HP xw4300 workstation Windows XP installation fails to find hard disk drives (4382 Views)
Regular Advisor
Posts: 173
Registered: ‎11-07-2005
Message 1 of 4 (4,382 Views)

HP xw4300 workstation Windows XP installation fails to find hard disk drives

I have a  HP XW4300 workstation which had Red Hat Linux 3 installed on it.


I ran DBAN to erase all data on the 2 SATA hard disk drives (raid 1).


When I attempt to install Windows XP Pro I get as far the Windows Setup blue screen but after a while the installation displays

"Setup did not find and hard drives installed in your computer.

Make sure any hard drives are powered on and properly connected to your computer. and that any disk-related hardware configuration is correct. This may involve running a manufactured-supplied diagnostic or setup program.

Setup cannot contunue. To quit Setup, press F3"


I dont have the manufactured-supplied diagnostic CD.


I have googled a lot but I cannot find anything to help me out with this problem. 


I have reset the CMOS to it factory defaults by pressing the CMOS button on the system board as described in the XW4300 guide but my Windows XP pro installation still cannot find the hard disk drives.


Can anyone please advise how I can get the disk drives to be detected so I can Install Windows XP Pro.

HP Pro
Posts: 422
Registered: ‎04-25-2011
Message 2 of 4 (4,368 Views)

Re: HP xw4300 workstation Windows XP installation fails to find hard disk drives

Most of this problem is related to the storage driver. Probably your storage mode in F10 Setup ise set to AHCI or RAID mode. If you can go tyo F10 Setup, change the storage mode to IDE mode, you don't need any storage driver to install Windows XP. You can install it. This IDE mode will affect your hard driver performance but you may not notice it.


If you want to use the AHCI or RAID mode, you have to download an Intel Matrix Storage Manager SATA RAID/AHCI Driver (32-Bit) and copy storage driver into floppy diskette. During instllation, you have to follow up the F6 key installation. This F16 installation is a standard way to install OS when the storage driver is not in the OS CD.

I work for HP but my posts and replies are my own. Please click the "Accept As Solution" button if the answers solve your problem.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 659
Registered: ‎10-16-2006
Message 3 of 4 (4,363 Views)

Re: HP xw4300 workstation Windows XP installation fails to find hard disk drives

[ Edited ]

The "SATA Emulation" settings in BIOS in XP and W7 installs is a bit of a black art.  I have been working on understanding this for at least a year.  Here are some observations from that, based on working with over 20 xw6400 tuneups:


1.  The basic old SATA Emulation BIOS settings in an XP install (either Separate or Combined) work with the driver(s) for that that are included on the XP install CD, and those work fine with IDE drives, and SATA drives running in IDE type mode.  If, however, you want to have BIOS set to "RAID + AHCI" to get the advanced more modern SATA performance characteristics for good modern SATA drives you need to install the proper drivers that allow the SATA drives to run in that mode.  You may never use RAID, and I don't, but you may want the advanced AHCI features, and I do.


Those drivers are not built into the XP installer CD's..... they are only installed via the F6 method at a very early stage of the XP install.  I personally have a temporary hanging-free external floppy that I run off of internal power extension and a floppy cable attached to the motherboard, during those types of install.


2.  If you have the "RAID + AHCI" setting set in BIOS and do the F6 install properly you can switch back and forth from that BIOS setting to Separate or Combined in BIOS without any problems, whenever you want.  This is true also for W7 installs.  If you don't get that driver in there you will get the crash when you go from Separate or Combined in BIOS to "RAID + AHCI" in BIOS..... and this is true for both W7 and XP installs.  The installed system simply does not have the driver to pull that off, and this is true for XP and W7 if you had BIOS set to Separate or Combined during install.  So, if you want AHCI (and RAID) you must both set that in BIOS and get the driver installed...... it takes both things.


3.  In W7 if you set BIOS to "RAID + AHCI" in BIOS before the install on a freshly formatted hard drive the driver for that will be installed from the DVD automatically during the loading of all drivers initially, and you can switch back and forth from Separate or Combined to "RAID + AHCI".  That is assuming that you have a DVD device that had drivers on the MS DVD to allow that to work during install.  If there is a DVD driver-failure there is an easy fix that I have written of in the past, and have given a MS FixIt link.  Search for that with Google under Windows 7, FixIt, and AHCI..... you'll find it, or search my prior posts.   So, if you hit that snag of not having a modern enough DVD reader just switch back to Separate or Combined, do the DVD install, and do the FixIt later.  Sadly, no such easy fix for XP.  That is truly hell with XP if you have not done the floppy F6 method from  the very beginning.


