No hard drive detected during Windows NT install


Scenario: you are installing NT. But NTs install program says that no hard
drives were detected. OK. Whats going on? This PC has a new SCSI controller and
you HAVE the NT drivers for the scsi controller. Or you have a new IDE driver?
You reboot and when the installation gives you the opportunity to give it mass
storage drivers, you do so. No problem. OPPS! The installation program still
says that it can not detect any hard drives. What gives?

I have run into this situation most often with RAID controllers or newer scsi
adapters. I have seen the same problem reported for new drivers of IDE
controllers. The Windows NT drivers for this kind of hardware must be loaded
very early in the driver loading sequence of the installation process. The
normal point where NT setup asks for additional SCSI drivers is appropriate for
updating existing drivers, but if the NT installation media does not have
compatible drivers for the hardware, its “reboot and try again” time.

OK. You have the drivers on a diskette or CD. Restart the installation
process and when you see the message at the top of the screen:

Setup is inspecting your Hardware….

press the F6 key several times. This signals to NT
setup that you want to manually install a SCSI driver. Unfortunately it is very
easy to miss the moment (as in the stock market). Only a little delay in
pressing F6 and its too late in the loading sequence,
again. You must press F6 as soon as the Setup
message appears.

This frustrating sequence of events usually happens when installing or
upgrading using a bootable CD. If you use boot installation diskettes and
present the new driver at the normal location, you will be OK. But, even in the
boot diskette environment, if you do not provide scsi drivers for new scsi
cards, you get the same missing hard drives message. (new in the sense of newer
than the version of NT setup used to generate the bootable diskettes)

To catch the moment in the bootable CD world, I place the driver diskette in
drive A:, the CD in the CD drive, and boot the box. After the BIOS loads, it
will detect both the bootable CD and the diskette. When it discovers that the
diskette is not bootable, it will ask you to remove the diskette. Pop the floppy
disk drive door open (do not remove the disk). Press enter or other key and NT
will begin loading from CD. Since there is a delay as the code on the CD begins
to load, you have time to push the driver diskette back into the floppy drive
and press F6 a few times before Windows NT setup gets very far along.

Windows 2000 has the same F6 issue with its own twist. If your are running
the setup from the 4 setup boot disks, once you are prompted and load the
additional driver, you click on Next for the installation to
continue but instead, Windows 2000 reboots instead. Whats happening is that
Windows 2000 wants disk 3 to be in the floppy drive at this point. To avoid the
frustrating reboot, put disk 3 into the floppy prior to clicking on Next
.

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