Vista to XP Pro, now can't access HDD?

By VikingDestroyer ยท 6 replies
Apr 4, 2008
  1. I recently "downgraded" back to XP Pro from Vista Ultimate Edition (too many programs I use that don't work properly, or are too slow with vista) anyways... I have 3 total harddrives in my pc, both my old IDE drives work fine.

    My problem lies in my Seagate 250gb... (sata) I had to go into Vista and initialize it to get it to work previously, but the problem is now in XP it's showing as "GPT Protective Partition" and I can't access it at all. It doesn't show a drive letter, and doesn't show up under my computer either.... The really disturbing thing is, it's showing as 100% free? In all actuality it's more like 70-80% free. I've read through some windows help files and they all seem to lead me to format it. It's my backup/media drive, I've got 7600 MP3's, 800 music videos and alot of zipped up programs and tons of family photos. Formatting isn't really an option at this point.

    I need all the help I can get, and going back to Vista might be inevitable at this point, but I'd rather avoid that if at all possible.
  2. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Did you see it in Disk manager? Maybe you need to assign a drive letter via Disk Manager.
    Start/rclick on My Computer/Manage/Disk Manager. If you can't see it in there, then "Houston we have a problem".

    If you do see it, then rclick on it and select "change Drive letter"
  3. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    I don't know what the best method is for dealing with this, but you should be able to access your data by either installing Vista on another partition, or, upgrading again to Vista. Once you have access to your data, back it up and then delete that partition in it's entirety. Create a new partition and install Windows XP there.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,975   +2,527

    Could it be......

    Vista can run a SINGLE SATA drive as SATA (ACHI mode) Any flavor of XP cannot. Have you tried changing the drive's mode to IDE
    in BIOS?
    An alternative might be to install another drive, install XP on it, and see if you can get your data back by installing the original drive afterwards as a "Volume". Remember to take the drive with Vista out of the boot order sequence.
  5. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,185   +469

    As captaincranky suggests, I believe the problem is the lack of SATA/RAID controller drivers. If I understand correctly, you installed Windows XP on one of the IDE drives. If so, all you should need to do to get the SATA hard drive to be recognized by Windows is to locate the appropriate SATA/RAID controller drivers and install them. It would be a little different if you were trying to install XP onto the SATA hard drive.

    Obtain the drivers from the motherboard manufacturer's website or if it is a manufactured PC (Dell, HP, etc.), then go to their website for the drivers.
  6. VikingDestroyer

    VikingDestroyer TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks for the input people (it's my first post here, I think I'm gonna like this place)

    but for the record, the HD does show up under disk manager, it doesn't however have a drive letter associated with it, it lists it as "healthy (GPT protective Partition)" and it's not listing a file system (NTFS/FAT) either... the only options when I right click on it are "properties" and "help" under properties all the info lists like my other hd's... I've got XP pro SP3, and on seagates website it states i shouldn't need to install drivers.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,975   +2,527


    I don't think any flavor of XP will let you re-partition a drive that has an operating system on it already. A full wipe and install would be called for.(For the creation of a new partition). You might have to resort to an after market partition manager such as "Partition Magic".

    No, you don't need SATA drivers in MOST cases to run a SATA HDD in XP. But, you do need to go into BIOS and set the drive to run as "IDE". As I said before XP won't run one SATA drive as SATA (ACHI mode). You must install SATA (RAID) at an F-6 prompt during a full, clean install of XP. If you try to install 2 SATA HDDs at one time many BIOS (es) will auto shift to expecting the RAID drivers. Some, (but not all BIOS (es) will auto-shift (configure) themselves to run the HDD to IDE mode and you'd never know it. Some, but not all.
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