4.  The HP install XP OS clones that were on your HP original hard drives all were done, for XP installs,  with that "RAID + Install" driver built into the install before cloning, so the BIOS all could be set to "RAID + AHCI" and just slap in a clone, and those installs also would work if the BIOS was set to Separte or Combined.  Best of all worlds.


However, if one bought a used xw6400 it would come with "RAID + AHCI" still set in BIOS but usually no original hard drive with the HP original OS clone install on it.  So, the innocent installer would not know to switch to Separate or Combined in BIOS and thus get a blue screen as a result during normal XP install (not knowing that they should switch to Separate or Combined forever, or do the F6 hanging loose floppy trick from fresh reformat).


I think that is where you are at..... #4,  Go into BIOS, switch your Storage Options under SATA Emulation to Separate, accept that you'll be running in a bit of a slower mode for SATA hard drives, and run the clean install of XP from your XP installer CD.  Dink around with the F6 technique later if you have time and want to master that method of clean install..... it is truly a hassle to figure out the right floppy to use and when to leave the floppy in and when to take it out.  Not intuitive or well documented.




By the way, I finally figured out how to do a clean install of XP using the COA sticker number on the side of the xw6400, using the HP OEM XP installer CD and the proper xw6400 HP "activator" CD, and the F6 floppy method..... but have moved on to W7 on these wonderful (and very fast) xw6400 workstations loaded with either two dual core E5150's, or two quad core E5345's.


Additionally, good choice on DBAN..... my preferred very low level reformatter.  Later, to drive the install at 100% processor utilization and high memory utilization for over 12 hours use the free Prime95 (they have 32 and 64 bit installers).  This "burn in" for over 12 hours without any errors is proof of a very fine install on very good hardware.  Choose the default Stress Test option.


Also, I'd like to get things fully tested on one hard drive before I'd consider RAID...... then I know the basics are working.  I honestly am not a big fan of RAID for my needs, and generally stick with one drive and have been happy with the hybrid Seagate Maxtor Momentus XT getting me much of the speed benefit of a flash drive with the capacity of a normal hard drive.  Others will want more, but this has been a rock solid platform, and very fast.




Honored Contributor
Posts: 659
Registered: ‎10-16-2006
Message 4 of 4 (4,351 Views)

Re: HP xw4300 workstation Windows XP installation fails to find hard disk drives

[ Edited ]

Another thought..... after using DBAN you truly have a "raw" hard drive.  That is different from a partitioned or reformatted ready-to-go hard drive.


For those who have never heard of DBAN it means Duke's Boot and Nuke, and you download a free iso, and create a bootable CD from that, and it will truly do very low level erasing of virtually anything on a hard drive including very primative parts of boot sectors and deep components of old operating systems on a hard drive.  It is not fancy, but is a free trusted tool.  It results in a driver that has virtually nothing readable on it.  Then, you reactivate this raw drive.  Below is the link, and it has been in that "beta" version for a long time.... it works just fine:




I have a USB interface device that I use to get the raw hard drive formatted after DBAN treatment, plugged into a XP or W7 system that is up and running.  I personally have liked the following for that:


 APRICORN ADW-USB-KIT IDE/PATA/SATA to USB HDD Adapter, and there are others, but this has served me well.  I got my two from NewEgg.com


I fire up my testbed system, power up the Apricorn after attaching it to the SATA power/data connectors on the end of the drive, and then plug in the USB cable from the Apricorn to the running testbed PC.  Then, navigate to Computer, Manage, Disk Management, convert that DBAN-treated now-raw drive to one that the MS formatter can see, create a partition, and format.  I always do a long format..... accept the time cost and get the best result.


Now finally that drive (after going from raw to reformatted) can be seen by the installer CD for XP or the installer DVD for W7.  I would advise starting with a non-RAID single drive install, simple, at least initially to prove that you have good hardware going.


DBAN has saved wacked-out drives for me from complex prior RAID installs or strange operating systems like Linux (  :)  ), but it really takes a drive down to a very raw state that we don't see often in daily use.  At least thereafter I can get the drive going again.


The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation.