Cannot Install Vista on SATA Drive

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Mar 22, 2007, 9:22:08 PM3/22/07
Hi one and all,

Not sure if anyone can help me with this as the problem seems widespread in
various forms.

My particular problem is that when I installed Vista (Home Premium) on this
new build, it gets all the way to the "completing the installation" phase and
then just restarts and then an error message appears when it starts back up.
It says exactly this:

Install Windows

"The computer restarted unexpectedly or encountered an unexpected error.
Windows installation cannot proceed. To install Windows, click "OK" to
restart the computer and then restart the installation."

But when you click OK, it restarts and comes back to the same error. You
cannot get out of the cycle unless you boot from the DVD again, which results
in installing Vista again, resulting in the same problem.

Seeing as I have now successfully installed it onto an old HDD connected via
IDE (with the SATA drive still connected) the problem must be the SATA drive?

The problem is that I have no idea how to install Vista onto the SATA drive
without it resulting in this restarting error cycle. Unless I can somehow
"move" the Vista installation from the IDE HDD to the SATA HDD. Is this
feasible, and if so, how can it be done?


Simon Cook


Mar 22, 2007, 9:43:53 PM3/22/07

"[cookie]" <> wrote in message

> Hi one and all,
> Not sure if anyone can help me with this as the problem seems widespread
> in
> various forms.

What mainboard?
Is the SATA header on a RAID controller?
Does the MOBO vendor recommend installing an OS on a particular header (e.g.
SATA1 or 2 or 3...)?
Are BIOS settings for RAID disabled?
Did you check your MOBO vendor for RAID or SATA drivers?
And no, you can't clone the PATA drive install to the SATA one, you'll
encounter the same problem.

Adam Albright

Mar 22, 2007, 10:30:27 PM3/22/07
>"[cookie]" <> wrote in message
>> Hi one and all,
>> Not sure if anyone can help me with this as the problem seems widespread
>> in
>> various forms.

Installing Vista on a SATA drive can present special problems.
Generally if you are doing a clean install to a SATA drive you need to
use the F6 method to PRELOAD SATA drivers very early on in the install
process or Vista won't be able to boot. You also will need a floppy
diskette to write these drivers to. You should find specific details
in your motherboard manaul or the vendor's web site, Vista will prompt
you went to hit F6 or whatever else your flavor of BIOS needs. If you
do a install in place AND you can find find SATA drivers that work in
BOTH XP and Vista then you can do a overwrite of your exhisting OS IF
you install the new SATA drivers first. There could be other issues, I
sure had some and still do, but I thankfully installed Vista to a IDE
ATA drive and only use my SATA drives for data storage.

If you're going to use RAID do NOT try to set that up first, way too
convoluted, do that later after Vista is up and running.

Richard Urban

Mar 23, 2007, 1:26:00 AM3/23/07
An all too common problem. See if this fits your conditions.

I have installed the various versions of Vista on 62 various computers. On
nine of those computers I have run into, and solved, this nasty boot
problem. I have also assisted with this problem for a rather large handful
of people who post here with a similar condition.

The problem concerns computers with the following configuration/condition:

1. A computer with multiple hard drives (any mix of S-ATA or PATA it
turns out)

2. Any of the 2nd, or higher, drives has been setup as having a logical

3. The user installs Vista by booting from the DVD

When a drive is setup with a logical partition, 8 meg of unallocated space
is reserved at the beginning of the drive.

The Vista installer, it appears, will start installing boot code to the
unallocated space on a 2nd, 3rd or 4th drive. I have used a hex editor and
have found this code there. This 8 meg of unallocated space is quickly
filled and the installer places the remainder of the code on the disk chosen
by the user for the Vista install.

The Vista install completes and the user removes the DVD. Upon startup, the
user finds that Vista will not boot. Vista is looking for the boot code on
the drive where the user had chosen to install Vista (system partition). It
is not there. Part of it resides on another drive where it is not

If the user puts the DVD into the drive tray, Vista boots fine. Startup
takes the code from the DVD.

This should not occur, but it is too late to change the code on the Vista
DVD's at this point. The work around is to physically disconnect any drive
that you do not want the Vista installer to touch. In this way, all of the
code is written to the desired drive/partition.

