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Vista kernel - IDE to SATA conversion VB 1.6.0 & 1.6.2

PostPosted: 9. Jun 2008, 15:33
by hjacobson
I was intrigued by the statement on p.63 of the VB 1.6 User Manual,

"Like a real SATA controller, VirtualBox’s virtual SATA controller operates faster and also consumes less CPU resources than the virtual IDE controller."

I have several Vista w sp1 and Windows Server 2008 guests created in VB 1.5.6. These use the IDE controller, SATA not being available in 1.5.6. I have a variety of fast Vista hosts and not so fast XP SP2 host machines. I decided to convert the guest Vista kernel OS's to SATA drives.

I did a little research, identified this nugget of information: If a SATA controller was not present at the initial install of the Vista kernel, the AHCI service must be manually started, since the Vista kernel shuts down un-needed services. From Microsoft KnowledgeBase article 922976, that means Regedit HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Msahci\Start, change value from 4 to 0.

With that done I shut down the guest machine. In VBox I entered Settings - Hard Disks. I checked "Enable SATA Controller". I changed Slot from "IDE Primary Master" to SATA Port 0.

I was using VB 1.6.0. Unfortunately, the first time I tried changing "IDE Primary Master" to "SATA Port 0", VirtualBox 1.6.0 became unresponsive and I had to force the VB tasks to stop. I went back into Settings - Hard Disks, restored Slot to "IDE Primary Master" and disabled "SATA Controller". Interestingly, VirtualBox 1.6.0 was still unresponsive.

The SATA problem with 1.6.0 occurred the day VB 1.6.2 became available. VB 1.6.2 installed itself over 1.6.0 without complaint and I installed 1.6.2 Guest additions over the 1.6.0 Guest additions.

The first time in 1.6.2 the guest Vista kernels successfully booted off the SATA Port 0 configuration and the OS detected new devices: Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller, ATA Channel 0, and VBOX HARDDISK ATA Device. I restarted Vista. In Device Manager - VBOX HARDDISK ATA Device - Policies I enabled "advanced performance".

I repeated this IDE --> SATA conversion for a couple of other Vista kernel guests. All successful. Several Guest OS's are Vista Business. The other Guest OS is Windows Server 2008. My hosts are Vista Ultimate and Windows XP SP2.

Is it faster? I did not take measurements. My human observation is that all conversions on all hosts the SATA drives are perceptibly faster loading and faster running disk intensive activity.

So, in my book, the IDE --> SATA conversion is worth doing.

Harry Jacobson

Anyone knows how to get that to work with WinXP?

PostPosted: 21. Jun 2008, 01:45
by rcfa
I can't get WinXP to see any "SATA" drive...
So I'm trying to figure out what sort of hack I need to undertake to get this to work.

Ronald

Re: Anyone knows how to get that to work with WinXP?

PostPosted: 21. Jun 2008, 03:32
by rcfa
rcfa wrote:I can't get WinXP to see any "SATA" drive...
So I'm trying to figure out what sort of hack I need to undertake to get this to work.


To answer my own question: drivers need to be downloaded from intel, here:

http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=N&ProductID=2101&DwnldID=16012&strOSs=All&OSFullName=All%20Operating%20Systems&lang=eng

After these were installed, no problem. Just shut down, change the boot drive from IDE to SATA and enable SATA support, and BINGO!

PostPosted: 8. Sep 2008, 08:16
by emn8w8
If one may ask: How did you manage to install these drivers? It's like the chicken/egg puzzle:
No appropriate hardware is found by the installer when started with the IDE interface and no drivers will be installed; enabling the SATA interface prevents booting at all...

Best regards, Erik

PostPosted: 8. Sep 2008, 20:04
by Sasquatch
Don't use the installer. Download the floppy image file. You can extract the format utility so you get an .ima file. You can even extract that file if you use UltraISO or a similar program and integrate it in the XP installer using nLite.

PostPosted: 8. Sep 2008, 22:44
by emn8w8
Thank you..!
On my search for this driver I encountered numerous posts about slipstreaming and re-installing XP with SATA support. The method mentioned by rcfa suggests one can avoid this hassle, but apparently that's not the case....
Oh, well....Didn't know what to do with my spare time anyway.... :)

Best regards, Erik

PostPosted: 8. Sep 2008, 22:49
by dmcgraw
emn8w8 wrote:If one may ask: How did you manage to install these drivers? It's like the chicken/egg puzzle:
No appropriate hardware is found by the installer when started with the IDE interface and no drivers will be installed; enabling the SATA interface prevents booting at all...

