SATA Installation Nightmares

CompUSA had the 160GB Seagate Sata drive for only $99 today ($170-$20 instant rebate - $50 mail-in rebate). I couldn’t resist.


I’m using the SATA as the sole hard drive of my SFF system. I do not have a floppy drive on this system. I cannot install Windows XP unless I provide the third-party SATA driver via a floppy, and only a floppy.

Is there any way at all around this? Since it’s late in the evening, my only alternative is to wait for my roommate to finish his work on his PC so I can cannabalize his floppy drive for the night.

But for future reference, is there any other alternative? I imagine I’m going to be reinstalling XP on a semi-regular basis. When SP2 comes out, I’ll probably do a fresh install. And I’d hate to have to cannabalize my buddy’s PC again.

Microsoft really needs to fix this in SP2. Floppy-less PC’s are more and more numerous. The system should be able to use the CD drive for this step.

Make your own bootable XP CD and put the driver on the CD? I dunno, I never really had this problem.

Worst comes to worst, you could just buy a floppy drive. They’re, like, $10.

If you don’t have a bay, you could just mount it in a spare disk drive pointing inside. Not like you’re going to need it very much.

usb floppy drive, maybe? seems like overkill to me, but what the heck, there’s probably other rare situations where something like that would come in handy.

I didn’t have any problem installing XP on my new system that has two SATA drives - didn’t need a floppy or anything.

What about a CF card reader? Is XP’s setup designed to poll the USB ports for drives (like the USB floppy drive, as well)?

Generic CF Card reader drivers are built into XP already, so as long as its told to do so at some point, I can’t see why it shouldn’t be able to access from that type of media. Theoretically.

Are you using a system that has a PCI chip, motherboard down?

In theory, SATA shouldn’t require drivers (though SATA RAID does). I’ve installed SATA drives on a number of different systems, but can’t recall if some required drivers. Certainly systems using Intel 865/875 chipsets do not – just boot from the CD, install and go.

I completely agree about the floppy driver install requirement from XP. I mean, come on, everything can be installed from the CD except a critical disk controller driver? :roll:

PCI Chip, Motherboard down? Not sure I understand that one.

It’s an Ideq 200N small form factor. NForce2 Ultra, with native SATA support. I plug the drive in directly to the motherboard.

The reason I don’t want to have to buy a floppy drive is because it’s a small form factor; eventually I’m going to put a second drive for a RAID configuration, and the only place to put a second drive is the floppy bay.

Also, the only reason I’d ever use the floppy is whenever I’d install Windows. I’ve gone floppyless ever since CD-R and DVD-R and my portable flash USB drive.

I had this same problem with that same box as well. I couldn’t find a way around it, so I grabbed a floppy drive from another PC and hooked it in temporarily. Very annoying.

Adam, did you say you have the exact same model Ideq box?

Did you have a nightmare with the Biostar SATA drivers (v. 2.10)? I kept getting blue screens and lockups with the ones I got off their web site.

I then downloaded the latest version of the drivers direct from VIA (2.20e), and so far they seem to be working fine, but I’m wondering if you had a similar problem.

I didn’t have a problem with the drivers on Biostar’s website. I believe I was even using the same hard drive. I’ve since sold that PC, though.

Nforce2 doesn’t have native SATA support. The motherboard down SATA is a PCI chip soldered to the board, likely either Promise or Silicon Image.

I ran into this as well since the P4C800 supports SATA RAID only, I had to put my floppy drive back in to load the drivers (two sets since it uses 2 different RAID controllers) to get my nice new 74GB 10K Raptor working. Yeah, annoying to say the least. You can’t put 'em on CD either, because the Windows forceably assumes that you install setup-time drivers from the floppy. I suppose you can get around that by setting it up so that a 2nd drive or another CD drive is set to A: instead of E: or something - that might work.

— Alan

IF you install on the SATA controller built into the Intel ICH5 chip, you don’t need additional drivers. I’ve installed XP into that configuration without needing additional drivers. The only time you need to do the floppy thing is if you’re configuring a RAID array.