XP computer won’t boot, reinstall gets me Stop Error 7B

I was working on a Dell Optiplex 760 that starting having software issues, and before I could look at it it stopped in the boot process with a blinking cursor. I tried going to the XP Recovery Console, but I received a blinking cursor on reboot. I tried repairing the XP installation and received the blinking cursor again. Finally, I wiped the drive completely and did a clean install of XP. Everything was looking good until the installation finished and the computer rebooted. I was then greeted with a BSOD and a Stop Error 7B. I did a little research and found a page on Tom’s Hardware Forum that discussed this issue. A nice anonymous user posted this:

“go into the bios and change SATA settings from AHCI to ATA
As if by magic!!!-)”

Sure enough, like magic, the computer booted into the post installation setup process. I remember having to change this setting when purchasing Dell laptops which came with Vista that I downgraded to XP. But I don’t know why this computer worked fine until the reload – maybe Dell’s putting an image on the computer bypasses this problem. In any event, I found my solution (thanks Anonymous!) and the computer is operational again.

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