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Windows 7 Installation with Intel Matrix Storage Manager
Thursday, 25 June 2009 19:05

Wow. Just...wow. Almost 3 weeks to try to install Windows 7 on a Dell E520 (messing with it on the side). Countless hours, trying EVERYTHING. For the most part, everything = epic fail. Most of the time it would freeze, hang, or otherwise stay on "expanding files" for hours, and in some cases, it wouldn't even install or recognize the drives properly.

Just now - it flew through the install...FLEW. Figured I'd mention what I did for those going nuts on the internets trying to figure this crap out...

 System: Dell E520, 3ghz P4 w/1 gig ram
             (1) 1tb Seagate SATA drive & SATA DVD-ROM

After countless combinations, I finally believe I figured something out. The Intel ICHx (Storage Matrix) SATA controller built into the BIOS just does not play well with Vista/Windows 7. I believe that if you have the card in "RAID" mode in the bios, regardless of whether or not it seems to work, if you only have ONE DRIVE, do not use Raid Mode. Also, doing a BIOS upgrade (on this machine, the latest is a 2007 bios of 2.3.2) seemed to help a bit.

After putting the SATA mode back to "Non-Raid/ATA" mode, Windows installer could still see the drive but not access/format or otherwise change the config. After download the Storage Matrix drivers from Intel's web site, I optied to install "ahci" driver, and after that, not only does Windows control the drive, but man installation was FAST.

Of course, now that it installed in record time...I'm getting an error of "could not load iastor" driver. CRAAAP!!!! Back to the drawing board...

UPDATE: I booted from the Win7 CD, used the "repair computer" option to bring up the recovery console (dos prompt). I went to d:\windows\system32\drivers (drive letter may vary), and deleted iastor.sys. Rebooted, and it now RUNS! Completing the install..man I hope it finally works!!

Credit for the "delete iastor.sys" is due to this site:
http://www.vistax64.com/drivers/180399-iastor-sys-bsod-cant-boot-windows.html