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Once upon a time I was trying to edit an end of semester group report for a class and I got a little sidetracked. I wanted to install Windows XP in VirtualBox using SATA. Why? Just because. As far as I can tell, there is no appreciable difference between a virtual hard drive attached to a virtual IDE controller versus a virtual SATA controller.

The hitch is that the Windows XP installer doesn’t come with built in SATA drivers for the controller VirtualBox uses, so the installer will tell you that it can’t see a hard drive to install on to. Work around:

  1. Download the Intel drivers and extract the executable (f6flpy32.exe) from the zip file
  2. Download UnZip (choose unz552xN.exe from the list) and run, this will extract a bunch of utilities, the one we want is unzip.exe (you don’t need to use UnZip if you have another program that can get files from within a self-extracting executable)
  3. Open a command prompt Window (preferably using “Run As Administrator”) and navigate to the directory that has both f6flpy32.exe and unzip.exe
  4. Type “unzip f6flpy32.exe” and hit Enter, this will extract the file F32.IMA
  5. Use the Virtual Media Manager in Virtual box to set up F32.IMA as a Floppy Image
  6. Start your Windows XP virtual machine and run the installation CD. When the blue screen prompts you, hit F6 to choose a third party driver.
  7. Choose Devices\Mount Floppy Image\Floppy Image in the VirtualBox windows to mount the image you just set up
  8. When the blue screen prompt you, hit S to find another driver on a floppy, and then Enter.
  9. Four driver options should appear in the list. The second one worked for me, and allowed me to continue with the setup process.

Sources: Intel drivers for SATA and LAN controllersHow to install Windows 2000/XP/2003 guests with SATA supportVista kernel – IDE to SATA conversion VB 1.6.0 & 1.6.2

UPDATE: Once I got XP installed, I also installed the Guest Additions, but the network still wasn’t working, because I had selected the “Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop” adapter rather than the default AMD adapter. To get this working I found and downloaded the drivers from Intel, and then set up a shared folder and mounted it as a network drive to be able to copy the driver setup file from my Vista host to my XP guest system. Once I ran the Intel driver setup, everything worked great.



    • Randee
    • Posted July 20, 2009 at 3:52 PM
    • Permalink

    Thanks for this, I changed the controller type, not realising the consequences and was in it deep until I found your article as I have an XP set up in Linux for testing and my accounting software which won’t run properly on Wine. It is set up just how I want it and I wasn’t relishing the prospect of starting again, so thanks.

    • Charlie
    • Posted October 30, 2009 at 7:46 PM
    • Permalink

    This might have been an interesting article if I had been able to read the light gray on white page. Stylish, yes. Practical, no.

    • rotwhiler
    • Posted November 2, 2009 at 1:46 PM
    • Permalink

    Sorry Charlie (no pun intended), I don’t know why the article didn’t display correctly for you. Maybe the page didn’t load all the way for you, or you were viewing it with a reader or in frame from another website. The blog is actually white text on very dark gray, which is legible.

    • Icarus
    • Posted November 14, 2009 at 5:01 PM
    • Permalink

    I couldn’t get this to work.

    It works up to the point where I specify the second driver in the list (the only one containing the word “mobile” in the description string).

    From that point I do see the disk, I can format it, create partitions etc. But as soon as the installation commences the copying of files I get an error saying:
    cannot copy file: iastor.sys

    If skipped, about 4 other errors on files starting with “ia” will pop up, if you skip them all, the installation will error out with a blue screen later.

    Post #5 in the following thread is rumored to work though I cannot recreate this from a Linux host.

    This basically modifies the image so that the driver files will be contained in the root of the floppy (as they are now) AS WELL AS INSIDE

    If this ends up working for someone, I’d appreciate the modded F32.IMA file.

    • Kaffeine
    • Posted December 2, 2009 at 2:43 AM
    • Permalink

    -> ICARUS

    I confirm that the workaround you found solve the “iastor.sys” problem.

    You can easily apply the changes from your linux host.

    First mount the image:
    sudo mount -o loop FA32.IMA anydir/

    Create the new directories:
    sudo mkdir -p anydir/\$oem\$/textmode

    And finally copy all the files in the 2 sub dirs.

    • Usman
    • Posted December 11, 2009 at 2:02 PM
    • Permalink

    Thanks a lot for your post and link to the Intel drivers.

    For anybody else that is having similar problem:
    I was running VirtualBox 2.1.4 and had a WinXP SP2 installation on a vdi connected through IDE. Today I download VB 3.1.0 and changed the connector from IDE to SATA for the same virtual machine and windows started failing to boot showing BSoD just after VBox startup splash.

    I downloaded the Intel file pointed by rotwhiler and extracted the floppy image. Then I changed controller back to IDE, mounted the floppy img and booted. Windows started successfully and pointed out a newly attache PCI device. This new device was showing in Hardware Manager with a yellow ? besides it. I tried updating the drivers for this and it automatically picked correct files from the floppy drive. I restarted the system to make sure things get settled and then shut down the windows.

    Changed the controller from IDE to SATA and everything fine this time.

    Thank God and thankyou agian rotwhiler.

    • apoc
    • Posted October 23, 2010 at 1:31 AM
    • Permalink

    the link is 404 now

    • Ray
    • Posted August 5, 2011 at 12:11 PM
    • Permalink

    Was checking this out (curiosity), when I saw the last post.
    Google “f6flpy32.exe” (without quotes), shows:
    as the third result

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