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Hard drive detected in bios but not on start up?

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August 18, 2010 2:48:57 PM

Hello, I just finished my computer rig and i used a hard drive I had laying around (it has the sata connections and power but some a molex connector on it to and some other crap though... dont know if sata deals with jumpers??) and it detects the hard drive in the bios, as sata port 1, but when I booted from the windows 7 cd and I installed windows 7 (the highest version forgot what it is - proffesional?) 64bit and it re started.

Thats when on startup it said the bios was instalizing (forgive me for my bad grammar D= ) and then it sais "no hard disk detected" and it looks like win7 is booting, but it goes to this win7 screen that sais windows is configuring (something, i forgot D= ). Then it just stays for a minute and reboots.

So... now i'm reinstalling win7 and i'll see what happens.

Please help ASAP. Thanks in advance.


PS. I am about to reinstall but where it sais "where do you want to install windows", it sais my drive is 'disk 0 unallocated space'
a c 357 G Storage
August 18, 2010 4:48:36 PM

It sounds like your SATA drive is one of the earlier ones that had BOTH SATA and Molex power connectors on it, just to make sure you could use it in an older machine that might NOT have a proper SATA power connector coming out of the PSU. You do NOT connect both - use EITHER the SATA OR the Molex power connector, plus the SATA data connector (apparently you plugged this into SATA_1 on the mobo).

If this is the only HDD installed in your system, then it makes sense that Win 7 Install calls it "Disk_0" and suggests installing itself there. And yes, it will suggest installing in Unallocated Space.

Background: any HDD is just empty space for putting stuff. When it is first put into use by a user, some structure needs to be created to control use of all that space, and this is a two-step process. (However, may systems combine those two steps into one to make it all easy.) The first step is to Create a Primary Partition. This simply writes to a special spot at the beginning of the HDD a sector containing the MBR (a small bit of code) and a Partition Table. That Partition Table will have details of the first Partition you are creating - where it starts, how big it is, whether it is bootable, etc. - plus room for three more Partition specifications for use later if necessary. This reserves that chunk of HDD space for the Partition - and it can be any size, up to the entire space available on the HDD. (IF you choose not to use up all the space in this first Partition, the remaining space is called "Unallocated Space" and is available later for the creation of another Partition.) From now on, any Operating System will treat the Partition as one "disk". It is possible for several Partitions, each recognized as its own distinct "disk", to be created on one hard drive unit. The second step is to install on that Partition a File System - a way of allocating its sectors to files, and of tracking where everything is. The File System usually is specific to the Operating System you are going to use - in Windows' case, the best option is the NTFS File System. This step usually is called Formatting the "disk", and it is done separately for each Partition IF you have created more than one.

IF you were starting from a brand new empty HDD unit, it would have no Partitions or files or anything on it. In that case the Win 7 Install routine would offer that HDD unit as the best place to install and you would agree, then maybe confirm the size of the Partition to be created. The Install process would do the Partition Creation and Format steps for you, and THEN use that new "disk" to install itself to.

In your case there may be one extra item to look after. You say the HDD is an older one you had laying around. In that case it is entirely possible that it already has a Partition (or more than one) on it. That may have used up all the space on the HDD, or it may have used up only part of it, leaving some "Unallocated Space" on it. IF your old HDD has a Partition and that contains data you want, you must arrange to copy it safely to another medium before proceeding, because the next step will wipe it all out. On the other hand, it may be that the HDD has no Partitions defined on it, and contains no data. Anyway, at the beginning of the Install process if you look closely you should find an option to Delete any and all Partitions that exist on the HDD unit. This basically restores it to its "never been used" status, and the normal process can start from there.

So, when Win 7 Install offers you that HDD as the likely unit and tells you about how much Unallocated Space it has to use, check that it corresponds to the size of the HDD according to its label. (Well, actually, whatever the HDD maker's label says, Windows will use a different counting system and tell you the size is about 7% smaller. For example, a 320 GB HDD will be shown as having 298 GB of space.) If that's what it says, you probably have no existing Partitions and can proceed. But if the Unallocated Space available is significantly less, you may need to find the option to Delete the old Partition before proceeding.
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