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How to reformat LENOVO T61 laptop? Ghost, WinXP CD, etc. say "no hard drive detected"?

I just got 2 Lenovo brand, model T61 laptops in from a company we just started working with.  We usually buy Dells but decided to change it up.  When the laptops came in they had Vista Ultimate as the OS.  We load XP Pro on all of our boxes so this won't do... I figured that I would just insert an XP Pro CD in at boot and boot to disc and then reformat it and be on my way.  When I get to the part in the XP setup where you choose the drive partitions to delete/create, etc. the setup says "no hard drive was detected on your system".  These laptops are brand new so I know there wasn't some kind of hard drive failure.  I changed the boot order to boot to hard disk first, restarted and then Vista loads and I get onto the desktop w/ start menu and everything.  No hard disks?  Right...

I then used one of my Ghost boot disks that I created so that the laptop booted right into the Ghost 8 GUI.  I clicked Local>Disk>Check and a message comes up saying "no local fixed dics were detected".  I figured that Ghost would work but I was wrong...

The laptops come with software and a special boot option to load recovery options, etc. which I hate.  I just want 1 partition and want it to be WinXP Pro based.  I don't want a D:\ Recovery partition and then a C:\ Primary.  That's nice if it's for your personal use and it's at home but not for work when my job is to work on the recovery of your laptop if need be.

Is there any way to reformat this thing?  I need to build it for someone starting soon and I've spent the last day now trying to figure out how to just reformat it!
1 Solution
Swamp_ThingAuthor Commented:
And what's even more weird is this...

I know that you can reformat your computer and install Windows XP by doing either of the following:
1. Set CD as primary boot device, boot to Windows XP disc and reformat/install from there.
2. While you're at your desktop insert Windows XP disc and a splash screen appears.  You can choose to "Install Windows XP", "Learn more about the setup process", "Perform additional tasks", "Check system compatibility".  You would then choose "Install Windows XP".

However, while at the desktop on Vista I inserted the Windows XP disc and I can choose every option EXCEPT "Install Windows XP".  Do they not want me to install XP or what!?!  I can't even select it as an option because it's grayed-out.
Lenovo has a SATA harddrive and XP doesn't include the drivers for it. That's whay you don't see it. The drivers can be downloaded from their website and you'd use the F6 option to load them.  F6 option requires a floppy and I've never been able to get a USB floppy to work.

Not a pretty job you have ahead of you but it is "do-able"


Web site with drivers

Another person with the same issue
Swamp_ThingAuthor Commented:
That's true, I didn't even think about the SATA drivers.  I guess I'm so used to the good old IDE drives and showing up right away.  If this is the way to get the hard disk to show (which it sounds like it is) this will be the first time in almost 4 years of reformatting machines that I've ever had to load SATA drivers to be able to reformat.
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usually the drivers are included on the media. I got really spoiled with XP. I recently bought a high-end DELL and didn't have the time to get used to Vista so I figured I'd spend an hour loading XP. 2 days later I installed a floppy and used F6 to load the drivers...

If you don't have a floppy drive on your computer, you have a couple of alternatives:  a) buy a cheap USB floppy drive, or b) slipstream the SATA drivers into the XP install CD, as detailed on this page:

Slipstream Windows XP with SATA Drivers

Also sometimes there is an option in the BIOS to disable the SATA interface, which you do during setup, and then turn it back on after the install is complete.
Swamp_ThingAuthor Commented:
Figured it out.  I did what LeeTutor suggested in his post but I didn't see the past two until just now.  I went on Lenovo's website and clicked on the "Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver for Windows 2000, XP, Vista (32bit) - ThinkPad " link under the HARD DRIVE heading on the drivers page for my T61 model.  There is a link to download the actual drivers and then a link that shows the ReadMe.  In the ReadMe it mentions the following:

Before installing the operating system, install Intel(R) Matrix
  Storage Manager Driver, as follows:

  Note: Be sure to install Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver before
        installing the operating system. Otherwise your computer will
        not respond; it will only display a blue screen.