Upon arriving at the Windows desktop, go to system management | Disk
Management and change the drive letters for your CD drive, DVD drive, USB
drives, card readers etc. to the end of the alphabet. This gets them out of
the way prior to you shutting down the computer and reconnecting your other

Now, shut down your computer and reconnect your drives. Upon booting to the
desktop, you will see that the new drives are recognized and initialized.
You will also see that the drive letters are in sequence, and not broken up
by the various other drives (you previously moved them). You may be asked to
reboot so the changes can be made permanent. Do so if directed.

The next time you boot to the desktop you can rearrange those re-lettered
drives if you so desire.

Now, I am not certain how pervasive this problem is but I have seen it on
old/new motherboards from 3 major M/B manufacturers. It is not, of course,
going to affect those who purchase a new computer with Vista on it. It
"will" affect those who upgrade or build their own computers, as these are
the users who are more likely to have multiple drives installed in their



Richard Urban MVP
Microsoft Windows Shell/User

"[cookie]" <> wrote in message

John Barnes

Mar 23, 2007, 7:12:16 PM3/23/07
Have you installed Vista? No floppy, no F6. There is a point for
installing SATA drivers if necessary.

"Adam Albright" <> wrote in message

John Barnes

Mar 23, 2007, 7:17:52 PM3/23/07
Nice 'how to' Richard. Have you considered blogging on an MVP blog so you
can just link to it when this problem comes up?

"Richard Urban" <> wrote in message

Adam Albright

Mar 23, 2007, 8:52:41 PM3/23/07
On Fri, 23 Mar 2007 16:12:16 -0700, "John Barnes" <>

>Have you installed Vista? No floppy, no F6. There is a point for
>installing SATA drivers if necessary.



Mar 23, 2007, 9:03:19 PM3/23/07

"Adam Albright" <> wrote in message

I guess I was lucky. I built a new computer with a SATA II HD and SATA II
DVD. Absolutely no problems. Loaded the first time with no glitches. I
used a Gigabyte 965P-DS3 mobo. Loaded no drivers, etc. It just worked.


Mar 24, 2007, 11:20:13 AM3/24/07
- The motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-965P-S3. The BIOS version I believe is
whatever shipped with it (version 1.0 rather than 3.3). I can't seem to
update the BIOS - in the flash utility it uses, can't detect a floppy disk.
Now that I can get into Windows, I tried to open a floppy disk again, and it
says "please insert a floppy disk". The disk is in and it's not empty, so I
suppose the drivers may need to be installed for the floppy drive? Do I get
them from the motherboard CD?

- I have 3 SATA ports on the motherboard - two are orange and one is purple.
The orange ones seem to be controlled by Intel ICH8, whereas the purple one
is controlled by Gigabyte SATA2. I have the SATA drive connected to one of
the orange ports, which means Intel ICH8. Is this okay, or should I be using
the purple one? I also think I should install drivers for the SATA drivers -
but I have no idea how to. Are these on the motherboard CD as well? Can they
be installed within Windows or should they be installed at some other time

- I don't think the manual says to use a particular "header". Which one
sould I be using?

- I have downloaded some SATA drivers, but I think one version installs in
Windows and one installs via pressing F6 during Vista installation. When can
you press F6 to install the SATA drivers - I don't recall seeing that option
with Vista. But my floppy drive doesn't seem to work at the moment anyway!

- I think RAID settings are disabled in the BIOS, yes.

Adam Albright:
- How can I get my floppy drive to work? It doesn't work at the moment, so I
won't be able to F6 any SATA drivers.

John Barnes:
- Yes I have installed Vista - it's on my IDE drive. The SATA drive is also
connected but is doing nothing at present. I didn't "F6" any SATA drivers - I
don't think the floppy drive works at the moment.

Richard Urban:
- The computer now, does have a mix of hard drives, but before it just had a
SATA drive in it, and it couldn't install Vista. I am installing Vista from
the DVD - how else can you do it!? Vista doesn't even install - it gets to
the "completing installation" phase, hangs and restarts with the
aforementioned error appearing... and the cycle continues. I get this
regardless of if I have the Vista DVD in the drive or not.

