W2K setup unable to see drive partitions

By Heally · 4 replies
Aug 18, 2002
  1. W2K SP3
    AMD 1.33 GHz CPU
    ASUS A7M266 mobo
    512 MB RAM
    Win2000 Promise FastTrack 100 PCI Card Raid Controller
    Two 60 GB IBM Hard Drives in RAID 0 (Striped) configuration (i.e., the CPU thinks there is one 120 GB Hard Drive) formatted into two NTFS primary partitions (C (80 GB) + I (40 GB))
    PIONEER DVD-ROM DVD-105 [CD-ROM drive]
    PowerQuest Partition Magic 7.0
    (everything latest drivers, firmware, BIOS)

    When attempting to either repair or do a clean reinstall of W2K, the installation CD cannot see the two NTFS partitions (C + I) on my RAID configured hard drive. Since I want to do an emergency install to C from a backup file on I (which also contains the data files), obviously this won’t do.

    When attempting a clean reinstall, the first attempt failed with this message:

    “your computer’s startup program cannot gain access to the disk containing the partitions or free space you chose. setup cannot install W2K on this hard disk. disk not visible to the startup program unless special software is installed. contact your hard disk controller manufacturer”

    Underneath was indicated: “No hard drives”

    But remembering that earlier in the process, I was given an opportunity to load special hardware drivers, I rebooted and when prompted, loaded the RAID drivers from the Promise FastTrack floppy.

    This must have been successful because I did not get the above message about there being no accessible hard drives. Instead, I get the following:

    “the following list shows the existing partitioned and unpartitioned space on this computer.”

    “unknown 120 GB”

    And I am then given the choice of:

    “set up W2K in selected partition
    create a partition in unpartitioned space
    delete selected partitioned”

    However, when I attempted to select “create a partition” (just to see what would happen) there was no response. Furthermore, at the bottom of the screen, only the keyboard commands for “set up W2K” and “delete selected partition” are present.

    If I try to “set up W2K in selected partition” , I get the following message:

    "Setup cannot install W2K on this partition, but you can delete the partition and setup will create a new partition on which to install W2K."

    But this would mean loosing the unseen I partition and all it’s contents.

    Certainly, W2K setup should be able to install on a NTFS partition. But notice that after installing the Promise RAID drivers, even tho the hard drive is then visible, neither the C or I partitions show up – just an “unknown” 120 GB disk.

    When attempting a repair, and after loading the Raid drivers. I am given the same:

    “unknown 120 GB”

    Setup cannot find the OS and any commands that I try to enter in C:\ (which setup assumes is the drive where the OS must be even if it can’t see any partitions) produces the following:

    "The specified drive is not valid or there is no disk in the drive."

    So, the question is, why can't W2K Setup see the partitions. If loading the RAID drivers allows Setup to see the hard drive, why can't it see the partitions? Is there some other driver I should be loading along with the RAID drivers?
  2. sicarius

    sicarius TS Rookie Posts: 27

    You have to understand I use scsi drives and have done little with ide raid. It sounds like however that the partitions are blown. Maybe someone has a utility that can bring it back but I dont think 2K see it as NTFS anymore. Just some unknown file format which it refuses to load on. I hope someone can help you but I have had the same problem. Both drives show as optimal in the scsi bios but when 2k gets to repair or setup it doesnt recognize them. That is when I started running a third drive as a data drive that is formatted as fat32.

  3. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    when it said "press f6 to install drivers for a scsi or raid device" or something like that, did you put a floppy disk in with drivers for your controller? otherwise your partition tables on the drives will not been seen as an array and instead as unknown / damaged, etc....
  4. Heally

    Heally TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, I loaded the Promise RAID drivers from the floppy when asked.

    When I emailed Promise (they answered in 4 hours!) they suggested that the problem lies with Partition Magic. Here is their email:

    "I think the partitions were made by using different software than Win 2K. Once loaded, the controller drivers have nothing to do with partition issues. The raid drivers in the floppy are the only ones you have to load. There are some incompatibility issues with partition magic."

    In fact, I did make the partitions using Partition Magic. Does this mean that I should also be loading PM's drivers when W2K setup asks for additional controllers? Or is W2k setup simply unable to see PM partitions no matter what I do? If so I'm screwed
  5. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    I had a similar problem the first time I tried to install Linux on my system, in this case it turned out to be that that particular version did not like the partition table to have been created with fdisk and instead I had to use Windows NT's partitioning.

    I essentially had to back up all important data and then delete all partitions and then recreate them using a different system.

    In later times, with Linux advancing, I have not had this similar problem.

    I advice you to copy all data to another location and then delete all partitions and then recreate them with Windows 2000's installation process. Then when you need additional partitions create them with the disk administrator snap-in in the management console. Leave partition magic out of it.

    Good luck I hope that works because its gonna be a pain in the *** to do.
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