After spending the better part of a day trying to reinstall my neighbors computer using his old Windows XP Home disc (no service packs installed) and burning 4 slip-streamed discs – in an attempt to get the pesky nForce4 controller on the ECS motherboard to play nice – I finally got the system up and running again. Mind you, not using the custom Windows XP CD’s. No, for some reason after the slip-stream, the CD key is no longer accepted (thanks Microsoft for that one).
No, the reinstallation involved the slow and painful upgrade of Windows XP from the vanilla version to SP3 with every upgrade known to man. Of course this process failed once when I tried installing every driver and tool during eachothers installation (and probably during the service pack upgrade) so I wound up with a system which threw a BSOD on each boot and forced me to start all over again. *grmbl*
Now, after everything is up and running again, the only problem that remained was the fact that the SATA hard drive is showing up as a Removable disc. This is probably because the initial installation was using a legacy IDE emulation interface on the nForce4 controller. But as soon as I installed the SATA driver, the full 250GB became available (it showed up as a 128GB disc during the text mode setup) and Windows switched to the faster SATA interface.
My guess is that Windows for some reason now detects the SATA drive as a new drive and assumes for some reason that it is hot-swappable (it should be in theory but still should not show up as such). To fix this, you need to tell the nVidia drivers to stop marking SATA drives as removable. As such, the trick described below might not work if you do not have a nForce SATA controller.
WARNING: Messing with the registry can destroy your Windows installation. If you know what you are doing you should be fine, if not, please stop now.
- Go to ‘Start’
- Type ‘regedit’ and hit enter
- Find the following folder ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CurrentControlSet\Services\nvata’
- Some people might have a 64-bit installation, they should have a ‘nvata64’ folder instead
- On another computer of mine, the folder was called ‘nvatabus’ instead of ‘nvata’
- Create a new DWORD value in this folder (by right clicking and selecting ‘New DWORD value’)
- Name the new value ‘DisableRemovable’ and set the value to 1 (decimal or hex doesn’t matter)
- Close RegEdit and reboot your computer
If everything worked out, you should no longer see the hard disc showing up as a removable device. Don’t forget to reboot to make the changes active!