SATA Hard Drive not recognised


Nov 5, 2009
Okay so I've been searching for the past couple of days the solution to this topic, and everyone seems to have a different answer, and none of them will work for me.

My sister recently brought over her brand new HP Pavillion dv6 running Vista with a 320gb seagate hd, and asked me if I could uninstall vista and install XP.

And thus the problems began.

I had slipstreamed a SATA driver onto the XP installation disk, but my step-dad got to the pc before I did (he knows more about this stuff than me, but he didn't think to do a bit of research before attempting it). He's been fiddling around with it and now the situation stands as follows

He wiped the drive

Now whenever the computer is turned on, the screen reads 'Invalid Partition Table' so as far as I can see, the pc is unable to read the hd, and it doesn't show up in BIOS

Have tried many boot disk etc. programs

Bought an hd enclosure, and the hard drive is not recognised by the three other computers in the house, it doesn't show up in disk management, but the light on the enclosure turns on so it's getting power (all running XP sp3)

I'm not exactly knowledgeable in this area but is it possible that when he wiped the drive, he wiped the driver for the drive and now the computer can't read the drive with out the driver? I suspect that may be why none of the other computers will read it because they don't have the drivers?

also, we had another spare second hand SATA drive that we tried with the same result or lack thereof

I thought maybe I should try install the XP with the sata driver onto one of the working computers and then see if it will recognise the drive, I suggested this to my step dad but he seems reluctant to do anything about it.

Oh and the laptop didn't come with any discs so we don't have the copy of vista either.

I'm lost, I feel like I've tried everything short of taking it to a shop but if anyone has any suggestions it would be greatly appreciated


Sep 22, 2009
When you attach this drive via the external enclosure (USB based I assume) how are you determining the other 3 computers aren't seeing the drive? It won't show up in "My Computer" if it doesn't have a partition/drive assignment.

Go into Disk Management on one of those other machines (START --> RUN --> diskmgmt.msc [Enter]) and see if it shows up there. In there you can make a partition on the raw drive then move it back into the HP and see if the BIOS stops complaining.


Apr 18, 2008
You say it doesn't show up in disk management, but it has to. It has to show up in BIOS too if it's a functional drive. It doesn't matter if partition tables are invalid, it wouldn't be able to read the drive's invalid partition tables if the drive wasn't recognized by the BIOS. Windows setup won't recognize the drive without drivers if BIOS is configured to use the drive in AHCI or RAID mode. Without driver, the laptop would need to use the drive in IDE or COMPATIBILITY mode. Not sure what your laptop would call it.


Aug 19, 2008
She should be able to restore the drive from the restore disks that may have been purchased with the computer. If she did not get them, she should have been prompted to create them. Did he delete both the partitions on the drive. There was a restore partition on the drive. If your father reformated the drive and deleted both partitions, I would contact the store the computer was purchased from or HP itself. They may be able to help you.


Oct 19, 2006
The fact the screen gives you a message, "Invalid Partition Table" proves that the BIOS is seeing the drive and trying to access it. When you say "He wiped the drive" that is not completely clear, but the fact the BIOS cannot even read a Partition Table suggests he simply deleted all existing Partitions, which is a good way to do the "wipe". That most certainly will prevent Windows from using it, BUT it still should be in Disk Management IF you look in the right place. In Disk Management on the right are two panes, and BOTH of them scroll so you can see all their contents. In the upper right are drives Windows already can use, and your disk will NOT be there. In the LOWER right pane (scroll if necessary) are all the connected hardware devices, including things like a new empty hard drive with NO Partitions (may be your case) that has a designation like "Disk 1" and a size but no other data, and one large block labeled "Unallocated Space". It is this Unallocated Space where you RIGHT-click and choose to Create a Partition and later Format it.

BUT, if that is how your disk shows on another machine when it is mounted in an external enclosure, then is is just like a new blank disk and you do not NEED to do the Partitioning operation there. Just re-install it in the laptop, set the BIOS to Enable its port and use native SATA mode (because you say you already have slipstreamed native SATA drivers into your XP Install disk), and set it as the SECOND Boot device after the optical drive. If you try to boot with NO disk on the optical drive in this situation, you'll still get invalid Partition messages. What you should be doing, instead, is put your XP Install disk in the optical drive and boot. It should boot from that Install Disk and one of its first operations will be to have you set up how you want the Install Process to do the Partition and Format operations for you, prior to installing XP.

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