Since i have not used any gigabyte, i will give my opinion based on normal theory and comparing it with an Intel Desktop board like DP45SG which has the ICH10R chipset.
SATA controllers use the Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI), which allows advanced features of SATA such as hot plug and native command queuing (NCQ).
If AHCI is not enabled by the motherboard and chipset, SATA controllers typically operate in "IDE emulation" mode which does not allow features of devices to be accessed if the ATA/IDE standard does not support them.
So from the normal theory, i will say that it is wise to disable the write back caching and i will assume that the e-sata drive can be removed anytime due to the fact that SATA controllers in AHCI/RAID mode are hot-swappable.
The ICH10 provides hardware support for Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI), a new programming interface for SATA host controllers. Platforms supporting AHCI may take advantage of performance features such as no master/slave designation for SATA devices—each device is treated as a master—and hardware-assisted native command queuing.
AHCI also provides usability enhancements such as Hot-Plug.
AHCI requires appropriate software support (e.g., an AHCI driver) and for some features, hardware support in the SATA device or additional platform hardware.
For reliable device removal notification while in AHCI operation without the use of interlock switches (surprise removal), interface power management should be disabled for the associated port.
Thank you for the answer.
I am certain my system is correctly setup with AHCI-mode (from BIOS). The other BIOS options are either off (=IDE emulation) or RAID. The appropriate Intel chipset AHCI-driver is also installed.
Hence the drives and controller behave like they should from a functional point of view. But as stated last time, Vista doesn't offer me the opertunity to remove the drives from the operating system after insertion. The drives are listed under "fixed disks" and not under removable disks. Basically I would like to know if anyone else has experienced this or know how to fix it.
Basically this is either a 1) Vista issue or configuration 2) ICH10R hardware issue 3) AHCI device driver issue. By comparison my 4 years old XP nVidia based computer is fully capable of safely removing SATA drives after insertion. My suspects are number 1 or 3, yet I have not been able to prove which of these it can be. I'll try to install XP to see if that driver suffers the same limitation to see if it's Vista-related or not. I'll keep you posted of my findings.
To disable write back caching is really not an option, since cable yanking is never a risk for me. I want to unmount the drive from the OS and THEN remove the cable when permitted to.
EDIT: Tested it on a fresh XP installation, and it doesn't allow you to safely remove the SATA disk here either. Then my conclusion is that this is related to either limitation in the chipset or limitations of the Intel AHCI drivers. Anyone knows?
I to am having this same issue. I have 6 brand new precision T7500 from dell that this is happening on. We have reloaded and updated drivers, check all bios settings and nothing works. Vista or XP will notice the drives but it freezes up right after you plug it in. We have worked with dell for numerous hours and they have no clue. I need to get this working as it has become a serious pain in my @$$.
I had the same issue with ICH9R on a Dell XPS 420. The system is running in RAID mode but there are no RAID volumes present. Using the Dell drivers, Windows Vista Home Premium would recognize the eSATA drive when it was connected. The drive would not appear in the Safely Remove Hardware List. The drivers available from Dell are older versions than those available from Intel, so I downloaded the latest drivers directly from Intel for my X38 express chipset: Intel Matrix Storage ver 8.8 and Intel Chipset Device Software ver 9.0. You can find them for your chipset at http://www.intel.com/support/chipsets/sb/CS-026488.htm .
After installing these updates the esata drive now appears in the Safely Remove list. I can safely remove it and power it down with no problems now. However, If I power it back on it is no longer recognized, even if I use the Intel Matrix Storage Console to rescan for Plug and Play devices. I need to reboot to get the drive recognized again.
Anyone have any ideas on where to go from here?
I have upgraded to the latest drivers and tried both setting BIOS to AHCI mode using driver AHCI SATA driver 126.96.36.1999. Also tried setting BIOS to RAID mode and using AHCI SATA RAID driver 188.8.131.529 (Intel Matrix Storage Manager). None works in respect of safe removals.
SATA insertion and cable yanking works like it should. Insertion of a SATA drive doesn't freeze up the computer, nor does yanking the cable. However, I'm still not being offered to "safely remove" the SATA drive after insertion. Annoying, because disabling the disk's write cache is not a elegant solution to the problem.
Is there anyone at all who has a computer with ICH10R where "safely remove" of SATA drives is available? I'm trying to figure out if this is a driver issue or if it's hardware related.
BTW: This issue doen't seem to be limited to Vista. A test installation on XP seem to show the same behaviour.
I've been chasing this problem for months for my Gigabyte G33M-DS2R motherboard (ICH9R). I have an External Sata which works perfectly on my new X58 motherboard (without Intel Matrix storage drivers) but doesn't get recognised as a REMOVABLE drive on the G33M board. Both boards are running Vista 64 & have ACHI set in Bios.
I have been told that it's the motherboards manufacturer bios that is the problem as it doesn't support the eSata protocol properly. Whether this is true or not I don't know but it makes sense as no amount of software/drivers fixes the problem.
However - I have found a solution that works for me... download a program call HotSwap!.exe (http://mysite.verizon.net/kaakoon/hotswap/index_enu.htm) as it allows you to safely remove the drive. It's small clean program that does exactly what you're after.
P.S. I am running the latest Intel Matrix Storage drivers on the G33M mobo & have everything BIOS/DRIVERS/VISTA patched to the latest versions.