Struggling with SATA in the Bios Setup

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by JD, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. JD

    JD Guest

    Hello Experts :)

    Today I tried to install a new ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 motherboard in
    my old computer and I am far from satisfied with the instructions that
    came with the motherboard.

    The installation of the board was simple and the users guide is quite
    good, until it hits the BIOS and there much information is missing,
    leaving me out in the cold.

    The 'BIOS setup Program' On page 3-9 shows all the 8 different SATAs but
    there is little information about how to handle the situations.

    There is a VGA contact on the computer for the Sony monitor and that
    appears to work ok.

    When starting up the computer, press DEL key, and the monitor should
    open up - at the BIOS. But the SATA1, Sata2, etc. are as yet undetected.

    Struggle on old clown :-(

    JD, Sep 11, 2012
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  2. JD

    Paul Guest

    A couple of pages along, you'll find "Sata Configuration", which is
    shown on the main screen as well.

    In there is "Onchip SATA Channel" [Enabled] and you can check
    that it is enabled. The submenu breaks the six SATA ports down
    into two groups. A group of four ports, and a group of two ports.
    The default mode for each group is "IDE" and that's sufficient
    to get you started. Many OSes will be able to install to "IDE"
    mode as a setting, without additional drivers.

    On your SATA drives, make sure both a SATA power and a SATA data
    cable are connected.

    It's not likely to be a cable interface issue. Only if you
    had a VIA chipset, one of the older ones, might you have
    problems with SATA II or SATA III drives. Your chipset Southbridge
    is ATI/AMD (SB850), and should be relatively compatible.

    The port breakdown, is five SATA ports on the motherboard, and
    the sixth port is used for an ESATA connection. So there are
    up to six SATA related things that can be detected.

    The board also has a VT6330 to run an IDE ribbon cable interface,
    which could give you room for two more drives. The ribbon cable
    connector is in the lower right corner.

    Good luck,
    Paul, Sep 11, 2012
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  3. JD

    JD Guest

    Thanks you Paul. You are always ready :)

    While working on the SATA1 of Sony monitor the image on the screen slid
    a bit to the left side and out of sight. I tried all of the buttons
    along the right side of the monitor but they did not move the image at all.

    This is the first time that I have been this far into the BIOS. Up to
    the present, when I bought a motherboard, there was no need to do so
    much work.

    Once more, my THANKS!!!
    JD, Sep 11, 2012
  4. JD

    JD Guest

    JD, Sep 11, 2012
  5. The SATA drives have two cables, a power cable and a data cable. If the
    drives are not detected, then one of the cables is missing or otherwise has
    a poor connection.

    Odds are very high that the box you are putting the motherboard into does
    not have SATA power connectors. You can replace the power supply with one
    that supports SATA, or you can get some adaptors that convert the standard
    4-pin connections to the SATA-style.
    Jeff Strickland, Sep 12, 2012

  6. SATA 1 of Sony monitor? What does that mean?

    SATA is a scheme for connecting drives, both hard drives and optical drives.
    SATA1 is a port (connector) on the moterhboard where you plug a drive in. A
    typical motherboard will support 4 SATA devices.

    The thing that has me scratching my head is how you correlate a SATA port
    with the monitor. There is no correlation.
    Jeff Strickland, Sep 12, 2012
  7. JD

    JD Guest

    I was able to see a list of all the SATA ports on my Sony monitor. I
    have the ASUS manual and it is mostly a piece of junk, very especially
    when it comes to the BIOS section.
    JD, Sep 13, 2012
  8. JD

    JD Guest

    I knew that. I have 2 such SATA drives attached.
    I have a whopping power supply - Corsair TX750, with a 5 year warranty
    and it has so many cable connections that I almost get dizzy. I counted
    the 4-pin power supply plugs and found 7. Many other plugs are SATA
    types. No shortage of plugs there :)

    Thanks for your interest Jeff.
    JD, Sep 13, 2012
  9. Of course you can. The monitor will display BIOS information if it can
    display anything at all. But what the monitor displays has nothing to do
    with SATA, or not.

