Problems Installing Win Vista Ultimate on eSATA Drive

By michaelper22 ยท 13 replies
Jun 18, 2008
  1. Thanks to Microsoft's Windows Feedback Panel program, I scored myself a free copy of Windows Vista Ultimate. Since I love Windows XP Pro so much, I refuse to format my computer's existing internal SATA drive, and there isn't enough room on there to dual boot from it.

    My idea is to install Vista Ultimate to a WD My Book Studio Edition drive, which has a huge array of inputs: USB 2.0, FireWire 400 and 800, and eSATA. My computer won't boot from FireWire 400 (and isn't equipped with 800), and the Vista installer won't install to a USB-connected disk, so I'm left with eSATA.

    Once I got the drive running, I immediately formatted the drive with an extended partition and a single logical drive, which the installer didn't like. After noting the message below the drive list in the installer, I reformatted the drive with a single primary (if that's what it's called) partition. The installer complained about that too. I tried repartitoning the drive in the installer, to no avail.

    At this point, I know that the drive is physically connected properly, and otherwise working. Is there some secret to partitioning the drive? How does one go about doing a clean install on a blank drive?
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    I would boot up in XP and remove any existing partitons and do not recreate any. Then boot up off of the Vista install disk and choose your eSATA drive. I would think Vista should install there without any problems. I know my eSATA drive (just a WD drive in a Calvary enclosure) actually plugs into a port on the back of my computer (like a PCI slot) and then the wire runs directly to an internal SATA connection, so as far as my computer can tell that eSATA is just an internal drive.
  3. insoman

    insoman TS Booster Posts: 102

    stop trying to partition the drive
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    You have to partition to do much of anything with the drive. Its just that the Vista install should recognise an unpartitioned drive and partition/format and begin the install without you having to specifically set it up yourself.
  5. insoman

    insoman TS Booster Posts: 102

    then the problem probably lies with the drive. You say it has all kinds of connections? but is it boot aware? if you know what I mean. Do the instructions say you can boot from it. obvious I know but sometimes...
  6. michaelper22

    michaelper22 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    The BIOS recognizes the drive, and definitely is capable of booting from it when connected via SATA, because two things happen when I boot the machine with the drive connected:

    1) The drive is listed in the boot devices list in the BIOS setup.
    2) My computer's BIOS shows a list of bootable devices (and will even show connected USB flash drives) when I press Esc at the initial logo screen, and the drive shows up there.

    The drive is connected via an eSATA expansion bracket, which is simply a female eSATA connecter mounted on a PCI-sized plate. The eSATA connector leads to a plain ol' SATA port on the motherboard. This is similar to SNGX1275's setup.

    I did make some progress: I inserted the Vista DVD while running XP, and was able to select the new eSATA drive. However, after I clicked the almighty Install button, the installer started writing stuff to my original internal drive that XP is running from, at which point I canceled the installation. The self-contained installer still refuses to install to the new drive.

    Is there a guide that explains every option and error in the Vista installer?
  7. insoman

    insoman TS Booster Posts: 102

    you should set the BIOS to NOT see the other drives as in set to 'uninstalled' or dont use the auto drive setting (if you know what I mean) for the others. So it can only recognise that one drive.
  8. michaelper22

    michaelper22 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Vista does indeed see the drive, which is not the problem. What I'm having trouble with is getting the drive formatted so that Vista will be willing to install to it.

    In other words: The BIOS detects the drive, Vista detects the drive, but Vista doesn't like the way it's formatted. Right now, there are no partitions whatsoever.
  9. insoman

    insoman TS Booster Posts: 102

    after using Windows Home Server you can never use the drive for an operating system so I've heard. Has It been used for something similar?
  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    That is incorrect insoman. I ran a legal beta of WHS on a machine, then later wiped it and ran something else.

    Perhaps what you heard is if you put a drive in a WHS machine it becomes dedicated to WHS and you can't go around storing other files on it.
  11. michaelper22

    michaelper22 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    I have indicated that this drive has been used with no OS before installing Vista. Please do not make assumptions.

    Anyway, the problem didn't relate to how I partitioned the drive.

    I read on another forum that if you have connected to the system any drives that Vista doesn't like (ie. USB hard drives, some types of RAID controllers, etc.), then it may refuse to install to certain partitions.

    One of the drives that I use with my system is a WD My Book Essentials, connected via USB. Vista obviously refused to install to this USB-connected drive, but it didn't occur to me or many others that having it connected would block out installation to a "legit" SATA-connected drive.

    There's a first time for everything. ;)

    Now I need to get connected to my wireless network under Vista, but that's a whole 'nother story (and will be reserved for a new topic in the forums).

    Topic may be closed.
  12. insoman

    insoman TS Booster Posts: 102

    actualy: quote from PCPro 'Once removed you cannot simply reattach the drive to the pool without formatting it' 'or read it from a standard Windows environment'
  13. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    LOL, well that is quite different from never being able to use the drive again like you originally said.
  14. insoman

    insoman TS Booster Posts: 102

    the almighty insoman strikes again :D
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...