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Does My Hard Drive Require A Driver?

November 18th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

When browsing the various options for personal or business computing offered by major retailers, the low cost of devices sold without operating systems can be quite tempting. Computer owners that have gone through the process of reformatting a computer or installing updates may feel comfortable with the idea of purchasing and installing their own operating system. However, these systems can cause a few issues with certain operating systems based on their hardware. You will need to do your research into the drivers and devices used in the model before deciding if you are up for the challenge of OS installation.


Your Handy Storage Solution


Expanding hard drives have made it possible to store hundreds of full length movies, thousands of songs, and millions of books all right within your home office. These components are relatively easy to upgrade. General driver compatible is one of the main reasons that hard drives are so simple to replace. However, the controller file for the hard drive may not come with the system, especially if no operating system is installed. If you plan to buy an OS free system to use Windows XP on, you may run into some installation issues. Identifying the hardware used by the manufacturer is recommended so you do your research before investing in anything. It may be frustrating to delay your purchase in order to hunt around for the right match, but you will be able to use the system with less work to set it up.


A Common And Confusing Scene


You insert your Windows XP installation disc on your new computer and settle in for the long process. Unfortunately, you are greeted with a screen that claims the system doesn’t have a working hard drive installed. You know that’s not true because you check the product description quite thoroughly, but you can’t just tell the computer that it’s there. Instead, you must locate and install the correct driver so your storage device can communicate clearly with the rest of the system. In most cases, this happens automatically because the OS disc includes a compatible file or the driver is pre-loaded on the motherboard. When this fails to produce results, you may have to hunt down another solution. The operating system can’t be installed until the hard drive is recognized, so you will need another computer for your troubleshooting process.


Types Of Hard Drives


Identifying the exact type of hard drive in the computer can be tricky, but most consumer grade desktops and laptops all use one type. Higher read and write speeds can be offered by other types of drives, and small devices like netbooks may have a different type of storage all together.


  • Serial ATA
    • The SATA hard drive is the most common disc-based installation used for modern computers. Operating systems like Windows XP support common and native drivers for communication with these devices. However, some manufacturers may have specific controller files and advanced drivers you need to use your drive. Consult the website of the creators to discover if there are specific SATA drivers to download in order to get the system up running. O/S free systems often don’t include support discs for components.


  • Small Computer System Interface
    • The SCSI hard drives are often offered as upgrades for business level computers or systems designed for high read and write speeds. These devices usually come with specific controller drivers, which can be found through the manufacturer or sources for SCSI drivers.


  • Solid State Drive
    • With no spinning discs to wear out, SSD hard drives can last a long time. These are commonly used in high end laptops and netbooks that need to minimize component bulk. Drivers are not always needed, but you may still need to find a Windows XP SATA driver to proceed with OS installation.


Ways To Locate The SCSI and SATA Drivers You Need


You have three main tactics to try when attempting to deal with a system with no operating system. One requires you to know exactly what kind of hardware is located inside the case, while another relies on supplies from the retailer. The third won’t always work, but it is worth trying nonetheless.


Using Your Recovery Or Installation Discs


In many cases, you must only use your provided Windows XP recovery disc or original installation disc to find the drivers you need. The operating system ships with hundreds of drivers used by the biggest manufacturers, so there is a good chance this step alone is all you need.


Finding The Drivers When You Know The Makers


If you still have the product listing or owner’s manual showing all of the components in the system, your job is still fairly easy.


  1. Check the manufacturer of the hard drive and its type (SSD, SATA, SCSI, IDE, etc.). If there is a model number, copy it down.
  2. Visit the manufacturer’s website and check their support section. Most still only use general SATA controllers for a wide range of specific models, so matching your OS and hard drive type and size should help you locate the files you need.
  3. Download the files and burn them onto a disc designed to be read from the boot screen. You can find a number of free utilities to help you accomplish this purpose.
  4. Boot the system from the installation or recovery disc you plan to use, then select the Load More Drivers… option from the screen. Swap the disc out for your driver disc and follow the installation prompts. If you chose the right files, you should then find your hard drive recognized.


Hunting For Generic Options


SATA and many SSD drivers don’t need specific controller files from the manufacturer. If your Windows installation disc just doesn’t contain the right drivers, consider visiting the Microsoft Support website and looking for driver packs related to your device. For example, computer owners can pick up a SCSI Port Driver package in just a few minutes that will install many matching drivers on a system and potentially solve your problem. It may take a few tries to find a working set, so buying a computer with Windows XP or another OS installed is still the easiest option.

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