Vista Does Not Recognize Your HDD

Selection and format prohibited during the installation

 
Yesterday, the star was Windows XP. Now, it is shadowed by its younger and more attractive OS: Windows Vista. No matter how many versions are available, the time comes when we have to grab the bull by its horns and install the new operation system.

With any new version released for the public, Microsoft tried to ease as much as possible the installation procedure. No more dozens of setup screens, the past nightmare, and Vista seems to be the ultimate genius under these terms.

Some users complained about an unexpected issue during the installation of Vista. Surprisingly, the installation guide does not recognize a HDD or partition.

Face to face with this situation, users found themselves unable to select or format the partition they wanted to install Vista on. Some of the possible symptoms you may encounter regarding this problem could be:

- The target HDD is not displayed
- The disk or partition you want to install Vista cannot be selected.
- You may not be able to format the partition/disk.
- Not being able to select the correct size of the partition.
- You may get this error message: "Windows is unable to find a system volume that meets its criteria for installation."


Excluding physical deterioration of your HDD which is not the target of this article, there are more possible scenarios that may trigger the issues listed above:

- Due to the strict requirements of Windows Vista, the HDD controller may not be compatible with the new OS.
- The driver you are using may be too old to be used with Vista.
- The target disk for the installation is a dynamic one.
- The file system can be damaged.
- You are using FAT32 file system which is not compatible with Vista.


Analyzing each possible cause, I advise you to undertake these measures:

1. Verify the target partition to see what file system uses. In case there is FAT32, just format it using the NTFS file system.

2. Check the website of the HDD manufacturer for the updated drivers. When you try to upgrade your current Windows to Vista, the installation will keep and use the installed drivers. Hence, if the drivers are too old, they can be a pain in the back preventing installation to perform normally. Once you have downloaded the new drivers, install them on the current Windows and then run the installation for Vista again.

3. Same story with a clean installation. The HDD needs the latest drivers to be compatible with Vista. Get the new drivers and when you start the installation use the "Load driver" option to provide the newly obtained drivers. Having these drivers available, Vista will install correctly.

4. If you got "Windows is unable to find a system volume that meets its criteria for installation" error message, it might mean that the target partition is not an active one and you need to set is correspondingly.

Good luck with the installation!

4 Comments

By    6 Feb 2007, 15:37 GMT