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Windows XP Pro says no hard disk present


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Alex Ethridge's Avatar
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24-Feb-2007, 02:08 AM #1
Windows XP Pro says no hard disk present
Dell XPS 400, Pentium D, 512 RAM and 160-Gig SATA hard disk.

I removed all the partitions from the drive, wrote zeros to the drive as a secure erase and then attemped to install XP Pro from the Dell disk. It reaches a point where it asks me if I want to install Windows, I confirm and it then tells me there is no hard disk present.

I exited the setup, partitioned the disk hoping things would be different. No go.

I exited the setup, formatted the drive using FAT32 and started over again. Same result.

I've consulted the manual; but, if there is anything in there that would guide me to a solution, I don't know how to find it.

Why a Windows 98 boot disk will see, partition and format this disk and Windows XP pro cannot detect it is present is something I don't understand.
Frank4d's Avatar
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24-Feb-2007, 08:19 AM #2
XP may be complaining it can't find a bootable device. Look in BIOS Setup for a "Boot Other Device" option and enable it, and "Onboard Device" and under SATA RAID or IDE, choose IDE.
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Blueyonder Blueyonder is offline
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24-Feb-2007, 08:20 AM #3
Hello

First of all, go into the BIOS Setup and make sure that the onboard SATA controller is enabled, if there is a setting for that. Once that is done, I would try installing WinXP and see what happens, some new mobos don't require any additional drivers for SATA drives. If Setup complains that it can't find a hard drive, then you know that you do need to install the SATA drivers.

You need to press F6 at the start of the installation to install the Sata drivers from a floppy (watch the status bar at the bottom)

Look in your manual for how to install Sata drivers

Format with NTFS
Frank4d's Avatar
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24-Feb-2007, 08:34 AM #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blueyonder
You need to press F6 at the start of the installation to install the Sata drivers from a floppy (watch the status bar at the bottom)
Or possibly not, if the MOBO supports SATA IDE emulation (the SATA RAID/IDE switch).
Alex Ethridge's Avatar
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24-Feb-2007, 01:22 PM #5
I still have the drive that was shipped from Dell with this computer. It still works. The OS is in perfect condition and the computer runs fine with it in place. The old drive is SATA Seagate 160. The new drive is SATA Western Digital.

I cloned the old drive to the new drive, disconnected the old drive and put the new drive in its place. The new drive worked just fine. Being a purist and wanting to strip this machine of all the garbage that came from the factory and strip it of all the garbage users have put on it since new, I then proceeded to wipe the new drive and reinstall the OS and drivers from scratch

Now, the above tells me that the hardware and BIOS aren't a factor in this problem.

For what it's worth, here are the SATA Operations selections in the BIOS:
  • RAID AUTODETECT / AHCI
  • RAID AUTODETECT / ATA
  • RAID ON
  • COMBINATION
It is currently set to RAID AUTODETECT / AHCI
Frank4d's Avatar
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24-Feb-2007, 01:46 PM #6
Give RAID Autodetect / ATA a try.

From the Dell website:
If the image on the hard drive was created while the hard drive setting within the System Setup is set to RAID Autodetect / AHCI, the setting within the System Setup must remain RAID Autodetect / AHCI.

If the image on the hard drive was created while the hard drive setting within the System Setup is set to RAID Autodetect / ATA, the setting within the System Setup must remain RAID Autodetect / ATA.
Alex Ethridge's Avatar
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24-Feb-2007, 08:34 PM #7
I tried ATA and it worked. Since you suggested AHCI might be a factor, I did a little Googling and found this at wikipedia:

Enabling AHCI in a system BIOS will spawn a 0x7B BSoD STOP error on installations of Windows XP where AHCI/RAID drivers for that system's chipset are not installed. Switching to AHCI requires installing new drivers before changing BIOS settings. Some later versions of Windows XP Service Pack 2 include limited AHCI/SATA support

When attempting to install Microsoft Windows XP or a previous version on an AHCI-enabled system will cause the setup to fail with the error message "set up could not detect hard disk drive...". This problem can only be corrected by using a floppy disk with the appropriate drivers or by slipstreaming the appropriate drivers into the Windows XP installation CD.

Enabling AHCI in a system BIOS with Windows Vista already installed will result in a BSoD if SATA has been running in IDE mode during Vista's installation. Before enabling AHCI in the BIOS, users must first follow the instructions found at Microsoft Knowledge Base article 922976

Looks like if I want to do AHCI, I need a driver. Now to find out if there is an advantage to my using AHCI, instead. I also found a lot of technical gobbledegook on AHCI that went over my head so fast I saw a blurred streak and sensed a draft.

I'll now look for something on AHCI vs. ATA written more in the style of my Dick-n-Jane, first-grade reader.
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