How to Enable AHCI Mode in Windows 10?

AHCI stands for Advanced Host Controller Interface. It is an algorithm your motherboard uses to communicate with hard drives and SSDs. In addition to AHCI, there are RAID, NVMe and IDE modes. RAID (array of few drives combined to create one high-speed drive) is mostly used amid enthusiasts and professionals thus we won’t focus your attention on it in this article. We will rather tell you how to enable AHCI if your computer uses IDE by default.

Using AHCI mode gives you access to additional features like NCQ and DIPM. Don’t worry if you do not know what the heck are these. Most probably you do not need them anyway. If you do, then there is a high chance you already know how to enable AHCI in Windows 10. What you need to know is that enabling AHCI eliminates so-called bottlenecking and allows using the speed potential of your drive fully. Using IDE with modern SSD may cripple its performance and reduce read/write speed.

Enabling AHCI Mode

If you want to enable AHCI mode in Windows 10, then the best way to do it is to switch SATA mode to IDE in BIOS/UEFI and reinstall Windows from the scratch. Yes, you can turn on AHCI mode within the Windows 10 and without reinstalling the system but for the sake of the best compatibility and stability of your system, we recommend backing up important data and reinstalling Windows with AHCI being enabled in BIOS.

Obviously, we can’t provide you with a full list of motherboards and BIOS screenshots that show you how to find SATA mode and switch it to AHCI. You will find here an example that will show what to look for inside your BIOS.

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On the screenshot below you may notice that this motherboard allows you to switch between AHCI and RAID right on the BIOS home screen. Very convenient and useful. One mouse click and you are in RAID or AHCI, depending on what you want.

ahci mode bios

Alternatively, you can find AHCI mode in the section called Integrated Peripherals. Each manufacturer has its own BIOS so this option may be located somewhere else. All you need to find is the option called SATA Mode. Switch it from IDE to AHCI, reboot your computer and go install Windows from the scratch.

ahci windows 10

Here we should also say a word of caution. SATA mode is deeply tied to your Windows installation. You can switch AHCI to IDE with zero problems and keep using existing Windows installation. But if you turn off IDE and enable AHCI, the system may end up in boot loop and won’t load at all which is why it’s very important to perform a clean Windows installation after enabling AHCI.

For your information: IDE is very old and truly outdated standard. It is so old that modern motherboards do not support it anymore. But if you are still rocking good-old hardware and want to upgrade storage or just make sure everything works at full speed, check your SATA mode. Perhaps your PC works in IDE mode and cripples a bit performance of your storage. More modern motherboards work in AHCI mode by default thus you do not need to change anything.

Turn on AHCI Mode in Windows 10

If you can’t reinstall Windows just now but desperately need to enable AHCI mode, you can do it inside Windows 10 without wiping your PC.

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Before you start: you need to have Administrator access level to enable AHCI in Windows 10.

CAUTION: follow this manual carefully to prevent being stuck in a boot loop and data loss. We have tested this manual on our own systems, and we can confirm it works. But as we told you before, the best way to enable AHCI is to do it from BIOS with clean Windows installation. Although this method works, you need to remember that only you are the one responsible for your computer and data on it. We are not responsible for any data loss or hardware damage.

  1. Hit Win + R on your keyboard and type in msconfig. Click Ok. You will get the System configuration window with few important settings which manage how your PC boots. ahci mode windows 10
  2. From here you need to go the Boot tab. Place a flag next to the Safe boot option from the Boot options section. Leave Minimal option enabled. ahci bios
  3. Click Ok and confirm restarting. Needless to say, you need to close everything before doing this to prevent loss of important data.
  4. Enter BIOS before the system starts. Now locate SATA mode toggle and enable AHCI. Save the settings and reboot. Now your PC should enter a Safe Mode. That is ok, don’t panic. Simply press Win + S and type in cmd. Run Command Prompt as Administrator.
  5. In the Command Prompt windows type bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot command. Hit Enter and restart your computer.

It should boot without any problems and from now on work in AHCI SATA mode. You can reboot your PC again, return to the BIOS, make sure AHCI is enabled, and then boot back to the Windows.

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