|MICRO CENTER: COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS|
|In The Lab
Build Your Own PC Chapter 6: SATA Drive Setup
While building our "dream system," Chris learned extra-valuable lessons on how to configure Serial ATA (SATA) drives with Windows XP. Now, he's passing this lesson on to you.
For most custom systems that I configure, I will always start with the most basic configuration possible. We will need the system board, CPU, memory, video card and hard drive all installed into the chassis and connections made for at least the front panel power switch. While Windows XP is pretty good at identifying hardware during setup, it can get messed up with newer hardware that wasn't available at the time the software was shipped.
Our DFI LanParty Pro875B motherboard has four parallel ATA drive connectors. There are two standard connections (each supporting two drives), and then off to one corner are two more connections for IDE RAID support. Near the parallel IDE RAID connectors are the floppy connector and two SATA connectors identified as "SATA1" and "SATA2".
the DVD Drive
NOTE: Serial ATA drives are disabled by default in the DFI system BIOS. Before we can use SATA drives in this system, they must be enabled using the BIOS Setup menus. Power on the system, and press the "Delete" key to enter Setup.
After this, the Windows XP setup should proceed normally, asking for your acceptance of the EULA (End User License Agreement) and then on to selecting a partition to install Windows on. We will pick the first drive listed, and press "C" to create a partition. Once this has been done, a new entry appears in the list of locations "C: Partition1 [New (RAW)] - 131061 MB Free;" select this and press enter. The next screen that appears is the choice to Format the partition. I always select the default format rather than the "Quick" format since this looks for problems as the drive is being prepared. IDE drives should automatically block out bad sectors that may develop over the life of the drive, but the long format will alert you to any problems that may occur due to cable, memory or other issues that could impact directly on the process. If this were a drive that I was re-imaging or reinstalling Windows on for the fourth time, then I would probably go for the Quick Format selection to speed things up. After formatting, Windows copies files, asks for the Product Key and goes through the basics of configuring the name and user details.
The first thing to do at the Windows Desktop is to install the motherboard chipset drivers. Until this is done, many of the integrated peripherals will not function or will show up as unknown devices in device manager.
The user manual provides valuable information that can save you lots of grief and time reinstalling things and tips to improve performance. DFI has a section titled "Important Configuration and Driver Installation Rules" that starts of with information on how to disable the HighPoint RAID IDE Controller if it is not being used. Since we are using SATA drives and the Intel ICH5 RAID, turning this off in the "Genie BIOS Settings" menu will reduce the POST boot delay while the system looks for drives that don't exist. Following this section, the DFI User manual provides the following "Driver Installation Rules:"
Checking Device Manager, we find that there are at least six devices that Windows XP could not identify. This are highlighted with a yellow "Question Mark" (?) next to the type of device. Our list includes:
All of the drivers for these devices should be found on the CD that came with the motherboard. The exception will be the Video Controller drivers since this is our add-in ATI video card. Even though the DFI manual recommends installing the audio drivers before the chipset, we are going to install the Intel Chipset Drivers first, since the AC97 Audio uses portions of the main Intel chipset. After running the Intel .inf Installation program and restarting the system, our unknown device list only lost the SM Bus Controller. Back to the System Board CD to install the C-Media Audio drivers and another system restart. After installing the network drivers (no restart necessary under Windows XP), we only have the USB and video devices showing in our "Other" list. The USB drivers are part of the Intel Chipset, right click on the device and choose Uninstall to remove this from the list. Click OK to the warning about removing the device. Right click on the Video device and choose "Update Driver." The Add New Hardware wizard should launch and look for the device drivers on your driver CD. If you want to use the Video Software that comes with the card, run setup from the CD, otherwise, all we need are the drivers. Repeat the process with the "VGA Compatible" video device.
If you restart the system or choose "Scan for hardware changes" from the "Action" menu, the "Add New Hardware" wizard will pop up looking for USB drivers. With the USB 2.0 controller on this motherboard, we will need Windows XP Service Pack 1 installed before there are drivers to support it. The only USB 2.0 drivers on the system board CD are for Windows 98, NT or 2000.) After installing Windows XP Service Pack 1a and restarting, the display resolution changed to 640x480, but the USB device was detected and installed properly. Use the Display wizard or right click on the desktop and select Properties to change the display back to your higher resolution configuration.
After the Service Pack and Critical Updates have been applied, restart the system and open the system board CD one last time. On the CD is a directory "IAA" for Intel Application Accelerator. This is the software for the SATA RAID support if you did not put it in during the initial F6 driver load process. The software allows you to configure and manage the SATA RAID Array from within Windows XP, creating or deleting mirrored (RAID 0) / striped (RAID 1) configurations. This software will only install if you have enable the ICH5 RAID and set the SATA Mode to RAID in the BIOS. Changes you make within the Application Accelerator program are transferred to the BIOS configuration settings at the same time. If you enabled the RAID support in the BIOS but only attached one drive to install Windows, you can connect the second drive, create a mirrored or striped array, as well as change the array name from the IAA program.
Since I used one of my original copies of Windows XP Pro for this installation, there are a whole bunch of critical updates that need to be applied. To speed things up, I will be using a CD that I burned with the Windows XP Service Pack 1a and a batch file to apply all of the critical updates that have been released since the Service Pack.
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