information for the sake of having a copy here for internal linking if that is what you are suggesting.

    Hibernating won't be (or should not be) affected because it stores the current windows session on disk and then shuts down the system. When the system is turned back on it loads as if from fresh so the drives are found and loaded before starting windows, and then windows reloads the session from disk. Once again though, that is some good information to know.

    Right since IDE mode loads scans for drives and initializes them to the system right after POST, so internally they are supposed to be a permanent part of the system during that system session. The system assumes the drive will always be there so it does not have to wait for the drive to respond when it comes back from standby.

    At least that is how I came to understanding it.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,491   +2,290

    Makes sense, (the IDE explanation).

    One small thing, it also makes sense that running under AHCI, you would be able to eject the system drive, since all drives are now hot pluggable,. I think my ACHI system has that capability.

    But NO, I'm not about to try that either, although I think, (only think), that it would be detected upon restart. But what a legendary crash that would be to laugh about after it was over.

    I book marked your link for my own uses, so thanks for that, i appreciate it, If the mood strikes I suppose you could post a thread. This topic does come up from time to time, and that's well worth knowing. Most people still take the "IDEasy" way out, because they're used to , or don't want, the hassle of having to install SATA drivers in XP.
  11. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,445   +349

    Yeah for laughs I tried and the system won't let you eject the boot drive since it is in use; you'd think that windows would be able to remove the boot drive from the eject device list... lol

    The external does not always want to eject cleanly, like if something did not "let go" of the drive properly. I'll just treat it like my flash drives and USB enclosures: if the activity light is not blinking and I THINK I'm not doing anything on it, I'll just cut the power to the device.

    They might also take the IDE route because it is the default for most motherboards. =/
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,491   +2,290

    Still in all, don't it just piss you off that they give you a button that doesn't do anything, even if you know better that to push it? (Well almost know better than to push it).
    Well, the motherboard manufacturers take the IDE as default route with good cause. Since IDE will run under XP, Vista, and Win 7, they're covering themselves against an IDE loop, (no bootable drive present, press any key), that would occur in XP presented with ACHI drives. Maybe ten years from now, when everybody says, "what's XP", things will change.

    Intel 965 boards would go automatically to ACHI, if they sensed more than 1 SATA drive present. So, you had to hook up the OS drive only, install Windows, then hook up the volumes drives later, after you were up and running. (This isn't as radical as it seems, since the retail boards included the "Intel Matrix Storage Technology" floppy).

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