Fixing the AMD AHCI drivers for SB7xx on Windows 7

I heard a lot of urban legends about the Windows Update service that messes up your machine. Of course, I dismissed all of them with the classic “worksforme” as didn’t happen to me. Until Microsoft delivered a 3rd party driver update via an optional package. You know, like the stuff that comes from the vendor and it isn’t properly tested. I had the lack of inspiration to check that too instead of simply ignoring it, like I usually do with Bing Desktop and Silverlight. The next thing was a BSOD at boot.

Had to disable the AHCI in BIOS and revert to using IDE mode for the SATA ports. Which kinda sucks for some reasons. The most important: the SSD performance is hurt under IDE mode, the TRIM command won’t work under IDE mode without 3rd party software since only the MSAHCI driver implements TRIM from Windows 7, and the fact that my HDD array doesn’t support NCQ under IDE mode.

When it comes to drivers, AMD is still a shitty company. Even more, their engineers didn’t grasp the concept of backward compatibility. Uninstalling the driver that broke my installation and installing a driver that works proved to be a non-trivial task. Fortunately I found this post on pchelpforum.com.

For the sake of avoiding the link rot, I’m going to reproduce the essentials for posterity, with the same disclaimer as the original – you’re on your own if you mess up your machine and I’m not taking any responsibility if you follow these:

  • Delete any older version of the amd_ahci driver from here: C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository. The folders with older AMD AHCI drivers are named something like: amd_sata.inf_amd64_neutral_c85cc6046149a413 (i386 on 32-bit and most probably another hash). In order to remove the directory, you need to either elevate your explorer / shell to SYSTEM privileges, or take the ownership of the driver directory, add proper permissions, then delete it.
  • From HKLM/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/services delete amd_sata and amd_xsata. There’s no need to remove the entries without the underscore (amdsata and amdxsata).
  • Reboot the computer. Don’t change from IDE to AHCI. The driver that actually worked for my combination, which is AMD 780G / SB700 is this one. Execute the installer, wait till it finishes to copy the files to C:\ATI\Support, then cancel the setup when the Catalyst installer starts.
  • Open the Device Manager. Action » Add legacy hardware » Advanced mode » Show All Devices » Have Disk. Browse the extraction path for the above package: C:\ATI\Support\11-12_vista32-64_ahci\Packages\Drivers\SBDrv\SB7xx\AHCI. There’s a couple of directories: LH – for 32-bit and LH64A – for 64-bit. Select “AMD SATA Controller” then continue. Unlike the author of the original material, I didn’t get an error about the device not starting.
  • Reboot the computer. Don’t change from IDE to AHCI. Go to Device Manager. Under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers should be at least an entry with a yellow exclamation mark, AMD SATA Controller. Uninstall “AMD SATA Controller” without checking “Delete the driver software for this device”. Reboot the machine.
  • Go to BIOS, enable AHCI. After boot, the OS installs the proper drivers, then prompts for another reboot. Reboot the machine. Done.

In my case, it simply fixed the driver installation from the failed Windows update as the driver that runs on my machine is from 2013 and the driver used in the above steps is from 2011. The drivers from the latest Catalyst, 13.4 failed to install via the “Add legacy hardware” method or via a standard Catalyst setup.

amd-sata-controller

Some benchmarks with a SSD drive under IDE mode:

benchmark1-idebenchmark2-ide

And some benchmarks under AHCI mode:

benchmark1-ahcibenchmark2-ahci

I guess the sharp drop was due to TRIM doing its job. Yes, it’s enabled:

trim

11 thoughts on “Fixing the AMD AHCI drivers for SB7xx on Windows 7

  1. Brian

    Link to old 11.12 drivers no longer works and I soooooooooooooooooooooo need this to resolve a problem with my old workstation!

  2. Brian

    I would like to add that I have overcome this problem on various AMD SB7XX boards using a slightly simpler method with the latest drivers.

    Follow the instructions above but completely ignore everything to do with 11.12 drivers. Just download the latest AMD chipset drivers. As of today that was 13.12. Above where it says “•Reboot the computer. Don’t change from IDE to AHCI. The driver that actually worked for my combination, which is AMD 780G / SB700 is this one.” Ignore that part and just follow along with the latest drivers.