Best regards, Erik


You can do what I did yesterday. Create a new VDI and attach it as a second hard disk to your VM. Enable SATA and select Port 1 for the new VDI.

Then you can start windows booting off the original IDE and install the SATA drivers. Then shutdown the VM, change your boot drive to SATA Port 0 and disconnect the second VDI from the VM.

Dave

PostPosted: 8. Sep 2008, 23:19
by emn8w8
Thanks a bunch, Dave..!
A simple, clever solution....Brilliant..! It works flawless
(and the increase in speed is more than noticable...)
Hah...you gave me back my spare time..:)

Best regards, Erik

PostPosted: 8. Sep 2008, 23:40
by dmcgraw
You are welcome. I was not sure I explained the steps very clearly. I am glad it worked for you.

Dave

PostPosted: 9. Sep 2008, 21:08
by vkov_tinsky
dmcgraw wrote:
You can do what I did yesterday. Create a new VDI and attach it as a second hard disk to your VM. Enable SATA and select Port 1 for the new VDI.


To get guest Windows to find the hardware it is enough to simply tick the "Enable SATA Controller" option, i.e. no need to attach a SATA disk.

PostPosted: 10. Sep 2008, 22:28
by emn8w8
Then it was just 1 little step too many...it didn't hurt, though....:-)

@Dave: You decribed the steps very clearly. On some days I can convince myself to know a thing or 2 about virtualization...when I asked that question it clearly wasn't one of these days.....
I completely forgot that opening a box, stashing new hardware, and after the boot wait for the Windows "Found New Hardware..." dance can be virtualized as well; three mouseclicks are just needed for the same effect..:-)
(XP beated me and started it's New Hardware routine before I reached the installer...:-)

Best regards, Erik

PostPosted: 24. Sep 2008, 17:32
by yawie
Wow,
vbox 2.02, ubuntu hardy host, wxp sp2 guest
before activating sata, 24seconds to complete boot
after : 9seconds !!
great benefit :)

Intel XP SATA AHCI driver

PostPosted: 23. Oct 2008, 15:33
by miniroot
Edit: OK, it looks like the Intel ICH8M 8.7.0.1007 driver still (for many months now) crashes XP SP3 on VirtualBox 2.1.2 when using on an F6 configuration utility floppy. The old ICH8M 7.0.0.1020 floppy image seems to have worked in the past though (use unzip, 7z x, WinZip, etc., to extract the image from the *.exe).


The current version (8.7.0.1007) of the F6 Floppy Configuration Utility with the ICH8M driver is not an image anymore, just the individual files in a Zip file.

For those still requiring a floppy image (like in the other thread How to install a Windows XP guest with SATA support), here are some suggestions to create a 32-bit version (it looks like VirtualBox doesn't have a tool to create one, and maybe there are also easier ways to do it):

Windows:
vfd o f6flpy3287.img /f && vfd f
rundll32 zipfldr,RouteTheCall f6flpy3287.zip
rem: File->Extract All... -> Next -> a:\ -> Next -> Cancel
xcopy f6readme.txt a:\
vfd u && vfd r

Linux:
mkdosfs -C f6flpy3287.img 1440
mount -oloop f6flpy3287.img /mnt
unzip -d/mnt f6flpy3287.zip
cp -p f6readme.txt /mnt
umount /mnt

Solaris:
mkfile 2880b f6flpy3287.img
lofiadm -a`pwd`/f6flpy3287.img
mkfs -Fpcfs -onofdisk,size=2880 /dev/rlofi/1
mount -Fpcfs /dev/lofi/1 /mnt
unzip -d/mnt f6flpy3287.zip
cp -p f6readme.txt /mnt
umount /mnt
lofiadm -d/dev/lofi/1

Then after booting using F12, C, F6, S, etc., select: Intel(R) ICH8M-E/M SATA AHCI Controller

PostPosted: 23. Oct 2008, 20:00
by Sasquatch
You can always use an older version that does have the .ima image. Strange that they changed it. Even 8.2 is just a zip file.

PostPosted: 24. Oct 2008, 12:56
by vkov_tinsky
Would it maybe be useful to tag this (or at least mention it) onto this sticky?