author avatar
    Specialist of Customer Service Dept.


As the SSD (solid state disk) become the mainstream, AHCI is being widely used and IDE is being eliminated in the same time. In this essay, "AHCI vs IDE" will be shown and the coversion from IDE to AHCI will be introduced.

1. What is AHCI Mode

At the time of WinXP, Windows XP system couldn’t support the AHCI mode very well. Drives were required to install through floppy drive if AHCI mode was chose to install the system. Therefore, IDE mode was very popular at that time and peaked because of the SATAII interface. But when it came to Win7, AHCI driver integrated into the operating system without any complicated steps, thus AHCI was gaining popularity since then.

(1) AHCI mode

AHCI(Serial ATA Advanced Host Controller Interface/Advanced Host Controller Interface) is an interface standard jointly developed by multiple companies with guidance from Intel. It allows store driver to enable the Advanced Serial ATA function, such as Native Command Queuing (NCQ) and hot-plugging. Its research team member primarily includes Intel, AMD, Dell, Marvell, Maxtor, Microsoft, Red Hat, Seagate and StroageGear, etc.

1. ACHI supports NCQ technology
2. Faster read and write speed
3. It supports hot-plugging

(2) Differences: AHCI vs IDE

IDE (Integrated Device Electronics) also refers to Advanced Technology Attachment and generally will be used as the interface of ATA hardware. The original intent is hard disk drive which integrated hard disk controllers and disk. IDE mode can map SATA disk as normal IDE hard drive without loading extra SATA drive, but the new feature of SATA interface is not supported.



Stands for Advanced Host Controller InterfaceIDE: Integrated Drive Electronics / PATA: Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment
AdvantagesSupports new technologies such as native command queuingMaximum compatibility
Hot Plugging (add/remove component while the computer is running)SupportedNot Supported
DisadvantagesNot always compatibleLacks support for new technology such as native command queuing and hot-plugging hard drives
Defined by Intel Western Digital
InvolvesOperation of Serial ATA (SATA) host bus adaptorsOperation of a parallel ATA drive
Operating modesLegacy Parallel ATA emulation, standard AHCI or vendor-specific RAIDIDE
Compatible systemWindows Vista, 7, and 8; Linux, OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD, OS Z, eComStation and Solaris 10 All
Through the detailed introduction above, I believe that you must have a basic understanding of AHCI and IDE. Then following will focus on ways to check the operating mode of hard disk.

2. How to Check the Operating Mode of a Hard Disk

It is very simple to check whether the hard disk of your computer is running as AHCI or IDE mode.
① Press “Win+X” on your keyboard at the same time, select “Device manager” in the pop-up windows.
② Click “>”, open “IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers”, and you can see the operating mode. As shown in the figure, the operating mode of the hard disk is AHCI mode.
ahci mode in device manager
Generally, SSD drive works better by using the AHCI driver. If you find out that your hard disk doesn’t operate as the AHCI mode, it is recommended that convert to AHCI mode.

3. How to Convert from IDE to AHCI in BIOS

The above states the checking method, then the following will explain how to convert from IDE mode to AHCI mode.
Tips ● Win10 system can convert the operating mode of SATA hard disk from IDE to AHCI without modifying the registry.
● IDE applies to the older systems and some ghost system, such as Windows XP. Now it is recommended to use the AHCI mode because SSD drive works better by using the AHCI driver. Only when problem occurs from the AHCI will require to convert to IDE mode; however, some of the motherboards don’t have IDE, but they have compatibility.
① Turn off computer, and press the power button, then press keyboard shortcuts to enter the BIOS setting. Computers under different brands have different ways to enter the BIOS setting, generally including F1, F2, F10, Del and other keys.
② Find the hard disk controller mode settings in the BIOS (find out settings with key words such as SATA, IDE, AHCI), convert the hard disk mode from IDE to AHCI.

For example: start a computer and press F1 to enter BIOS, select “Devices>ATA drives Setup>Configure SATA as>AHCI, as shown below, finally press F10 to save and exit.

configure sata as ide ahci or raid
③ Save changes and restart the computer. Please notice that you must go into safe mode first! By forcing shutdown 1 to 3 times, system will automatically go into safe operation interface. Then select “Troubleshoot”> “Advanced options”> “Startup Settings”.
select startup settings in advanced options
④ Then click “Restart”.
clcik to restart PC in startup settings
⑤ Enter the restart setting interface, press “4” or “F4” on the keyboard to go into safe mode.
press 4 to enable safe mode
⑥ After going into the safe mode, restart the computer as normal. In general, the computer can start properly. So far, you have already completed converting the hard disk mode from IDE to AHCI.