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XP installation mystery on MSI K7N2 Delta2-LSR

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August 22, 2006 8:15:54 PM

Hi,

This will be a long post. I have installed windows on countless machines I've built myself but for this one it's not to be- this machine had been running for a while and then a HD failed (motor failure, got RMAed). Once the HD was replaced I set about re-installing windows (the failed HD contained the primary partition).

I have yet to successfully install windows, I have tried three different XP installation disks (pro, pro SP2 slipstreamed and home SP2). The whole system is healthy hardware-wise as I have tried processor and RAM (nothing wrong with PSU or GPU) in another system. After many failed attempts I managed to install windows XP pro SP2 on the hard disk in question while it was connected to another pc. I subsequently tried swapping this HD to the PC being repaired but the bootup didn't get past the XP splash screen. On two installation attempts after this (each time loading in the correct S-ATA drivers using a floppy and F6 during installation) either of these two things happened:

1. The two filed to be loaded off the floppy were initially loaded to help recognise the HD but after the partitioning/formating stage had read errors.

2. Installation went absolutely fine until the very end where you boot off your new XP installation for the first time. Here it would crash (reboot) and then upon reboot sugest safe mode, which also didn't work.

The S-ATA is a Promise chip and I' completely certain I have the right drivers.

Do you think there is something wrong with the mainboard (i.e. it was damaged when the HD failed) ? I couldn't image this though because it went through the whole installation without crashing.


I would REALLY appreciate some constructive comments as I'm about to despair on this repair job.

Thanks in advance.
August 22, 2006 8:45:54 PM

SATA drivers are not a real issue for windows installation: I installed XP Pro SP2 slipstreamed in many machines, with Promise and nVidia SATA controllers ALWAYS WITHOUT loading the drivers with the "F6 facility" and always went fine.
The drivers are needed only with RAID0 setup and with a few mobo.
I think your problem could be:
1. faulty CD/DVD drive (the one you use to install Windows)
2. damaged mobo, due to the HD failure.

Have you tried with another CD/DVD drive or connecting the HD on a different SATA channel?
You can't install Windows on the HD connected to another PC unless it has the same identical hardware as yours (at least CPU, mobo and GPU) and you connect the HD to exaclty the same SATA channel.
August 22, 2006 10:13:36 PM

Well I don't think the DVD drive is broken as it got through the whole installation before without any errors. I have tried not using F6 but then the HD isn't recognised. I have also tried both S-ATA channels.

I have a spare mobo I will give a try 2morro morning.
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August 22, 2006 10:54:49 PM

I have the same motherboard as you, how nice. Well all not nice, since I had to connect my cpu fan to the psu directly cause the motherboard wouldn't spin the fan on a consistant manner, besides having no holes for mounting a nice cpu fan and that problem, win xp installed just fine.
August 23, 2006 4:22:58 PM

Well, I've now tried installing on that HD using the spare mobo I have. It's also a K7N2 delta but without an S-ATA controller, so I added in a PCI controller (Silicon Image 3112) to be able to connect the HD. The inital stages of the XP installation work fine but as soon as its supposed to boot off the HD a blank screen just appears. I have tried setting the primary boot device to either HD-0 or SCSI but both produce the same problem. I have considered three solutions:

1. flash the mobo BIOS to *maybe* get PCI add-in card as a boot option in BIOS.
2. flash the PCI card BIOS, as it says on the SI website that the drivers should be used together with the latest BIOS. I have, however, tried flashing the PCI BIOS before and somehow the flashing utility was hideously complicated/didn't work.
3. Use the PCI S-ATA card in the other *supposedly* damaged mobo and hope it works/there is a PCI card boot option.


Any advice or suggestions?
August 23, 2006 8:09:48 PM

Quote:
return the sender


That comment is really helpful in this situation :roll:

Anyway, I've flashed the mobo BIOS to the latest version and it still won't boot off the S-ATA PCI card.

Any thoughts?
August 23, 2006 9:11:18 PM

Quote:
Well, I've now tried installing on that HD using the spare mobo I have. It's also a K7N2 delta but without an S-ATA controller, so I added in a PCI controller (Silicon Image 3112) to be able to connect the HD. The inital stages of the XP installation work fine but as soon as its supposed to boot off the HD a blank screen just appears. I have tried setting the primary boot device to either HD-0 or SCSI but both produce the same problem. I have considered three solutions:

1. flash the mobo BIOS to *maybe* get PCI add-in card as a boot option in BIOS.
2. flash the PCI card BIOS, as it says on the SI website that the drivers should be used together with the latest BIOS. I have, however, tried flashing the PCI BIOS before and somehow the flashing utility was hideously complicated/didn't work.
3. Use the PCI S-ATA card in the other *supposedly* damaged mobo and hope it works/there is a PCI card boot option.


Any advice or suggestions?


wow, I'm sorry you are having these problems, I have never had any HD communication problems with the board, been rock solid for 2+ years now.

I originally had an 80GB IDE HD that i originally used, now I have a 160GB SATA as the primary and the IDE as the secondary and still have no problems.

Are you 100% positive the HD isnt bad??? do you have an extra that you could use as the primary?
August 23, 2006 10:01:11 PM

What about any disks that came w/ the Sata hd?
August 23, 2006 10:05:57 PM

Quote:
Are you 100% positive the HD isnt bad??? do you have an extra that you could use as the primary?


I'd have to agree with PofoMofo, after reading the thread and all the steps taken/suggested a doa harddrive sounds like the most likely culprit. Try installing it on a spare if you can and see if it will work then. One other thing to try is different IDE and SATA cables for the optical drive and the hard drive, sometimes cables go bad too.
August 23, 2006 10:52:38 PM

The HD is straight out of Maxtor Europe (it's a replacement for the faulty one I RMAed) AND I have tried the same with a 160gb model which is in good working order (checked with Maxtor utilities very recently)- I have a couple more HDs to try (if you really feel the HD can be the only prob) but right now my perception of the problem is:

1. The mobo which was connected up when the first HD faulted was damaged slightly and therefore won't complete the installation process.
2. The second mobo won't co-operate with the PCI S-ATA controller, regardless of the BIOS.

Or are my on the wrong track here?
!