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XP install / SATA problems.

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October 26, 2009 5:36:12 PM

First post here, so hello!

Cutting a long story short, due to the fact I just wrote pretty much an essay then didnt select a sub-category which made me lose my question, I am in need of some help regarding a new SATA drive.

Specs :

MSI Neo P965
Intel 1.8ghz Dual Processor
4GB RAM
x950XT 256MB
SEAGATE BARRACUDA 7200 250GB

So I bought this new SeaGate hard drive after my other one failed.. When I first booted the PC with this new hard drive, it was detected in POST, and all looked fine as i went onto the Windows XP install screen, however, it would see the drive and ask me to format it or press enter to install windows. This is where the errors started, as randomly, it will now either find the drive then give me an error after I attempt to format it, or not detect it atall in the windows installation and give me the usual "hard disk not detected please check cables etc " crap.

So obviously im thinking its a SATA driver problem (Which is strange as my last hard drive I bought was a MAXTOR SATA and it worked just as i plugged it in (a few years ago tho!) So im thinking its a SATA driver issue? im desperately looking around University for a PC that has a bloody floppy drive on it so I can install Mobo drivers through the F6 method but am struggling to find a PC with a drive on it!

Whats strange tho, is that randomly the Bios will detect the Hard drive (and dvd drive obviously) in POST, but once again, when it comes to installing XP its just a series of problems!

I have chkdsk in recovery console, and also format c: in recovery console.

Am I right in thinking I have to ust get the mobo drivers installed some way or another or would it be possibly to just intergrate them onto a new XP disk using one of my housemates laptops? thanks.

More about : install sata problems

a c 126 G Storage
October 26, 2009 5:46:33 PM

You only need drivers if you are using RAID, or AHCI under windows XP. You do not need any additional drivers if you are using a Serial ATA harddrive with Windows XP in the "IDE" setting. This setting is in your BIOS:

AHCI/RAID/IDE

AHCI = native SATA, use it on Vista/Win7 and any modern OS
IDE = compatiblity mode, use it on MS-DOS and Windows XP and other old OS
RAID = for RAID arrays, where you need to press F6 during install and use a driver

Also, did you check your cables? Tried a different SATA power/data cable? Does your power supply have native SATA power connectors (the black ones) or using the older 4-pin Molex power cables?

Anyway: you do not need drivers for a plain harddrive.
October 26, 2009 7:08:52 PM

Well now you have me confused as what ive been reading up on this problem has told me that its a driver issue...


Ive just now checked my cables, the SATA cable is plugged fine into the motherboard and the power supply is plugged in fine too (its cable tied so hard to see exactly) ...

I disconnected and reconnected the SATA cable back into the 1st slot in the motherboard and on the next boot it was "Detecting drives please wait"...Subsequently it came up with my DVD drive AND Hard Driver in the POST but then goes onto the next page where I get the error (Without XP Disc in Of course) saying;

PXE-E61: Media Test Failure, check Cable
PXE-M0F: Exiting PXE ROM
Invalid partition table.


From this point all I can do is CTRL ALT DEL to restart PC..

Where as when I boot from Disk, windows will allow me to accept the liscensing Agreement, get to "select a partition to install windows" there I have the 240gb or so C: and an 8mb partition... When I click Enter to setup on the C: I get the error.

"An error occured while setup was updating partition information on : 238473MB Disk 0 at ID 0 on bus 0 Atapi [MBR] . Setup cannot continue To quit setup press F3.

So, I reboot the PC, and then the Hard Drive DOESNT show up during POST...And all ive done is rebooted straight after that error...Is it a faulty drive or what??

this is really frustrating me to the hills and back!
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October 26, 2009 7:11:52 PM

Also, in Bios, the only options I can find for anything along the lines of IDE, RAID, SATA etc is the "IDE/RAID Control" option in "on Chip Ata Devices" menu....and that is already set to IDE. Sorry for another edited post. But just to let you know.. When I first installed XP on this new hard drive, it seemed all was working well untill i got the "hall.dll missing or corrupt" on reboot, so that obviously caused me to format it...Just another bit of Info for anyone who can help me, cheers.
a b G Storage
October 26, 2009 7:46:19 PM

Hate to say friend, but if a different SATA cable does not help (yes try another one, you can get a bad one!) your new drive may have a problem. If you have the controller in IDE mode, there should be no problems. 1 other thing to check, is your board SATA 1? If so, it may be one of the few that you need to set a jumper on the drive to make it SATA 1 compatible. Check your drive documentation to see if it has this option, most SATA 2 drives do. However, you may need to find a cap for the jumper, they don't always include those anymore.
a c 126 G Storage
October 26, 2009 7:49:12 PM

The PXE error is about trying to boot from the network, probably because it couldn't find your HDD. So this is no driver problem but a hardware issue in all likelyhood.
October 26, 2009 7:53:02 PM

Thanks for the help..What I just dont understand is the fact its showing the drive as there in Windows Setup (and POST most times!) but it wont let me delete the main partition for some reason. Then it just acts as if the disk has vanished. But then if i move the slot its in the drive will show up again, but eventually give me the same error when im attempting to delete the partitions or install windows!!!! GRRRR!!!

