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Computer Help forum

General discussion

Windows XP Setup Unable to Format Hard disk

by pnrkumar / December 17, 2008 10:35 PM PST

Recently my system has got error about system hive error
"C:\windows\system32\config\sysem file missing"

So when I tried to reinstall the system the winxp setup says
unable to format my hard drive after I choose C Drive to Quick Format(NTFS) and install option,this note appears

"setup was unable to format drive c:the hard disk may be damaged

make sure the disk is on and properly connected to the computer .If the disk is a SCSI disk,make sure your SCSI devices are properly terminated.See your computer or SCSI adapter documentation for more info"

Thinking that the hard disk(Seagate Barracuda 160GB SATA) might have corrupted I used Seagate seatools to check for error and the test failed. So I replaced the hard disk with brand new WD 160GB SATA hard disk and started installing the winxp. Again I'm facing the same problem. Even I checked with the new connection port.

I'm using AMD Sempron Processor. MSI K9MM-V Motherboard. dynet 512MB RAM.
As the problem is existing even with the new hard disk I think there is no problem with the hard disk or cable. the problem must be something else.
Please help me find the problem and rectify it.

(My hard disk is SATA and No-RAID, No-SCSI, BIOS detects my hard disk and I'm able to create partitions but unable to format and install WinXP)

Discussion is locked
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Re: SATA disk
by Kees Bakker / December 17, 2008 10:43 PM PST

One of the less obvious issues with XP is that the setup of most versions doesn't recognize SATA drives, unless you feed it a driver from diskette when being asked "Press f6 if you need to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver". Yes, this request includes SATA!

Give it a try.


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did you replace/swap cable(s)?
by ramarc / December 17, 2008 11:39 PM PST

you said you swapped drives and swapped ports, but did you replace the sata cable and did you try a different power cable? also, did you check the bios to see how sata is configured? if you have a ide emulation mode, you may want to use it instead of ahci.

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I've tried almost all the possiblities
by pnrkumar / December 18, 2008 7:24 PM PST

I don't think there is any problem with Hard disk or SATA. Because If I put the same hard disk and same installation CD on an other system It installs without any hassles. I think the problem must be in Mother board. Any suggestions?

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That's not a good test. Here's why.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 18, 2008 10:14 PM PST

On one motherboard you have have AHCI enabled, the next has the feature to emulate IDE is enabled. You are the system designer and would have to know what these are and when to supply drivers or not.

I know this seems harsh but these are not my doing.

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It was a working machine not new one
by pnr_kumar / January 5, 2009 7:39 PM PST

The problem that I've explained here from the machine that worked fine for almost 9 months and yes I've formatted it before some 2-3 times successfully. Now suddenly I'm facing this issue. I don't think any body does changes in the BIOS.

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Then you just proved a hardware failure.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 5, 2009 8:29 PM PST

Think over your declaration. You have passed summary judgement that hardware has failed. For me I know never to assume the BIOS is still the same. I check that, I reinstall the OS and drivers before I give it new hardware. I may even run a hard disk test (from it's maker.)

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