Acer Aspire 4920 cannot find hard drive

Hewlett-packard / Dv6 1210sa
April 14, 2011 at 07:45:07
Specs: Windows XP, Pentium
A friend just gave me an Aspire 4920 to salvage. I got into the BIOS and reset everything but there seems to be nothing on the screen after booting into Windows just a cursor. So I decided to put a new hard drive in and reinstall windows.
If I boot from CD, it says there is no hard drive found to install Windows to but if I leave it to boot it does find windows and goes to the desktop. However, this is on another hard drive with windows installed from another PC. I need a fresh copy of windows on it. There are no passwords or other strange settings so I am baffled. Tried with three hard drives. All can boot into windows (some crash due to cinflicts) but windows installation (XP) cannot find a hard drive even though it is there in BIOS.
Any ideas? I suspect a fault with the mobo/HDD controller but how comes it will boot the hard drive?

See More: Acer Aspire 4920 cannot find hard drive

Report •

April 14, 2011 at 07:50:07
Sorry, to clarify, the original HD was giving just a cursor and black screen, a second HD gave a blue screen no doubt due to conflict. A third HD boots into Windows XP fine but on all those HD's Windows installation says it cannot find a HD installed.
I realise you should not put any old HD into a machine from another but I wanted to check the screen/graphics worked etc. All seems fine but I cannot seem to get windows XP to install. I feel I may be missing something here, is it an XP thing, should I try Vista (Eurgh!) or Win7?
A quick look at the bios says v1.06 yet the latest is 1.21. Could this be the problem? How do I flash it without a working desktop?

Report •

April 14, 2011 at 08:53:10
... may be Sata driver setting in your bios take a look here here @ #5

Angel Decoy
... there is logic to this madness!

Report •

April 14, 2011 at 10:08:48
There is no sata setting in BIOS...i just looked at the BIOS readme and it would seem my version does not have it but the newer one does...thanks for the reply.

Report •

Related Solutions

April 14, 2011 at 10:14:19
... so you "do not" have a sata harddrive in your laptop then?

Angel Decoy
... there is logic to this madness!

Report •

April 14, 2011 at 10:28:04
... do you still have the old harddrive?

... some recovery info here

Angel Decoy
... there is logic to this madness!

Report •

April 14, 2011 at 10:45:25
A search on the web finds your Acer 4920 uses a SATA hard drive.

When your model supports using a SATA hard drive, there is ALWAYS some sort of setting in the bios Setup where you can change the SATA controller mode to an IDE compatible mode.

It may NOT be worded the same way as mavis 007 pointed to in response 2, but whatever it is, it's presently set to SATA or AHCI, it's changable, and at least one other choice is an IDE compatible mode of some sort, Save bios setiings.

An IDE compatible mode of some sort - e.g. IDE, EIDE, ATA, PATA, Compatible, or similar.

When the SATA controller mode is set to an IDE compatible mode, then the initial files loaded from the XP CD WILL detect the SATA drive, as an IDE compatible drive.
After Setup has finished, after you have loaded the main chipset drivers for your mboard and other drivers your model needs including the SATA controller drivers, then you can change the SATA controller mode back to SATA or AHCI in the bios, if you wish to.

When you install a hard drive that already has an existing Windows installation on it, if the mboard that was originally present when Windows was installed has hardware that is more than a little different from the one in the laptop you installed the hard drive in, Windows will often NOT load normally.
The symptoms of that vary.
- You may see the first bit of Windows graphics, then a black screen with a blinking cursor top left and nothing further happens .
- Windows may start to load but it doesn't get all the way to the desktop screen before the computer reboots and then it does the same thing again, in an endless loop.

That can be fixed by running a Repair installation of XP, without you losing any of the personal data that you have added to the partition Windows was installed on, which is usually C, IF AND ONLY IF....
- the Windows CD is the same version, Home or Pro, as the Windows installation on the hard drive.
- Windows was originally installed from a regular Microsoft CD, OEM or retail, or you have the brand name system supplied OEM XP re-installation XP CD that came with the system model you installed the hard drive in that you can use.

You cannot use an brand name system supplied OEM XP re-installation XP CD that came with one brand name system model on another brand name system model, unless the model is the same, or possibly unless the model is in a small group of models that were made around the same time. The CD will refuse to load Windows from scratch, and refuse to run a Repair installation of Windows.

You CAN use a regular Microsoft OEM XP CD to run the Repair installation of Windows, or to install Windows from scratch, along with the OEM Product Key that's on the outside of the brand name system computer case for the same version, Home or Pro, that's on the official Microsoft label.
A regular Microsoft OEM XP CD - has the Microsoft holograms and "For Distribution with a new PC only." printed on it.

Report •

April 15, 2011 at 00:30:39
I have a sata drive but no option in BIOS to change drive settings...will fire up the new bios and see if that sorts it.

Report •

April 15, 2011 at 07:09:35
... you may have to navigate to each selection by pressing the appropriate keys to alter the settings, there should be a <key> menu in the bios.
Angel Decoy
... there is logic to this madness!

Report •

April 16, 2011 at 00:30:50
I managed to flash the BIOS and that put the sata option in. However, a win 7 disc was able to load without changing the setting. All is good now. Thanks for your support.

Report •

April 16, 2011 at 07:46:22
Thanks for the thanks.

It sounds like you had this situation - someone forgot to make it possible to change the SATA controller mode to an IDE compatible mode in the bios Setup in the bios version it originally had .

Your other choices for XP or 2000 would have been....

- if the laptop has a built in floppy drive, press F6 near the beginning of loading files from the CD, and have the SATA controller drivers the mboard needs on a floppy disk in the floppy drive for you to specify that Windows is to install and use later on while loading the initial files .

- if the laptop does not have a built in floppy drive, make yourself a "slipstreamed" burned disk, preferably a CD-R, that has had the SATA controller drivers your mboard needs integrated into the original contents of the CD. While you're doing that you might as well integrate the Windows SP3 updates into it as well (or SP4 updates for 2000) .Then you use the "slipstreamed" CD to install Windows rather than the original CD, along with the original Product Key.

It sounds like the Windows 7 DVD has at least some SATA controller drivers built into it - I wasn't aware of that.
Sometimes you need to install SATA controller drivers while installing Windows 7, but they they can be a lot more easily installed from several possible sources, such as from files on a USB flash drive.

Windows 7 has higher minimum recommended hardware requirements. You may need to install more ram in order to get equivalent performance to what the laptop had in XP.
If you can't install at least, say, 2gb, you would probably get better performance if you installed XP on it rather than Windows 7.

Report •

Ask Question