Im just flipping confused! as surely there should not be an 8mb partition along with the rest of the 250gb should there? isnt that a sign that windows is installed on the drive already (not that it is!!) but could the hard drive of possibly just broken due to the crappy 1st install???

might just cry myself into my student debts if I have to buy another drive!!
a c 329 G Storage
October 26, 2009 8:02:12 PM

In your BIOS, go into Integrated Peripherals (I think) and look for where you set up the SATA ports. Check that they are Enabled to start. Then look at how to set the mode. Usually there are up to four choices: IDE (or PATA) Emulation), native SATA mode, AHCI, or RAID. Sometimes the SATA, AHCI and RAID modes are lumped together. What's going on is that Win XP in all versions does NOT know how to use SATA without having you add drivers in. And that can be done when installing XP if you have the drivers on a floppy. HOWEVER, most BIOS's have a simple way to escape that. IF you set your BIOS to the IDE (or PATA) mode, it will make that actual SATA drive appear to Win XP as an older IDE drive it understands fully, and then you're home free! THAT is how you can use SATA drives in XP without adding in a SATA driver.

NEXT make sure that your Boot Priority is set to use the optical drive first, then your SATA drive, and then nothing else. Save and Exit the BIOS Setup to boot your machine. Make sure your Windows XP Install disk is in the optical drive.

Once you've done that and start the Install process, the first thing to do is Delete any old Partitions you find on the drive unit. My understanding is this is a new drive with NOTHING on it that you want to save. However, it appears you've already tried a couple times to install XP, so there just might be partially-created Partitions sitting around that you wan to get rid of. AFTER you are down to NO Partitions on the drive, go ahead and have Win XP create a new Primary Partition to boot from and install XP on it. IF your install disk includes SP1 or later, you can choose to make this Partition any size you like, up to the full size of the HDD unit. BUT, IF the version of XP you have to install is the original one (no Service Packs included on the Install Disk), your will NOT be able to make the entire 500 GB drive into one big C: drive. It will be limited to making a boot Partition (to be used as C:)  no more than 128 GB. After you finish the install in that case, update your Windows to the latest version (SP3). Then use the Disk Manager to create another (one or more) Partition(s) in the Unallocated Space that was not used for C:, format them and use as data drives with their own separate letter names.
a c 329 G Storage
October 26, 2009 8:08:34 PM

You could have a bad drive, all right. But it is a new one, so it should be covered by warranty. However, if you want ti replaced as faulty, the first thing Seagate Tech Support will ask is that you check it out with their testing utilities. And that's a good thing for you to do, anyway, so you can decide what is really wrong. They are free.

Go to the Seagate Website and look for Seatools. There's a version you download and install on a floppy drive if you have one. There should be another you download and burn to a CD. Either way you boot from the disk you made and it loads a mini-DOS from which you can run all sorts of test diagnostics on your drive to tell you what's wrong. If it detects and error, take notes so you can tell Seagate Tech Support what it says. That's how you justify a warranty replacement on a bad drive.
October 26, 2009 8:19:19 PM

Hello paperdoc, and thanks for the help. I will definately sort out a floppy of the Seagate tool tomorrow (as everyone in my house are laptop users and dont have floppy drives)

Referring back to your first post,

BIOS is and has been set to IDE already..and the only choices I get in that option is RAID / IDE / Disable.

When going into the "Standard CMOS Features" section of the BIOS, my IDE Ports from Primary Master to Fourth Master all say "none" and i cant seem to do anything to change that...Does it have anything to do with it do you think?
a c 329 G Storage
October 27, 2009 3:02:13 PM

A lot of current mobos (maybe yours, too) have both IDE and SATA ports on them. When you choose the BIOS option to have the SATA ports emulate an IDE device, the BIOS often will label that SATA drive as a "Master" on a numbered IDE port that is not physically there. For example, it may show IDE0 port Master and Slave units if you actually have drives on the real IDE port. If there is only one true IDE port, then the SATA ports set to emulation mode will start to show up as IDE1 Master, IDE2 Master, etc. (IF your mobo actually has a second true IDE port, it will occupy the IDE1 ports number with potential Master and Slave.) NOTE that once you get to SATA ports pretending to be IDE's, they ALL will have Masters and no Slaves, because each SATA port only can have ONE device on it.

In your case I gather the drive you are trying to use is a SATA unit and its port is already set to IDE Emulation mode. Then I suggest you verify four other settings.
1. Assuming you have NO real IDE devices, make sure the IDE ports are Disabled.
2. IF you really do have true IDE device(s), ensure that port is Enabled, then check that Master and Slave are set up correctly (see #3 below).
3. IDE jumper settings: On EACH true IDE port (you may have one or two) if it is used at all, there MUST be one device with its jumpers set to Master, and this unit should be plugged into the END connector of the ribbon cable. IF you also have a second device plugged into the middle connector, its jumpers MUST be set to Slave. If you have a mix of HDD and optical drive on one port, use the HDD as Master and the optical drive as Slave. There is one alternative for jumper settings: you can set BOTH devices' jumpers to "CS" for "Cable Select", and then the one on the END will be the Master for sure. If you have IDE device(s) on a second IDE port, the same rules apply. NOTE that there is no such thing as a "Master" drive for the whole machine - Master and Slave settings apply only to how you make the two devices sharing one IDE port uniquely identified.
4. In your BIOS's screen for setting the Boot Priority sequence, make sure it specifies the units you DO want to use in the right order, and does NOT refer at all to any other unit. For example, many people set it to try the optical drive (on whichever port) first, then a particular HDD unit, and no other possibilities.
!