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Windows 2000 Quick Fixes by Jim Boyce

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Setup doesn’t find my hard disk

When you’re attempting to install Windows 2000, Setup might encounter problems locating your computer’s hard disk. Setup’s inability to find a drive that you know is available is not only an annoyance, but it also makes it impossible to install Windows 2000. One potential cause of this problem is that Setup doesn’t have the appropriate driver loaded for your SCSI or RAID adapter. Problems with disk geometry configuration in the system’s BIOS or the size of the drive itself can also be potential problems. Also, the location that Setup places the temporary installation files can cause problems. Depending on the cause, overcoming the problem can be as simple as installing an additional driver during setup, changing a few BIOS settings, or directing Setup to use a different location for temporary files. When you run Setup again it should find the drive without any problems.

Adding a driver during Setup

If your SCSI or RAID controller isn’t recognized and supported directly by Windows 2000 Setup, but instead requires a third-party device driver, Setup will generally fail to recognize your hard disk during Windows 2000 installation. Loading the driver during Setup enables Windows 2000 to recognize and use the drive or array. If you have multiple adapters, Setup might detect one but not the other(s), so you might still need to add a driver manually during Setup.

Follow these steps to load a mass storage driver during Setup:

  1. Start Setup normally. You should see the message “Setup is inspecting your computer’s hardware configuration” on a black screen.

  2. When the initial Setup blue screen appears, press F6 (as indicated by the prompt at the bottom of the display) to specify a third-party driver. If Setup continues with installation without prompting you for a device driver disk, Setup is not detecting the adapter at all. Contact your system or adapter manufacturer for support as you may have a bad controller or other problem with the system.

  3. If Setup does detect the host adapter, insert the disk containing the third-party driver when prompted by Setup and continue with the installation.

Changing SCSI ID assignment manually

In some systems all SCSI drives are configured for ID and are assigned a SCSI ID by the SCSI host adapter. In such a system, Setup may have difficulty locating the drives or might incorrectly detect the desired boot drive. You need to configure the drives manually for specific SCSI IDs rather than allowing the adapter to configure them. This requires installation of jumpers on each drive to configure it for a specific SCSI ID.

  1. Check the drive documentation to determine which jumpers to use to configure the SCSI ID. Some drives come with an installation booklet that specifies the settings, while others have the information printed on the drive itself. As a last resort you may be able to find the information you need on the drive manufacturer’s web site.

  2. Shut down the system and remove each drive in turn, configuring the drives as explained in the following steps.


    Make sure you touch a metal part of the case before handling any equipment to ensure you discharge any static electricity that has built up in your body.

  3. The boot drive should be configured for SCSI ID 0, and on most drives, you omit a jumper to assign ID to the drive (no ID jumpers installed). Configure the boot drive as ID according to the requirements of the drive as indicated by the drive documentation.

  4. Install jumpers to configure the other hard drive(s) using unique IDs that do not conflict with other devices (CD-ROM drive, tape drive, removable drive, etc.) in the system. Each device must have a unique ID or the devices won’t function properly.

  5. Verify that the last device on the SCSI chain is terminated. Usually this is accomplished by installing a manufacturer-supplied resistor pack or, more commonly, installing a jumper on the device. Check the device for a label that indicates which pin sets termination.

  6. Reinstall each drive and restart the system to install Windows 2000.

Changing the location of the temporary files

By default Setup places temporary files for Windows 2000 installation on the first available drive with adequate free space. If you run winnt.exe or winnt32.exe from within another operating system, such as Windows 98, it’s possible for winnt.exe or winnt32.exe to see and place the temporary files on drives not supported by Setup. This can include compressed volumes, unsupported SCSI drives, or drives on secondary IDE or ESDI controllers. The solution is simple: just direct Setup to use a different location for the temporary files.

Start Setup using the command winnt.exe /t: drive or the command winnt32.exe /tempdrive: drive, where drive is the letter of the drive on which Setup should copy the temporary installation files. Select a drive that Setup can recognize. If no such drives exist, you’ll have to repartition or replace drives to enable Setup to install Windows 2000.


The /t or /tempdrive option also specifies the installation partition for Windows 2000. This means the drive you specify must be the same partition in which you intend to install Windows 2000.

Checking and changing IDE/EIDE drive type settings

It’s possible for Setup to have problems locating the hard drive(s) in the system if their configuration data in the BIOS is incorrect. For example, you might have the system configured to auto-detect the drives but the BIOS is not detecting them properly. In this situation you need to enter the BIOS Setup program and configure the drive settings according to the drive specifications:

  1. Determine the correct settings for your IDE/EIDE hard drives, including number of cylinders, number of heads, etc., using the documentation for the drives.

  2. Boot the computer and watch for a message that explains how to enter the BIOS Setup program. Typically, you press Delete, F2, or Esc during the initial boot screen to enter BIOS Setup. Check your system documentation if you’re not sure how to get into the BIOS Setup program.

  3. Once you’re in BIOS Setup, note the current drive configuration settings on a piece of paper for reference in case you need to restore the original settings.

  4. In BIOS Setup, check the configuration for the hard drives against the actual drive configuration and correct if necessary. You might need to configure the drives using the user-defined type, manually specifying the appropriate parameters, rather than auto-detection.

  5. Save the changes to the BIOS and reboot the computer, then restart Setup.

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