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Seagate Hard Drives not detected by the Windows 7 installer

    Question

  • I've spent hours on this trying every conceivable reason, so I apologize in advance for the length on this post.

    I connected a Seagate 320GB 7200.10 hard drive to a P35 chipset system and attempted to install Windows 7 RTM onto it. The installer got to the part of detecting hard drives, but could not detect this drive. Native SATA mode was enabled, and AHCI was enabled.

    I disabled Native SATA mode, then after that failed I also tried disabling AHCI by setting the controller to IDE mode. Still, the Windows 7 installer refused to detect the drive.

    I replaced both the SATA & power cables, verified the drives are detected by the AHCI firmware and the BIOS, and I even tried different motherboard SATA ports to no effect. I took a second , identical Seagate 320GB SATA hard drive, this time pre-formatted it inside Windows 7 RC using NTFS defaults, and again (with and without AHCI and Native SATA mode) Windows 7 will not see this hard drive either!

    I even downloaded the AHCI preinstall drivers and loaded these using a flash drive. When I did Windows 7 would autodetect the ICH9 driver and I would click Next. Windows 7 would suddenly see the drive, but all options to format or create a partition are grayed out. Clicking the more info button gives me this error message:

    • "Windows cannot be installed to this disk. This computer hardware may not support booting to this disk. Ensure that the disk's controller is enabled in the computer's BIOS menu."
    I used the AHCI preinstall drivers specific for the motherboard (Vista 64)  and I also tried the AHCI preinstall drivers from Intel for Windows 7 RC 64. As of this writing Intel has not released official Windows 7 RTM Intel Matrix Storage Manager drivers.

    In frustration I installed a SSD (with AHCI and Native SATA mode enabled) and suddenly Windows 7 detects the SSD without needing to load any driver (as would be expected, since Vista and 7 include Intel Storage Manager drivers by default already). I installed Windows 7 RTM 64bit onto the SSD without issue.

    15 minutes later I was at the Windows 7 desktop, and Windows 7 was showing the Seagate 320GB hard drive under "My Computer" as normal. I could even use the Seagate hard drive as normal as if nothing was wrong. For kicks I launched the Windows 7 installer inside Windows 7, but as you can see below it still refused to see the drive, despite the drive being shown under My Computer:

    (Since I can't use thumbnails, here's the direct link: http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n129/Chanur64/Box/Howpossible.jpg )

    Also I should note I previously had Windows 7 Beta installed on an IDE drive in this exact system, and had no problems with it. Windows 7 RTM would allow me to install to an IDE drive and allowed me to install to an SSD, but it cannot see and cannot install onto both Seagate 320GB hard drives. These Seagates are known good drives previously part of a RAID 5 array.

    If anyone knows what is going on or has some ideas I've not tried I would love to hear from you and get this figured out. Suffice to say this is not a promising start for Windows 7.

    Intel Q6600
    Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS4 (ICH9R southbridge)
    4GB DDR2-800
    2x Seagate 320GB SATA 7200.10
    Intel X25-M 80GB
    8800GTS 320mb
    PC Power & Cooling 750w PSU
    Sunday, September 20, 2009 12:38 PM

Answers

  • Problem solved, kinda. SATA hard drives previously used in Intel RAID arrays (and perhaps other RAID controllers too) appear to break something inside the Windows 7 installer.

    To get around this "bug" users can install XP onto the hard drive. I had zero problems installing my MSDN copy of XP SP3 to the Seagate hard drives. After I used XP's installer to delete the partitions and make a new one on the drive that seemed to fix the issue. Windows 7 will now detect and install onto the drives as normal, and without any need for AHCI drivers.

    This is a major regression in Windows 7. Remember I tried both a quick format and a low-level format INSIDE an active Windows 7 installation, but even then the Windows 7 installer could not see these drives. Yet after installing XP , the Windows 7 installer was able to detect, delete, and create a new partition to install onto, and the XP installer had no problems detecting the drives.

    I'm not sure at this stage where to file a bug report, but this is not going to be an insignificant problem. I am now finding other tech enthusiasts with similar problems due to drives previously used in RAID arrays, in fact that was how I got the idea to try XP in the first place.
    • Marked as answer by Kougar Monday, September 21, 2009 11:33 AM
    Monday, September 21, 2009 11:33 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

    I think that problem is that drives ware part in RAID 5 array. Try low level format or connacr drives to some HW RAID controller and check the disk from raid configuration menu.

    druid
    Sunday, September 20, 2009 9:16 PM
  • Hi Druid, thanks for your reply!

