Hard Disk Gone Missing?
After booting from the Windows XP setup CD the blue setup screen appears and goes the through the usual process of installing it’s drivers. When you reach the Welcome Screen and choose to install Windows you are presented with the error “Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer” similar to the screenshot below.
Some Common Symptoms
- You are presented with the error message: Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer at the point in the setup where you are asked to press ENTER to “setup Windows XP now”
- You are presented with the error message Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer after pressing ‘R‘ to “repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console”
This error will appear most often when your hard disk is on an SATA or SCSI controller and Windows setup does not have a suitable driver. In most cases these days you won’t have a floppy disk either to load the drivers. There are a few ways to deal with this ranging from the very simple (hopefully says you!) to the long and somewhat difficult. See the solutions below for more.
Solution 1 – Set Your SATA Controller to Compatability/IDE/Standard Mode
- Enter your BIOS/Setup Utility
- Locate the Serial ATA or SATA configuration section
- I’ve seen this section called ‘On Chip Config’ on some Phoenix Award BIOS
- On Lenovo/IBM ThinkPads it’s in Config > Serial ATA (Sata)
- Change the mode of the SATA controller from AHCI to IDE or Compatibility
- Save & Exit
- Reboot and begin the Windows Setup again.
- If Windows Setup successfully detects your hard disk this time then go ahead and perform the Windows Setup.
- When Windows setup completes change the mode back to AHCI in the BIOS
- If your problem still exists after changing this option then change it back to AHCI and proceed to Solution 2 below.
Solution 2 – Load your SATA drivers using a Floppy Disk (or CD)
UPDATE JAN 2011 – Create A Custom Windows XP CD with your SATA drivers as an alternative to using a floppy disk. If you need help finding your SATA drivers see the article How To Find Your SATA Drivers
- If you already have a floppy disk drive in your computer then great, proceed to Step 2. If you don’t, click here to get one
- Go to either your computer manufacturers support website or if you have a custom build then go to your mainboards manufacturers support website and download the SATA driver package. Some popular manuafacturers are listed below:
- Extract the downloaded driver to a blank floppy disk
- DO NOT insert the floppy disk into the computer that you are attempting to run Windows Setup on
- Insert your Windows XP CD and start your computer, press any key to boot from CD if requested
- As soon as the blue setup screen appears press F6 on your keyboard. The message to press F6 will disappear and be replaced by a message requesting you to press F2 for ASR. Do NOT press F2 (web page).
- After the “Setup is loading files” part is complete you will be presented with the screen below
- Insert the floppy disk you created and press S to Specify Additional Device. Windows will load your driver and you can now continue Windows Setup as normal.