  1. Attach a diskette drive to your computer.
  2. Download Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver from the Web site
     and extract the driver to C:\DRIVERS\WIN\IMSM and copy the driver
     to a diskette.
  3. To make sure that SATA AHCI is enabled, start the BIOS Setup
     Utility menu.
  4. Select Config.
  5. Select Serial ATA (SATA).
  6. Select AHCI.
  7. Change the startup sequence of your computer. Following the
     instructions on the Startup menu in the BIOS Setup Utility, set
     the CD-ROM drive to start first.
  8. Insert the CD for Windows XP into the CD or DVD drive, and
     restart the computer.
  9. To install a third-party SCSI or RAID driver first, press F6.
 10. When prompted, select S for Specify Additional Device.
 11. When prompted, insert the diskette that you created in step 2,
     and press Enter.
 12. - If your system has Intel(R) 82801HEM/HBM SATA AHCI Controller,
       select Intel(R) 82801HEM/HBM SATA AHCI Controller (Mobile
       ICH8M-E/M), and press Enter.
     - If your system has Intel(R) 82801GBM SATA AHCI Controller,
       select Intel(R) 82801GBM SATA AHCI Controller (Mobile ICH7M/DH),
       and press Enter.
 13. To continue the installation, press Enter again. Leave the
     diskette in the drive until the next reboot; the software may
     need to be copied from the diskette again when the files are
     copied during setup.
 14. Follow the instruction to complete the OS installation.

  If you do not have a diskette drive, you can install Intel Matrix
  Storage Manager Driver by the following alternative procedure:

  Note: If you select AHCI for Serial ATA (SATA) in the BIOS Setup
        Utility before installing Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver,
        your computer will not respond; it will only display a blue

  1. Start the BIOS Setup Utility menu.
  2. Select Config.
  3. Select Serial ATA (SATA).
  4. Select Compatibility.
  5. Install Windows XP and Service Pack 2.
  6. Download Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver from the Web site
     and extract the driver to C:\DRIVERS\WIN\IMSM.
  7. Run Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver. To do this, go to
     C:\DRIVERS\WIN\IMSM\PREPARE, and double-click install.cmd.
  8. Turn the computer off and then on again.
  9. Start the BIOS Setup Utility menu.
 10. Select Config.
 11. Select Serial ATA (SATA).
 12. Select AHCI.
 13. Start Windows XP. The Welcome to the Found New Hardware Wizard
 14. Click No, not this time, and then click Next.
 15. Select Install from a list or specific location (Advanced), and
     then click Next.
 16. Select Search for the best driver in these locations. Then
     select Include this location in the search:, specify the path,
     C:\DRIVERS\WIN\IMSM, and click Next. The Completing the Found
     New Hardware Wizard appears.
 17. Click Finish.
 18. When the System Settings Change window appears, click Yes. The
     computer restarts.

I didn't do all of those steps.  What sparked my thinking was when it mentioned going into the BIOS and changing looking at the SATA options.  When I went in there I saw that there were two options for the SATA: "AHCI" and "COMPATIBLE".  I changed it to "COMPATIBLE" and rebooted.  I booted to the Windows XP Pro install disc, ran the setup and the drive was then detected!  The notes say that once I'm done installing Windows XP and get to the desktop I have to reboot, set the SATA mode back to "AHCI", boot into Windows, "Found new hardware" wizard appears, and then I install the SATA drivers.  A happy ending.
Swamp_ThingAuthor Commented:
What I entered in is the clearest answer if you're looking at this for help.  I accepted "nbkbar7"'s answer because I would have never figured this out if he hadn't pointed me in the right direction with the vendor's site and the fact that the drive is a SATA device and needs special drivers.
In the BIOS there is a setting for making the Hard Drive work in IDE Compatibility mode.
Enable this and the windows setup will find the hard drive.
I just tested this and it works perfectly. Monand:~)
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