    In an effort to keep the post length down I seem to have left out that I tried both a quick format, and when that failed I then tried a low level format (again from inside a running Windows 7 RC installation) on one of the Seagate drives. After the low level format, (and only with AHCI and Native Sata enabled), and with the Intel Matrix Storage driver loaded, would Windows 7 see the drive with the correct 320GB capacity. But just as before I could not use any of the advanced drive options and could not create a new partition to install the OS. If I disabled AHCI and/or Native SATA mode the Windows 7 RTM installer still would not even see the drives at all.

    I'm starting to find similar posts to mine where users had to resort to finding an IDE drive, but as this system was designed to be a storage testing platform I kind of need SATA hard drives to work, not just IDE and SSDs. Some users are stating formatting the drives in XP fixes this problem... I will try the RAID option you suggest, and if that doesn't work try formatting them from XP since I've exhausted every other possible explanation for this.
    Monday, September 21, 2009 1:21 AM
  • Problem solved, kinda. SATA hard drives previously used in Intel RAID arrays (and perhaps other RAID controllers too) appear to break something inside the Windows 7 installer.

    To get around this "bug" users can install XP onto the hard drive. I had zero problems installing my MSDN copy of XP SP3 to the Seagate hard drives. After I used XP's installer to delete the partitions and make a new one on the drive that seemed to fix the issue. Windows 7 will now detect and install onto the drives as normal, and without any need for AHCI drivers.

    This is a major regression in Windows 7. Remember I tried both a quick format and a low-level format INSIDE an active Windows 7 installation, but even then the Windows 7 installer could not see these drives. Yet after installing XP , the Windows 7 installer was able to detect, delete, and create a new partition to install onto, and the XP installer had no problems detecting the drives.

    I'm not sure at this stage where to file a bug report, but this is not going to be an insignificant problem. I am now finding other tech enthusiasts with similar problems due to drives previously used in RAID arrays, in fact that was how I got the idea to try XP in the first place.
    • Marked as answer by Kougar Monday, September 21, 2009 11:33 AM
    Monday, September 21, 2009 11:33 AM
  • I just had a similar problem with Windows 7 not recognizing a Western Digital 500 GB SATA HD.  I tried all kinds of things to install the drive.  So I did what was suggested above  and put Windows XP on the drive.  Sure enough, I was able to get everything working after that.  I reformatted the HD in Windows 7 and made it the boot drive.  Thanks for providing the solution--I was getting ready to bash my head into a wall!

    By the way, the installation software that came with the WD HD was incompatible with Windows 7--all I got was an error message saying that files couldn't be opened.
    Sunday, October 25, 2009 6:00 PM
  • I've run into exactly the same problem - also using Seagate, just the 500MB Version.
    Running the RTS of Windows 7 I have removed existing partitions under Windows 7, created a new one and formated it with standard settings. No errors found, hard disk was accessible.
    Running the full installation of Windows 7 - no matter if it was under Windows 7 RTS or booted from DVD - the Seagate HD would not be displayed - all other HD's were there.
    After reading your post it has been an easy fix - so I did not use Windows XP but simply booted an partitioning program from USB.

    Sad to say that also the release Version of Windows 7 did not fix this problem.

    Thanks for your post - i might have given up on this one ;)

    Phate
    Monday, October 26, 2009 4:58 PM
  • if ide hard drive or sata hard drive is not detected  by windows 7   do this.


       download the sata or ide controller driver to usb or floppy or portable drive. "must be unzipped and in a folder'


    boot up windows 7 from cd!

    see the option load a driver?

    now browse file

    choose it  and install it.

    now your drive is visual and usable!

    choose the drive hard u want windows 7 on!

    done! keep going with install of  win7!








    • Proposed as answer by Rain77 Saturday, November 14, 2009 11:57 PM
    Saturday, November 14, 2009 11:55 PM
  • I have also had the exact same problem and have also tried everything you've mentioned other than installing XP onto the drive first, i will give it a go tonight. The difference is my drive is a western digital 300GB, its brand new and has not been used in a RAID. I have tried installing every driver i could find for my motherboard, windows 7 finds the drivers if i point it to the folder containing them, it then installs them and takes me straight back to original screen, "drive not detected, please install drivers" or something along them lines.
    Will try the XP install next and report back.
    Thursday, November 19, 2009 1:15 PM
  • Had a similar issue with detecting the drive as additional hard drive in windows 7. The trick was to go into disk management (somwhere under system tools) and assign a drive letter to the physical disk.

