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Big problems w/ XP install, hard disk not detected

Last response: in Windows XP
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October 12, 2008 11:35:44 AM

Hey all... I love these Internets. When Dell seems committed to destroying my computer one step at a time, it's always good to know that the good folks at Tom's Hardware are there. Before anything else, thanks in advance for any help.

Okay. I just purchased a Dell XPS 630i. Here are the specs:

Q9450 Intel Core 2 Quad
Not sure of the motherboard, but I'm fairly certain it's an nVidia
2x 7200rpm 500gb hard drives (model number st3500630as)
4x1GB DDR2 RAM
BD-ROM


This is my first new PC purchase in a long time and I'm new to some of its internal workings, particularly RAID. After reading on it a bit, I decided to get rid of the RAID array so I could free up both HDs for use. A Dell "tech support" rep advised me to delete the RAID array from the setup menu during Windows startup and simply reinstall the OS. I followed the instructions as far as the installation, only to be halted when I received the error message "hard disk not detected."

A call back to Dell resulted in them telling me I'd need to purchase a floppy drive and install the drivers manually. I'm not inclined to spend more money on a problem that Dell was kind enough to create for me. Then I read about a process called "slipstreaming." I downloaded nLite, ripped my Windows install and went about inserting two nVidia drivers straight from Dell's site - one under "SATA Drives," the other under "Chipset" - into my installation. Everything seemed to work fine on that end, but I'm still getting the 'not detected' error message during install. I know the nVidia drivers are there since they are among the drivers copied during the initial setup for installation. Anyone have any ideas about what I'm doing wrong?
October 12, 2008 11:43:06 AM

I'm feeling sheepish now. I had deleted the RAID array from RAID setup during boot, but I hadn't realized that RAID also needs to be disabled in the BIOS setup screen. Just disabled RAID on all SATA drives and now the install seems to be running smoothly. Once again, TH solves all. This time, without even raising a finger. =) Thanks again... I love this site.
December 1, 2008 12:12:06 AM

I know you fixed your issue geminibros, but I thought I would throw in my solution when I had the same issue. I was not using RAID or making changes to the OS, so just a standard install (on a DELL machine, no less!) on a new SATA HDD as the old one was dead. Install disk would start to load then eventually come to "No Hard Drive could be detected...check configuration...make sure its plugged in...blah, blah, blah".

Went to BIOS and checked the RAID config. Changed from use RAID AHCI to RAID ATA.

Voila! Issue fixed. Formatting to NTFS as I type.

Just thought I would give an alternate resolution if RAID is not being used.
!