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Windows 7: motherboard owners with both SATA and PATA please read

08 Oct 2011   #1

dual boot with Win7 SP1 and XP SP3
motherboard owners with both SATA and PATA please read

I don't have a problem, but wanted to share an experience I had while doing a clean install of Windows 7. I have a three year old Gigabyte motherboard with both PATA and SATA connections and have my primary drive on the SATA connection with a small PATA drive I use for data backups.
I recently did a clean install of Win7 on my dual boot system which turned out fine in the end, but the journey there was a little scary. C: and G: hosted dual XP installs, but I wanted to clean install Win7 on C: and keep XP on G: So I booted from the W7 install disc, wiped out C:, and proceeded to the screen that allows me to select the install partition. Only, the C: partition wasn't available for installation.

Crap, I just wiped my system partition with the bootloader and now its telling me I can't use that partition to install!? What!?

OK, calm down, there is a perfectly good explanation. Reboot with the W7 disc and go through the install process again, it will be fine. Maybe it was just a dirty spot on the DVD that it couldn't read...

Nope, disc is fine.

Alright, boot from the DVD again, maybe it was just a glitch, these things happen you know. OK, now all I have to do I select my install parti---

Where the crap is my C: partition!?!?!?

Wait a minute here, this was a perfectly working computer system just a few minutes ago, and now it is an expensive doorstop. All I did was wipe C: like I’ve done many times before and now I can’t access the freaking drive??

This can't be happening!!

Maybe the data cable came loose and I just need to reconnect it, then everything will be fine. I’ve read about it happening somewhere to somebody, right? Yeah, these things happen - not very often, but they happen.

Yeah it happens – if your computer is strapped to the wing of a fighter jet, or to the outside of an industrial rock crusher. Please God, let it be the data cable.

Grab the flashlight, take off the cover, and… OMG the cable is connected.


Wait a minute. It has to be something simple. Something I’m missing. I just need to check the BIOS and make sure it still sees both drives. There could have been a power surge when the DVD drive spun up and corrupted the hard drive setting in the BIOS. All I need to do is re-detect the drive and it will be fine.

A power surge while the optical drive spun up that corrupted the hard drive setting in the BIOS? Did I actually just think that? Beam me up Scotty!

Alright, reboot, re-detect the drive and install. That’s all there is to it.

Except it already lists both drives. Something is seriously wrong here.

Now this is crazy. OK, time to get back to the basics. Let me disconnect all non-essential peripherals, reboot and see if I can get it to install. Boot from disc, next screen, choose my install partition, and… THERE IT IS! THE FREAKING C: PARTITION IS THERE! WOOHOO!

OK, WTF just happened?

So in the aftermath of all this, I figured the install program saw my PATA drive as the primary and just ignored my SATA drive even though it was really the primary and had an active partition to install to. After I did the install, I reconnected the second drive and Windows assigned the appropriate drive letters. Done. Whew.
Sometimes when you are trying to figure out a problem, people have a tendency to believe the unbelievable in an effort to explain a problem which they can’t figure out. And since one can’t come up with a logical explanation for the problem, you start drawing conclusions you know are wrong out of frustration and anger. That was a well learned lesson that I will never forget. Just go back to troubleshooting basics and it will usually steer you in the right direction. Thanks for reading.

Now where did I put my copy of Acronis True Image backup…..

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

Thanks for sharing that with us as the solution may help others down the line.

+rep from me. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2011   #3

Windows 7 Professional SP1 32-bit

+1 from me - an entertaining read and an excellent point to your post :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Oct 2011   #4

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

Good point, I had a friend who installed windows XP on a computer with a ide zip drive in it and the windows ended up installing on the E drive. and it worked but I stopped him before he got too far.
the zip was C and the cdrom was D. so it installed on E:

I always suggest installing the os on a single drive connection, ie.. disconnect all hard disks except the one you want to install the os on.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 motherboard owners with both SATA and PATA please read

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