Vista won't install on SATA hard drive.

I just built my new system, and this is my first time working with a SATA drive (a Western Digital WD3200AAKS), so I came here to make sure I'm not missing something really stupid. The system boots up fine, the bios sees and identifies the hard drive correctly, and it shows up as a master on the first IDE channel. The Vista installer is also able to see the drive, and lets me attempt to install on it. However, I consistently get errors right after the "Extracting Files" step reaches 100%. A couple different errors have occurred, but the most common one is the "Could not install offline locale information" error. I believe the problem to be the hard drive for 2 reasons:

1.) I also tried to install XP pro on the drive. After the first re-boot (when the "blue screen" installing finishes), the system got stuck in an infinite re-booting cycle.

2.) I popped in my old IDE hard drive, and Vista installed the first time with no problems.

I left the SATA drive connected, and can still see it in Vista. I formatted it overnight and am now running Vista's error checking tool to see if it spots anything. The confusing thing about all this is that almost everything indicates the drive is working properly...except when I'm trying to install Windows.


My best estimate is that it did take over an hour to format the drive (which is why I left it overnight). Is this normal for a 320GB SATA drive?
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  1. Yeah, all purchased from

    I did find something interesting though. I just ran the WD Lifeguard Diagnostic tool on the drive. The test failed immediately (during the cable test) and said I needed to check the cables. I switched out the SATA cable, and it still won't pass the test. Does this mean I have a faulty drive?
  2. Have trued a different connection the mobo? Very possible the drive is bad
  3. Yes, it is normal for a format to take this long.

    There are two types of format if using NTFS - quick, and normal. Quick takes about 2-3 minutes, normal takes up to several hours depending on your disk speed and size. My WD2500KS (250GB 16MB SATA2) take around 40 minutes for a full format.

    As the other guys have said, try the drive in another computer. If it still fails, get an RMA or try to switch for a new one at Newegg. It its a problem with your computer, try

    -Using another SATA port - it may be a dodgy connection on your motherboard
    -A hi-quality sata cable with locking latches
    -BIOS update
  4. Hey try bios update like the last guy suggested. I did my first build about 6 months ago and ran into the same infinite reboot cycle with XP. Took changing a few settings in the bios and it straightened everything out.
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