I've been getting this message for about a month. However, after rebooting sometimes once, sometimes several times the computer eventually boots up. After reading multiple posts on similar issues, I went and got a new hard drive. I backed up all the files and was going to reinstall evertyhing from scratch onto this new hard drive. I took the old one out and put in the new one. I get the same message when it tries to boot.
At this point I swapped the drives again (the old one is back in).
I am at a loss.
Am I doing something wrong when I'm installing the new drive? Why am I getting the same message with this new drive?
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5600+ 2.81 GHz
I was not booting from the disk, so I can see that I wouldn't get anywhere. The disk is not formatted. I assume I need to load Vista on it and then format it.
However, based on what I did, which is simply put a new hard drive in and turned on the computer, why am I getting the same message as when I try to boot with my old hard drive? In other words, I realize I should've booted from the CD, but since I didn't is this message supposed to come up?
No boot device available:
sata 0: installed
sata 1: installed
sata 2: none
sata 3: none
Yes, that's exactly the message you should get with any new hard drive.
It has no format, no boot sector, absolutely nothing on it to allow the system to recognize it as a bootable drive. It's like you're putting a blank sheet of paper in a scanner and expecting the scanner to see text on the page.
Here's Dell's tutorial for manually reinstalling Vista. Read and follow it carefully.
Thank you for this reply.
As far as my current hard drive goes, do you think it is the culprit? I'd hate to do all this work with the new hard drive and end up with the same error at start up.
Dunno for sure. It's possible the drive has damage in the boot sector, or you could have a corrupted file or maybe even a boot sector virus.
Run chkdsk on the hard drive to see if there are bad sectors or corrupted files:
Click Start >RUN
Type in: chkdsk c: /f /r
Accept the offer to run chkdsk at next boot and then reboot. It'll run before Vista loads. It may take a long time to run so have patience! Don't interrupt it in the middle or you might lose some data.
See if that fixes the problem. But if the drive is developing bad sectors, it may fail unexpectedly so be sure to do routine/frequent backups of your data onto an external media. I suppose you could install that new drive as a secondary (non-boot) drive in this system and back up files your on that drive. (You will have to format it as "NTFS" file system before you can use it.)
Either way it sounds that I should replace the drive. I already bought the new drive and backed up all the important files to another computer. I will install a new drive then.
What should be the sequence of steps? Do I install the new drive and then run Vista from a CD? Or there is stuff to do prior to that? I'm somewhat confused when to partition, when to format the drive.
Thank you again.
I suggest you download all the latest versions of the drivers needed for the hardware in your system from support.dell.com, first. You can do this on any PC and burn them onto a CD. You can probably find the right collection of drivers by using your service tag number rather than the model number at the Dell support page. And makes sure to select the correct version of Windows to get the right drivers, too.
Drivers have to be installed in the correct order, so you may want to rename them to something more meaningful than "R123456.exe" when you download them. Use the "Browser" download option rather than Dell's Download Manager which is buggy. Make sure you look for Desktop System Software (System Utilities, not required for all systems) and Chipset driver.
When you have the drivers ready, make sure the new hard drive is recognized in BIOS setup before you begin the Vista install (reboot and press F2 to open BIOS setup).
That's all you should need to do in advance. Then boot from the Vista CD and look near the beginning of the installation routine for an option to format the hard drive (choose "NTFS" format). I don't believe Vista installation software offers the option to partition the hard drive. Formatting the drive means it's divided up into sectors (sort of like putting post-it notes in specific places in a book).
Partitioning the drive means it's divided up so that Windows sees multiple -smaller- drives. C: is your boot hard drive with all the Windows files. C: can be the entire physical drive or it can be just a partition on the drive, and other partitions ("drives") become D:, E:, F:, etc depending on how you partition it. There's no need to partition the drive unless you want to create separate "drives" for Windows and software (C and a "drive" where your data is stored (D. If you really want to partition the drive, you can always do that afterwards with software like Partition Magic.
After Vista is installed, install the drivers in correct order:
Desktop System Software (if required for this model)
When that's all done and the system is booting correctly, get your firewall and antiviral software running. Then go directly to the Microsoft update site and download all the updates and fixes for Vista (eg, SP1 etc), updates for Internet Explorer, Office etc, etc. And finally reinstall all your applications.
thank you for taking the time, really.
as far as the drivers go, I have the CD that cam with the computer which has all the drivers and utilities. anything wrong with using this disk post Vista install? I'm really not looking forward to looking for drivers on their website, copying, etc.
even if this disk is slightly outdated, it is the original disk.
would it be ok to use it?