Any help guys? :-/

John Barnes

Mar 24, 2007, 11:53:50 AM3/24/07
My post wasn't to you. There is no F6 for Vista. There is a point it asks
you if you have drivers, and they don't need to be on a floppy anymore.
You may just have a read problem with the floppy. I suggest you reformat it
and reload it. Better, why don't you use the Windows BIOS update that is
available for Gigabyte drives. You can see which version you have on the
first boot up screen for the BIOS.
I don't know if that MOBO requires SATA drivers, but if it does, you will
need to have the proper drivers for the edition of Vista you are installing
(64 or 86).
You can have them on a USB flashdrive or hard drive.
Personally, if you are installing the full version, I would install with
just the SATA drive connected.

"[cookie]" <> wrote in message

Hugh Wyn Griffith

Mar 24, 2007, 1:42:31 PM3/24/07
In article <>, Adam Albright

> >Have you installed Vista?  No floppy, no F6.  There is a point for 
> >installing SATA drivers if necessary.
> ????

VISTA is no longer tied to a floppy for those "F6" files as XP is --
you can use a USB thumb drive etc.

Adam Albright

Mar 24, 2007, 3:17:06 PM3/24/07

I feel your pain... I mean really I do.

Since you have a Gigabyte board, dig out the manual and see if your
model supports @BIOS. This is a method to update your BIOS via a web
site and download and install just like any other application. Kind of
cool. I used it to update my BIOS and worked fine and you don't need a
floppy. Of course you need to have the computer working first. :-(

As you've probably already discovered the Gigabyte web site can at
times be painfully slow. Look at your motherboard carefully.
Somewhere, probably near one of the edges is the model number and
REVISION number of your particular board. You'll need that when
looking for drivers on the Gigabyte site.

You only need to F6 for a clean install. Again, most everything, at
least for my MB comes in two flavors as far as offered driver files.
Some flie versions you need to download and then put on a floppy and
also many, in fact most also come as a .exe file. Read the list
carefully to be sure to download the right ones. They are zipped so
you'll need some kind of application to unzip probably.

Now assuming your board also uses Award BIOS most likely, if you go to
the page that's titled 'Integrated Perpherals' you'll see up to four
lines dealing with hard drives.

Yours, because your MB is a different model may be different than

The first BIOS line under Integrated Perpherals probably says SATA
RAID/AHCI Mode. Set this wrong and all kinds of goofy things can
happen. Here's how I have mine right now and why. The default is IDE
mode. That's where I have mine. ONLY set this to AHCI (for SATA) if
your boot drive is a SATA drive. The problem is this presents a
chicken or egg kind of issue in that the only way to boot into AHCI
mode to support SATA is to have the drivers ALREADY present. Setting
this to IDE allows any SATA drive regardless which connector (orange
or purple) to run your SATA drive in IDE mode. It will be slower, but
that's all. It will work.

The second line SATA native mode, leave disabled. The third line
further down the page Onboard SATA/IDE device needs to be set to
enable. The forth line Ctrl Mode you can try either way.

Sadly, none of what I just wrote will help IF you are trying to
install Vista onto a SATA drive for some Gigabyte boards. Just to give
you an idea how convoluted the process is for my Gigabyte board if I
went the clean install route (which I didn't) they devote over a dozen
pages of what you're suppose to do to set it up in the manual, all
before you try to install Windows.

So, my suggestion would be to install Vista on a IDE drive (how I have
mine) and you avoid the F6 and chicken or the egg issue totally. I
only use SATA drives for data purposes.

The real villain in all this is Intel for their half-ass way of
decompressing the hard drive controller files, assuming your board
uses the Intel ICH8R as the South Bridge since it won't do it unless
it sees AHCI mode active, which can't happen unless and until the
system boots and loads into that mode which it can't if you run IDE,
hence the chicken or egg thing. Good luck.

John Barnes

Mar 25, 2007, 5:07:36 PM3/25/07
Nor do you hit F6. When you get to the 'Where do you want to install
Vista?' screen you click on the Load Driver button in the lower left of the

"Hugh Wyn Griffith" <> wrote in message

Hugh Wyn Griffith

Mar 25, 2007, 7:19:10 PM3/25/07
In article <OJOL2Gyb...@TK2MSFTNGP05.phx.gbl>, John Barnes wrote:

> Nor do you hit F6.

That's why I put F6 in quotes:

<< for those "F6" files >>

to describe the operation familiar to XP users.

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