Speed Up Windows 7 by Enabling AHCI

The Intel processor or say the chipset or the motherboard embeds the Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI). This is responsible to speed up hard disk read/write operations by enabling SATA’s advanced capabilities, for instance hot swapping and native command queuing to the host system. During Windows 7 installations, if it detects that the AHCI driver is installed or is supported by the chipset then it is enabled by default. If by any reason the AHCI is not enabled, here is the tutorial how you can enable AHCI Support in Windows 7.

Enable windows 7 AHCI

Windows 7 and Windows Vista can natively support AHCI and enables if the chipset supports AHCI driver. This basically improves the performance and speed of the system. System lacking AHCI runs even slower and it gets a little boost with AHCI turned enabled in the some older computer.

Although OS like Windows 7 and Windows Vista supports AHCI, but does not install AHCI device driver until it detects the presence of ACHI support at the time of installation. If you try enabling AHCI in BIOS after installation of Windows OS, then your system may crash and remain unbootable.

Here is the tutorial how you can enable AHCI support in Windows OS if your motherboard supports AHCI. Follow the steps given below enable AHCI support before AHCI is turned on in BIOS to avoid any system crash.

  • Open Start menu and type regedit in the Search box and hit Enter. This will open Windows Registry Editor
  • Upon prompted by UAC dialog box Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?”, click Yes button to continue the process
  • In Registry Editor Window, navigate to the following registry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\msahci
  • To the right side pane to msahci, right click on Start and select Modify

registry msahci modify

  • A new small window pops out there assign the value data for “Start” to 0, and hit OK

assign start 0

  • When the ACHI is disabled the Default value is 3 for Windows 7 and 4 for Windows Vista.
  • Now, Close Registry Editor after setting the Value data
  • Restart the computer to apply the changes
  • Go to BIOS configuration and enable the AHCI support. Save the settings and reboot computer again.
  • When the system reboots, Windows starts installing the device drivers for AHCI automatically. Once the installation is completed, system restarts once again.
  • Now, the hard disk drives of the system will be supporting AHCI standard.

Next, verify whether AHCI is Enabled on Windows

  • If you’re not sure whether the AHCI has been enabled or not in Windows OS, type Device Manager in Start Search and hit Enter.
  • When prompted by UAC asking Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?”, click Yes button to continue
  • Next, Expand IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers section under device manager

IDE-ATA-AHCI controller

  • If AHCI driver is installed in Windows, you can see a entry named Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller or Intel(R) 5 Series 6 Port SATA AHCI Controller

If you don’t find anything that specifies AHCI Controller, then it is either unsupported or disabled on your system. You need to follow the steps described above to enable AHCI in Windows before turning AHCI on in BIOS level.

Upon following the steps above you can enable AHCI on your computer and increase the speed and performance on your Windows 7 computer.


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