Before you format the disk, go into the BIOS. Keep in mind that you may be unable to adjust or view all settings, but you do need to verify by going into the BIOS. What you need to look for is a setting that uses terminology such as "IDE legacy" or "IDE emulation".
Here's the story...
SATA technology wasn't marketed while XP was in it's Release To Manufacture stage. As a result, XP has no SATA support. So how do you install drivers if you can't install the OS? Realizing this problem, motherboard manufacturers started to include IDE emulation on the motherboards. This option was written into the BIOS. The IDE emulation sort of tricks XP into thinking that the HDD is an IDE interface, when, in fact, it is actually SATA.
The reason I suggested you check your BIOS is because it stands to good reason that the tech who built that Compaq used the very same "trick". Which means, if Compaq did it, your motherboard BIOS should be saved that way. Which in turn, would mean that you should be able to reinstall XP without a third party driver.
At a glance, these are interesting replies! The machine is 'only' 5-6 yrs. old and came shipped with XP 2002 Home Edition AND a 160GB SATA HDD.
The long and short of it is a friend of mine gave me this pc FREE! He found it and it was in pristine condition, minus the HDD and OS (of course!) So, he put an OEM spec HDD in it, put XP Home Edition on and registered it via the case code #. He mentioned that he went to the Compaq site and installed the correct SATA chipset driver. Personally, I couldn't find any SATA driver support at HP/Compaq.
I just bought a genuine, never registered Windows XP Pro SP2 Full Retail OS in the box that included the Windows hologram disk, SP3 disk, and the back up disk w/SP3, and the manual from a very reputable source. This person told me that I was going to need a floppy with the required SATA driver or the OS wouldn't install.
It's obvious I don't have a clue as to what's going on here. I can tell you this- I did go into Device Manager and looked for anything pertaining to SATA storage controllers and found nothing.
T_T, your reply makes sense- let me check the BIOS and reply back.
Of further note, when the OS got 'accidentally' wiped by an unscrupulous tech, they 'found' a copy of XP Pro and installed it using a volume license key. It installed fine, read the HDD and all that. Problem is I'm not sure about the source of that OS and have had nothing but trouble with it. That is the reason why I went on the hunt for an authentic XP Pro OS.
T_T: Regarding your reply, the only thing I could find in the BIOS Set Up Utility was the following on the 'Advanced' tab:
Onboard PATA/SATA Adapters- [BOTH]
Onboard PATA/SATA Config- [Enhanced] (Other choice was 'combined')
Thank you for checking. Your first reply to my post mentions that the tech was able to install a version of XP without any trouble. The Volume License Key allows the tech, and the company he/she works for, to install one single copy (then copied several times for distribution, of course) using one Product Key.
I would leave the BIOS as it is, and then attempt to install your purchased copy of XP. The logic here is if the tech was able to, you should be able to. Remember two things:
1. XP doesn't have SATA support, internally, so you must circumvent this by adding a third-party software (driver)
2. If the installation interface doesn't detect your HDD, you won't get anywhere anyway, and your data would be intact.
Thanks, T_T- I do believe that the OS the Tech installed is quite possibly from a torrent file. Why? After some research on this individual, it was learned that they have a tendency to implement some questionable business practices. Enough said on that matter.
I am tending to agree with your earlier reply regarding the IDE emulation. My friend who gave me the machine stated that he, subsequent to installing the brand new OEM equivalent HDD and XP Home Edition, downloaded a chipset driver from the Compaq site. Funny thing is that I couldn't find such a download at Compaq Support. His reply was that the details of his memory are failing him, as he has worked on so many machines in the last 1-2 yrs.
The new OS that I purchased is in the mail and on its way as of this, so I cannot try the clean install quite yet.
Worst case scenario considered, could you advise which driver download, and a source, to complete this task? I'm not trying to put the 'cart in front of the horse', per se, but just plan for the worst case scenario.
I apologize for my lack of technical prowess in this arena, but then again I'm grateful for the likes of the knowledgeable people here at Tom's Hardware.
zeuseng06, with the correct BIOS setting, there will be no need to install a driver. That is what I've been trying to inform you. No matter if the tech used a pirated copy of the XP installation, the installation must still detect your HDD, or it can't install. I suggest you just attempt to install XP, once you get it, and then if it fails, try the other PATA/SATA config option in your BIOS. If that fails too, then follow the instructions on this site:
Thanks T_T- Let me inform you once the OS arrives. I'm not sure what 'other' BIOS setting you are referring to. I specified the only settings that I have.
Furthermore, I am extremely grateful for your input. It is quite clear to me that you are a very knowledgeable individual.
Thanks- I'll be in touch!
Thanks, 'T_T'...I have installed a genuine, never registered full retail version of XP Pro and all went well. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that the volume drive letter assignment is J: instead of C:. I'm not sure how that happened, though. I am considering changing it using the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\MountedDevices approach. Thinking it through as of this response.
What I have learned is that all OEM machines built from 2005 to date (and mobo's, for that fact) have got the native SATA driver installed. In my case, the machine came with a SATA HDD and the tech at Compaq who did the build took care of that. Furthermore, the above info was attained from PortaTech and the Compaq Support tech.
Thanks for all the input.