Customers running Windows 7 have reported running into issues when attempting to install an Intel AHCI driver from the DVD or CD, as a part of deploying Microsoft’s latest iteration of the Windows client.

According to the software giant, users reported coming across an error message after they pressed F6 in order to load a vendor provided AHCI controller driver.

“The Intel Express Chipset SATA AHCI controller (E:\1046…\iaAHCI.inf) device driver could not be installed. Contact your vendor for an updated driver,” is an example of the information displayed to end users.

The Redmond company revealed that the issues can occur during the Windows 7 installation process, and only when customers attempt to install the AHCI driver from a DVD or CD media. More »

Microsoft is helping Windows 7 customers deal with poor startup performance in the context in which they have at least one external SATA port that is not used.

The Redmond company has confirmed an issue related to the latest iteration of the Windows client, in which customers can experience sluggish boot times on computers that have an unused external SATA port.

And while the software giant is not offering affected users an update to resolve the issue, it is providing them with a hotfix which can be downloaded from Microsoft Support.

“You experience a long startup time on a Windows 7-based computer that has an unused external SATA port,” reads Microsoft’s description of the problem.

For those not familiar with SATA, the acronym stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, and is essentially a consumer mass storage interconnect designed for the ATA command protocol. More »

If your PC is less than a year old there’s a fair chance it has SATA (Serial ATA) hard drives, which basically means they’re a bit faster than the old PATA (Parallel ATA) or IDE drives, that used those big clumsy ribbon cables. Anyway, Windows Vista has built-in support for SATA drives but it’s not enabled by default so you could be missing out on a small performance gain.

To put that right go to Device Manager and there’s a couple of quick ways to do that, More »

Do you have a SATA disk drive in your computer? If so, you can squeeze a little more performance out of your hard disk. This speeds up the performance of your hard disk by enhancing write caching. However, if your computer is not connected to a battery backup and you loose power you have a increased risk for data loss or corruption. If you have a laptop your chances are data loss or corruption are dramatically less since your laptop battery will kick on if your power source is lost. Let’s get started: More »

What is the best way to backup your hard drive? Simple, clone it, and if the worst ever happens you can connect up your clone drive and continue working. Drive cloning is not as easy as it sounds, at least not without specialist or expensive software, but here is a freebie program that promises to as good a job as its commercial rivals for one-off and occasional use.

It is called HDClone and it works with most common drives (IDE, SATA, and ATA) and can copy a drive is contents to another, larger drive at up to 300Mb/min. (For even higher transfer speeds and to copy to a smaller drive you will need one of the paid-for editions). HDClone doesnt know or care about partitions or filing systems, it simply copies everything from one drive to another. This can be quite a tricky job and very difficult to do when Windows is running that is the province of the commercial programs but it gets around it by creating a bootable floppy and carries out the cloning operation using its own independent operating system. If you want to make a one-off backup for emergencies or maybe migrate to another PC then check it out.