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Windows 7 clean install issue

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January 8, 2010 7:06:17 PM

Hey everybody. Last night I completed my very first build, thanks to your help in choosing some good components. Everything went smoothly, and I fired up the computer to start installing Windows 7, only to hit my first road block.
I get to where I need to choose a drive to install Windows on, and I keep getting this error...

"Windows can't format C. Check to see that the disk and drive are connected properly, make sure that the disk is not read-only, and try again."

I only have one HDD, and it is recognized in the BIOS, and obviously Windows sees it, so I'm not sure what the issue is.

Now for some facts...
It's connected via SATA

Build info-
Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750
GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard w/ USB 3.0 & SATA 6 Gb/s
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive55675920
G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBECO
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM55675920
DIAMOND 5850PE51G Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B - OEM

Here are some highlights from the BIOS. Again, this is my first build, so I really don't know what I'm looking at or what's important here...

under "Standard CMOS Features"-
The HDD is connected to IDE Channel 6 Master (DVD burner is Channel 7)
Extended IDE Drive - Auto (other option is none)
Access Mode - Auto (other option is large)

Under "Integrated Peripherals"-
PCH SATA Control Mode - IDE (other options- RAID(xHD) or AHCI)
eSATA Ctrl Mode - IDE (or AHCI or RAID)
GSATA RAID Config - Press Enter (and within is more info that I'm completely lost about)

Anyway, if more information is needed, let me know. Again, everything is showing up fine in the BIOS, and I don't have any drivers for the HDD to install. Any help would be incredibly appreciated. Also, I really am kind of lost, so if you could be as detailed/clear as possible, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks a lot for any help!
January 8, 2010 9:53:42 PM

It's possible in the BIOS storage section there is a "disable HDD write access" field or something similar... I'd check if you have that and make sure it's set to disabled (disable the 'disable' to enable write access).
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January 8, 2010 10:33:48 PM

It's SATA, change the setting under "Integrated Peripherals"-
PCH SATA Control Mode - to AHCI, and try loading Win7 again.
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January 9, 2010 12:03:11 AM

treefrog07 said:
It's SATA, change the setting under "Integrated Peripherals"-
PCH SATA Control Mode - to AHCI, and try loading Win7 again.


Hey, thanks for the advice.
I changed that setting to AHCI and tried again with the same results. To be absolutely specific about where the issue arrives-I run the custom Windows install, and get the the point where it says "Where do you want to install Windows?" There aren't any options, and at the bottom of the screen is says "No drives were found. Click load driver to provide a mass storage driver for installation." When I do that and click on C:, I get the message "No signed device drivers were found. Make sure that the installations media contains the correct drivers, and then click ok." I can get it to ask me if I want to format the drive, but when I do, it says "Windows can't format C. Check to see that the disk and drive are connected properly, make sure that the disk is not read-only, and try again." Again, any help would be great! I'm really at a loss on how to proceed! Thanks again!
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January 24, 2010 9:27:12 AM

i have the same problem.i tried everything (for 10 hrs).i flashed to the latest bios for my mobo evrything.anyone know?
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January 24, 2010 2:29:18 PM

chrhadden_94 said:
i have the same problem.i tried everything (for 10 hrs).i flashed to the latest bios for my mobo evrything.anyone know?

Hey-I meant to post how I finally resolved this problem, thanks for the unintentional reminder. It took me a long while also. Anyway, I ended up doing Method 8, from

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927520

I'll paste specifically what I did from that page...

Method 8: Use the Diskpart.exe utility to clean the disk, and then run Windows Setup again
If you have tried all the methods that are listed in this section and the problem persists, use the Diskpart.exe utility to clean the disk, and then run Windows Setup again.

Note Use this method only if you want to perform a clean installation of Windows. When you clean the hard disk, it is formatted. All partitions and all data on the hard disk are permanently removed. We strongly recommend that you back up the files on the hard disk before you clean the disk.

To use the Diskpart.exe utility to clean the hard disk, follow these steps:
Insert the DVD into the DVD drive.
On the disk selection screen, press SHIFT+F10. A Command Prompt window opens.
Type diskpart, and then press ENTER to open the diskpart tool.
Type list disk, and then press ENTER. A list of available hard disks is displayed.
Type sel disk number, and then press ENTER. number is the number of the hard disk that you want to clean. The hard disk is now selected.
Type det disk, and then press ENTER. A list of partitions on the hard disk is displayed. Use this information to verify that the correct disk is selected.
Make sure that the disk does not contain required data, type clean all, and then press ENTER to clean the disk. All the partitions and all the data on the disk is permanently removed.
Type exit, and then press ENTER to close the diskpart tool.
Close the Command Prompt window.
Click the Refresh button to update the disk selection screen. This step lists the disk.
Run Windows Setup to perform a clean installation of Windows.


I may have needed to reboot the computer after that before officially running the install, I don't quite remember, but this worked for me. Good luck!
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October 19, 2010 2:33:44 PM

Hey I just wanted to say thanks for this solution. Here we are 10 months later and Microsoft still hasn't resolved this issue. HOW LAME! This solution worked perfectly and the only thing I would add is that the disk selection screen is the screen where setup wants you to pick where to install windows to. Personally I think it is ridiculous that Microsoft hasn't addressed this yet but thanks to all at Tom's Hardware who have once again shown why this is my first stop anytime I have a problem.
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October 19, 2010 2:55:17 PM


at ^
Not a microsoft lover, But this is more an "operater" error. When you build your own system a given amount of knowedge is assumed (I know the Def of assume - to make a AS* of you and me). If your Bios is setup incorrectly and you attempt to install an operating system. Then change the Bios settings you need to first wipe the partitions before proceding. In the above case you could have downloaded the manuf utility disk and returned the drive to its unpartitioned condition. Normally I just go into Custom install and remove the partition (Bios needs to be in configuration that created the partition. Never have had to use diskpart.
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!