Vista SATA RAID Installation Problems

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 20, 2008
Updated • Jan 20, 2008
Windows, Windows Vista

Dante send in this interesting story and I thought I share it the way he send it to me and ask everyone if they know of a way to install Windows Vista on a SATA Raid without difficulties. Let the story begin:

I had recently purchased parts to build a new PC and had encountered a Dicken's of a time getting it to install at all. Now here's the whacked out part: I followed the advice from online that Intel recommends I set the BIOS to RAID versus leaving it at SATA. This is because once the OS is installed, it can't be changed without blue screens of death.

After selecting RAID, I tried to install Windows Vista Ultimate 32 bit. It won't recognize the SATA drives. It sees them, even formats them. But won't install to them.

When I put in a PATA drive, Vista all of the sudden let's me install onto the SATA drives. But when I remove the PATA drive, Vista doesn't recognize the SATA's again. I wound up installing Vista on the PATA and using the SATA as program and data drives, respectively.


Motherboard: ECS Elitegoup's GF7100PVT-M3 with built-in nVidia 7100 VGA/DVI 256meg video.
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M
RAM: 2x G.SKILL 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 PC2 6400 (4 gig total)
HD: 2x 500gig Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS SATA II drives
DVD-R/W: Lite-On LH-20A1S SATA


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  1. KJ6ZD said on September 7, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Here is a brief update on my findings, since this issue was bothering the living doo doo out of me.
    It seems that if your system has any bootable IDE devices attached and configured as master, the install will fail or install to the IDE master Device.
    If there is no IDE drive installed and all there is, is a device that has nothing to write to, install will fail or hang or whatever Microsoft doesn’t catch.
    Microsoft is trying to write to that master IDE device and thereby ignoring the SATA(s).
    Bootable devices include CD-ROM’s configured as master, ZIP drives (master), even bootable flash drives, while a Flash drive might work if it is large enough in capacity.
    A CD-ROM does not work because Microsoft doesn’t find anything to write to. The same goes for a ZIP drive or similar devices or it reports that the Storage media is too small.

    Your BIOS should be set in the Boot device section to IDE. Some call it Native IDE or whatever names they come up with. If there is more than one SATA drive it is advisable to temporarily disconnect the other one, not to get confused with them since they don’t have drive letters assigned and any SATA device can boot. Some BIOS will place an “M” or “S” in the Drive description, where “M” is master and “S” is slave. This way it is easier to identify.
    There are probably many other reasons why a Vista Install fails on SATA drives. I have seen the Full Operating system completely installing and on reboot, it just didn’t find the boot sector anymore.
    This is obviously a Microsoft issue and one can only hope that they get a grip on it.
    Also, the drive with the Operating system on it, must be set as Boot device, which can, on newer Motherboards be done via the BIOS.

    Hope this gives another idea for some of us confused Computer nuts.


  2. KJ6ZD said on September 7, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Unfortunately, I don’t have permission to edit my own comment, so I’ll append a post Scriptum.
    You’ll have to ask yourself who comes up with an Algorithm that detects a BIOS flash as a major Hardware change and shuts down your Computer. This should tell you something!!!
    New Microsoft slogan,
    “What would you like to screw up today?”

  3. KJ6ZD said on September 7, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Hi there, when you use an OEM setup disk for Windows Vista, be prepared for trouble on any Motherboard. This is simply because Microsoft does not bother to support common hardware with their operating system. Let me have the money and from then on you are on your own. You could get this attitude, without paying, by installing LINUX. Although, in some LINUX cases you’ll get more support from the community as you get from Microsoft. A BIOS update caused Microsoft to invalidate my license. I am trying pretty much every thing in the book to get Vista on a SATA drive. I know it works because I had it before running, just don’t remember how I got there. And I agree with Dante, that the installer is more than weird.
    Try installing a USB scanner, if you managed to get Vista running.
    Microsoft never had their act together, however since Leadership has changed at Microsoft, it got from bad to worst.
    good luck with Microcrash.

  4. DanTe said on August 6, 2009 at 4:02 am

    As I’ve stated and it works for me: remove RAID setting. Than install OS on PATA drive. It’s the only way to get this stupid motherboard to boot. I can’t figure a way around it. I had to get a new motherboard and leave this one as a honeypot machine.

