ThinkPad T61p: Converting drives from Compatibility-mode to AHCI

I formatted my T61 for the purpose of squeezing Vista down to a reasonable size, and so that I could ensure that I could get XP to install as C: (because (1) I will use it more, and (2) Vista will always show itself as residing on C:, even if it is really isn’t).

To install XP I had to convert my SATA controller to run under Compatibility-mode, which allows XP to recognize the drive without a 3rd party driver during installation. After installing XP, Vista, and Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon on the drive in this mode I flipped the BIOS switch back to AHCI, and both versions of Windows crashed hard.

Here’s the path to recovery:

  1. Go to LenovoIBM’s site and lookup the driver-download page for your machine, this page is under Support.
  2. Find “Intel Storage Matrix” on the driver page and download it. Then run this file, which will extract other files.
  3. Open a command prompt, and go to C:DriversWinIMSMPrepare (created by the above step). Then run “Install.cmd” which will install the Intel drivers.
  4. Reboot, flip the BIOS switch to AHCI, and you should be all set.

This works for both XP and Vista; although Ubuntu was happy without any work 🙂

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