Installing XP Pro over Vista: No hard drive found?

By 2furious ยท 11 replies
Oct 6, 2008
  1. I have a new VAIO laptop with Vista Home. I want it gone. I downloaded all of the XP drivers from Sony, purchased a copy of XP Pro, and then worked up the motivation yesterday to reformat the notebook's OS, without the convenience of MS DOS.

    I followed the procedure in this thread:

    When I got to the point where I would need to format a partition, Setup told me something to the effect of, Setup cannot locate a hard drive on this computer. What am I doing wrong? Please help!


    Closed-minded Vista Hater
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Dear Closed-minded Vista Hater

    Before you get to the point of formatting the drive
    Select remove the partition instead (probably 64bit)

    Or if it still says cannot find HardDrive
    locate the HardDrive cover (and usually one screw)
    Pull it out (with Power and main battery out)
    Then hold down the ON switch for 30secs (dispersing all internal power)
    Then put the HardDrive back in
    Then put the power back in

    Then refer above to remove the partition during Xp install again
  3. snoogans

    snoogans TS Rookie

    Also possible that the WinXP pro disc does not have the SATA drivers included (happened with some Toshiba M9's we have).

    If so, use nLite (hmm, I can't post links...look for nliteos dot com) to remake the XP disc, pre-installing the Sony drivers in the process.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    You're right :grinthumb
    Damn I should've said that

    Just look up your Brand and model number at your Manufacture's support driver page, and download the Dos Sata driver
  5. tengeta

    tengeta TS Enthusiast Posts: 612

    Also make sure your BIOS settings don't have the option "Virus Protection on Boot Disk", "Lock MBR Settings" or something along those lines on. Can't say how many times that one throws me off.
  6. 2furious

    2furious TS Rookie Topic Starter

    You're all great, and thank you! I will work with your pointers and let you know what works. Hopefully I'll have some time to do this tomorrow.

    Thanks again!
  7. gguerra

    gguerra TS Guru Posts: 319

    You may not need the sata drivers. some bios have the option to make the sata drives "act" like ide or in other words make them native. check your bios
  8. 2furious

    2furious TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Vista bye-bye. Welcome to XP...BUT WAIT!!

    This was the issue. It also required the purchase of an external floppy drive LOL (which I'll be returning tomorrow).

    NEW PROBLEM: My factory-installed Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 ABG Wi-Fi card is nowhere to be found! Although Sony's OEM drivers for XP for my model do not include the driver for the wireless card, I found it easily enough on Intel's website. However, the card itself is not showing up in Device Manager, so I don't have anything for which to update the driver.

    Why would the card not be recognized when it is clearly XP-compatible (Intel has drivers for it for all XP versions)??

    Could this be because I have not updated Service Packs on XP??

    Would appreciate any ideas, again. Thanks!


    Guy at Starbucks With No Wi-Fi
  9. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    For Windows Xp (No Service Pack)
    For Windows Xp Service Pack1
    Yes this is a possibility

    By the way, did you remove the Partition during the Xp install? (Because I'd say definately required)
  10. 2furious

    2furious TS Rookie Topic Starter



    1. Download correct Intel Wireless driver from:

    2. Unzip the downloaded folder. Create a new folder on your desktop. Move all
    of the unzipped files here.

    (In Windows XP)
    Control Panel > System (Hardware tab) > Device Manager
    Scroll down list to yellow ?uestion-mark (usually at 'Other devices'), click + sign
    Right-click unknown device, then click Properties
    Click 'Update driver', select 'From specific location (advanced)', 'Next'
    Choose specify path/file (browse)
    Choose folder you created. Windows should pick the right .inf file from the folder.
    Click next, finish.
    The device should work now and move to 'Network Adapters' in Device Manager.
    Usual wireless network pop-up balloons should now appear.

    Hope this helps anyone. Thanks again to kimsland and everyone.


    So Fresh So Clean White VAIO
  11. 2furious

    2furious TS Rookie Topic Starter

    P.S. Yes, I did remove the partition during the XP install, and I did update every last stinking Windows Service Pack, Security Update, etc, etc, before my task was complete ;)
  12. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Thanks for your info (well known anyway) but good to hear you found it.

    Also in future do not post twice in a row, use the Edit button instead

    Thanks for the update :grinthumb
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