Serial Advanced
Technology Attachment


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SATA Modes, AICH or OICH vs. IDE or Legacy?

SATA Modes - what are they and how can you use them to your advantage?

Did you know that the BIOS of most computers that have a SATA or Serial Advanced Technology Attachment interface has different modes of operation?

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment types are:

  • AICH and/or
  • OICH

  • To
  • IDE or
  • Legacy

I have found these settings in the Advanced section (AMI BIOS) in the Drive section (Phoenix BIOS) and in the Boot section (ASUS Laptop), so you may have to look at all your different tabs until you find it in your BIOS.

But what if your BIOS settings doesn't have any Serial Advanced Technology Attachment drive interface setting such as the ones above?

You have to look for a solution, this one has been staring me in the face for over five months...

While trying to get XP to load on an newer computer that has only a SATA (no way to change the SATA Modes) drive interface (hard drive and CD/DVD) I had to make a work around because I wanted XP on the computer not Windows 7 (my opinion is that Win7 is turning in to a Vista before our very eyes...).

I have some programs that are around five years old and are not compatible with Windows 7, I could replace the programs but at this time money is a large factor pushing me towards finding a solution that is low cost, very low cost.

I did some searching and came to the conclusion that if the BIOS doesn't have SATA modes either the IDE or Legacy option for the Serial Advanced Technology Attachment interface and you want to install XP you have to add the SATA drivers to the installation CD before hand and find a way to boot that CD if the internal CD/DVD is a Serial Advanced Technology Attachment interface.

Don't get me wrong here I like the SATA interface for various reasons (1 - 4 TB drives, faster DVD and Blue Ray drives) and my searches have not turned up any of this newer technology with the IDE interface.

After fiddling with the BIOS (checked the manufactures web site, downloaded the latest BIOS version for the computer and flashed the chip) still no joy for booting my 'Slip streamed' XP install cd.

(My bootable USB Pen drive with the  XP install [and the slip streamed  - see SATA Modes - Serial Advanced Technology Attachment Drivers] on it won't boot this computer either, something to work on in the future...)

This is where my new nifty little external DVD burner comes in, it is a USB 3 CD/DVD drive that doesn't need SATA drivers to boot the computer.

  • Did it install the XP Operating System? Yes!
  • Does it start? Yes!
  • Can it see the Blue Ray drive? Yes!


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Now I have to find all the XP drivers for the embedded devices like the Video, Sound, Wireless and Wired NICs, and all that, but it does have XP and I am very happy because this computer is a ASUS Laptop with a i5 series Quad Processor and 4 GB of ram that can be upgraded to 8 GB of ram.

Once I have XP operational (and an image of the boot partition!) I will upgrade the mechanical hard drive to an 250 GB SSD (there are rumors that Intel will introduce a 756 GB SSD) and the 8 GB of ram.

If you have a SATA only computer and your boot media will not boot the computer from the internal SATA CD/DVD then try a different angle, maybe a bootable USB flash or USB external CD/DVD drive will load an OS...

See if you keep looking at your problem from different angles a solution will present it self. (Sometimes) :)


I wrote this article for the old last spring. After some more research (and deep research too) I found that the original SATA Modes  (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) specification had IDE parameters and USB parameters both, that is it could use either IDE or AICH/OICH protocols to communicate with the drive interface on the motherboard.

But with Serial Advanced Technology Attachment II and III the IDE parameters were removed from the specification.

Most motherboard manufactures were "supposed" to add the IDE or Legacy option to their BIOS but is "seems" that some of them have decided to drop the older Serial Advanced Technology Attachment specifications from their BIOS programs thus the reason your older Serial Advanced Technology Attachment USB or Serial Advanced Technology Attachment drive will have problems with newer computers/motherboards even with my work around the drive still has operational problems. Wish I had better news but that is what is causing your Serial Advanced Technology Attachment to not work. [sigh]

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