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XP not seeing hard drive

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I recently deleted the 2 partions I had on my hard drive on my laptop and now when I try to reinstall windows
I get to the blue windows setup screen where you would select the hard drive to install windows on and in the box it says "Unknown Disk" then under that it says, (ther is no disk in this drive) Can some one tell me what this means and what I need to do to get my hard drive back! There has to be a way to recover the drives I deleted? PLEASE CAN SOMEONE HELP ME
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    motto - Just get-er-done

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What CD are you using to try reinstalling Windows? Most Recovery CD's need the hidden partition on the hard drive to reinstall the OS.

The regular windows XP CD should pop up a window say there is no partition and ask you if you want to partition the drive. You then format and partition the drive so windows can install on the drive.

Are you running a SATA drive in the laptop? you may need special drivers for a Windows CD to see the drive.Look at the drive makers website for drivers that you can integrate into a XP cd.

Rebuilding a XP cd with sata drivers is a little bit complicated but you can do this.

A excellent guide you can download is here.


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It sounds like SRX already cracked it, they way you describe it sounds like you got a laptop with a recovery drive usually supplied by OEM (IBM / Dell / HP)

and what has happened is that you deleted the predelivered software and recovery partition and are now trying to install your own windows (a move i recommend as the preinstalled usually is filled with way to much "stuff" for my liking)

If it is an IBM or Dell maskine by calling their support line you can get a set of recovery CD's from them but this will only bring back what you had prior to deletion, reinstalling it, not recovering it.

The problem is usually caused as SRX said by windows missing the SATA drivers that IBM/Dell use i have not worked with many Dells but the IBM drivers can be found here:

Note i have only worked on IBM's myself but the easiest way to install is to enter the bios, using F1 at boot up, enter the harddrive settings and change the harddrive setting from AHCI to "compatible" mode.

This will allow you to install using a normall windows XP CD, then once that is done, install the above driver and chance the setting back.

(If your machine is not an IBM sorry cant be more helpfull, but post your machine details and i will see if a similar solution is available for that)

Best of luck.
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