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Windows 7: Unable to access Hard Drives in Windows 7 installation

27 Sep 2013   #1

Windows Ultimate 7 64 bit
Unable to access Hard Drives in Windows 7 installation

One evening I attempted to install windows 8. After the installation it repeatedly booted back into the windows installation. After removing the install disk, it booted into windows 7 normally. I decided to install a clean copy of windows 7 and that's when the problem appeared. The windows insall will not allow me access to ANY hard drive shown. Says unable to find windows partition or something like that. I've tried reformatting all the drives and same message always comes up. I cannot re-install Windows 7?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2013   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

It MIGHT be because Windows 8 installed as a GPT Partition...

But, Windows 7 and Vista can only see a GPT Partition as a non-booting data drive, unless using an UEFI BIOS.

Which MIGHT be why your Windows installation 'cannot see' an INSTALLABLE drive.

I would suggest Booting from a LINUX Bootable CD or USB Stick and reformat the Hard Drive to MBR,
i.e. delete the partition and recreate it as MBR and format to NTFS

Then reinstall Windows 7...

Hope this was helpful
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2013   #3
Microsoft MVP


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, or enable Legacy BIOS or Compatibility Support Module to do a 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.

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

29 Sep 2013   #4

Windows Ultimate 7 64 bit
Unable to Access Hard Drives

Would like the thank you for your quick reply. Your information was very accurate. I was able to follow it and get my system back up and running. You were very kind to take the time to help me out and I thank you so very much!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2013   #5
Microsoft MVP


Very nice to hear of your success.

Be sure to stick with these same steps in Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 to set up and keep a perfect install, based on what's worked best in tens of thousands of installs we've helped with here.

Let us know if there are any performance issues. Here are basic Troubleshooting Steps for Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Unable to access Hard Drives in Windows 7 installation

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