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Real AHCI Hard Drive Access on Dell Inspiron 1501

This issue is with Windows XP and doesn’t apply to Windows 7 as it has AHCI drivers built in. I no longer have my 1501 so I can no longer answer specific questions related to this issue.

Dell does not supply a proper AHCI SATA driver for the 1501 notebook. Instead, they expect you to run Windows using the standard IDE emulation driver. This is S…L…O…W…!!! I ran mine this way for years, until I booted an Ubuntu CD and discovered that there is in fact a real AHCI controller in there just waiting to be run with a proper driver.

My 1501 is now FLYING like it never had before in native SATA mode in XP SP3! Here is how:

1. Back your stuff up. Computers can be unpredictable, what worked on mine may not necessarily work on yours, and Windows may never boot again.

2. Download this driver:
http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/misc/utils/AMD_RAIDAHCIController_V25154039.zip

3. Unzip it to a temporary location. I recommend 7-zip.

4. Open the location you unzipped to. Open the WinXP1\x86\ahcix86.inf file in notepad (or the x64 one if you run XP 64). Locate the [ATI] section. Insert the following line amongst the existing ones:

%NapaDesc%=Napa_Inst,PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_4380&SUBSYS_01F51028

This is my trick – it makes the driver installer realize that your 1501 has the correct AHCI controller 🙂

5. Save the file and close notepad. Now run the AsusSetup.exe file and let it install. Reboot. When new hardware is detected, let it automatically install it. Reboot again.

6. All done!! Look in device manager and you will now have a “SCSI and RAID controllers” section, and your hard drive will be seen as a SCSI disk device.

Don’t you just love free upgrades? Enjoy!

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