    Once you do as instructed – by starting then cancelling the install of the newest drivers – go to the extracted folder (for me, I mostly work with Windows 7 64bit machines, the location is generally x:\AMD\support\13-12_win7_win8_32-64_sb\Packages\Drivers\SBDrv\SB7xx\AHCI\W764A ) find and edit amd_sata.inf, find the line “HKR, “Parameters\Device”,”AmdSataPMDisabled”,%REG_DWORD %, 0″ and change 0 to 0xFF.

    Now continue following the above instructions from where it picks back up again at this part – •Open the Device Manager. and just adjust what you read above for your extracted folder location.

    THIS DOES WORK! It has worked for numerous fixes I have had to do for clients.

    I will quote from another forum that offers another trick that works the same and offers more explanation.

    “This problem seems to be related with a PM value that’s been modified in newer amd_sata.inf files. The driver by itself is OK, so it can be easily corrected either by changing its *.inf file before installation, or later via registry if you can boot your system via Native IDE.

    The AMD AHCI driver results in blue screen (Stop 0x0000007b) or similar.
    Changing the value below will fix this issue –
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\servic es\amd_sata\Parameters\Device\AmdSataPMDisabled”=d word:000000ff

    from 0 to 0xff and you can boot again.

  3. Brian

    Additionally, this has also worked very well for me and here is the simpler method I was describing. *NOTE – this should work even if things are botched and you have to go back to IDE mode. BUT it may not depending on how bad your system is or what you have/have not done.

    Simply put – run the most current driver package install, then cancel it. Go to the extracted folders, make the edits I list below then go to the main extracted directory – typically something like X:\AMD\SUPPORT\13-12_whatever_sb and run SETUP.exe. Yes, the AMD program will install the drivers correctly after you make the edits. Read below for Win 7 and Win 8. Just adjust folders as necessary if you are running Vista or a 32 bit OS.

    W7 64bit solution:
    x:\AMD\support\13-12_whatever _sb\Packages\Drivers\SBDrv\SB7xx\AHCI\W764A
    Open amd_sata.inf
    HKR, “Parameters\Device”,”AmdSataPMDisabled”,%REG_DWORD%, 0
    change to
    HKR, “Parameters\Device”,”AmdSataPMDisabled”,%REG_DWORD%, 0xFF
    (add xFF)
    Run setup.exe

    W8 64bit solution:
    x:\AMD\support\13-12_whatever _sb\Packages\Drivers\SBDrv\SB7xx\AHCI\W864A
    Open amd_sata.inf
    ;HKR, “Parameters\Device”,”AmdSataPMDisabled”,%REG_DWORD%, 0xFF
    change to
    HKR, “Parameters\Device”,”AmdSataPMDisabled”,%REG_DWORD%, 0xFF
    (remove the ; character)
    Run setup.exe

  4. SaltwaterC Post author

    Thanks for the updates. I didn’t find anything about the inf editing when I had the issue. The old “have disk” install didn’t work with 13.12, obviously.

  5. Mattias1

    HI can you help me out guys. For some reason my fresh Windows 7 64 installation on my new SSD, works fine with AHCI enabled and all, but will not properly connect my maxtor sata hdd drive. Other older sata hdd’s it will connect with ahci enabled. If I disable AHCI in bios however and use IDE windows 7 will connect this maxtor drive properly. But not with ahci. Why the F is this?

    After a bunch of hours wated testing what couldve been the problem I think it’s these sheisty sheisty amd drivers which I installed lately. The AMD catalyst installer wont deinstall the ahci driver and northbridge driver it itself installed. Please help me how to revert back to the previous ahci drivers (whichever they were, I hitnk it’s the old MS ahci driver?), This is driving me insane!

  6. Plastixx

    I could not get the 13.12 SATA driver to work on my TX2500 (Windows 8.1) following any of the instructions here. The device would always fail to start (code 31 I think).

    I managed to get it to install and work with the Vista 11.12 driver. The problem now is that in the device manager under the ATA channels there is nothing in the advanced properties tab. When I had windows 7 installed it used to show 4 ATA devices, now it only shows 2. It also showed DMA mode 6 under under the advanced tab.

  7. Brian

    The newer drivers have changed this fix. I know for a fact AMD Chipset drivers version 13.12 do work. Google search will help you find them.

    Here is one source –
    http //drivers.softpedia com/get/GRAPHICS-BOARD/AMD/AMD-Catalyst-Graphics-Driver-1312.shtml

    I would sincerely recommend upgrading these old 7 series boards. They are old and it is time to get the new and it can be done affordably. You got your money’s worth but things just stop getting support after a while.

    Please remember to recycle your old tech properly!

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