Stop 7b, ATA and AHCI on a Dell M1330

Well there is always more to learn if you are prepared to spend a lot of time.

Today’s lesson is all about ATA and AHCI (Advanced Hardware Control Interface) disk modes. Not that I really learnt what they are but I sure learnt what they can cause.

In short one of my son’s Dell M1330 died with the usual video error that these machine are known for.   I tried to swap the hard drive from one M1330 to my other son’s M1330 and all I got was a Stop 7b blue screen.  I was blaming it on video driver corruption from the video fault.   The machine was running Windows 7 so I was hoping the the recovery options will solve it all but no joy.   Still Stop 7b Blue screened every time I tried a normal boot.

I then stuck the drive in a Dell D820 which has a different video adapter and it booted fine.   So I did all the usual chkdsk options, and installed all the latest patches and took it back to the M1330 … blue screen Stop 7b.

After a bit of googling I caught a hint from this post:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/itprovistahardware/thread/ebd9b505-d33c-4b85-8bc4-ae8786221165/

which suggested that the difference between ATA and AHCI could be a source of issues.

The solution eventually was to set the BIOS in the functioning M1330 to use ATA instead of AHCI and presto it all works.

The source of my problems seems to have been that the faulty M1330 was using ATA mode and my other son’s M1330 was using AHCI mode so when I swapped the disk it would blue screen.  The Dell D820 doesn’t support AHCI so it worked fine as ATA mode.  So setting the disk mode to ATA from AHCI in the functioning M1330 solved the Stop 7b problems.

I hoping it was worth the 5 hours of disk checks and diagnosis that it took to work that out.

 

 

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