XP has no native SATA support

An attempt to install XP on a SATA drive will often result in an error message to the effect that there are no hard disk drives found in the computer.

Early in the installation process, when "Setup is inspecting your computer's hardware configuration..." you will see a notice at the bottom of the screen that says "Press F6 if you need to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver" When you press F6, you're asked to insert a floppy disk that contains the driver(s). If you've gotten this far only to be frustrated by these instructions, there's still hope.

If your motherboard supports PATA IDE emulation through AHCI, you can select the proper settings in your system BIOS to disable AHCI/RAID, and restart the XP installation. You won't get the SATA speed, but you will be able to install XP. However, not all motherboards support this BIOS option.

If you want to install a SATA driver to complete the XP installation and get true SATA throughput, you will need to download the SATA/RAID driver package specific for your motherboard model and extract the driver files to a floppy drive. Press F6 when prompted, and then follow the instructions presented by the XP installation routine. If you don't have a floppy drive, all is not lost.

You can't use a thumb drive, or burn the driver(s) to CD and try to use that; the installation routine will only accept a floppy for this driver installation. Without a floppy drive, you'll need to slipstream the SATA/RAID driver(s) into an installation CD.

nLite is an excellent application to accomplish this. nLite can also slipstream Service Packs, Update Rollups, and customize your XP installation in other ways. Download and install nLite. Read and follow the instructions carefully. The application is very user friendly, and easy to use. Once you have made all your selections through nLite, burn a bootable CD and proceed with your XP installation.

A USB flash drive

will not work. Drivers burned to a CD will not work. These 3 methods are the only workable solutions.