Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I started installing Windows from CD. All went fine until the setup got stuck while installing devices. I did a cold shutdown, tried a couple more times and then I removed the hard drive and replaced it with another one, as I am sure the freeze was due to bad sectors.

Now on entering the same XP CD and launching setup Windows sees the old (120 GB) hard drive. BIOS sees the new one (WD640) as does a Fedora Live CD, which I used to partition it.

When I unplug the drive and insert the Windows cd it tells me to reboot and select a proper boot device or insert boot media. Nothing changed in BIOS.

Am I seeing things?

Edit: I proceeded installing on the nonexistent hard drive – not finished yet.

Edit #2: It formatted the 131072 MB partition as NTFS – the only one it sees – and now it asks me if I am sure I want to install there, because there is another operating system on it. Surely a miracle.

And guess what! It is the Windows folder it sees.

Edit #3: It goes in circles. I rebooted and (after pressing F8 for the third time) it presents me with the same partition and same choices – now I am deep-formating the nonexistent drive.

Edit #4: Nope: vicious circle

Please save my sanity: I need to know where the heck did Windows store the info of the non-existing drive. It was surely a bug triggered when I killed the setup process.

And I need to know how to make Windows forget about it. I will try resetting the BIOS but still I want to understand what is going on.

share|improve this question
Is your old disk still connected to the computer? Are you sure you didn't put anything on your "new" drive? –  billc.cn Oct 30 '11 at 20:07
No - it's on my desk :) - there were things on my new drive but I formated it and partitioned it in fedora (200 GB ntfs, 100 ext4, 340 ntfs). It is really weird –  Mr_and_Mrs_D Oct 30 '11 at 20:28
What version of XP is the CD you're using? "SP0" CD's (ones with no service pack) can't deal with partitions >137GB (~131072 MB). TechNet Article –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Oct 30 '11 at 20:29
So what exactly do you mean by "windoz sees the old (120 gb) hard drive"? Did it display the size of the drive wrong or the wrong model? –  billc.cn Oct 30 '11 at 20:31
Hmm - starts making sense. Still why did it tell me there is already an op system there ? - not sure about the version its one of my back up cds from MSDAA - will check it and post asap –  Mr_and_Mrs_D Oct 30 '11 at 20:34

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Check the version of XP that's on the CD you're using.

"SP0" CD's (ones with no service pack) can't deal with partitions >137GB (~131072 MB).

Check out MS KB article number 303013 for more info.

You'll need to get ahold of an XP CD with SP1 pre-installed, or slipstream your own. I also believe you can get away with creating and formating the partition from another OS that can deal with the capacity, and then tell the XP install to use the existing file system.

share|improve this answer
That was it - not the old disk lol - still if I format and create say a 200 GB NTFS partition SP0 does not see it - that's what I've done - setup goes in a vicious circle as described - duh. I'll go for SP3. Thanks –  Mr_and_Mrs_D Oct 30 '11 at 23:30

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.