XP can't recognize hard drive for OS install

Calabrel - Nov 20, 2008 at 10:36 AM
 rick - Jan 17, 2019 at 07:28 PM

I am aware of the AHCI/SATA problem. Unfortunately for me, the laptop I'm working with has Phoenix BIOS, which doesn't allow me to alter any advanced BIOS options, including disabling AHCI. So I'm stuck without the ability to install XP on my new hard drive. If anyone has any suggestions or answers, it'd be much appreciated. Thank you in advance.

17 responses

Hi. Found this thread after having BIG trouble trying raw installation XP on a HP/Compaq laptop (nx9420). Same symptom. After loading all drivers, the installation sw said it could not find any hd. After googling a while I thought it had to be the SATA / AHCI issue. Also have this very basic BIOS setup with very few setup possibilities. After a couple of days trying Nlite and drivers an god knows what I got a fluke whim just to test switching "SATA native mode" OFF ! Heureka ! it worked. Dont know if this is solution for genuine AHCI - issues, but it might be the solution for some of You also who found this thread. // Peter
where is this SATA native mode option??? I have the same issue..... XP SP3 bootable not recognizing my Dell Vista Laptop HDD. I want to format VISTA drive and install XP instead thru bootable DVD....but not happening :(
i have got a compaq pressario v 3777tu the problem is that it is with vista and no option to disable sata in bios and I tried with black xp 35 ultimate .someone please help me yaar I need to install xp on this system.
i have got a compaq pressario v 3777tu the problem is that it is with vista and no option to disable sata in bios and I tried with black xp 35 ultimate .someone please help me yaar I need to install xp on this system.
worked perfectly, thanks!
douglas > Ashu
Nov 12, 2009 at 09:57 PM
i have a similar issue, I have vista pre installed on my laptop, and I have the xp instalation disk, but when I try and install xp it wont recognise my harddrive, if you have worked out how to solve this problem, please email me on douglas_2176@live.com.au
For those of you that have Aspire One (netbook) and window XP installer could not find HD problem.

You must switch the SATA Mode (BIOS) to IDE from AHCI.

Hit F2 at boot screen -> Main -> SATA Mode -> IDE

This will allow Window XP to see your SATA.
how about those of us, whose laptops dont have any sata/ide menu options?

i have a toshiba satellite A205-s5000 laptop, which has VERY BASIC bios options, and none of those which u mentioned.

i also want to install xp on a vista laptop, n I also keep gettin the "cant find hard drive" error.

Switching to IDE just freezes my boot.
I have a Acer Aspire One, but the Bios has the "InsydeH20 Setup Utility, and "Main", has only the following options:

System TIme
System Date

Total Memory
Video Memory

Quick Boot
Network Boot
F12 Boot menu
D2D recovery

HELP, I have no OS, and can't install it!
i have a 2000 gateway computer and harddrive dont want to work right from boot and I need help on how to fix the problem please help thanks
The BIOS change to IDE on SATA worked! Thank you for the tip!
i have an vista o.s I formatted vista but then too xp does not detect hard drive

Didn't find the answer you are looking for?

Ask a question
small student
Jul 18, 2009 at 01:31 PM
dear same problem:
i ran through this problem, and I have tried every possible solution, even with fdisk,formatting, third party during setup,drivers, etc etc etc for hell windows
iam a doctor, and this is brain insult

very big advice--------------------------hell to windows
i have changed to linux in very easy way
now my laptop had ubuntu 9.04 and mandriva 2009 powerpack and many other partitions of my work
believe or not ,
swear god I did nothing , no drivers, no problems ,nothing atall
my wireless,my display, audio, video,every thing is perfect
it is not advertisement , I have no time for that shut
it is what happened with me
xpcman Posts 19530 Registration date Wednesday October 8, 2008 Status Contributor Last seen June 15, 2019 1,832
Nov 20, 2008 at 03:05 PM
You can use slipstreaming to add the SATA drivers to Your XP disk. The trick is to find the right drivers,

go to this site for info on nLite a tool for slipstreaming.

thank u thank u thank u thank u!! u guys are really great!!! I love u all.. MUAHH!! it worked like magic... hahahah
I'm trying to install xp on and MSI laptop and the bios has not option to change the hard drive type. Bios recognizes the hd but when trying to install xp it says there is no hdd present. What do I do?
I have the same error, on my gateway mx6214, bios shows harddrive but xp doesnt see it, ubuntu does however, I need xp to be installed asap without a floppy drive anyone please help I have a windows xp disk from bestbuy with its own product key, please help
i have built couple of pc's and never ran across this problem ever. I got a hp laptop from a friend to re install windows for them and I got the error mentioned above.

While I was in the middle of the nLite program I decided to keep looking and found this page. I reset the bios to Disable the sata and IT WORKED PERFECTLY!

THANKS OP! Was a good learn as well.
mine one is also pheonix
I have disabled it
and I installed XP sp2
How did you go about disabling Phoenix? I have an Alienware M7700 with RAID and it isn't recognizing the hard drive when installing XP or in BIOS. I read something about upgrading the RAID controller driver using an external floppy drive????
xpcman Posts 19530 Registration date Wednesday October 8, 2008 Status Contributor Last seen June 15, 2019 1,832 > blah
Feb 1, 2010 at 03:24 PM
There is a point where the XP install asks you to insert a floppy with the RAID drivers. Something about "press F6 if you have a RAID driver to install".

Good Luck
thanks for this one...I'll already solve my problem..
I disabled the AHCI in the bios and put SATA/ATA and it worked for me thanks....... Solved my problem......
Thanks so much guys! You are heaven-sent lifesavers!

Should I leave SATA mode at IDE for good?

I had the same problem with a GATEWAY DX4720-03 computer model and downloaded SATA_IDE drive from https://www.nvidia.com/Download/driverResults.aspx/32823/en-uk and install windows server 2003 with no errors.

you will need to slipstream the driver with nlite and change AHCI mode on Bios IF YOU CAN.
the driver is located at IDE/WINXP/SATA_IDE on the file.

good look!
Edit/Delete Message
I did the same thing as suggested above xpcman however it still did not work. When using the nlite I also included the intel chip drivers for my Gateway MX6214. This was my third XP cd burn before I had it working correctly. Cheers!
thank u thank u thank u thank u!!! u guys are great!! was stuck on this for 2 days straight!!! u saved my life!!