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Serious! Windows 2000 install can't see hard disks !

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by pianoman1948, Jan 26, 2005.

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  1. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

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    You folks are gonna love this. I greatly appreciate your patience and attention:

    I am unable to install Windows 2000 (booting from the Windows CD) because Windows setup cannot see my hard disks via a disk controller card.

    My computer has an unusual setup (created by the store I bought it from), but has been working fine for about 3 years. It has two hard drives that both run off a Promise Technology PCI disk controller card, as follows:

    Ultra 100 TX2
    PDC 20268
    copyright 2000 0149
    V2.20.0.11

    S/N L41052107659
    TLA: 0B-0A-0G-08-00-02

    (The two motherboard IDE ports are connected to two CD burners.)

    My primary hard drive has 4 partitions, with Windows 2000 on the first three partitions and Windows XP on the fourth, using Microsoft multibooting. It has been working fine that way for quite awhile.

    I have successfully cleared off (re-formatted) partitions and installed Windows (both 2000 and XP) many times, and I always have to hit F6 at a certain point so that Windows setup will prompt me to insert the floppy with the driver for the Promise card. If I miss that step, Windows setup tells me that setup cannot complete because it cannot see any hard drives on my computer.

    Recently I cleared off the first (primary) partition (which used to have 2000) and installed Windows XP on it. Due to some other problems, I want to go back to 2000, and I find that now I am unable to do any Windows 2000 installs or repairs. I don't even get to where it displays the currently installed operating systems and asks me which one I want to repair. I hit F6, and it seems to load the Promise driver ok, but then I get that "no hard drives on your machine" message.

    I do not have this problem with the XP install CD. And the two installed XP operating systems work fine (accessing the two hard drives through the card). I still have a copy of the original Promise driver that came with my computer. I have also downloaded newer drivers from the Promise website and tried them, with the same results.

    So the problem is not in the hard drives, the controller card, or the Promise driver.

    Do you know of something with Microsoft multibooting about XP being installed on the primary partition that might interfere with a Windows 2000 installation seeing the hard disks connected to the Promise card?

    I hope that provides you with enough detail. Any information or other suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Ted
    [email protected]
     
  2. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    Do you get the "Ultra BIOS loaded" message when booting up from the CD? IE is the Promise card and the disks being detected by the boot process. The disks need to be 'seen' by the install process (yes in DOS mode) even before the Promise drivers are used.
     
  3. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

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    Dave - Thanks so much for your response. I can't answer your question definitely until tonight because I am at work and the computer in question is at home. I really don't recall seeing that message ... ever ... even during a normal bootup.

    I think .... that during a normal bootup, when it says "detecting", what I see is the 2 CD drives being detected, and not the hard disks, because the 2 hard disks are not defined in the BIOS.
    I am not booting into DOS mode (not to a DOS prompt, anyway). When I boot from the Windows CD, it puts me directly into Windows setup.

    Not sure what you mean by "IE" .....

    I will verify this stuff tonight. Thanks again for tackling this,
    Ted
     
  4. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    I have the Ultra 100 card in my machine. During the Boot up process and after the detection of the Motherboard devices, you should get a further message from the Promise card saying IT is detecting devices and what they are. This is necessary so that the disks can be seen via bios interrupt INT13, which is the base level access to the disk used by DOS and disk managers like FDISK and Partition Magic etc. and all OS's prior to the specific device drivers being loaded (these are the ones on the floppy).
     
  5. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

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    Hmm, interesting. I really don't remember seeing anything like that .... I will have to go home tonight and check it out. Thanks much.
     
  6. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

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    Well, I said no, and I stand corrected.

    The first thing I see during a normal hard drive boot into Windows is BIOS-related:
    American Megatrends AMBIOS <copyright info etc>
    Pri Master V100D CW0580 ATAPI CD-R/RW
    Sec Master V100D CW0580 ATAPI CD-R/RW

    <these are the aforementioned CD burners connected to the motherboard's main IDE ports>

    Then the screen clears and it says "detecting" ...... then ...

    Ultra100 TX2
    Bios version 2.20.0.11 (matches what is printed on the Promise card)
    Copyright 1999-2001 Promise Technology

    D0 WDC WD800DB-00CAA1 LBA
    D1 not detected
    D2 WDC WD800DB-00CAA1 LBA
    D3 not detected

    <these are my two Western Digital 80 gig hard drives>

    IDE Bus Master enabled

    The next question you probably have is: What do I see when I boot from the Windows 2000 CD instead? Answer: Same thing .. followed by "press any key to boot from the CD' (same thing when I boot from the XP CD, by the way). So *something* is seeing the hard drives.

    I should back up and tell you my original problem: after I changed the Windows 2000 os on the first partition to XP, I became unable to boot up any of the remaining 2000 os's (the XPs were fine). I got a message complaining about "can't find hal.dll". What I read on the net about this exact problem sounds like 2000 and XP have different needs for something in that primary partition, and they are incompatible.

    I was really scratching my head because I knew the only thing I changed was the contents of that primary partition (from 2K to XP) (I also reformatted it, changing the file sytem from FAT32 to NTFS) .... and I thought "well, *that* can't be it", because I was under the impression that when booting from the Windows CD it didn't even look at the hard drive (and in fact couldn't even 'see' it), so how could the contents of the primary partition on that disk have anything to do with a Windows install from the CD? Now I know better.

    I should back further up and tell you that obviously I am using Microsoft's "multibooting" technique, which some folks on the net really don't like. Unlike with a third-party boot manager, the different os's are not entirely independent. There *is* stuff in that first partition that matters when I am booting up to one of the others .. and that is obviously my problem here. But in general, this technique has worked well for me. I guess in the future I just need to leave that first partition alone.

    Anyway, I experimented a little further, and found that when I boot from the XP CD, I don't *have* to use that F6 trick to install the Promise driver. XP sees the hard disks even without it. I think the problem is that XP is smarter than the old os .. too smart, lol.

    So where do I go from here? I need to be able to access the other Windows 2000 os's, so I am inclined to wipe off that first partition and start over with a 2000 install. But I am worried that if something goes wrong (or the "2000 install process not being able to 'see' the hard drives" problem doesn't go away), I won't be able to access anything, especially my "current working" XP os, which is in partition #4.

    Whatever wisdom you can send my way will be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for listening,

    Ted
     
  7. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    Can you go into Disk Management(obviously will have to be XP) and print the screen showing the two disks and the partitons on them (or partition manager etc) so I can see what they are thought to be.
    XP has its own version of the Promise drivers so doesn't need the Floppy.
    I need to think on this one. Do the screen dump and I'll think about it in the mean time.
     
  8. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

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    Ok, will do that tonight, thanks very much. Gee, I'm learning all sorts of stuff, I had never seen Disk Management before (although I have other stuff that provides the same info).
     
  9. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    By all means use whichever is easiest, as long as it shows all the partitions.
     
  10. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

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    Hi Dave - Sorry, I didn't actually have a way (that I know of) to send an actual picture of the screen, but I can probably describe it. I'm not sure how helpful it will be, because I don't see anything weird or unexpected. It's exactly what I set up.

    First physical hard drive says "Basic, 74.53 GB, online" and the partitions are listed in the bar graph sort of thing as follows:

    C: MAIN_OS, 2.95 GB NTFS, healthy (system)
    E: AUX_OS, 2.95 GB, FAT32, healthy
    F: APPS, 1.53 GB, FAT32, healthy
    G: TEST_OS, 2.95 GB, FAT32, healthy
    H: XP_OS, 2.95 GB, healthy (Boot)
    I: CDATA, 61.20 GB, FAT32, healthy

    MAIN_OS is primary, all the others are logical in the extended. Obviously, MAIN_OS is what I changed from 2000 to XP. I am currently using XP_OS. All the others (that have os's) are 2000 (APPS is programs only, CDATA is data only) .

