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Why is my hard drive not recognized when reinstalling Windows 7 or 8 on my Precision Workstation?

Summary: Resolve issues with hard drive not recognized after Windows 7 or 8 reinstall on Precision Tower Workstations.

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Article Content


This article provides information on why my hard drive isn't recognized during a Windows 7/Windows 8 reinstall and how to install drivers for the LSI 9271-8i RAID controller to resolve the issue. This relates to the following Precision systems:  T3610, T5610, T7610, 5820 Tower, 7820 Tower and 7920 Tower.


LSI 9271-8i RAID controller on Precision systems installing Windows 7 or Windows 8


No hard drive detected during a Windows 7/Windows 8 reinstall

The LSI 9271-8i RAID, the LSI 9460-16i RAID, or the LSI 9440-8i RAID controller card is currently an option on the Precision T3610, T5610, T7610, 5820 Tower, 7820 Tower, or 7920 Tower systems. If your system includes this optional controller card, then you will be prompted to first install the driver for the card whenever you perform a Windows 7 or Windows 8 reinstall.

NOTE: If you are planning to use a Dell Recovery USB key for reinstalling Windows 7 or Windows 8 with your system’s BIOS set to UEFI Boot Mode (you can find out by displaying the BIOS menu by pressing F12 during system power up) then you need to perform the following steps to avoid system error messages:

Step 1: Preparing your Dell Recovery USB key

  1. a) Insert a blank USB in another system besides your target system.
  2. Use IE Browser to go to URL to download and install the Rufus Application: Link
  3. Use IE Browser to go to URL and enter your system’s Service Tag to download your systems latest Windows 7 or Windows 8 install media:
  4. Launch the Rufus App and click on CD icon to select an image.
  5. In Rufus App, find and select your Windows ISO (Dell OSRI) from what was downloaded previously in step c).
  6. In Rufus App, change the Partition scheme and target system type to: "GPT partition scheme for UEFI".
  7. In Rufus App, click Start, then close once complete.
  8. Remove your Dell Recovery USB key.

Step 2: Preparing your target systems BIOS settings:

  1. Go into your target systems BIOS menu by powering up and immediately press F2.
  2. Follow BIOS menu to set the following:
    1. Disable Secure Boot if it is set to Enable.
    2. Under Boot Sequence, make sure the Boot List Option is UEFI.
    3. Under Advanced Boot Options, enable Legacy Option ROMs.
    4. Save and Exit.
    5. Power down your target system.

Boot up with your Dell Recovery USB key:

  1. Insert in your target system your Dell Recovery USB key.
  2. Power up and immediately press F12 to show BIOS boot menu.
  3. Select under UEFI Boot: the UEFI: Dell Recovery USB selection.
  4. Follow the Dell Recovery USB process.
NOTE: On the T3610 ONLY: The T3610 has an onboard Intel C600 RAID controller that by DEFAULT is set to RAID ON. When installing Windows to a system with an LSI Controller installed, either set the C600 controller in the system BIOS to AHCI or load the C600 controller driver, before loading the LSI controller driver (Not loading the C600 driver when it is set for RAID will prevent the LSI controller driver from loading and result in no drives found.)

Because Windows does not contain a native driver for this controller card, the Windows installation will not recognize the hard drive. The install will not proceed until the LSI 9271-8i, LSI 9460-16i, or LSI 9440-8i RAID controller driver is loaded.

Where to find the LSI 9271-8i, LSI 9460-16i, or LSI 9440-8i RAID driver

Please download the driver for the LSI 9271-8i, LSI 9460-16i, or LSI 9440-8i RAID controller from the Dell Support Website. The driver will be located under the Storage Controller category. Download the driver file and unzip it to a USB key for use during the Windows 7 or Windows 8 reinstall.

Steps to install the LSI 9271-8i, LSI 9460-16i, or LSI 9440-8i driver

  1. During the Windows 7 or Windows 8 installation, a screen appears warning that no hard drive was found if the LSI 9271-8i, LSI 9460-16i, or LSI 9440-8i controller card is installed (Figure 1 )

    SLN289005_en_US__31389652792422.LSI 9271-8i no hard drive found screen
    Figure 1: Windows 7/8 installation no hard drive found error

  2. Insert the USB key and click the Browse button to search for the driver (Figure 2):

    SLN289005_en_US__41389652830548.LSI 9271-8i USB browse to driver
    Figure 2: Insert USB key and click Browse

  3. Browse to the correct drive letter and location for the USB drive (Figure 3):

    SLN289005_en_US__51389652945658.LSI 9271-8i USB drive letter
    Figure 3: Browse to driver location on USB key

  4. Once the driver is found, you will be prompted to select the LSI MegaRAID SAS 9271-8i, LSI MegaRAID SAS 9460-16i, or LSI MegaRAID SAS 9440-8i controller from the list. Make sure it is selected and click Next (Figure 4):

    SLN289005_en_US__61389653246100.LSI 9171-8i driver in list
    Figure 4: Select the correct LSI MegaRAID controller and click Next

  5. The hard drive will now be shown and ready to begin the Windows installation (Figure 5):

    SLN289005_en_US__71389653067660.LSI 9271-8i hard drive partition screen
    Figure 5: Hard drive shown at partition screen

Article Properties

Affected Product

Fixed Workstations, 5820 XL Tower, 7820 XL Tower, 7920 XL Tower, Precision 5820 Tower, Precision 7820 Tower, Precision 7920 Tower, Precision T3610, Precision T5610, Precision T7610

Last Published Date

08 Jul 2021



Article Type