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Pavilion a1777c Aborted Vista Clean Install

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Pavilion a1777c
Microsoft Windows Vista

Gentlemen,

I have a Pavilion a1777c desktop which I got recently at a thrift store. All it needed was a HDD so I put in a Western Digital 1TB SATA and tried to install Windows Vista Home Premium 32 bit which is the OS it shipped with.

I say "tried" because the installation aborted at the last step, "Completing Installation", with a window that popped up reading, "Windows setup could not configure Windows to run on this computer's hardware." As far as I can determine, all the hardware is just what the computer shipped with -- with the exception of the newer, higher-capacity HDD.

The first thing that occurs to me is that the Vista installation disk I used was SP1. I've used it before on a HP notebook and there was no problem. I have SP2 on another disk and could put that in after the initial installation, but the a1777c ships with a PCI graphics card and TV/FM tuner card. It could be  that the original HP installation media included SP2 so that I would need my own Vista installation disk with SP2 included to get a successful installation.

I would consider a set of Rescue Disks but that option is not available on the Downloads and Software page for this computer. There might be a third party resource for recue media, but likely at three times the price HP would charge.

Will this computer, as shipped, work properly under Windows 7? On the Drivers and Software page I chose Win7 as the OS just for fun and there was only one thing that came up as different from the stuff available for Vista. If it turns out that getting rescue media from a third party was the only realistic way to go, I would be tempted to put that money towards Win7.

Anyway, I've talked enough about it. Do you think that I'm onto something with the Vista SP1 installation disk being the problem, or could it be  something else?

Your interest in the problem and its solution is appreciated!

Grant

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Hi, Grant:

 

It is possible that the new hard drive you purchased is an advanced format hard drive which Vista doesn't recognize.

 

Advanced formatted hard drives are formatted with the GPT table instead of the older MBR partition table, so that they can work with the newer UEFI BIOS's, which your model doesn't have.

 

So, here are my recommendations...

 

1. Visit the WD website and see if they have a bootable tool to format the drive in MBR.

 

You would have to delete all partitions, make one new partition, format it in MBR-NTFS and see if Vista installs that way.

 

2. There are free 3rd party software suites that can do that for you such as this one...

 

https://www.partitionwizard.com/free-partition-manager.html

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Paul! My Man!

FYI, the HDD in question is a Western Digital WD10EZEX. It's been around long enough to have amassed multi-thousands of reviews on Amazon and is their best selling 3.5 inch HDD. I don't know whether it's one of those advanced format drives you mention.

I figured that if there was any kind of formatting that Vista didn't recognize that it would put up some kind of notice and recommend letting Vista format the drive before it ever tried to install Windows.

The previous HP I worked with was a notebook that didn't have a HDD. I put in one that was formatted for, and installed with a version of Linux Mint. Before Vista even began to install, it had me give it permission to delete the existing partition and of course the Linux OS along with it. I don't remember if Vista actually reformatted the drive, but I suppose it must have because I think that Linux uses a different file system than Windows.

Before installation began on this a1777c, Vista threw up a box asking if I wanted to install the OS on what it called "Volume 0" and it gave the size as something like 934GB, so that seemed like recognition to me.

Aside from any formatting anomalies, does the size of the drive itself present a problem to Vista SP1? I thought that I'd heard about some issues with drives two gigs or more, so I figurd that 1GB would be okay.

If none of this new information alters your recommendation, I will surely give it a shot.

Thanks for your help-- past, present and probably future.

Grant

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Hi there GHagen 🙂 

 

As Paul suggested, you may be encountering an issue with the drive's Advanced Format feature. You can verify it has it in the drive's spec sheet

 

This KB from Microsoft should give you a better idea of which OSs can support AF drives. 

 

You should be able to use more current versions of the Windows OS on your computer. 

 

Post back if you have any questions! 

 

Captain_WD.

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You're very welcome Grant.

 

Your PC cannot work with an advanced format hard drive, not because of Vista, but because of not having a UEFI BIOS.

 

You cannot boot from an AF drive unless UEFI is enabled.

 

So, my presumption is that Vista is working merrily along and when it goes to create the boot structure for the last time, it can't because the drive is GPT, UEFI does not exist, so all it can do is report that error.

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Paul is correct, your PC does not have UEFI BIOS, my mistake. Having a OS that can boot from a GPT drive with AF is not the only requirement. 

Do check this topic for more info.

 

Captain_WD.

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Here is the link to the HP white paper on GPT drives and UEFI BIOS'...

 

Although the title of the report references HP business desktops, it applies to all HP PC's.

 

http://h20565.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?sp4ts.oid=3785403&docLocale=en_US&docId=emr_na-c02...

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Thank you for all this, gentlemen.

Hopefully this HDD is not a lost cause with this machine if it can be formatted in a manner that the OS and motherboard can agree upon.

I will attempt such a reformat to an MBR-NTFS structure and hope for the best. What ever happens, I will post the results here.

Thanks for the explanations.

Grant

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Anytime, Grant.

 

The drive should work just fine if you can format it MBR-NTFS, which you should be able to.

 

I'm thinking most hard drive mfr's set them up with the GPT because nowadays, there are probably more PC's out there that have UEFI BIOS's than the older legacy ones.

 

Worst case scenario, put your old hard drive in where you had installed Windows, put the new hard drive in as a secondary drive, and use disk management to format the new hard drive in MBR, NTFS

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Gentlemen -- As threatened:

I ran the bootable version of PartitionWizard as I couldn't find anything from WD that approaches its capabilities. Interestingly enough, its analysis of the HDD indicated an MBR, but I can't remember whether the partition was identified as NTFS or unallocated.

As per recommendation, I deleted the partition, created a new one and formatted to NTFS. Then PartitionWizard read the partition as, "Basic MBR, NTFS, Primary, Active & Boot."

Then I tried to install Vista and got the same result as before -- it couldn't configure Windows to run on the computer's hardware. I tried a few more variations in PW but none of it made any difference.

Until....I reset the partition to the basic recommends and then changed the "SATA Mode" option in the BIOS from "RAID" to "IED". Then Vista installed all the way. There is another SATA option of "AHCI" but I have no idea what that is. It may have been a better choice than IED, I don't know.

The weird thing about the SATA options being set to RAID is that that is what it was set to when I got the computer and it remained at that option when I earlier reset the BIOS to its default settings. I reset it because I wondered whether the previous owner had made some type of custom choices for his own set up that was incompatible with my standard installation. So, if the default SATA option was RAID, you would think that that was where it should be for me, since the computer originally shipped with only one SATA HDD and I had installed only one SATA HDD.

So, Paul...Yet another tag-team effort. Since it might seem uncharitable and narcisistic for me to award myself the coveted "Accept As Solution" badge on my post, I'll give it to you. But, I will award myself a "Thumbs Up" and hope that anyone else who might face a similar problem will bother to read the whole thread. (Huh. I just found out that the system won't let you give yourself a thumbs up.)

Please excuse the tangent, but with the HP notebook I recently rescued, I installed drivers off the HP download page for that model before I ever initiated Windows Update. I could do that because I got the drivers with another computer and just installed them manually on the notebook. But with this one, the link you gave me in a previous post for the chipset drivers looks like some sort of tool that scans your system and then either provides links to where you can download the appropriate drivers, or it downloads them for you. Anyway, that has to done with the target computer, not a proxy. My question here, is whether it 's better to do driver installation before running Windows Update or after the computer is up to date with Microsoft's fixes -- and fixes of fixes, etc. Of course, in this case I have to install a few drivers first, regardless, that allow this computer to access the web.  

Respect.

Grant                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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