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Windows 7: Optiplex 780 no drive found during setup.

20 Jun 2014   #1

Win7 Ultimate 64bit
Optiplex 780 no drive found during setup.

The computer shipped with Windows 7 so I'm attempting to put Windows 7 back onto it. Setup can't see the hard drive. So I STFI and find that Win7 may need to load a driver during setup. WTH? I thought AHCI support was added to Vista and up so we wouldn't have to do this?!

So I find the Pre-OS install driver Product Support | Dell US and Win7 setup loads it... and still claims there is no hard drive.

I know the hard drive works. I connected it to another Win7 x64 computer and formatted it. BIOS setup in the Optiplex 780 detects it. Nothing wrong with the hard drive.

The drive was part of a four drive RAID5 array, but I've had no problems with the other drives from that array in other computers, or any drive from any other array. Just format and it works as a single.

But not with *this* Dell Optiplex 780 for some reason.

The BIOS is A04, latest is A15. Of course I have to get Windows installed to run the update, but if the BIOS needs updated to be able to install non-Dell-OEM Windows... excuse me while I go over to a corner and think evil thoughts in the directions of Plano, TX and Redmond, WA.

Edit: I tried every option for the drive controller mode, including Legacy, with and without loading the driver. Setup won't see the drive.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jun 2014   #2

Windows 10 64 bit

Try resetting the CMOS Memory (BIOS). With the PC powered off, remove the CR2032 CMOS backup battery for at least 10 minutes. Reinstall the battery, observing polarity, and see if that helps.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jun 2014   #3

Win7 Ultimate 64bit

I downloaded UBCD for Windows and used DBAN to wipe the drive, and was also able to use it to update the BIOS. Don't know which did the trick but Win7 x64 is now installing.

The really crazy thing about this issue (which many people have had) is that when browsing for the drivers *that* can see the already formatted hard drive which setup refuses to see.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Jun 2014   #4
Microsoft MVP


Normally the prompt for drivers during install means a bad installer, either ISO or burn/write.

But the single greatest cure for install failures has always been running Diskpart Clean Command which appears to have worked in another permutation from DBAN.

You can read what was contained in the BIOS update to see if it might have affected this as well.

Otherwise Troubleshoot Windows 7 Installation Failures
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jul 2015   #5

Seven Ultimate 64 Bit.

Having spent a few hours trying to install the mass storage device driver for the Dell 780 only for the machine to not see it and tell me I needed a signed 64-bit driver, I found that both SATA 0 and Sata 1 need to be ticked in the BIOS, select Legacy mode and I could then see a drive. Then the install could see the drive and it was plain sailing from there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jul 2015   #6
Microsoft MVP


This means you have a UEFI BIOS' so that the Win7 installation media should be booted as a UEFI device, all partitions deleted during install to reset formatting to GPT. By instead changing to Legacy Mode you bypassed UEFI for this install so will not have the full functions of the new UEFI BIOS'

UEFI BIOS vs. Legacy BIOS - YouTube
UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) - Install Windows 7 with - Windows 7 Forums
UEFI Bootable USB Flash Drive - Create in Windows
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Optiplex 780 no drive found during setup.

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