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Windows XP can't find hard drive

By rdjlewis ยท 8 replies
Apr 13, 2012
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  1. I have monitored some past posts and haven't found a solution yet. I am rebuilding an older desktop to get it back running. I have formatted and partitioned the had drive (thru another computer), installed it into my desktop. During the windows XP install it indicates that the hard drive can't be found. I installed the drivers disk and made the Raid driver required and installed it and got the same result. I can't seem to get the hard drive located to install windows on it.
    P4 computer
    windows XP SP1
    and all system disks from Dell that came with the system. Any ideas????
    looking for a solution to get windows installed and up and running. Don't want to spend a large amount of time and money as this is an older desktop. Thanks
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Bad hard drive, or bad install.
    You are using Service Pack 1. Windows XP only works on the first 133 GB of a hard drive. You may need a Windows Disk with Service pack 2 or 3 to propertly detect and format the hard drive if larger than 132 GB... Or use a non-Dell version of Windows XP.
    The product ID on the Windows sticker will still enable the enstall if you have a borrowed OEM disk of Windows XP.
  3. rdjlewis

    rdjlewis TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks Rayban

    I am using the original 80 Gb hard drive and have partitioned it on another computer which shows that it is a healthy hard drive with no errors. I bet my problem is the OEM disk with SP1 on it. I will try the suggestion of using a later copy of XP. THANKS A BUNCH....
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    If the drive is 80 GB and nor more than four years old, the problem is likely not with service pack 1. I would take another close look at everything. Or, put the drive in another computer and remove the partition. Then start over in the chosen computer, installing the partition, then formatting the drive, then installing Windows. There are many times when switching the drive after it has been formatted in another computer will give you trouble, if the Windows XP disk is not an OEM version, but rather a manufacturers version... varies too much to predict.
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    If its 80 gig, you are likely dealing with a PATA/IDE drive. You mentioned partitioning with another computer. Was the drive on its own channel then? If it was the 2nd drive on one channel (and you used Windows or Linux) to partition it, then the drive would have had to be jumpered to CS or SL. If you didn't switch the jumper back to MA when putting it in the Dell computer, then that is your problem.

    So in summary, make sure your jumper is set right.
  6. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 861   +50

    This wouldn't happen to be an old Dell Dimension 5100c would it? For my Dell 5100c when it was built back in 2005, it shipped standard with a 80 Gig SATA drive. When I go about installing my copy of Windows XP Professional, I have to advise the setup to install the required "third party raid drivers" by pushing F6 when asked. I install my hard drive drivers during the setup off of a diskette drive, if the same is true for you, you might have to figure out a way to install said driver off of a USB flash drive, if your system doesn't already have a diskette drive. Also the raid or hard drive driver allows the setup to see all of the hard drive, not just a slice, but the whole thing! I had to go to the Dell web site, look up my model number, pick the operating system that was to be in use and download the required driver there.
  7. rdjlewis

    rdjlewis TS Rookie Topic Starter

    This is a dell 8400 and the Dell site might be a good resource. Thanks
  8. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 861   +50

    Ah, very good, didn't know what the 8400 was off the top of my head, had to Google it. It looks remarkably almost identical to an older model Dell Dimension 3000 I used to have, except yours looks a little more graceful, with those swooping air intake slits on the front. Where my old one had nothing pretty going on with it, just looked like an ugly brick! Plus the images i saw of the inside of your rig, to me it looks like a lot of evolution of the computer happened between the 3000 and the 8400, your systems innards appear to be more spacious and user friendly. Plus my old 3000 wasn't very upgradable, Pentium 4 "non hyper threaded" at 2.8 Gig's single core, only could handle max. 2 gig's of RAM, 32MB video adapter off the board, only a couple USB ports and buggy as all get out! Glad that system went to meet it's maker!

    But yeah, keep checking in with the Dimension side of Dell's web site, even for the older systems, Dell surprises me from time to time by adding new stuff. Might as well get your stuff direct from it's source, rather than rolling the dice with so called third party driver finder programs, which suck. Get it straight, get it legit, get it all from Dell.

    Hope everything panned out! ;)
  9. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    You may be able to avoid the whole issue by going into the BIOS setup (should be the F2 key.. just tap it a few times during the first screen you see with the Dell logo). Under the system setup options you'll see something like "disk controller" or "drive controller". Make sure you avoid any option that says AHCI, enhanced or RAID.

    The option that Windows XP can pick up automatically without any drivers or fuss will be called "compatible", "standard", "ATA" or "IDE".

    Change it to that mode and your XP disc ought to pick it up without issue. If the problem persists, you almost certainly have a hardware issue (an issue with power, data cable or the drive controller itself).

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