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I have a friend's Gateway MA7 laptop, because it had a horrible virus problem. The only anti-virus on it was McAfee (which is worse than nothing, in my opinion), and it had such an infection that new programs couldn't be installed. To be on the safe side, I low-level formatted the HDD, and then attempted to reinstall Windows with the factory recovery disk. The disk goes through all the motions, and says that everything is restored. On reboot, the computer basically tells me that there is no HDD, although the recovery disk said it was copying files to this supposedly non-existent HDD.

Next, I tried to install from an MCE install disk. The computer boots, goes through the process of loading files to a RamDrive, then tells me that it can't find an HDD. Tried this with a normal XP Pro install disk, with the same result.

Checked the HDD (100 GB WD SATA) with the manufacturer's utility program, and it sees the drive and reports no problems. Tried making a small partition with a Win95 boot disk and transferring the system to it, and it boots fine from it. Tried again to install XP Pro, with the same result as before. I've now tried three different XP disks (Pro, Home, and MCE), with the same result with all three, and I afterward used one of them to install XP onto another computer without a hitch, so I know its not an install disk problem. The fact that I can make the drive bootable with Win95, and that the manufacturer's utility disk recognizes and reports the drive OK, tells me that the HDD is OK. So what gives?

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Last Post by KF4SQB
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Hi,
I have no idea how this is happening but, why don't you try putting the HD in another PC, install windows on it there then put back in his and load the necessary drivers.

As you have been able to install windows ?? the PC must have the drivers for the Sata drive loaded, and the drive must appear in the BIOS before you start to install windows. After you install windows??, is there any BIOS reference to the HD?
What are the priority settings for booting before installation and then after installation?
Did you "F Disk" and "format" after low level format? You could try that, I have no idea if it will help!
What program did you use for the low level format, the manufactures?
Good luck,

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Hi,
I have no idea how this is happening but, why don't you try putting the HD in another PC, install windows on it there then put back in his and load the necessary drivers.

As you have been able to install windows ?? the PC must have the drivers for the Sata drive loaded, and the drive must appear in the BIOS before you start to install windows. After you install windows??, is there any BIOS reference to the HD?
What are the priority settings for booting before installation and then after installation?
Did you "F Disk" and "format" after low level format? You could try that, I have no idea if it will help!
What program did you use for the low level format, the manufactures?
Good luck,

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SATA drivers. I've heard lots of people talk about them, but never needed them. I've installed XP, 95, DOS 6.22, and various flavors of Linux onto SATA drives, using the same procedures I use for PATA drives, with no issues and no drivers needed. Also, how could I load drivers when there is no OS installed yet? As for BIOS, yes, the HDD shows up there, whatever state the drive is in, as it should.

I did use the manufacturer's utility for low-level formatting the drive. I have tried both starting with a "blank" drive, and creating a partition and formatting it before starting to install, with the same results either way. There shouldn't be any problem with installing to a freshly low-level formatted drive, as its the same as installing to a brand new drive. XP should still see the drive and prompt you to create a partition, which it then formats.

As for trying to install on another computer and then move the HDD back to the original computer, I've tried that before, in different situations, with no luck. It might work if both PC's are the exact same, but I don't have another like this one to try it with. I may, however, try doing a complete install of Win95, and try to update it to XP. Thanks for the ideas!

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Hi,
No worries, but even though the two PC are different, you should be able to install a HD with windows (any) and it will work to some degree, even if it tells you that it is the wrong PC.
Installing 98 and updating sounds like a good idea but there is no reason why it should not be working now. Formatting and reinstalling, sounded like a good idea at the time but for some reason it did not work.
I wish you all the luck, come back and tell us how you got on please. If it fixes the problem please mark this thread as solved by you.

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Solved! Not sure how it may have happened, but the MBR was apparently hosed. After working with this thing for a while, I finally realized that I've seen a similar problem before, on a system that a multi-boot program was improperly uninstalled from. I booted from a DOS 6.22 boot disk, and used the little-known and undocumented "FDISK /MBR" command to blank and rebuild the MBR. After that, I installed with no problem. Thanks for the suggestions, Bob!

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