Cannot install Windows 2000.  Setup does not recognize FAT partition.

Posted on 2001-07-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-13
I cannot install Windows 2000 on a hard disk.  This same hard
disk looks good to DOS 6.2, FDisk, and Partition Commander.
Anybody know how to get Windows 2000 to install?  

I think some of the disks settings are damaged. I would really
like to know how to reset everything to the factory defaults?  
How does one do a low-level format, or reset the disks internal

I have experimented with this disk a lot, deleting partitions,
and creating new partitions of various sizes.  I use both
Partition Commander, and FDisk from DOS v6.20.  (I am able to
install Linux on this disk.)

Early on, I installed Windows 2000 successfully, starting with a
set of 4 floppies, the first of which is bootable.

Now I try to install Windows 2000 again, and character-based part
of the program never finds my partition.  If I have a single
FAT16 partition that is DOS bootable, then the last screen I see
is between the following lines of asterisks.  When this screen
appears, pressing 'C' does nothing.  Pressing ENTER or an arrow key
crashes the program (KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED).  I.e. Windows
2000 setup cannot find the partition, even though DOS boots fine.


Windows 2000 Professional Setup

The following list shows the existing partitions and
unpartitioned space on this computer.

Use the UP and DOWN ARROW keys to select an item in the list.

   o  To set up Windows 2000 on the selected item, press ENTER.

   o  To create a partition in the yboartutuibed space, Press C.

   o  To delete the selected partition, press D.

Unknown Disk

  (There is no disk in this drive.)


If I try setup with no partitions, I never get beyond the following,
earlier, screen.  It comes up with keyboard interrupts off and
pressing ENTER does nothing.


Windows 2000 Professional Setup

Welcome to Setup.

This portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft(R)
Windows 2000(TM) to run on your computer.

  o To set up Windows 2000 now, press ENTER.

  o To repair a Windows 2000 installation, press R.

  o To quit Setup without installing Windows 2000, press F3.


KB246119 does not fix this problem.
"FDISK /MBR" does not fix this problem.  I tried it.

Question by:Jim_S
  • 6
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LVL 25

Accepted Solution

dew_associates earned 400 total points
ID: 6261559
Try using a Windows 98 Boot Disk and use the Fdisk version that comes with it. The 6.22 version of DOS is sometimes a problem. Are you sure that you don't have any non-DOS partitions on the drive?

If you need a Win98 boot disk, you'll find one here.


Click on Useful Files in the menu

LVL 63

Expert Comment

ID: 6261616
I would recommend that you download a diagnostic disk from your harddrive manufacturer's url. This will tell you right off where you are at and if
   you can recover from it. It may be under warranty, the hard drives are usually covered for three years and you can make out the RMA on their site
                     also. Depending on the manufacturer of the hard drive, you can download diagnostic utilities from their sites to check the drives.

Also :

has a ZAP prgram that wipes the entire first sectors on the drive - making it squeaky clean.

I hope this helps !

Author Comment

ID: 6271458

dew>Try using a Windows 98 Boot Disk

I downloaded the 98 boot disk from your web site.  
It was difficult to actually create a bootable floppy.
Could not run "FORMAT /S" from the 98 boot disk, because
it was running under an incompatible version of DOS.  
A version of Format that was compatible with the running
DOS would have not created a 98 boot disk.

I finally coaxed a boot disk.  Luckily the DOS98 format
would run under a boot disk I have that came with a

I like your web site.

dew>Are you sure that you don't have any non-DOS partitions on the

At first I did have non-DOS partitions.  But to simplify matters,
I partitioned with a single 2047 Mbyte primary DOS partition and
nothing else.  The problem persists.


SysExpert>I would recommend that you download a diagnostic disk from your harddrive manufacturer...

The manufacture is IBM.  I find it so aggravating navigating the
web sites of large corporations, that I deliberately skipped this
step and posted to Experts Exchange instead.

