No HDDs recognised for fresh windows install

By jb444 ยท 10 replies
Dec 8, 2006
  1. Hi all,
    While trying to install windows afresh on my pc, by loading smartdrv.exe then winnt.exe from a 98 boot disk (for some unknown reason my computer wont boot from cd/dvd drives), as soon as the first blue screen loads it says a drive with at least 477MB of storage is needed. I have two hdds (160gb, 320gb). They are recognised on the first screen when i power on the pc.
    I ran fdisk to see if formatting c: would help, but it only comes up with one drive, ~25GB in capacity. I have no such drive in the pc.
    I have installed windows before this way and it worked fine. I have tried unplugging the 2nd hdd, switching sata cables and using sata port 2 and 3 instead of 0. The computer boots up fine off the hdd with windows on, but i have had a few bsods(will get minidump of pc and post asap), mostly when copying files between the hdds.
    Any help gratefully recieved,
    Thanks for reading,
  2. vintwala

    vintwala TS Rookie


    I think you should frist try doing a low level format(write 0's) on one Hardrive. Then install a fresh copy of Win xp on it. You can use the Win 98 bootdisk, but its not needed if you have a bootable Win xp cd. I recommend using just one simple cd rom, if you have one, to install Win xp.

    Once you install a fresh copy of windows xp on the formatted HDD, then you can put in the other CD/DVD roms and also put in the second HDD and do a low level format on that one aswell. This should avoid the BSOD's. If BSOD's still appears after this, then I recommend replacing the memory. Because that was the problem for one of my friends once.

    My recommendations are, start simple and then add more as you move up.

    Hope this helps.
  3. jb444

    jb444 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 100

    Thanks for the advice,
    However, fdisk only recognises a 28GB hdd (that dosent exist), so I cant format the c: drive from the win98 boot disk.
    I cant run windows setup and format that way because to start the setup it needs to recognise the hdd.
    Any ideas?
  4. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    you can only start from XP cd

    Win98 could never access drives, let alone format drives of the size you have, nor can it format in NTFS which is very desirable for XP (although not essential). That is why you see drives of odd sizes - there is numerical overflow in Win98 dos trying to calculate the number of sectors.

    With a Win98 boot disk, you cannot therefore, even begin the setup you require.

    You must find out how to boot from an XP install CD. Do you know how to enter the bios at switch-on, to set the boot order of your devices? If not, then there is your answer.
  5. nativ2006

    nativ2006 TS Rookie

    You should enable in your boot" Large Hard disc support" (In every boot it called in other way)
  6. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Hang on, is it Win XP or 98 you are trying to install ? If the latter, you may have trouble using the whole drive, certainly check out before you start to see if your motherboard supports 48 bit (I assume it must). And for Win98 check out which makes clear you will not be able to use more than 137Gb and must partition your large drive and use Intel Application accelerator (or other large-drive software support) with Win98.
  7. jb444

    jb444 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 100

    Yeah, i have tried setting it to boot from cd/dvd. It says:
    "Boot from CD/DVD
    Boot from CD/DVD"
    Then just loads windows as normal
    It is windows XP im trying to reinstall.
    Mobo definately supports 48 bit
    The only way i could get it to load the windows CD for the initial install of windows was to run D:\I386\winnt.exe from a win98 boot disk. (The first time i installed it it recognised the hard drive fine, I never found out why the system wouldnt boot from CD)
    Could it be a hardware problem on the motherboard? This computer has always been funny about ide devices (Blue screens on adding an IDE hdd to a separate IDE connector and when copying large files between hardware, the hard drives come up on the safely remove hardware thingy in windows, wont boot from CD)
    On blue screens it dosent perform the memory dump, just waits a few seconds then restarts so no chance of minidump.
    Sorry about slow reply, been really ill the last few days,
    Thanks for all the responses,
  8. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    very likely hardware problem

    Your symptoms certainly are very suspicious. Your PC seems to think IDE is a removable media. I think you might well have a faulty motherboard. At least try the latest possible Bios update. Ensure you are using master and slave pins correctly on the CD drives, and are identifying slot 1 and slot 2 of the IDE connectors correctly. Have you any IDE special drivers installed? The motherboard might need drivers (like a via-chipped board will need a sort of all-in one driver package, but that does upgrade IDE channels to support more than they will just natively).

    Look at the hardware advanced settings for IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers in Device manager, and you should see what transfer mode is set, like Ultra DMA mode 2 (it will also tell you which channel is which), then go on to the devices themselves.

    Short of an actual faulty motherboard, the one thing I can think of is a resource conflict with some other device, like a video card etc. You might spot this by looking at the channel device properties/resources.

    Am I right in thinking your HDDs are exclusively on SATA channels, and only CD/DVD are on IDE channels, one to each channel, in which both CD's would need to be master devices.

    Symptoms such as you describe can be caused by telling the bios (via switches) things that are not true!

    There is a setting to prevent automatic restart after a blue screen, mentioned several times recently, cant remember what it is, but should be easy for you to find.
  9. jb444

    jb444 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 100

    Ok, from the top:
    Checked and rechecked slave/master on CD and DVD. Both CD and DVD are on IDE channel 1 and yes, HDDs are exclusively SATA.
    I have no special IDE drivers installed, but I downlaoded the latest edition of the all in one package kind of thing (mobo is GA-M55Plus-S3G).
    After posting this I will check out the CDs that came with the CD and DVD drives and install the drivers from them if there are any.
    Sorted the memory dump, will report back any progress and have a look at the things you mentioned.
    Thanks for taking the time to write,
  10. jb444

    jb444 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 100

    Transfer mode is Ultra DMA Mode 2, I checked all devices and all showed no conflict (that was with 1 hdd plugged in, will try 2 tomorrow when ive got a bit of free time).
    Checked all mobo jumpers with manuals, all in order.
    Thanks agaqin,
  11. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    incompatibilities with SATA and CD

    use the search facility on this site for 'problems with sata and cd' and discover your problem is not unique !

    There might well be an answer for you amongst all those posts !
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