XPS 400, RAID/SATA vs RAID AHCI for Windows XP Pro reinstall - General Hardware - Desktop - Dell Community

XPS 400, RAID/SATA vs RAID AHCI for Windows XP Pro reinstall


Desktop computer Forums (Audio, General Hardware, Video)

XPS 400, RAID/SATA vs RAID AHCI for Windows XP Pro reinstall

  • Hello,
    I got an XPS 400 with Windows XP Media edition.  I had Windows XP Professional full edition so I reinstalled from the CD after reformatting the hardrive.  The computer would not see the CD or hardrive in RAID/AHCI mode so I switched it in the bios to RAID/SATA.  I got everything to install, but now I can't get it back to AHCI mode when I switch the bios.  When I switch it back it can't find the hardrive. 
    Question 1:  Is AHCI sufficiently faster to justify dealing with this?
    Question 2:  Any suggestions on getting it back into AHCI.
    It seems silly that if you need to reinstall from scratch you can't get back to AHCI.
  • I tried switching from MCE to XP Pro and could only get it to work in ATA mode but you lose the SATA 2 and NCQ that way.


    So far Dell tech support says the XPS 400 was made to really only use MCE in AHCI mode.  Looks like when it`s time to try Vista we will have problems as well. If anyone can figure a way around this would be nice to know.

  • Thank You.

    I am confused as you can get the XPS 400 with XP Professional, is it different hardware?


  • Mjolly, it's easy enough to install XP Pro in AHCI mode.  Get the intel floppy disk creator off their website and use it to make an F6 floppy.  Set your bios to AHCI.  When you start the XP installation and see the option at the bottom to press F6, do so and insert your floppy.  Choose the appropriate AHCI driver and you should be go to go.

    Install the Intel Matrix software once XP setup is complete.

  • Thank You very much.  I have XP Pro SP1, not SP2 and it doesn't recognize the keyboard when I boot from the CD unless it is in SATA mode.  I will try with SP2 and see if that works.

    Also, no floppy drive.  Can I put the driver on a CD and do it that way?


  • mjolly, check your USB options in bios.  think the setting should be set to 'on' for legacy support to be enabled.  it seems like XP should handle USB keyboards anyway, but that should definitely do it.

    the F6 floppy option is significantly the easiest way to do things.  the other option is to do what dell (and others) do to their OS CDs and that is to slipstream the necessary drivers onto the XP CD.  you'll need to search or google for how to do this -- I can't really advise.  While you're taking to the time to do it though, you can also slipstream SP2 onto the XP CD so that you don't have to install it later.

    about all I can offer is a link to the intel floppy utility (will be able to find it with some searching).

    it will work though -- it did on my 9150 which is the exact same machine as your XPS400

  • Thank You very much.  I think I am just gonna get a floppy drive and do as you specify.  I just need to make sure that I can get the computer to recognize the  USB keyboard(wonder if it is the XP CD that needs to have the driver and not the BIOS configuration), but will try it. I greatly appreciate your help. 


  • again, it's likely a bios issue with the keyboard --though you're welcome to try a different keyboard if you have one.

    i've found that a real floppy drive works better than a USB floppy (have had mixed results with those).  i usually just pull one from an old computer when I need one.

  • Hello,

    Just back to big picture are you happy with the machine for word processing, document creation, a little programming etc, no gaming.  Read the CNET reviews and mixed.   My last dell lasted 5 years as dual boot linux/Win XP but it sounds like Dell is getting some funny reviews.


    Are you happy with the machine once you cleaned things up?

  • my 9150/xps400 works great...  :)
  • Need to wait till tomorrow to get an internal floppy drive, but have been reading how to do it. I made the intel F6 disk and am curious which driver I should choose for the XP400. I plan two SATA hardrives, no RAID, just AHCI. Couple questions:

    1. Is there anything I should look out for in purchasing a hardrive to make sure it works.

    I like the Western Digital Drives like:


    2. How do I know which AHCI controller driver I should pick?

    - Intel(R) 82801GR/GH SATA RAID Controller (Desktop ICH7R/DH)
    - Intel(R) 82801GR/GH SATA AHCI Controller (Desktop ICH7R/DH)
    - Intel(R) 82801FR SATA RAID Controller (Desktop ICH6R)
    - Intel(R) 82801FR SATA AHCI Controller (Desktop ICH6R)
    - Intel(R) 82801FBM SATA AHCI Controller (Mobile ICH6M)
    - Intel(R) 82801ER SATA RAID Controller (Desktop ICH5R)
    - Intel(R) 6300ESB SATA RAID Controller

    Thank You. My old computer still had ATA interfaces which I was pretty used to, not as savy with SATA/AHCI/NCQ.
  • this was my first sata computer as well, so i went through all this a while back.  you obviously want to pick one of the ahci options -- I believe the ICH7R.  you might see how many choices you actually get during the install.