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Windows 7: Windows cannot be installed to this disk... HDD not recognized in BIOS

09 Dec 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Windows cannot be installed to this disk... HDD not recognized in BIOS

Hi All,

I have an issue with the internal SATA HDD in my Pavilion dm4t laptop (PR #: XQ131AAR). The drive is working, when connecting via external USB enclosure is recognized by the PC, can read/write data, format partitions etc… When plugged in as internal HDD of the laptop, BIOS does not recognize it. When booting from Windows Installation Disk, the drive (and its partitions) are recognized, but I get the following message when trying to select a partition to proceed with Windows install:

Windows cannot be installed to this disk. This computer’s hardware may not support booting to this disk. Ensure that the disk’s controller is enabled in the computer’s BIOS menu.

Used external USB enclosure again, connected to a working PC and using TestDisk, I deleted the partition table (by zero writing it several times), then created a new MBR. When connecting back as internal drive, it is now recognized by BIOS and in the Windows installation screen, I can actually select a partition on the drive to install Windows on; the installation actually runs, but as soon as I get to the point of having to restart the PC during the installation process, upon restart the drive is not recognized anymore…

When I remove it, and repeat the same steps with TestDisk, it once again works, can start Windows installation, but it fails upon restart.

I have already read numerous forums on the topic, have tried various drive utilities. I also saw in one of the forums a suggestion to enable AHCI for the SATA controller, but the laptop BIOS is extremely limited and does not have that option.
Please help!!! Have been without a working laptop for several weeks and is driving me crazy. Saving any data on the drive is not needed – I have recovered all data from it that I need. So my only objective is to restore the harddrive to fully working state and be able to install OS on it (Windows 7, 64-bit)! Thanks in advance for any help!

My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Dec 2013   #2


Unplug all other HD's and peripherals,

Boot into BIOS setup, reset to defaults, save changes. If an EFI BIOS you'll need to decide if you want UEFI BIOS vs. Legacy BIOS. If UEFI follow these special steps for Install, otherwise enable Legacy BIOS or Compatibility Support Module to proceed with normal install:

Set DVD drive first to boot, HD second, set SATA controller to AHCI, Save changes and Exit.

Then boot into Windows 7 installer DVD or flash stick burned or written using tool and latest ISO for your licensed OS version here. I would use a fresh ISO written with tool in Step 2 as yours is in question.

At first installer screen Press Shift + F10, or enter System Recovery Options to open a Command Box, type:

SELECT DISK 0 (after confirming Windows 7 target HD #)

Next click Install Now, then Custom install to Clean Install Windows 7 to the partition you created. If it fails then report back at which step and the verbatim error message.

In addition read over these steps to understand the tools and methods which work best to get and maintain a perfect Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7. The steps are the same for retail.

After install you can adjust partition size or Create new partitions for data, etc. in Disk Mgmt. You are creating the partition here for the purpose of wiping the HD and marking Active which overcomes certain install failures.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows cannot be installed to this disk... HDD not recognized in BIOS

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