SATA HDD Not Recognized During Vista Install

Recently, I've finished building a new system. This is the first machine I have built on my own and I've been happy that everything has worked out very well thus far. The first and only problem, however, is preventing me from installing Windows and getting on with things. Basically, Windows Vista (32 bit) installation does not "see" or "recognize" my hard drive. Now, the BIOS sees it just fine (hard drive priority, boot drives, etc.). Vista installation gave me the option to load drivers for a device, so I popped in the disc that came with my motherboard and pointed the installer to two directories that seemed appropriate (I can't recall offhand, but it was something like "Other > Drivers > SATA" -- there was also a SATA/IDE). Two identical files showed up in each directory, and I've tried both -- neither work.

Before I go further, the hard drive and motherboard are:

Gigabyte EP45-UD3R Motherboard
Western Digital WD5001AALS Caviar Black Hard Drive

Here's what my BIOS says under Integrated Peripherals (the options related to the problem at hand):

SATA RAID/AHCI Mode [Disabled]
SATA Port0-3 Native Mode [Enabled]
Onboard SATA/IDE Device [Enabled]
Onboard SATA/IDE Ctrl Mode [IDE]

I've tried enabling AHCI mode and switching the onboard control mode to AHCI to no avail.

I've done some research, and found this on Western Digital's website:

Now, it's not entirely accurate, as this is a clean Vista installation. There is no "Setup is inspecting your hardware" message. Instead, as I go through the installation I get to the point in the installation that I mentioned above. At least I know what the issue stems from, I guess. Still, I've tried loading the drivers and it hasn't worked.

I've also tried downloading the SATA drivers from Gigabyte's website, but it's an application, presumably designed to be run in Windows...thus the Windows installer doesn't recognize it when I point to the right folder (on my flash drive).

I'd really prefer to not have to purchase an IDE hard drive, though I guess I could if I had to. It would suck because my case only has one 3.5" slot for a hard drive (which was fine at the time I bought it because I planned on using an external for backup), so I'd have to slap my SATA HDD into an enclosure or something I guess.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as right now I'm somewhat at a loss as far as what to try next.

Thanks in advance.
5 answers Last reply
More about sata recognized vista install
  1. When you get to the install screen, i.e. where it asks you for a hard drive to install windows on, is there a "drive options" selection just below the white section? If so, go there. It sounds like the drive needs to be formatted before Windows can install.
  2. Here are some screenshots (sorry for the poor quality...only digital camera I have is my iPhone) that will perhaps help.

    Here's what shows up when I get to the "Where do you want to install Windows?" screen. Note: the drive options "Delete," "Format," "New," and "Extend" are all greyed out and I cannot select them, in case that's not easily seen.

    So I select "Load Driver." This screen pops up:

    I select "Browse." Here, I can SEE the C: drive, so I click on it -- it pops up saying "You need to format the disk in drive C: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?" When I click "Format Disk," I get this:

    So. I'm stumped.


    On a whim, I popped in my XP Pro 64 bit disc, expecting more or less the same problem. To my surprise, Windows Setup is formatting the disc now. I'll post again if this is successful...if so, I should be able to upgrade to Vista from XP easily if I want to.
  3. Hi JDT, Look at this post though not quite the same problem you'll need to do the same to solve your problem.

    Go into your bios and set it up for the sata not ide. Insure that the bios sees the dvd and hd you want to use. Find the drivers for the chipset controllers and install. Do a clean install and if you have the time a complete format. I like a c: drive at around 40GB partition for the os and the remander of the disk for apps and data.
  4. Alright, here's how I solved this problem. I'm not sure how this worked, but it did.

    First, I attempted to format the disk using my XP Pro 64 disc. There was an existing partition on the HDD, so I left it there. The format failed. I tried again, but this time deleted the existing partition. Result: format successful, installation of XP successful.

    From there it was a breeze to upgrade to Vista. The Vista installer saw the HDD just fine (I assume the formatting had something to do with this).

    I'm not sure if this is a typical workaround or if it was unique to my case. Either way, it's sort of a twisting road to get there, but hey. Now I can game, so it's all good. :P

    Thanks for the replies.
  5. First of all, my understanding was that Vista, unlike previous Windows, already has built in drivers to use disk devices in either IDE, native SATA, or AHCI modes, so loading a SATA driver at the beginning of Vista Install should not have been necessary. Nor should you have to set your BIOS mode for that SATA drive to IDE (PATA) Emulation. However, originally you did have the BIOS set to IDE Emulation mode on the Enabled SATA ports, so that should have worked with NO driver installation necessary.

    However, you chose to load SATA or AHCI drivers during the Install, and you downloaded files from Gigabyte. I am not surprised that those files were executables. It is very common that they give you that type of file and my must actually run it on ANOTHER computer in order to write the driver files you need to some removable device like a floppy disk or USB "thumb drive". THAT is how you get driver files onto that removable device so you can use it in the Install process on your new machine.

    But then, according to your post, when you got the the point where the driver files were to be used, you told it to look for them on the C: drive! But that is the empty new drive. You should have been telling it to look at the removable drive (probably a USB drive) for them. The result was that your machine quite rightly told you it could not use a new empty drive without preparing it by Partitioning and Formatting it. But it forgot to tell you that creating a Partition on the drive has to come first, and it tried to Format a non-existent Partition and failed.

    The Install sequence is supposed to be:
    1. Load some basics into RAM, then ask whether operator wants to load device drivers before proceeding, such as ones for RAID or SATA or SCSI or whatever. If not, skip down to step 3.
    2. If loading drivers, ask which removable device has them, then look for drivers there. Load and come back to this step in case another driver set is desired. Proceed to step 3 only when operator says no more drivers to load.
    3. Using the device drivers just loaded (if any) in addition to built-in drivers, look for devices that could be Install destinations and list them on the screen for operator to choose.
    4. Once choice is made, offer operator some options on the disk Partition and Format operations.
    5. Create a bootable Primary Partition on the target device, the Format it.
    6. Now that the HDD is actually usable by Windows, write to it all the files necessary to install the OS.

    Your problems appear to be in step 2. You told it to load drivers from the C: drive that had nothing. It tried and found the C: drive unprepared, and asked if it should Format it. (Mistake by the Install routine - it failed to recognize that the Partition did not exist, either.) It then tried to do the Format and could not (no Partition to Format). Stuck!

    Apparently the XP Pro Install disk you used had a better Install routine, because it correctly detected an existing Partition and allowed you to Delete that and start fresh, which was a good choice on your part. I am guessing that, during this successful Install of XP Pro, you had your HDD SATA modes set to IDE Emulation (because XP did not know how to use SATA without having extra drivers installed). Glad you got it all running.
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