Monday, 5 October 2009

From WinXP to Windows 7

My home machine used to be pretty state of the art, but that was a few years ago now. It has an Intel D865PERL motherboard. When I first got the machine, I used the built-in RAID to strip the two SATA disks together to get better I/O performance. This has proved quite stable, but unfortunately Windows 7 does not natively support the Intel 82801ER SATA RAID controller (the Windows 7 Upgrade advisor will warn you about this).

So armed with this knowledge, I bought a brand new 1Tb SATA disk (a Hitachi HDT721010SLA360) and then attached it to a spare SATA card that was leftover from rebuilding Dad’s computer.

All looked good until I started up the computer, and was greeted by a message from the SATA card that had found the Hitachi disk, but then did not proceed any further.

This card identified itself as a Silicon Image SiI 3112 SATARaid Controller, with firmware version 4.1.34. I obtained the BIOS update utility and latest BIOS 4.2.84, upgraded the firmware and rebooted.

This solved that problem, and the machine was able to complete startup and boot Windows XP successfully.

I then tried to install Windows 7 from DVD onto the new Hitachi drive. First problem was that Windows 7 didn’t see the drive at all. Eventually I figured out that copying the "SiI3x12 32-bit Windows SATARAID Driver" to a USB flash drive, so then it could be loaded by the Windows 7 installer (don't make the mistake of trying the 'BASE' drivers – they're intended for motherboards, not cards).

Now Windows 7 could see the drive, but it refused to install on the drive. Next stop was to change the motherboard BIOS to make the Hitachi drive the first drive (instead of the original RAID drive)

That did it – Windows 7 was now able to install.

One final thing to try out was whether Windows 7 could actually use the old driver for the Intel RAID controller. I located the 'drivers' folder (Program Files\Intel\Intel Matrix Storage Manager\Driver) and copied those files to somewhere that the Windows 7 installation could see them. Fearing a possible BSOD, I located the 'Intel 82801ER SATA RAID controller' entry in Device Manager, and upgraded the driver to this driver.. and it worked!

So I was then able to backup files from the old RAID disks onto the new Hitachi (which I'd also split into two partitions).

The good news is Windows 7 runs pretty well. I've still got a fair bit of migrating of applications but so far so good.

No comments: