Error Message: Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your system

tyleryoungblood said:
I completely feel your pain. I have the same system and just fixed the same problem. Here's what I did. And by the way, 2 hours of tech support with Dell did nothing for me other than give me practice understanding Pakistan accents. I eventually stumbled on the solution myself w/o dell's help.

Reboot your system and hit F2 as soon as you see the Dell startup screen (the options are F2 for setup, F12 for boot sequence).

In the System Setup screen, do these steps.

Select Drives:
Make sure your Diskette Drive (3.5 floppy) is set properly (Usually set to Internal)
Make sure that "Drive 0: SATA-0" drive is set to "ON"

Go to "SATA Operation":



Reboot - make sure that the boot sequence is set to CD rom before HD and make sure that the reinstall CD is in the drive. Setup will load, hit enter to reinstall XP. Your HD should now be detected and you should see the licensing agreement.

If you have your files backed up I reccommend deleting the partition and reformatting prior to installing XP, it will give you that option after the license agreement.

Once you have successfully reinstalled the OS, Dell reccommends that you change the SATA Operation setting back to RAID AUTODETECT / AHCI (or back to whatever your factory setting was) to avoid any problems with other IDE devices installed on your system.

Hope that helps!

Good luck!

I am having the same problem although I don't have the same options on SATA Operation. The only options I have are ON or OFF.

In case it matters I have a PowerEdge SC1420 that had Windows Server 2003 on it and I am trying to install Windows XP Pro instead.
Need Help Installing XP Pro

I have a Dell PowerEdge SC1420 with 3 Maxtor 74GB drives.

Right now the drives have been formatted and setup as RAID 5. When I try to install XP Pro I get a message that "Setup did not find any hard disk drive installed on your computer". Do I need to install 3rd party SATA drivers? If so I can't figure out which ones. I have searched the archives but nothing that I have read so far as worked.


Posts: 4,512   +66
jeepmann said:
I have a Dell PowerEdge SC1420 with 3 Maxtor 74GB drives.

Right now the drives have been formatted and setup as RAID 5. When I try to install XP Pro I get a message that "Setup did not find any hard disk drive installed on your computer". Do I need to install 3rd party SATA drivers? If so I can't figure out which ones. I have searched the archives but nothing that I have read so far as worked.

Yes, you'll likely need drivers. When you first beging the XP pre-install, it prompts you to "Press F6 to install 3rd party RAID drivers". You'll need to indeed press F6 and have your SCSI / SATA drivers on a floppy diskette.

To determine what drivers you need, you'll need to find out what controller you have. Your controller should have its own BIOS screen, which should list its model. Your RAID controller's BIOS screen should appear after your server's system BIOS screen.

I'm unsure what the PowerEdge SC1420 comes with by default and I'm sure it is customizable... But should list all of the drivers for all of the possible factory-installed options.
Top post, being trying to install WinXP on a Dimension 5150c for the last 90 mins!

This tip worked a treat.

u r great

i have fought with 2 seperate sata drives for this dell and have always had problems. i did exactly what u said in the bios and hot damn it worked. windows installed instead of giving the no hd available error. if your still around. have u had any problems dual booting linux on the dell with a sata. thats what im doing next. thanks bro.
You're a Genuis at 2.22 am

Thank you! It worked. I've been messing with this nonsense for a week now, and just found this posting... I registered say I really appreciate the help!! I also have a dell 8400, and knew if I called tech support, they would send me to india, and be of absolutly no help.

Im in big trouble. I was going to format my hard drive of my notebook (alienware notebook if that matters) when i discovered that my system did not recognize it. This is really weird because i was using it a year now and it was working fine. The message i get is this "Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your system".

Please help me. The hard drive i have is a Hitachi travelstar 7k60.
I have tried updating the drivers of the drive but nothing. I also tried to figure out what to do through the bios but didnt manage to do anything.I am really desperate now.
similar problem, slightly different, please help!

Hi there, my first post and I really need some help. Was doing a clean install of Windows XP, deleted all partitions and it started to install. Then it started displaying a message that it couldn't install a particular file, so I skipped it but it said the same for every file. I quit the setup and went to start again but now whatever I select in setup, it displays "Setup did not find any installed hard drives on your system." Now I cant get computer past initial screen as it requests that I put in the CD before I can do anything.

Computer is from about 2001 - 2002 and it isnt a dell, in case that helps.

All help much, much appreciated
no floppy in Compaq notebook to use F6

I have read many posts in this thread and searched several ways with no luck. I am trying to load the OEM SATA driver when using F6 at XP Pro setup but I do not have a floppy drive in the Compaq notebook. I have the controller but don't know how to make it available to setup. This all starts with the familiar error message. "Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your system"

I see mention of no floppy drive but can't locate the workaround.

Thank You for help or a link to the thread that help.

can't find hard drive fix

I came across an easy fix for this. In the bios disable the setting for SATA support. XP will then detect the hard drive and install normally.
Pachelbel9 said:

Thanks so much for the info! I was doing a google search for my Windows problem, and came across this post. I registered so I could thank you for the help.


Tyler - I have to add my thanks to the many on here too. Your info saved my sanity. I had a big hard drive failure last week. Just bought a new Raptor and couldn't get BIOS to recognise the drive. Was absolutely lost but after I found your post and it worked like a charm - my new drive is being formatted as I type ;-)

I wanted to register to post a note of thanks for posting this info and greatly helping out me (and many others) where Dell could not!

Hello! I do not currently own a dell computer, but I had a friend who made me one. At this moment I keep getting the "cannot find any hard drives" in the windows xp setup. My hard drive is a Seagate ST3250824AS 250 GB hard drive, and diskwriter does not work.

I looked for a SATA option in the BIOS, but I cannot find one. The only SATA option I can find is the one with the options of IDE and RAID. It was default set to RAID.

My other hard drive I installed to this comuter (maxtor) worked perfectly a year ago. I do not know how to solve this problem!

Please help me!
Dell 8400 won't see 250G Western Dig SATA Hard Drive

All hail tyleryoungblood! I actually joined this site just to say THANK YOU! I have a neighbor's Dell with a hard drive that code 7ed.... He brought me a new hard drive to install and damn if I didn't fight and fight to get it to see the hard drive. It wasn't until I stumbled upon this forum that I found the solution. If anyone is having this issue with Dell not finding SATA drives. Do what Tyleryoungblood did! I was ready to hang myself! Bravo Tyler!
Worked fine but...

lunaNM said:
hi! i had the same problem and followed the advice tyleryounglbood gave above. and it worked :D.

however, after installing the OS, if i try to change the SATA Operation setting back to RAID AUTODETECT / AHCI, windows won't start up anymore. it blue screens, reboots, and takes me to the screen where i have the options of safe mode, last known good configuration, start up windows normally, etc. none of which work, they just do the same thing.

the only information given is "We apologize for the inconvenience, but Windows did not start successfully. A recent hardware or software change might have caused this."

i did try to get the Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver, v., A01 from Dell's website here:, which says "at OS install time only", but again, i have no floppy drive, so i can't install it

if i can't rechange it to the factory setting, does it matter? i don't know much about computers so any advice you have is much appreciated. thank you!!

EDIT: i changed the SATA operation setting to: RAID AUTODETECT / ATA, and windows now boots for me :). so, this may be a really stupid question, but what is the difference between ATA and AHCI?

I have an issue still... I still can't get windows to boot normally. It boots to 2 options F1 to continue (which when chosen will boot just fine) and F2 for setup. Occaisionally I will get an options list where I have to choose safe mode or last known good etc etc... ALL I WANT is for Windows to boot NORMALLY. How do I set it to bypass the ANNOYING screen and boot directly into windows? I have fast or quick boot enabled in the BIOS. I have never in my life had such trouble adding a hard drive and installing an operating system EVER. Dell blows! Between the SATA drivers issue and the fact that the OEM cd doesn't give you the Ethernet Controller driver..... What a mess!

I used the combined mode and switched back to ATA (As Dell suggests) But still can't get it to boot normally. Whine whine whine! Am I missing a BIOS Option of some kind?
Hi. I'm having the same problem as in the original post of this thread. However, I'm running a Compaq Presario C301NR, and I don't think my drives are the same as yours. I took some photos. Hopefully someone can tell me which drives' settings I must change in order to erase the current partition, and create a new one. Thanks.






I have the same problem with my Sony Vaio PCG-8W2L (VGN-AR230G in bios), it's a big one 17", maybe someone saw it before...

WINXP setup error message: setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer. make sure any hard disk drives are powered on and properly connected to your computer, and that any disk-related hardware configuration is correct. this may involve running a manufacturer-supplied diagnostic or setup program.

PCG-8W2L (VGN-AR230G in bios) has no floppy and BIOS SATA Settings also, HDD: Fujitsu MHV2200BT, I did not touch any notebook parts. It just wont let me install windows xp eng sp2 from DOS, if somebody could help me to solve this unusual problem, I would be very happy!


Thank You for this post, i called and HP and they said we dont support it. If i didnt find this on the net i would of had to return this.

something as simple as changing a bios setting and they wouldnt tell me lol
It's done.

I resolved my problem by installing new version of windows xp on The Reanimator Cd from, there was SATA driver package. If someone need that winxp, please email me I will give you url to download it.
Thanks Tyler

Your answer continues to please into 2007. I wasted 2 days with Intel SATA drivers before I read your answer. Made me register to reply.
Thanks again