Why can the Windows XP setup not find the hard drive on my laptop which had Linux installed?

Terry B July 31, 2013

My laptop has a Linux distro installed at the moment. I have tried to re-install XP, but it cannot find the hard drive. I used gparted to remove the Linux distro, but still the laptop cannot find the hard drive. So I re-installed the Linux distro and it had no problems finding the drive.

  1. Terry B
    August 19, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Solved the problem bought a copy of vista then installed with no problems.

    Thanks all for suggestions


  2. Terry B
    August 17, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Are you suggesting that I re install Linux then try to install xp.


  3. Terry B
    August 16, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Hi all I have tried every suggestion to no avail getting ready to use the laptop as frisbee any other ideas.

    Thank you for the suggestions.


    • Hovsep A
      August 17, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      you can try to install windows xp in dual boot with linux, if it is okay delete linux and extend windows partition. Do windows xp see the hard drive with linux on it?

  4. Shinichi O
    August 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    you should try using a linux/ubuntu live cd and from there you can repartition your HD and format it as NTFS. that way windows installer will detect a partition for it to be installed.

    you can also install a new linux/ubuntu OS in the other partition if you like. or format it to another NTFS volume for additional windows file storage.

  5. Terry B
    August 3, 2013 at 12:51 am

    I have tried most of the ways suggested including taking the cmos battery out unfortunately I still have the same problem windows cant find the hard drive this laptop is for my daughter so linux is not an option any other ideas please.


    • Hovsep A
      August 4, 2013 at 10:15 am

      how about installing trial version of Windows vista, 7 or 8, if success then install Windows xp.

    • Mark L
      August 8, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      I think what may be happening is that your MBR was rewritten when linux was installed, so that it could use GRUB bootloader to start linux. You will need to first re-write your MBR to Microsoft standards so that it no longer points to a linux distro (which is why you are getting the GRUB rescue message).

      You said you have a disk manager - if by that you mean a drive/partition editor, such as Paragon HD manager or EASEUS partition manager, you can fix this, I think. First use the 'make emergency disk' option that most of these utilities have to burn a CD/DVD of the utility.

      Boot from the CD you made, and use the 'fix Boot Sector' or 'Fix MBR' option that most of these utilities have to repair the boot sector. If your computer doesn't boot from the CD, check the bios settings by poking 'Delecte' key (usually, but a few computers use F2 instead) repeatedly right after the computer boots to get into BIOS and set CD drive as first boot device. When you re-boot, the computer should now 'see' the drive (I hope). Good luck.

  6. Terry B
    August 1, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    i have used gparted to remove Linux and setup ntfs partition but still no joy with xp or any other disk I have tried. XP still cant find a hard drive and on start up I get a message grub rescue I also removed and put back the hard drive, any suggestions would be appreciated.


  7. Terry B
    August 1, 2013 at 5:34 am

    I have downloaded a disk manager but when I try to start the laptop it goes straight to linux and by passes the manager disk what are my options


  8. Samarcia M
    July 31, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Use a Disk Manager to partitioned the HD in the partition you wanted and retry to install Windows. Sometimes Linux will install on a HD that Windows will not installed on because there is a small problem with it, it has happen like this with me before.

  9. Abba J
    July 31, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    it can occur if you partitioned scheme is GPT instead of MBR , try Gparted or any other bootable partition software to re generate your fs , partitions , as you said you re-installed linux later which means problem is not with your HDD , but partitions OR FILE SYSTEM which willbe probably ( ext3 , 4 ) Windows not familiar with

  10. Terry B
    July 31, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Tried the change still no joy

  11. Bruce E
    July 31, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Download Windows XP SP3 network installer from the Microsoft website and use it to slipstream your current XP installation disc. Your existing disc is SP2 or earlier and does not have any SATA driver on it. Slipstreaming SP3 and burning a new disc will solve the problem without having to revert to IDE mode on your controller. The performance difference is negligible between AHCI and IDE on first generation SATA drives, but if you are using 3G the difference is noticable and it is very noticable if using 6G.

  12. Dalsan M
    July 31, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Try changing the hard drive setting in BIOS, from AHCI to IDE. Unless you slipstream the correct drivers (for your hard drive so that AHCI can be enabled) into Windows XP and then burn the Windows XP installation disc to use for installation, Windows XP will not recognize SATA drives. There are exceptions for XP SP3, though I still had issues with AHCI mode. For the most part, any performance difference between AHCI and IDE is negligible, except for certain specific instances.

  13. Hovsep A
    July 31, 2013 at 8:01 am

    have you formatted the hard drive to NTFS?

    How to Remove Linux and Install Windows XP

    How to Uninstall Linux & Install Windows XP

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