    BIOS _means_ Basic Instruction, if you have any sort of video output at all,
    the BIOS will display. You can see all of the devices that the motherboard
    cares about in the BIOS screen. You can also use the BIOS to specify the
    Boor Sequence -- the order in which the motherboard looks for boot drive
    information. I suggest your boot sequence be set so that your optical
    drive(s) come before the HDD. If the HDD takes a bye, and you have a
    bootable CD, then you can still get the machine going with a CD. Of course,
    since you can get to BIOS pretty much anytime you want, you can set the boot
    sequence for the HDD first, and then if the HDD takes a dump on you then you
    can set the BIOS so an optical drive is first and then boot to the CD.

    I'm an old-school guy where we had our machine set to boot first from a
    floopy disc, then go to the hard drive if there was no bootable information
    in the floppy. I suppose those days are past...

    Sorry, I'm rambling. I set my machines to boot from a CD or other removable
    boot source in case my HDD fails. It takes an extra second or two for my
    machine to come up as a result, but I can throw in/connect any bootable
    media before powering up, and boot from someplace that isn't the HDD.
    There's an upside there that I have done a poor job of explaining, but the
    upside exists despite my shortfalls.
    Jeff Strickland, Sep 14, 2012
  10. JD

    JD Guest

    EXTRACT from:
    ASUS - M4A88TD-V Evo/USB3

    Section 3.3, Page 3-9. BIOS Setup Program

    A BIOS Setup Program is provided for BIOS item modification. When you
    start up the computer, the system provides you with the opportunity to
    run this program. Press <Del> during the Power-on-Self-Test (POST) to
    enter the Setup utility. Otherwise, POST continues with its test routines.

    If you wish to enter Setup after POST, restart the system by pressing
    <Cntrl>+<Alt>+<Delete> or by pressing the reset button on the system
    chassis. You can also restart by turning the system off and back on. Do
    this last option only if the first two failed.

    The Setup program is designed to make it as easy to use as possible.
    Being a menu-driven program, it lets you scroll through the various
    submenus and select from the available options using the navigation keys.
    Working on the above information was very messy. I hit the right chord
    only once.

    Does anyone have a clear set of instructions for this situation?


    Now I have an added problem. The screen on Sony has shifted to the left.
    There are 6 "roller buttons" along the right hand side of the monitor
    but I can't get the image back to the right side where it should be.

    The only success I have had was that I have a SATA hard drive running
    happily with that motherboard :)

    Happy weekend to all.
    JD, Sep 15, 2012
  11. JD

    JD Guest

    There is something weird about this Alt.comp.hardware group, so I'll
    stop posting and use only

    Thanks for your patience.
    JD, Sep 15, 2012
  12. JD

    JD Guest

    I fixed this one, after a struggle.
    Happy weekend :)
    JD, Sep 15, 2012
  13. JD

    JD Guest

    I am still struggling with this BIOS setup.

    Sata3 is the drive that is running and visible.
    SATA1 and SATA2 are still Not Detected. These two were Disabled and I
    changed them to AUTO but I am not sure how that helped.

    The User Guide is reasonable in some parts of it but others, like
    the Bios and the Sata configuration, are close to garbage or missing.
    JD, Sep 15, 2012
  14. JD

    Paul Guest

    To apply the changes made, you have to go to the Exit menu
    and select "Save and Exit". As that saves the new settings in
    CMOS RAM for usage on each POST. I mention that, in case
    you notice you're correcting the same settings, over and
    over again.

    Start by checking section 3.4.2 of the manual.
    You want to enter the "SATA Configuration" item, which is
    under the six entries for "Detected" SATA drives.

    In there, seeing as you're having problems, I would set
    them this way.

    SATA Configuration

    OnChip SATA Speed [SATA 3.0Gb/s] <--- use a safe cable speed.
    OnChip SATA Channel [Enabled] <--- turns on all six ports.
    SATA Port1 - Port4 [IDE] <--- sets the four port section to IDE
    SATA Port5 - Port6 [IDE] <--- sets the two port section to IDE

    The fact that SATA Port3 is detected, tells you that the four port
    section is working OK. If you adjust down the cable speed, by using
    the SATA 3.0Gb/s setting, the drives on Port 1 or Port 2 might be

    The settings for individual ports, such as
    "LBA/Large Mode" [Auto] should be left as shown
    in the manual. Five of them Auto and the sixth
    thing Enabled. That's in section 3.4.1 of the manual.

    Section 3.4.2 is the best place to work right now, until
    you can get the drive detected. Sometimes, a bad data cable
    can prevent detection. But in this case, perhaps cranking
    the communications rate down to 3.0Gb/s will be enough.

    I trust you know for a fact, the undetected drive in question
    is actually a working drive. And not a "dud". Don't bang your
    head against the screen forever trying to get this to work.
    At some point, you may need to connect the undetected drive
    to a working SATA computer, just to confirm the drive is
    still working. If the drive is dead and won't communicate,
    no setting in the M4A88TD-V BIOS screen will bring it back
    to life.

    Paul, Sep 15, 2012

  15. Paul raises some good points. I assumed you had a singe drive that was not
    reported where you want it, he suggests that you have multiple drives and
    one or more of them are not reporting even though you have them plugged in.

    I'm not sure what your condition is, but going with the assumption that you
    installed a new motherboard, and a single hard drive, then to have it
    reported on SATA3 instead of SATA1 means that you have the drive plugged
    into an unintended location and all you need do is move the connection from
    the current port to the desired port.

    If you have more than one drive, and the SATA port is reported as Not Used
    (or the equivelent variation), then the diagnostic is to move that drive's
    cable to another port and see if it is reported at the new location, or not.
    If it is not reported at the new location, then the device is a dud. If it
    is reported at the new location, then the motherboard might be a dud.

    I tend to connect my cables so that they lay flat. I do this for no other
    reason than good housekeeping. I recently had a problem where the cable made
    a poor connection at the connector pins. The trouble was intermittent, and
    it drove me crazy because the machine would work well for hours on end, then
    on the reboot it would decide that the boot drive was missing. I discovered
    that I could do nothing more than rearrange the cable a few millimeters and
    reboot, and all would be well with the universe again. Being the cheap
    bastard that I am, and not having another SATA Data Cable handy, I put a few
    twists into the cable so that the pins inside the connector would be
    forceably held together. This seems to have done the trick. So, if you are
    having a cable issue where you have mixed results every time you boot the
    machine, then try twisting the cable a couple of twists so the pins are held
    together inside of the connector.
    Jeff Strickland, Sep 16, 2012
  16. JD

    JD Guest

    Hello again Pals :)

    19 Sept. 2012
    The Story
    A few months ago, I bought an ASUS motherboard, and I started to put the
    present computer together. It had one SATA drive (a Seagate) already
    and, much later, another SATA drive - a Western Digital - that I took
    from the dead Advent case. By sheer chance, I connected the SATA cables
    from the two drives to the SATA 1 and 3 connections.The Western Digital
    (WD) I connected to SATA3 and the Seagate to SATA1. I took advice from
    Paul and Jeff and very quickly I used the Del key and
    Control+Alt+Delete. I was soon looking at the same screen picture that I
    had on the Advent. That was a joy but it didn't last much longer. I
    started to move the SATA cables around and eventually I had nothing
    useful to see on the Sony screen.

    Very recently I disconnected the Seagate and tried to work on the WD for
    a few hours. Nothing useful came from it. The following was my last attempt:
    Scan devices please wait.
    IDE channel 0 Master ; FX00E -P10 Mode 3

    Check medium status, please wait.
    Windows Error Recovery
    Windows failed to Start
    Windows is loading files


    ADVENT V4.9.8
    Please choose an option :

    Start MSoft Windows Repair
    Reinstall Windows
    Advanced Options
    Exit and Restart Computer

    It stops there. I tried some of the
    other choices but I got nowhere.

    The Advent V4.9.8. came from the Win 7 installation on the WD.

    Thanks Jeff and Paul.
    JD, Sep 19, 2012
  17. JD

    Paul Guest

    I interpret this to mean, your Advent came with an OEM copy of
    Windows 7, which was activated by means of the SLIC table in the
    old motherboard BIOS.

    So your problem at this point, is a software problem. At least,
    the responses I see you post above, seem to suggest you're
    reading the disk OK and it's not a disk problem any longer.


    Pre-built computers, come with two license keys. There is
    the actual key (common on all Advent computers), which needs
    the SLIC table from the motherboard BIOS to activate. That's
    a "locking" scheme, where the OS relies on a table of data
    from the BIOS, as proof the Advent OS is being used with an
    Advent motherboard.

    There is also a separate license key, on the COA or Certificate
    Of Authenticity. You can use the separate license key, to do
    an OS installation, with a regular Windows 7 installer DVD.

    One difference with Windows 7, is installation media is
    downloadable. It doesn't come directly from Microsoft.
    Companies like Digital River, handle the downloads. And
    using a search engine, you can find copies to download.
    I have a copy of this file for emergencies, but haven't
    tested it. Do the best you can, to mate the version
    on your Advent, to a disc in the list. This is the
    closest match for my laptop (English install).

    "Windows 7 SP1 Home Premium x64 English"

    A file like that, is for installing the 64 bit version of Windows 7.
    You use the license key on the COA sticker, not the key value
    of the current installation.

    You need to use Nero or Imgburn or other DVD burner program, to
    convert that 3,319,478,272 byte file, into a bootable DVD for use
    in reinstalling the OS. The DVD ends up with more than one file
    on it, if you did it right. It's also possible to transfer
    the ISO9660 contents, to a USB key - there is a tool for
    doing that from microsoftstore. I eventually figured out
    how to do that, but it took many tries (not a very well
    designed tool, to say the least - poor error messages).
    The DVD way is more likely to work.

    If you were to attempt a "repair install" of the OS, it doesn't
    work the same way as it would with WinXP. Windows 7 creates a
    "windows.old" directory, and that contains your old Advent
    installation. A new copy of Windows is installed in "windows".
    The installer DVD is then supposed to copy settings and applications,
    from windows.old to windows. If it finishes, and if it works, the
    "windows.old" directory can be deleted. There shouldn't be any hard
    links from windows.old to other directories on the computer. I don't
    know if Disk Cleanup will remove it, but it might. In many
    ways, this is like an "install over top", rather than a
    traditional "repair install". But still, you select "repair
    install" when doing it.

    Anyway, I'm well out of my pay scale here. These are things
    I'd try, without knowing whether they'd succeed or not.
    I work pretty cautiously. I'd make a backup copy of the
    original Advent disk drive, before trying to repair install over
    top. Because things could go very wrong.

    If the Advent had a warranty, you might try to get an
    exact replacement motherboard. If not, your COA sticker,
    if you still have it, and the key is legible, is another
    way to mate a replacement motherboard, with a different
    copy of the OS installed from an available DVD.

    As long as you have backups of things, or even, a clean
    spare disk to try the Windows 7 X17-24209.iso install, you
    should be fine.

    I've read one claim, that the COA OEM license key, will work
    with the same version of retail DVD. In fact, the files on
    the DVD, vary little from DVD to DVD. Discs for different
    languages, have different MUI, so if you needed a particular
    language, it might be harder to find a matching DVD (not
    every language of DVD, can be found for download). There
    is supposed to be some ability to edit "ei.cfg" to change
    the version of the DVD from Premium to Ultimate or the like.
    The DVD contains the files for all versions, and just hard
    links in a different set of files from the "store" into the
    "windows" directory. There's a reference to ei.cfg here.

