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Windows 7: W7 installer can't find my SATA HDD

11 Nov 2012   #1

Windows Home 64
W7 installer can't find my SATA HDD


I normally just use laptops but I thought I would have a go at building my own desktop pc, since I wanted something permanent to stay in a recording studio, and I wanted to choose what hardware I did and didn't need. I've got as far as putting it all together physically... most computer problems I can work out myself with some help from searching internet forums, but this is really driving me mad and I've been trying to fix it for 3 straight days now.

Basically, when I try to install windows7 home 64, it isn't "seeing" a hard drive to install it on. It is a SATA hard drive, which shows up in BIOS, lets me scan it in with my SeaTools boot disk I made, infact it even appears on the list of drives I can select drivers from which are needed for the storage device! (when I click on it, windows setup wants to format it, but then doesn't allow me to). From what I've read, this problem is to do with the m/b SATA controller drivers not being correct, so windows can "see" my C:, but it can't control it. I have a disc included with the m/b called "gigabyte intel series 6 chipset utility dvd", which says "serial ATA" on the front. When I pop that in when windows is asking for drivers, I browse through all the folders, some compatible drivers appear but none work. I've even tried a lot of the non-compatible ones. Lots are named "AHCI", so I tried setting the hard drive to AHCI mode in BIOS and trying again.

I installed Ubuntu (I don't know what drive to...), and when I go to File > Computer, it sees a 500GB drive, but can't access/mount it.

Please help, this is driving me crazy, it was supposed to be up and running days ago, and I'm spending all my free time watching that bloody windows loading screen. Thanks

I'm using:
Gigabyte GA-H61M-D2H-USB3 (rev. 1.0) - motherboard - micro ATX - LGA1155 Socket
Seagate Barracuda 3.5 inch 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB 6GB/S Internal SATA Drive

Intel Pentium Dual Core G630 Processor (2.7GHz, 3MB Cache, Socket 1155)
Kingston 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 DIMM Memory
LITEON IHAS124-04 IHAS124 24X DVD RW (Dual R)/RAM SATA Drive (Internal Black)
Corsair CMPSU-430CX Builder Series 430W Power Supply
Windows 7 home 64 bit trial .iso (burnt to DVD)

(nothing else connected for now)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2012   #3
Microsoft MVP


Unplug all other HD's and peripherals, Boot into BIOS setup to see if there is an EFI Boot Disk in BIOS Boot order. If so remove it, set DVD drive first to boot. If EFI BIOS also set to Legacy BIOS. Then set SATA controller to AHCI. Save changes and Exit.

Then boot into installer DVD or flash stick burned or written using tool and latest ISO here. How to Boot your Computer from a Bootable CD or DVD

At first screen Press Shift + F10 to open a Command Box, type:

SEL DIS 0 (after confirming Windows 7 target HD #)

Next click Install Now 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.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 Nov 2012   #4

Windows Home 64

OK I just managed to get this working...

I followed that first link I saw, it said something like "don't use partitioned drives". I think Seagate drives are partitioned with recovery information or something, not sure, anyway I used SeaTools to wipe it completely with a "zero fill". After that, Windows 7 found the HDD straight away to install to.

I'm going to install W7 to a SSD now, to use as a "programs" drive and the Seagate as a data drive. I guess I can boot Windows and all its drivers on the Seagate, then install W7 to the SSD from there? Then zero fill the Seagate again? Because I don't want to go through all this booting from CD again!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2012   #5
Microsoft MVP


The correct way to Clean Install Windows 7 is always to boot the installer.

What is the problem with booting it?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2012   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


To boot your DVD, use boot menu

W7 installer can't find my SATA HDD-ga-bios-12.png

press enter on the UEFI DVD drive

W7 installer can't find my SATA HDD-untitled0001-1.png

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2012   #7

Windows Home 64

Hi, sorry I didn't use that program because reformatting the hard drive worked.

I meant I will load W7 installer on HDD2, install it onto SSD1, then wipe HDD2, and I won't need any drivers etc because Windows will be loaded up during the install
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2012   #8
Microsoft MVP


I told you that is not the way to install Win7 since it will lock out the C drive which Win7 always wants to be when booted.

Incorrectly running the installer from another OS does nothing to provide drivers, which are best handled in Win7 following the steps in Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 which are the same for retail.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2012   #9

Windows Home 64

But the Windows installer gives me the option of what drive I want to install to? Why would it do that if it is bad to install it to another drive? Surely the installation just copies exactly the same files to whatever drive, I just need to set which drive boots up in BIOS?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2012   #10
Microsoft MVP


You should unplug all other HD's to install to the SSD, which requires booting the installer which is the correct way to install.

Why do you quibble with this? Do you think we might be mistaken or have missed something after helping with countless thousands of these?

But maybe I am missing something since trying to read your first post takes me in circles, so please state clearly your objection to booting the installer to Clean Install Windows 7 like everyone else does.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 W7 installer can't find my SATA HDD

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