Thursday, October 11, 2007

Enabling SATA Native Mode after XP Install

If you want to enable SATA Native Mode on your computer AFTER installing Windows XP follow this procedure.

For whatever reason, you may have installed Windows XP on your new laptop with SATA Native Mode disabled in the BIOS. Once XP is installed, enabling it in the BIOS will result in a BSOD upon loading Windows because XP doesn't have the correct drivers.

Enabling SATA native mode will give you a slight performance increase and slightly increased battery life.
  • Download the Intel Matrix Storage Manager software for your computer from the manufacturer's web site
  • Run it, by default it will save some files to C:\ before it runs setup and tells you that the software is not supported (alternatively you can uncompress the files to a temporary folder with a compression software like 7-Zip)
  • Now open up a command prompt, go to the folder where the files were extracted and run the following command to extract the driver files: "setup -A -P"path of the extracted files" (without the quotes and there may be a space or not between -P and the path, depending on your version of the driver)
  • Accept the license agreement, it extracts some files. The files you're interested in are now in a "Driver" subfolder of the original folder and include the following, iaahci.inf,, iastor.inf, iastor.sys, TXTSSETUP.OEM
  • Now go to Device Manager, under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers you should see something like : Intel 82801GBM (ICH7-M Family) Serial ATA Storage Controller
  • Right-Click on that and select Update Driver
  • Say no to connecting to Windows Update to search, hit Next
  • Select Install from a list or specific location (Advanced), hit Next
  • Select "Don't search. I will choose the driver to install", hit Next
  • Select Have Disk
  • Browse to the Driver folder and highlight the iastor.inf file, hit Open
  • Select OK
  • Now you should have a list of controllers. **WARNING** Selecting the wrong controller for your computer will prevent it to boot, causing BSOD. Make sure you select the right controller for your particular computer ! See this thread on HP forums for the controller inside some laptops:
  • You'll get warned that installing the device driver is not recommended, click Yes to continue installing
  • Click Finish
  • Click Yes to restart your computer
  • When your computer boots up, you need to to enter the BIOS. Change SATA Native Mode to Enabled, save changes and exit.
  • After you log into Windows, your computer will find the "new" hardware. Wait until you get the popup message to restart your computer, say Yes to restart one last time.
Credits to Jamie Rybarczyk from HP support forums for this procedure.

Information store does not mount when you restart an Exchange 2003 server

Microsoft KB875427 says " The installation of Exchange on a domain controller may affect the performance of that domain controller. In some scenarios, this performance effect prevents the Exchange-related services from starting successfully when you start the computer. In these scenarios, you must manually start the Exchange-related services. "

I had one of these servers. Its shut down time was really long (15 minutes) and after restart the information store service did not start automatically.

I found out that the problem was that this server was the only GC (global catalog) server in the affected site. It is KB829361 that gave me a clue. Adding the GC role to another DC at this site solved the problem.

Edit to answer a question:

To add a Global Catalog in your domain:
  • Start Active Directory Sites and Services
  • Sites - Site your Exchange server is in - Servers - DC you want to become GC -NTDS Settings
  • Right-click NTDS Settings - Properties and check "Global Catalog"

Monitor the "Directory Service" event log of the server to validate that it becomes a GC. It may take a while depending on your domain size.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Install IE7 on non-genuine (not) Windows XP

Sometimes when I try to install IE7 on Windows XP SP2, my OS is detected as "non-genuine" by WGA, even though it has been installed with the CD key that is on the sticker on the machine.

I could phone Microsoft to solve the problem, but I found an easy way to bypass WGA and install IE7 anyway.

Here it is:

Thanks Ferdous Mahmud Shaon for the tip.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Error when you upgrade to Office 2007 from 2003

I encountered the "The windows installer service cannot update one or more protected windows files" error upgrading some computers to Office 2007 from 2003.

Event viewer reveals the culprit: the fp4autl.dll file is missing. Just copy it from another computer and put it in %SystemDrive%\program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\40\bin\ and restart the installation.

The "common files " folder can be different if you use a non-english Windows XP. E.g. on a french XP it is "fichiers communs".

Thanks to for the tip.