    This is an example of guidance on doing a repair install of Windows 7.
    This is the nuts and bolts of the process. There may seem
    to be plenty of warnings in here, but the author of
    this article is just trying to be thorough. It isn't
    as scary as it seems :)

    You might consider consulting a local computer store, and
    paying them $100 to do it. As long as you have that
    COA sticker with legit key, there should be no need for
    "shenanigans" to get it to work. Once they install it,
    you should see your license key being used for the installation.
    They shouldn't need to slip some VLK key into the machine
    to make it work. And, you shouldn't be paying money for
    a new OS! The $100 is labor charge, for the time spent
    installing it right (and, without endangering your
    personal files). Otherwise, if you do it yourself,
    and take care to do backups first, you could well
    save the $100. I have lots of spare hard drives here,
    so I've already paid for a backup facility... I don't
    need to pay someone else "to be careful" and do the
    backups for me. If you have a backup, you can try
    the repair install and see how it goes. And restore
    from the backup, if it fails.

    Good luck,
    Paul, Sep 19, 2012
  18. JD

    JD Guest

    Hello again Paul.

    I was a little more successful from yesterday and I am adding more to
    the above before I read your post. I had to struggle with all 3 of the
    the SATAs recently and they disappeared. Finally I got back to the
    SATA3. Then I dug up the following:

    Device : Hard Disk
    Vendor : WDC WD3200AAJS-00L7A0
    Size : 320 GB
    LBA Mode : Supported
    Block Mode : 16Sectors
    PIO Mode : 4
    Async DMA : Multiword DMA-2
    Ultra DMA : Ultra DMA-6
    Smart Monitoring : Supported
    LBA/Large Mode [Auto]
    Block(Multi-Sector Transfer) M [Auto]
    PIO Mode [Auto]
    DMA Mode [Auto]
    Smart Monitoring [Auto]
    32Bit Data Transfer [Enabled]

    Next I did an F10 Save to Exit.

    Next question was what happens after that. Just like every time I tried
    I could not get the Win 7 onto the screen.

    Life is tough :-(
    JD, Sep 20, 2012
  19. JD

    Paul Guest

    But, is the copy of Windows on that drive, meant to boot with that
    motherboard ?

    Some computer companies are small enough, they provide a "real" install
    CD with a new computer purchase. And you as a user pay for that. When
    I bought a computer for a family member, the company making the
    computer didn't use a royalty OEM version of OS. The OS was a $200
    option (they use a regular store-bought CD, and install it for you).
    So activation was not automated, and you'd use it like a home-installed
    copy of the OS.

    But Advent could be installing the OS like Dell would, and the OS
    may be dependent on the SLIC table from the motherboard BIOS.

    So I don't know what your next step would be.

    Either Windows needs a driver, or it needs a lot more than a driver
    (it's an activation issue). And a "repair install" is only going to help,
    if there's an actual Windows installer on the computer. Normally, what is
    stored on the hard drive is an "image", not an "installer". Then, you need
    the COA sticker on the side of the computer, plus a real installer DVD,
    to fix things up.

    Paul, Sep 20, 2012
  20. JD

    JD Guest

    This is the Western Digital drive.
    Hello again Paul.

    The section above is from the Western Digital disk. That disk was
    supposed to come with the Advent case originally but, despite many
    requests, it never came. Also despite the lack of a CD, it worked nicely
    for a few days in the old computer with the ASUS board and on the SATA3
    connection. Sadly I mucked up that situation by moving the cables and
    the BIOS items around and it ended with nothing but a mess. I never saw
    Win 7 on it since then.

    The ASUS User Guide had a CD with it called the M4A88TD-V Series.
    That would be much simpler for me
    Ooopps, you got me on that one. You are SLICK! :)
    Agreed here. I do need someone locally to take this mess and clean up.

    Unfortunately, my car is off the road at the moment and that is the
    reason I cannot take the computer to the nearest outfit (20 miles each
    way) that could set up the motherboard and do all the necessary honing
    for me.

    My beloved car is a 1984 Mercedes Benz 240D has been my means of
    transport since that date. I am waiting for a few parts for it. It has
    only 93,000 miles on it and the engine appears to me as good as when it
    was first run.

    Thanks again Paul.
    JD, Sep 20, 2012
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