I have solved my SATA problems.
I did so after re-checking for updates:
1) Asus website for Mobo BIOS update - my BIOS is current
2) 'Microsoft Update' website - no updates available
3) Samsung website for drive flash - nothing found
4) VIA website for chipset drivers - Bingo! I found a newer version!
I visited VIA's website when I first started having problems and found
But upon re-visiting it I found they posted a new version (June 30th, 2006).
It is the VIA HyperionPro driver package.
When I loaded this new version, 5.09A, it seems to have fixed all my
Now, my drives spin-down properly, and my SATA hot-swap capability is
I can swap-out a SATA drive by simply removing the cables from it and
inserting them into a different drive without shutting off the computer or
informing Windows XP.
The old drive simply disappears from Window's File Explorer, and the new
drive takes its place!
It's really a delight how well it works. Happy days are here again.
It's a mystery to me how my system could have been working as well as it did
and for as long as it did only to start screwing up after I obtained a batch
of new SATA hard drives.
Yet I can't help but wonder if the new drives really did bring about the
problem - as I said, it's a mystery to me.
For you other VIA users, I can point out one thing . . .
When loading the new chipset drivers (the HyperionPro Package), I went ahead
and installed the optional RAID drivers, even though I have no immediate
plans to setup a RAID. After doing so, when I hot-unplug or hot-plug a SATA
drive, the RAID software issues an information window. (Not complaining, you
understand - just informing.) But I discovered that by simply exiting the
RAID software, these messages would cease to appear, and the RAID software
would not automaticaly load again after any subsequent boot. So the bottom
line is: I can (once again) silently swap in and out any of my hard drives.
It is a very cool thing to do.
When I visited a Best Buy store recently, I noticed that some newer HP
computers have a removable drive bay. I inquired about that, and learned
that HP is using a USB interface for these drives. But I think SATA is
clearly the way to go! In fact, I have no plans to ever again buy a parallel
Oh, and one last bit of news for you all - I found some interesting drive
Notice that this product requires no drive sled!!
That's right, just open the door and jam in a SATA hard drive. No sled, no
mounting bracket, no screws, no operating system banter, no nothing. Just
slam a drive in and away you go. - That's the way it should be. Sweet.
I hope this write-up has inspired a few of you to start hot-swapping SATA
drives. Once you get your hot-swap system working, you will wonder how you
ever went without it.
But of course one nagging question remains:
How is it possible that a new chipset driver becomes available, yet does not
appear on the 'Microsoft Update' site?
Their simply aren't that many chipset makers out there for Microsoft to
monitor. And one would think that it would be in VIA's best interest to keep
Microsoft informed about driver releases. That way, the Microsoft Update
site could respond on a more-or-less immediate basis. I suspect that idiocy
is at play somewhere.
Anyway, thanks for all the replies guys,