    And the other physical hard drive also says "Basic, 74.53 GB, online". Its partition is:

    D: DRIVE_2, 74.53 GB, FAT32, healthy (active)

    I was talking about reformatting that primary partition back to FAT32 and re-installing Windows 2000 on it (i.e., putting things back the way they were). I would expect that both my problems would then go away:

    1. "Can't find hall.dll" error in booting to a 2000 os
    2. Can't do a 2000 install because can't see hard disks

    My worry was if something goes wrong, maybe I won't be able to boot *any* of them.

    But it occurred to me that if that happens, I could just repeat what I originally did (reformat the primary partition again to NTFS and go back to XP) and I'd be no worse off than I am now. I just wouldn't be able to use 2000 anymore. So I may try that over the weekend.

    Thanks again .. happy thinking,
    Ted
     
  11. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    I study that and get back to you. I have a few problems of my own at the moment.
     
  12. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

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    lol, ok, thanks .. good luck.
     
  13. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    Ok, next question.
    Can you do a search on all the drives from that XP_OS for BOOT.INI
    List the contents of all that you find and where they were.


    BTW. Luck wasn't good enough, I 've lost one of my machines - A BIOS update failed and the BIOS chip got screwed. I can't get it to a diskette to fix it. It was an old p133 laptop I used as a dial-up gateway/firewall.
     
  14. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

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    Dave - so sorry it took me so long to respond. I have this normal life which keeps interfering with solving my computer problem <smile>.

    I have tried a few further things since we last talked .....and gotten even more confused. But let me answer your question first: The boot.ini in the root directory of the primary partition (which is the only one I mess with) reads as follows:

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Windows 2000 Main OS for normal use" \fastdetect
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT="Windows 2000 Auxiliary / Maintenance OS" \fastdetect
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINNT="Windows 2000 test OS" \fastdetect
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(5)\WINNT="Windows XP Professional" \fastdetect

    Each of the other partitions has a boot.ini in their root directory with just that os in it, I believe.

    I grabbed another hard drive (slightly smaller) and duplicated the entire sequence of events on it:
    1) Partitioned, formatted and installed 2000, 2000 and XP in 3 partitions .. everything is fine. Unlike with the original hard drive, Windows 2000 setup finds the drive and installs fine.
    2) Reformatted the primary partition from FAT32 to NTFS and installed XP, XP in partitions 1 and 3 boot fine, but the 2K in partition 2 won't boot, complaining it can't find hal.dll
    3) Re-formatted the primary partition back to FAT32, then tried to install 2000 on it, and I get "Windows setup could not find any hard drives on your computer".

    It seems that when XP was installed in the primary partition, it modified or detroyed *something* *somewhere* on that hard drive that does not affect an XP install, but makes 2000 unable to see the hard drive via the controller card.

    I backed up the data on the original drive, and got a utility from the manufacturer (Western Digital) to physically *zero out* the entire drive, so it would be like new. I thought sure that would obliterate or undo whatever damage the XP install did.

    I then re-wrote the MBR with FDISK, and set up partitions and formatted them. I then tried to install Windows 2000 on the primary partition .... AND I GOT THE SAME ERROR !

    Excuse me, but .... YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA !!!!!

    There is *something* on that hard drive preventing the installer from finding the drive, but where? I am running out of places to look!

    <Sorry, just had to vent>
     
  15. pianoman1948

    pianoman1948 Thread Starter

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    Update: A couple more things I am going to try:

    A couple PC gurus here at work suggested that Western Digital drives sometimes have some hidden code to fool the BIOS about the geometry of the drive. I found in WD's knowledge base about something called a DDO (dynamic drive overlay), a program put into the master boot record. Maybe I originally had one, and XP modified or deleted it. My zeroing out certainly got rid of it. I apparently can put it back by setting up the drive with the WD utilities disk.

    WD's knowledge base also talked specifically about Windows 2000 installation problems with an ATA /100 drive. It says Windows 2000 by default does not support ATA/100 transfer rates. It suggested going into the system BIOS and disabling something called UDMA mode. Maybe XP went into my BIOS and fiddled with that. Who knows? I am just looking for something that halfway makes sense.

    Anyway, I will try those. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Ted
     
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