    Afterwards win7 had no issue showing my old files on there - no need to remount/format/etc.. which would kill old data.

    Thursday, December 09, 2010 5:07 AM
  • Had a similar issue with detecting the drive as additional hard drive in windows 7. The trick was to go into disk management (somwhere under system tools) and assign a drive letter to the physical disk.

    Afterwards win7 had no issue showing my old files on there - no need to remount/format/etc.. which would kill old data.

    Just wanted to say thanks!  This worked for me :)
    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 11:48 AM
  • Hey thanks toastb!! 

     

    Forget all the other methods, its too tedious. I just went into disk management (under storage) and assigned a letter to the new HDD Like what toastB suggested. WIndows 7 will actually format it and viola, its ready for use.

     

    If you don't know how to access disk management, just google it up. There are links that will show you how. Cheers! 

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011 10:09 PM
  • I just had to solve the same issue with a Seagate Momentus Thin hard drive ( http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/laptops/slim-laptop-hard-drives/)

    Tried several BIOS configuration, AHCI drivers, etc and Windows 7 32bits couldn't detect the drive.

     

    My solution was to boot with a USB pendrive with HirenCD tools (http://www.hiren.info/) and use a partition manager to erase disk contents, create and format a partition.

    Windows 7 detected the hard drive for the first time and now is installing, so.. crossing fingers.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Diego

    Thursday, January 19, 2012 1:16 AM
  • Had a similar issue with detecting the drive as additional hard drive in windows 7. The trick was to go into disk management (somwhere under system tools) and assign a drive letter to the physical disk.

    Afterwards win7 had no issue showing my old files on there - no need to remount/format/etc.. which would kill old data.

    quite a different problem to the OP.

    The issue here is detecting the drive during a windows 7 installation. Which means there is no disk management, no system tools etc, windows 7 has yet to be installed to be able to reach these functions.

    Sunday, January 29, 2012 10:50 AM
  • I just had to solve the same issue with a Seagate Momentus Thin hard drive ( http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/laptops/slim-laptop-hard-drives/)

    Tried several BIOS configuration, AHCI drivers, etc and Windows 7 32bits couldn't detect the drive.

     

    My solution was to boot with a USB pendrive with HirenCD tools (http://www.hiren.info/) and use a partition manager to erase disk contents, create and format a partition.

    Windows 7 detected the hard drive for the first time and now is installing, so.. crossing fingers.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Diego

    Diego,

    Thanks for the information and the link to Hiren.info!  I'm creating my bootable flash drive now.  I'll report back if I get this to work.

    I had this same issue on a Seagate Momentus 7200.2 "laptop" hard drive.  I say "lap top" in quotes because it's actually in a desktop (HP Compaq Ultra-slim dc7800).  I believe it was an upgrade, so it took me a while to figure out what I was dealing with until I finally took out the harddrive and checked what company made it!

    Thanks everyone!

    Monday, August 20, 2012 3:50 PM
  • Ok!  I've made some progress.  Not there yet, but I've gotten the Hiren's BootCD USB to boot!

    Rather than following Hiren's instructions I did the following:

    Download Hiren's BootCD here:  http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/

    Extract the zip file to your desktop (or wherever).  There is an ISO file inside.  That's the important one.  (Hiren's.BootCD.15.1.iso)

    Get Rufus:  https://github.com/downloads/pbatard/rufus/rufus_v1.2.0.exe

    Use Rufus to create a bootable USB using Hiren's ISO file!  It will do everything for you.  Just make sure it's set to FAT 32.  I don't think I changed any settings except to select my USB drive from the drive list.

    I have booted the computer with Mini-Windows XP.  I'm going to try creating and formatting a partition with that, and then attempt the Windows 7 installation again.

    I'll report back!

    Monday, August 20, 2012 5:59 PM
  • And... nothing so far.  I tried using two different partition programs, and no luck.  I'm getting the same error message that Windows can't find a partition or can't install to the partition... What... the... unholy...
    Monday, August 20, 2012 7:23 PM