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 »  Home  »  Windows Vista Troubleshooting Page 5  »  Cannot select or format a hard disk partition while Installing Windows Vista
Cannot select or format a hard disk partition while Installing Windows Vista
By  Super Admin  | Published  12/10/2006 | Windows Vista Troubleshooting Page 5 | Rating:
Cannot select or format a hard disk partition while Installing Windows Vista

Method 1: Verify that the partition is compatible with Windows Vista
You cannot install Windows Vista on a FAT32 partition. Additionally, you must correctly configure dynamic disks for use with Windows Vista. To verify that the partition is compatible with Windows Vista, follow these steps:

1. For a dynamic disk that has a simple volume, use the Diskpart.exe utility to configure the disk as an active disk. For more information about how to use the Diskpart.exe utility, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
300415 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/300415/) A description of the Diskpart.exe command-line utility 
2. For a FAT32 partition, reformat the partition, or convert the partition to an NTFS file system partition by using the Convert.exe command.

Note When you format a partition, all data is removed from the partition. This data includes all the files on the partition. For more information about how to use the Convert.exe command, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
314097 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314097/) How to use Convert.exe to convert a partition to the NTFS file system 

Method 2: Update the drivers for the hard disk controller
If you want to install Windows Vista as an upgrade, update the drivers for the hard disk controller to the latest drivers.

Note Windows Vista Setup provides a feature to migrate current drivers to the new operating system. Therefore, Windows Vista Setup may use the drivers that are currently installed on the computer. If the computer does not have the latest drivers installed, the Setup program may use the outdated drivers. In this case, you may experience compatibility problems.

Method 3: Provide the correct drivers for the hard disk controller
If you are trying to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista, you must provide the correct drivers for the hard disk controller. When you are prompted to select the disk on which to install Window Vista, you must also click to select the Load Driver option. Windows Vista Setup will guide you through the rest of the process.

Method 4: Examine the Setupact.log file to verify that the partition is active
If you receive the following error message, verify that the partition is active by examining the Setupact.log file:
Windows is unable to find a system volume that meets its criteria for installation

Notes

If you install Windows Vista as an upgrade, the Setupact.log file is located in the Drive:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther folder. Drive represents the drive that contains the existing Windows installation.
If you perform a clean installation of Windows Vista, the Setupact.log file is located in the Drive:\$WINDOWS\Sources\Panther folder. Drive represents the DVD drive that contains the Windows Vista Setup files.
To verify that the partition is active, follow these steps:1. Click Start, click Run, type notepad, and then click OK.
2. On the File menu, click Open.
3. Locate and then click the Setupact.log file, and then click Open.
4. Locate the "DumpDiskInformation" section. This section contains information about partition mapping.
5. In the "DumpDiskInformation" section, locate the log entry that resembles the following:Disk [0] partition [1] is an active partition
 
6. If this log entry appears after an entry that resembles the following, the hard disk may not be configured to use a Windows-based operating system:Unknown
In this case, use the Diskpart.exe utility to configure a different partition as active.

Note This step prevents a third-party operating system from starting. 

Method 5: Check for firmware updates and for system BIOS updates
For firmware updates and for system BIOS updates, contact the manufacturer of the hardware in the computer. For information about how to contact the manufacturer of your hardware, click the appropriate article number in the following list to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
65416 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/65416/) Hardware and software vendor contact information, A-K

60781 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/60781/) Hardware and software vendor contact information, L-P

60782 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/60782/) Hardware and software vendor contact information, Q-Z

Method 6: Verify that the system BIOS correctly detects the hard disk
For information about how to verify that the system BIOS correctly detects the hard disk, contact the manufacturer of the computer hardware.

Method 7: Use the Chkdsk.exe utility to check for problems
Run the Chkdsk.exe utility to check for disk problems. Replace the hard disk if it is damaged.

Method 8: Use the Diskpart.exe utility to clean the disk, and then run Windows Vista Setup again
If you have tried all the methods that are listed in this section and the problem persists, use the Diskpart.exe utility to clean the disk, and then run Windows Vista Setup again.

Note Use this method only if you want to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista. When you clean the hard disk, it is formatted. All partitions and all data on the hard disk are permanently removed. We strongly recommend that you back up the files on the hard disk before you clean the disk.

To use the Diskpart.exe utility to clean the hard disk, follow these steps:1. Click Start, click Run, type diskpart, and then click OK.
2. Type list disk, and then press ENTER. A list of available hard disks is displayed. 
3. Type sel disk number, and then press ENTER. number is the number of the hard disk that you want to clean. The hard disk is now selected.
4. Type det disk, and then press ENTER. A list of partitions on the hard disk is displayed. Use this information to verify that the correct disk is selected.
5. Make sure that the disk does not contain required data, type clean all, and then press ENTER to clean the disk. All the partitions and all the data on the disk is permanently removed.
6. Type exit, and then press ENTER.
7. Run Windows Vista Setup to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista.

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