I've seen hundreds of complaints/questions relating to the fairly common problem of getting the “Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer” message while trying to install (or Repair Install) Windows XP. But in every single one I've seen, the problem turns out to be a simple issue of XP not having the correct driver(s) for the disk controller in question.
This is NOT one of those cases!
First, the disk controller in this case is an Adaptec SCSI-320 RAID controller, the latest drivers for which I've always included on the Install/Repair Install disk using nLite in advance. Even so, I've also always had a floppy disk with the same drivers on it that I can optionally supply after pressing F6 and then loading it from the floppy (although Windows always complains that the F6 drivers are redundant since it already has the correct drivers built in (via nLite). I've alternated between forcing the Windows installer to use the F6 drivers anyway, or allowing the installer to continue with the drivers it already has, but in either case it still always complains that “Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer”.
By the way, I've frequently confirmed that both sets of drivers are bit-for-bit identical, and that they are the latest versions for XP SP3 (there are newer drivers for later operating systems, but I scrupulously avoid using them). Also, since I can examine the files on the XP Pro installation I previously successfully installed on that system (note that I'm trying a Repair Install, not a new fresh install), I've also confirmed that the drivers already on the system are bit-for-bit identical with the drivers on both the F6 floppy and the Repair Install boot CD.
The system in question is home-built (I'm a very experienced user who is also a programmer). It's running 32-bit XP Pro/SP3 with all Windows updates and patches. The Adaptec controller is setup in HostRaid mode, and everything about both the controller and the two RAID-0 drives are seen perfectly in the BIOS. And when I run a Live CD, everything on the system partition looks and works perfectly.
The purpose of all that verbiage is to try to convince you that this is NOT a driver problem, but instead something more complicated and difficult that I cannot fathom or correct. Does anyone know what, exactly, causes Windows Setup to think there are no disk drives in the system even when there clearly ARE? Note that if I enter into the repair console, Windows sees the SCSI system disk perfectly well!
This is a tough one, folks! Can anyone offer any suggestions or assistance please?