Loading Hard Drive Drivers while Installing Windows XP:
After researching this issue and especially after reading HEREIN, I was told to do this, that is, THIS is a RESPONSE that I saw:
"You don't mention what motherboard this is, or whether the HDD is SATA, but I will take a stab at it. IOf this system was working and now it's not, the SATA controller has mostly likely been switched to AHCI in the BIOS. AHCI (otherwise known as NCQ) requires drivers tat the install of Windows (F6), they can't be added afterwards. Furthermore, I have seen this exac problem when AHCI is enabled in the BIOS after Windows is isntalled. It looks like its' going to boot, but then a BSOD. If this is th case, no harm done, just go into the BIOS and set it back and reboot. Also, not knowing your MOBO, but XP instsallation often requires a RAID driver prior to installation; if that is the case, then you will need either: (1) Floppy (bootable) with the required pre-instsaller driver, (2) USe nLite(S to make a custom XP installer CD/DVD"
So that is what I read. And what I have read is that there have to be thousands and thousands of people with computers who want to run XP, who have installed new hard drives, or reformatted their existing hard drives and then innocently go to reinstall Windows XP and bingo, after a while it says: "can't detect a hard drive".
What blows me away about this is that NO ONE has created a simple driver CD for Dell or HP or whoever that takes care of this problem. I can't imagine why NO ONE has NOT created such a CD and put it on E Bay for sale.
I have been tearing my hair out for 3 weeks trying to get XP onto a Hard Drive on my DELL and I had to read and read and research and all it is this simple fix.
If you cant find you Chipset drivers for F6 option on Dell site - find what is you chipset model and look in Manifacture site for F6 drivers - for example you chipset is Intel 945G -> to to Intel`s dweb to get them
This method had allays worked for me
I hope you can pull this off !
OK, some background so you understand the issue and its solutions. And yes, LOTS of people have dealt with this.
1. Windows XP in ALL its versions does NOT have a "built-in" driver for AHCI devices (the real device type for SATA hard drives). It does have drivers for IDE devices, ATAPI (optical drives on an IDE port) and floppy drives, but not for AHCI, and also not for RAID. BUT the Win XP Install process DOES have the same solution for that as many previous Windows. Early in the Install routines you see a prompt to push the "F6" key if you wish to load special driver(s) from an external source. (This process was originally used for installing drivers for SCSI units and RAID arrays, but it is general.) If you do nothing, the process waits for a while and then moves on without those additions. But if you push F6, you enter a path that allows you to install a driver from a FLOPPY disk. You follow the instructions and it returns to this same point to allow another driver install if necessary. You must tell it you're done to exit and continue with the rest of the Install process. When you add extra device driver(s) this way they become "built in" to this Windows so two things can happen: (a) you CAN use the device to install Windows to; and, (b) from now on you CAN use that device as a boot device.
So, if you were planning to set up and boot from a RAID array you could set the array up first, the use this process to add the required RAID driver to your Win XP Install. In your case you do not plan that - you want to use a SATA HDD as your boot device. The key preparation items here are: (a) you need a floppy disk drive (at least temporarily) installed in your machine so you can read a floppy with the driver on it; (b) you need a floppy diskette; and, (c) you need the driver copied onto the floppy. The first two are straightforward. HOWEVER, one note for you: I have found that the most difficulty floppy drives have is that, since they are used infrequently, they accumulate dirt inside, often on the heads. If they are used that way, the head dirt may scratch the diskette surface and destroy it. SO, get and use a floppy drive head cleaner to get rid of the dirt BEFORE you put a diskette in. And let the alcohol solvent used dry out by evaporation before proceeding.
Now, part (c) was: get the driver. The best starting point is your machine's manual and the CD that came with it. There should some written instructions about where such a driver might be, and how to put it onto a floppy diskette. Sometimes these are under a heading about how to install Windows XP. Usually the driver is on the CD in some folder, and you can just copy it. However, sometimes there's actually an app on the CD that does the job. Obviously, however, this usually requires that the floppy drive be in an already-running PC so you can do the copying. So you may have to temporarily connect that floppy drive to another machine for this, then move the drive to your machine for the Win XP Install. NOTE that this floppy diskette does NOT need to be bootable - you are only putting a data file on it to be read off later. If you cannot find the driver that way, get it from the Dell website. You will need to know the exact model number of your machine, and maybe the model number of your mobo. That's because the driver needed is specific for the SATA controller chipset in your machine - there is no one-fits-all SATA device driver. (And that's why there is no universal solution for all machines.)
You do NOT need a RAID driver. Well, MAYBE you don't. How's that for confusion? The issue here is that SOME (and I don't know about Dell) mobo makers provide separate device drivers for AHCI devices and RAID systems, and some actually package the two together as one "RAID driver". That is one reason you need to read the machine manual about what driver to use from where. So bear that in mind in finding your driver - it should be called a SATA driver or maybe a AHCI driver, but it MIGHT be part of a RAID driver.
2. The reference to "nLite" you read is another way around this, but more complex than you need. nLite is a software tool you can use on a running Windows machine to create and burn your own customized Windows XP Install CD. You need your original Install CD, the nLite software, a bunch of downloaded files, and the driver you need. Then nLite will let you create a custom version of Win XP that DOES have a "built-in" AHCI device driver, and burn that to a new CD that becomes your Install disk. However, if you use the F6 process as outlined above with the ORIGINAL Win XP Install disk, you don't need to make your own custom one.
3. Your mobo may have a simple work-around for all this if you choose to use it. The "proper" way to handle the issue is by installing the AHCI device driver early in the Install, as above. But many BIOS's have an option in them to avoid that entirely, and that is what the discussion you read on setting "AHCI or NCQ" in BIOS is all about. If you go into BIOS Setup on your machine and go to where you make sure the SATA ports are enabled for your drives, near there you will find a line to configure the SATA Port Mode. It has options like "IDE (or PATA) Emulation", "Native SATA", "AHCI", and "RAID". You do NOT want "RAID" unless this is one of those systems that groups RAID and SATA as one. Native SATA or AHCI is what you would choose IF you plan to install the drive from a floppy, using the F6 key. But if you don't want to do that, you can set this option to "IDE (or PATA) Emulation", or something like that. Under this setting, the BIOS intervenes and limits the actual SATA drive unit to behave like an older IDE HDD; thus Windows only "sees" a IDE drive, which it fully understands, and it is happy NOT knowing the HDD is really SATA. Doing things this way means you give up a few improvements in SATA drive performance (compared to IDE systems) but you do NOT have to find and install (from floppy) the AHCI device driver. Of course, if you install Win XP this way you cannot change it later to an AHCI device type, or Windows will suddenly not know how to use the HDD. (Actually, there is a way to make that change by editing the Registry and installing the driver on the HDD, but it is complex and NOT recommended.)
So I hope that helps. You do not need nLite. The simple option is the last - let the BIOS make the SATA HDD behave like an IDE HDD, and Win XP can install to that drive and use it. The "better" option requires that you obtain (at least temporarily) a floppy diskette drive and diskette, and find the required AHCI device driver and copy it to the floppy diskette (does NOT need to be a "bootable" diskette). You set your BIOS to use the SATA HDD as a SATA (or AHCI) device, not Emulating an IDE device. Then you can install that driver using the F6 key during the initial stages of the Win XP Install.