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I'm fixing a computer for a friend and I diagnosed their old harddrive was bad(click of death) so they got a new harddrive and now I'm trying to install Windows onto it. The computer is a newer Dell computer which came with Vista. It has SATA support on the motherboard and a native SATA power cable.

The old harddrive was a normal 320G SATA harddrive. The new one is also normal enough but 1TB and a different brand. When I go to install Windows with the OEM disk I get to where you choose which harddrive partition to install into. I see Disk 0 Unallocated Space and it shows the size. I can add a partition and format and everything but when I try to install and click 'Next' I get the error

Windows is unable to find a system volume that meets its criteria for installation

I have ran the BIOS diagnostic on the drive and it passed. Also I've searched for drivers on the disk that came with the harddrive, along with the driver disk of the computer and it did not find any.

What can possibly be wrong with this computer or this harddrive!?

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Apparently I had this issue: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/938984

There was a card reader hooked to the computer. I unhooked it and all works fine. Quite stupid how Vista gives an error message as vague as that though

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You beat me to the answer by seconds, looks like I was wronb, glad you figured it out. –  Moab Dec 16 '10 at 1:19
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I found two other articles in the same issue, yes another generic Windows error.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/933171/en-us

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927520/en-us

Seems they got this issue sorted in Windows 7 setup.

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