This thread seems quite old, but if you're still looking for help, you could try installing Linux onto an IDE hard drive, and then see if your distro detects the sata drive. That's just a suggestion. You can also try installing linux by booting from the CD with the option manual=1, this way you can load your own modules, that also depends what kind of SATA controller you have, and if it's supported by the kernel. I think every kernel starting with 2.6.x support all SATA controllers. But you know better what you have, and just look into it. There is also the odd chance that all you would have to do is just update your BIOS. That worked for me. Or check to make sure that Serial ATA support is enabled in your BIOS, which should be by default. If you need more help, specify the hardware you're using, and give more detail on the error. If possible.