I have an ASUS P5QL Pro motherboard and a Seagate 7200.10 HDD. When I enable AHCI in the BIOS the BIOS hangs when detecting the HDD. After having searched around the web for a while this seems to be caused by a small (a few MBs) free space or partition at the end of the hard disk – and looking at the partition table, there is an unpartitioned 2 MB space area at the end indeed.
The question is how would I get rid of that space so the BIOS doesn't get a heart attack when it sees it? Windows 7's Disk Management doesn't allow me to do anything with that. Creating an unformatted partition using GParted (Ubuntu 10.10 Live CD) makes GParted crash if I start it again. I'm thinking of extending the Windows partition in GParted but I'm afraid of breaking the Windows installation.
What is a safe way to get rid of the extra space so I can use the SATA drive in AHCI mode, rather than IDE emulation (which works fine)?
This appears to be caused by the 100MB boot partition the Windows installer creates. As detailed in a thread in the Microsoft TechNet forums (see post by [RU] Ivan) it changes the disk geometry and spurious small unallocated pockets of space appear at the end of the drive.
Looks like the Intel southbridge doesn't like the first partition to be smaller than 8GB either. The first partition of of course the Windows 7 100MB boot partition.