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Troubleshooting BSOD STOP 0x0000007B in Windows XP / Vista

You might get a Windows Blue Screen with a STOP code 0x0000007B after doing one of the following:

  • Replacing your motherboard
  • Taking the HD from a similiar system and putting it in yours

And if you try to reinstall the OS, you might get the installer not recognizing your hard drive or blue-screening part-way through.

While the Microsoft Web Site has some troubleshooting steps on that, one of the first things you might want to look at is at a BIOS setting called “SATA Operation”

Depending on your PC manufacturer and model, you may seel BIOS options like the following:

[AHCI / Autodetect]  [ATA / Autodetect]

…or…

[AHCI] [ATA]

…or…

[IRRT] [AHCI] [ATA]

Choose the ATA option.

Reason:

ATA is a standard hard drive operating mode, and the drivers for ATA drives exist in all versions of all modern operating systems. AHCI and IRRT are relatively newer technologies and require chipset drivers from the manufacturers before they will function correctly. Windows XP does not include stock drivers for AHCI or IRRT. Windows Vista and 7 does include the AHCI driver, but if the OS is installed with the BIOS in ATA mode, the AHCI driver will be disabled.

Changing the BIOS option will remedy the blue screen issue and get your system operational, although the AHCI and IRRT modes will give better performance. Installing the drivers and changing operational modes is tricky, but possible without having to reinstalling your operating system. After installing your motherboard’s AHCI drivers (if necessary), you can re-enable the Windows AHCI driver using the technique described at this Microsoft KB article:

Error message when you start a Windows 7 or Windows Vista-based computer after you change the SATA mode of the boot drive: “STOP 0x0000007B INACCESSABLE_BOOT_DEVICE”

Feedback, comments, and advice is always welcome.

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