No Hard Disk Error When Installing Windows XP After Vista or Seven

If you are installing Windows XP after your machine has already had Windows Vista or Windows Seven, you will most likely get the “No hard disk error”. Many people still love Windows XP and just cannot get used to the newer operating systems from Microsoft. The “no hard disk drive” error usually occurs when your laptop or desktop computer is too modern for Windows XP. This older operating system does not come equipped with fancy drivers to run newer type hardware as this hardware was probably not even invented at the time of the Windows XP release.

The most common driver that causes this problem and brings up the “no hard disc error” is the lack of drivers for your hard drive. In the old days, all hard drives were connected by an IDE cable, however, newer hard disks have SATA connections. See the screenshot below showing the error. Sometimes you might even see the error when you are trying to select your partition that you want to format. Either way, you will see no hard drive.

Windows XP can’t find hard disk

Now presuming you have your hard drive actually installed properly, and you did previously have Windows Vista or Windows 7 on your computer, then the solution is sometimes obvious.

How to fix the No hard disk drive error?

There are many solutions for this problem on the Internet that all seemed very difficult, however, I have found the easiest way is to enter into your BIOS and change settings. To do this you might need to press a certain key on your keyboard when starting your computer. This could be F2, F10, DEL, and so on. Go into your bios and change your SATA Device Operation to ATA instead of AHCI. Install the OS then update all your drivers while in Windows XP and change it back when completed. Now what we will be looking for is something to do with your SATA connection and the menu titles are different for all brands of BIOS.

#1. Look for SATA options. Therefore you can look for any of these menus:

  • SATA options under Config menu
  • legacy drives under the hard drive section
  • basically, anything to do with SATA options
  • no hard disk error

#2. When you find this menu you then need to change the SATA options to allow IDE emulation. Below are some examples of what you might be looking for:

  • Change SATA Native Support from enabled to DISABLED
  • AHCI to IDE emulation
  • BIOS -> Config -> SATA -> change: AHCI to Compatibility
  • Set ACHI mode to IDE mode
  • I know this might seems confusing but the moral of the story is to disable or change the AHCI setting so that Windows XP can see the SATA hard disk drive.

#3. Save and exit your BIOS.

#4. Reboot your computer and now the Windows XP error “No hard disk ” found should be gone.

Once you have done this you can Install the OS then update all your drivers while in Windows XP and change it back when completed.

About Nathaniel Fleming 16 Articles
American economist. Nobel Laureate in Economics in 2017 for his contribution to the field of behavioral economics. Honorary Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the School of Business of the University of Chicago.

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