  5. Roberto said on August 5, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Hello, I have the same problem, but my hardware is diferent.

    I Have one Mobo ASUS and 2 disks with 1TB (seagate).
    When I try to start instalation with the BIOS set to RAID, the windows vista ultimate return error. It´s not acess my DVDRW , and I see the error “blue screens of death”.

    I install normaly without RAID enable, after the system to recognize the 2 discs normaly . But with RAID I can´t because this problem.
    What Can I do?

  6. Mandy Moore said on May 21, 2009 at 4:26 am

    Trying to install Vista home basic on my PC all connections are OK checked and re-checked.

    The process gets to the point where Vista is completing the install and it hangs a little while after which it reboot itself, de-installing vista and automatically retuning to win xp. I can’t seem to get beyond that point. I will be greatful of any clue to this problem.

  7. Dante said on November 10, 2008 at 4:20 am

    To Matthias: I seem to remember something about having to remove the DVD drive assignment from your Registry. Than plug in the DVD drive and it’ll recognize it as a fresh install. How to do this, I’m not too sure. You’ll have to search for it. A search for the term “remove dvd vista registry” came up with various scenarios, you’ll have to decide which one suits your predicament.

  8. Matthias said on November 9, 2008 at 9:31 am

    I have a problem, I added another 1TB hard drive using SATA and at first, I had it on #2, as the main drive is on 0, and the DVD was on 1. Well Windows Vista didn’t recognize the HD until I switched it with the DVD, now Vista won’t recognize my DVD.
    Does anyone know what I am doing wrong.

  9. Dante said on February 10, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    I did try the latest SATA Raid Controller Driver upon install, but Vista just blithely ignore the SATA’s as drives that an OS can install on. As “observer” said, I’m going to need a new motherboard.

  10. Marcus Schulz said on February 10, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Ever tried to use the latest SATA Raid Controller Driver before Installing Windows? Had the same problem with nforce4 Raid but was able to fix it this way. Before Installation Vista offers the option to add additional harddisk drivers.

  11. Dante said on January 21, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Oh. As a side note to the techies here. For some reason, Vista Ultimate is definitely much much more stable than Vista Home Premium. Especially for old games. And here I thought they were basically the same OS with different packaging…..

  12. Dante said on January 21, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Thanks “observer”. This was my first time with SATA install. Was wandering what the heck was going on. For now, I’m sticking with the PATA OS drive and SATA data drives config. Mostly because it’d already cost me two days of annoyance :) I’ll switch motherboard as soon as I have free time. Hopefully I won’t have to call Microsoft India to re-register the Vista license when I change mobo.

  13. just an observer said on January 21, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Hey Dante I had a similar situation (not with RAID) I was having problems with just recognizing a single SATA drive. Turns out it was the ECS mobo. I got the cheaper mobo bundle instead of getting better parts. I got an ASUS board and problems went away.

    I hope that helps your research.

  14. Dante said on January 20, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    I know Martin, I just wanted to clarify that I had reset the BIOS to SATA from RAID after RAID bombed out. Oh, and as a curiousity, did “me_not_you_says” IP look remarkably similar to africanboy’s?

  15. Martin said on January 20, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Dante I usually do not react to comments that say it’s all so easy without offering any help whatsoever. Unless he does post a possible solution I would simply ignore the comment.

  16. Dante said on January 20, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    I did write an email to Martin asking for help. It was just edited. As to RAID, after I’d removed the RAID setting from BIOS and restarted the whole thing as just plain SATA, I still have this problem. I had included the motherboard info because I’m not sure if I’d hosed up the BIOS or Vista Ultimate is giving me a particular headache.

    And a search through Google, Yahoo and Astalavista yielded no clues.

  17. me_not_you said on January 20, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    No offense, but if you cant figure out how to properly install windows onto a raid array then you need to write an article asking for help, not complaining.
    It is simple if you just follow the steps that have been around since RAID first appeared.
    It is the same method you would use with XP so you cant blame Vista for it.
    I wont say more as a simple google search will give you all the information you need.

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