AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) is standard defined by Intel that specifies the operation of SATA host bus adapters. AHCI is developed as improvement of SATA interface so how can improve the capabilities of  the system.

Because the AHCI standard is newer that the Windows XP, there are no AHCI drivers in the driver pack of the Windows XP.  How we can install Windows XP, we need to have the correct AHCI driver. Without this driver we cannot install Windows XP with AHCI support. In this case, we can install Windows XP in IDE mode, but we loose the benefits from AHCI controller, and we have lower data transfer from/to the hard disk drive.

There are three ways to install Windows XP with AHCI support:

1. Install Windows XP without AHCI support and install the AHCI driver after the installation.

2. Install the AHCI driver from floppy during the Windows XP installation (“F6 floppy”).

3. Integrate the AHCI drivers in the Windows XP orginal CD driver pack, ad install the Windows XP with modified Windows XP CD.

The case from number 1 is the simplest and we gonna present here for ACER Aspire 5750Z. The cases from number 2 and 3 are more complex (especially 3) and gonna be presented in some later writings.

Now we gonna show how to install Windows XP with AHCI support. First we install Windows without AHCI support, and the AHCI driver is installed after the installation.  All this procedure is about ACER Aspire 5750Z . But is actually the same for all the laptops but you need to find the corresponding AHCI driver. The AHCI driver we are looking it for the corresponding chipset. As example ACER Aspire 5750Z have a Intel HM65 chipset and we are looking the AHCI driver from the manufacturer’s official site as the AHCI driver for the corresponding chipset.

!!! This is delicate procedure and can easily damage your operating system if any error is made. So if you have any important data on your laptop first make backup your data!!!

The first thing we do is to enter in the BIOS.

In the Main menu, by default “SATA Mode” is set to be “AHCI “. We switch it to “IDE Mode”.

Next we install the Windows XP with the original Windows XP CD. After the installation we have this.

We have clean installation of Windows XP. The AHCI driver is downloaded from HERE, and extracted on the Desktop.

Next we open Device Manager (right click on My Computer, then Properties, then Hardware and then Device Manager).

The we click on “IDE/ATAPI Controllers, and this right click on “Primary IDE Channel” and click “Update Driver”.

After this, in the new window we select “No, not at this time”, and then click click “Next”.

Click to enlarge

After this select “Install from a list of specific location (Advanced)”, and then click “Next”.

On the next window we select “Don’t search. I will choose the driver to install”, and then click “Next”.

On the next window just click “Have Disk”.

On the new window that will popup click “Browse”.

Next we look for the file. We have the driver extracted on Desktop. We open the folder by selecting and click “Open”.

From the folder we select “iaAHCI.inf” file (usually there is only one .inf  file) and then click “Open”.

After this on the window behind click “OK”.

This window will be closed and there will be shown the compatible device (in this case of ACER Aspire 5750Z, we have Intel chipset and AHCI controller).

After this we click “Next” and the driver will be installed, and in the end we just click “Finish”.

After this the installation of the driver is finished and we need to restart the computer. !!!But don’t forget to enter the BIOS and change the “SATA Mode” to be “AHCI Mode”.

If not there will be shown a “Blue Screen” and the computer will restart. Otherwise the Windows will start normally and the computer will work mush faster.

Let see  now the whole procedure trough a picture gallery.