SysExpert>has a ZAP prgram

Thank you.  This is the URL I was hoping someone would provide.  
I downloaded the IBM's "Drive Fitness Test," which includes the
ZAP.  I tested the disk and cleaned the disk.  The disk tests
good.  The problem persists.


I think I have narrowed the problem to the motherboard or
BIOS.  I can install the errant disk in a different computer
and Windows 2000 installs properly.  

The difference between the two computers is that on the working
computer, the BIOS detects the Primary Master IDE drive at boot
time. On the non-working computer the Primary Master drive is not
found. It is present and can boot to DOS.  The the bootup
firmware says that the Primary Master is not found.  And the
Win2000 install crashes.

My question now is why can the BIOS not detect the drive? The
BIOS also cannot detect a different disk that has a working and
bootable NT4.  The CMOS of both computers have the drives set to
autodetect.  I cannot find any relevant jumpers in the
motherboard manual.  I do not know any other settings that can
be affecting the harddrive detection?

The motherboard is ASUS TXP4.  The BIOS is Award 4.51PG.  Any
suggestions how to get the BIOS and motherboard to see the drive?

(The company that sold me the computer is out of business.  I
sent email to the ASUS tech support, but have not heard back.)
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 6271510
Unfortunately the 4.51 Bios is out of date and has a 4.2G primary partition size limitation. The easiest method would be to update the Bios to a version no earlier than Nov 1999. That will still leave you with a 8.4G limit though, however you can get around this by using an overlay from a drive manufacturer such as EZ-Drive.
LVL 63

Expert Comment

ID: 6271605
FOr a BIOS upgrade



or check the motherboard manufacturers website.

To ID it go to http://www.sysopt.com/mboard.html

I hope this helps !

Expert Comment

ID: 6273567
Might be an Intel chipset busmaster issue:



Author Comment

ID: 6274697

tskelly>Might be an Intel chipset busmaster issue:

Might be?  This is something I know nothing about.  To install chipset
software, need only certain operating systems installed on the machine.
All I have available on this machine are MS-DOS and WinNT 4.0.  Neither
of these work.  And I cannot install Win2000, because I am having the
problem (Catch 22).

dew_associates and SysExpert

I would like to close this question out, because I have narrowed
it from a Win2000/drive/partition question to a motherboard/BIOS
question.  So I have resubmitted the question in the hardware
category.  Though the problem is still not fixed, I got good
advice from both of you that helped move me along.  I got a Win98
version of DOS from dew's web site, and I got the IBM utility
from the URL that SysExpert gave me.

I wish there was a way to divide the points and give you each 50.
It is a tossup.  I decided to give the 100 to dew, because he
posted first and also as a reward for having such a good web site.
SysExpert, if you know of a way I can slip you points for no
reason at all, I will give you 50.

tskelly, If you know of a way I can do further testing on the chipset
or a way to update the motherboard from DOS, let me know in the
hardware category.
LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 6274750
Jim, all you need to do is post a new points only question for SysExpert in this area. When you post, title the question: Points for SysExpert.

Thanks, glad I could help.


Expert Comment

ID: 6276979
I posted some information at your other question about what appears to be your motherboard, but I can't tell exactly from the information you provided. There were particular know problems with Seagate and IBM hard drives mentioned at the links I provided.

I'd really like to know the model, manufacturer, and drive capacity of the hard drive.

Expert Comment

ID: 6276984
"known problems"

Expert Comment

ID: 6276995
I know you referred to it as an IBM drive above, but I want to verify it.

Discussion of Seagate harddrive and Intel chipset problem:


Expert Comment

ID: 6277002
IBM hard drive problem with Asus motherboard.


Expert Comment

ID: 6294258
If you haven't thrown the motherboard in the trash yet, you might want to still try aflash.exe

You can download it from:


There is a 430TX BIOS on the right side of the menu.

Tips on how to flash a BIOS:



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